You can fly into nearby airports such as Mobile, AL or Pensacola, FL. Private and corporate planes are served by the Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores. Other options include Montgomery, AL and New Orleans, LA - both of which would require a three-hour drive.
The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach areas are easily reached from Interstates 65 and 10 as well as US Hwy 98. All three intersect with Alabama Hwy 59 (also known as Gulf Shores Parkway) which leads directly to Gulf Shores. Distance from major cities: Atlanta, GA, 370 miles; Birmingham, AL, 274 miles; Jackson, MS, 245 miles; Memphis, TN, 480 miles; Nashville, TN, 450 miles; New Orleans, LA, 214 miles; St. Louis, MO, 632 miles.
A ferry service is available between nearby Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island. The ferry landing is approximately 25 miles west of Hwy 59 on West Fort Morgan Road.
Boaters can reach Gulf Shores and Orange Beach via the Intracoastal Waterway. The Tennessee-Tombigbee provides a link between the Intracoastal and numerous ports in the midwest. In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, boaters will find numerous marinas available.
Plenty of accommodations are located directly on the beach. Guests can walk right out and enjoy the sand and water. Some are located within easy walking distance of restaurants and shops.
The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are connected by two main east-west highways. The most southern one is Highway 182 (known locally as Beach Blvd). It runs along the beach and offers great views of the water. Highway 180 (known locally as Canal Road) runs along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Highway 59 terminates at the public beach in Gulf Shores where it connects with Beach Blvd.
- Fort Morgan 51 Hwy 180 West. +1 251 540-7127. Museum 9-5 daily. Fort hours vary by season. $3 for adults. $1 for children. A fort has been at this site on and off since the 1500s. The present fortification date from 1834 to WWII and played a vital part in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Historical tours are given daily in the summer.
- Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, 1204 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251 968-5731. Open daily 9-4. $8.80 for adults $6 for children. Children under 2 are free.The Zoo features many exotic animals, including lions, monkeys and bears. There is also a petting zoo, reptile house and in the summer there are daily animal shows.
- Gulf Shores Museum, 244 West 19th Avenue, ☎ +1 251-968-1473. Learn about Gulf Coast weather with a video on the Hurricane Hunters. Great exhibition on shrimping and fishing. Free.
- Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum, 25850 John M Snook Avenue, Orange Beach, ☎ +1 251-981-8545. Tue-Fri, 9AM - 4PM; Sat. 9AM - 2PM. Collection of local artifacts and items that tell the area's Native American and fishing history.
The best thing to do in Gulf Shores is enjoy the beaches. There are plenty of places to park at most public beaches. Some offer facilities and picnic tables. There are many beach access area that provide pedestrian access only. These are best if you are staying nearby and don't need a car to get to the beach. It is best to be aware of the Beach Warning Flags that tell you whether it is safe to go int othe ocean.
There is an unlimited amount of water sports activities available in Gulf Shores. Take your pick between waverunners, catamarans, parasailing, sailboats, boogie boards etc. at any of the numerous rental places along the beach.
- Gulf Shores Public Beach is full of activity and is conveniently located near bars and restaurants. Lifeguards on duty and picnic areas are available. Arrive early for a good spot.
- Gulf State Park. 6 miles east of Hwy 59. A great beach for families and away from the hustle of the other beaches. Facilities are minimal and a small parking fee is charged.
- Waterville USA. Hwy 59 North. A 25 acre water and fun park. It has waterslides that are for the kiddies and the daredevils. There is miniature golf, go-karts, an arcade, and small carnival rides for younger children.
- GOLF!. Numerous courses at varying rates. Gulf State Park has an affordable course. Look up Soldiers Creek, Lost Key and Glenlakes for great courses at very fair prices. Cotton Creek and Cypress bend are both Arnold Palmer designs. Many more.
- Adventure Island, 24559 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251-974-1500. Fun for the entire family with mini golf, bumper boats, go-karts and arcade.
- Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 Hwy 180, ☎ +1 251-540-7720. sunrise - sunset. Great location for hiking with more than six miles of trails. Amazing beach access - worth the hike.
- Ferris Wheel at The Wharf, 4985 Wharf Parkway, ☎ +1 251-224-1000. Mon - Sat 10AM-10PM; Sun 1PM - 8PM. Take a ride on the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southeast. Great views from the top. $5.
- Pirates Island Adventure Golf, 3201 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251-968-4653. Family-friendly mini-golf with a fun pirate theme. Waterfalls, pirate ship and fog machine.
- The Track Recreation Center, 3200 Gulf Shores Parkway, ☎ +1 251-968-8111. Splash in the water with bumper boats. Ride go-karts, play mini-golf. Dare to try the sky coaster.
- The Wharf, 4550 Main St, ☎ +1 251 224-1500. The Wharf is the Gulf Coast's most inviting shopping and dining destination with exciting retail and dining options. Choose from a variety of restaurants and eateries on site with options for romance, family and friends. Enjoy fine dining, casual southern flair, and local seafood favorites at The Wharf's array of restaurants. From Daiquiri Bars to Cigar Bars, The Wharf has an active night life. Listen to live music and and cheer on your favorite sporting teams at The Wharf's late night venues. When rest and relaxation is in order, pamper yourself at one of our spas and salons with a rejuvenating treatment, massage or new hair style. Shopping at The Wharf is a unique experience. Browse dozens of locally owned boutiques and one-of-a-kind shops-designed to delight the most seasoned shopper. Retail at The Wharf has a little bit for everyone. Shop for fashions for the whole family, home interiors, sports gear, souvenirs and more!
- Tanger Outlets, 2601 S McKenzie Street Foley, AL 36535, ☎ +1 251 943-9303, +1 866 665-8678. Shopping-mall chain featuring a variety of brand-name & designer outlet stores. Find great savings on merchandise from your favorite designer and name-brands direct from the manufacturer at stores like: Coach, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Talbots, White House Black Market, Nike, Chico's, Kenneth Cole, Reebok and many more.
- Gulf Shores Steamer, 27267 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251-948-6344. A great selection of steamed seafood is on hand at this extremely casual restaurant. They served up platters of freshly steamed seafood, sandwiches and a kids menu with some great appetizers including steamed blue crab claws, raw and steamed oysters and smoked tuna dip. They also serve hand-cut ribeyes, burgers and chicken for the landlover. They offer waterfront dining.
- The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package (The Flora-Bama or "THE BAMA"), 17401 Perdido Key Drive Pensacola, FL 32507, ☎ +1 850 492-0611 (Florida), +1 251 980-5118 (Alabama). The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package (aka The Flora-Bama or "THE BAMA"), located in Orange Beach, Florida, adjacent the Alabama/Florida state line, is a honky-tonk, oyster bar, beach bar, and Gulf Coast cultural landmark, touted as being America's "Last Great Roadhouse". The Flora-Bama takes its name from its location on the Florida-Alabama border line. The Flora-Bama property truly does lie in both Alabama and Florida with the bar sitting right on the line...
- THE GULF, 27500 Perdido Beach Blvd. Orange Beach, AL 36561, ☎ +1 251-424-1800. 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM. "Just a little beach bar with an amazing view, serving thoughtful food inspired by the Gulf of Mexico. Oh, and the building is made from repurposed shipping containers and we spin vinyl. Come get stoked."
- The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package, 17401 Perdido Key Drive Pensacola, FL 32507, ☎ +1 850 492-0611 (Florida), +1 251 980-5118 (Alabama). The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package (aka The Flora-Bama or "THE BAMA"), located in Orange Beach, Florida, adjacent the Alabama/Florida state line, is a honky-tonk, oyster bar, beach bar, and Gulf Coast cultural landmark, touted as being America's "Last Great Roadhouse". The Flora-Bama takes its name from its location on the Florida-Alabama border line. The Flora-Bama property truly does lie in both Alabama and Florida with the bar sitting right on the line...
- Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach, 23092 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251 974-1600. This modern breachfront hotel is 4.5 miles from Waterville USA's amusement park and 4.7 miles from the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. All rooms offer contemporary decor, balconies and custom-designed beds, plus free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, minifridges, microwaves and Keurig coffeemakers. Suites add separate living areas with pull-out sofas. Parking is free. There's a casual restaurant serving cooked-to-order breakfast and light lunches, as well as a 24/7 pantry and a poolside tiki bar. Additional amenities include a fitness center, beach access, an indoor/outdoor heated pool and 2 hot tubs. There's also a 24-hour business center and meeting rooms.
- Holiday Inn Express Orange Beach, 24700 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251 234-6797. Check-in: 4:00 PM, check-out: 11:00 AM. This modern hotel overlooks Orange Beach and is a 2-minute walk from Adventure Island amusement park, and a 5-minute drive from Gulf State Park. The contemporary rooms come with private balconies, desks, flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers, plus microwaves and minifridges. WiFi is free, while kids 19 and under stay free with an adult. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor pool, a pool-side bar and a hot tub, as well free parking & breakfast. Business facilities include a business center and meeting space for up to 80 delegates.
- Hampton Inn & Suites, 25518 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251 923-4400. Off State Route 182, this contemporary beachfront hotel is a 5-minute walk from downtown Orange Beach. Classic rooms feature free WiFi and flat-screen TVs with HD channels, plus coffeemakers, desks and custom-designed beds. Suites add private balconies, living areas, minifridges and microwaves. In addition to the free daily hot breakfast (on-site) and weekday breakfast bags to go, there's an indoor/outdoor pool and a fitness center. Other amenities include an on-site tiki bar, a business center, meeting space for up to 320 people, plus free parking.
- Sleep Inn on the Beach, 25400 Perdido Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 251 981-6722. This modern seafront hotel is 1 mile from Adventure Island and 2.4 miles from the Orange Beach Marina. The sophisticated rooms feature free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers and flat-screen TVs. They also come with minifridges, microwaves and desks, while upgraded rooms add balconies, ocean views and pull-out sofas. The property offers free parking and continental breakfast. Other amenities include beach access, a seasonal outdoor pool and a business center.