Gulf Shores-Orange Beach, Alabama

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Gulf Shores-Orange Beach, Alabama, Visitors Guide

Gulf Shores, along with neighboring Orange Beach, offers culinary diversity, tourist attractions, and extensive options for both water and land-based activities, this resort community appeals to couples, families, and solo travelers equally. Gulf Shores and Orange beach are connected coastal communities with Gulf Shores to the West and Orange Beach to the East. Orange Beach is Alabama's eastern-most settlement and directly borders the laid-back beach town of Perdido Key, Florida. Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are heavily influenced by Gulf of Mexico beach culture and provide similar vacation experiences highlighting both family fun and romance.

If you hadn't heard of Gulf Shores before now, you've probably heard of Hangout Music Fest. Hangout is one of the world's largest festivals attracting tens of thousands of music-lovers to Alabama's beaches each year. If you're not much of a music lover, you'll still find lots to love about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach including watersports, deep sea fishing, fresh seafood dining, and stunning white-sand beaches.


Gulf Shores is the southernmost settlement in the state of Alabama and is situated on the Gulf of Mexico. Located in the southeastern USA, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are an easy drive from New Orleans (about 3 hours), and Atlanta (about 5.5 hours), making it an ideal addition to a regional tour.


West Beach is an area of sandy beaches and private homes to the west of Gulf Shores. Located on the Fort Morgan peninsula, it is lined with restaurants, private homes, condominiums, and high-rise hotels.

Little Lagoon features walking trails, a wildlife refuge, bike paths, and inland and pier fishing. It is one of the best places to stay in Gulf Shores with kids because it also offers plenty of great things to do outdoors.
Island Wood is an upscale community that sits just north of Little Lagoon. Residents of Islandwood enjoy the lush landscaping of the golf course and easy access to nearby beaches and attractions.

Top Places to Visit

Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park expands more than 6,500 acres encompassing the land behind the Gulf Shores beach community with the west end extending further south to a wide beach area. In addition to beaches, the park includes marshland, boggy tea-colored streams, pine forests, and three spring-fed, fresh-water lakes.

Robinson Island & Bird Island

Robinson Island & Bird Island Park is a sanctuary for birds & wildlife and is used by residents and visitors as a park/recreational area.

Little Lagoon Pass Park

Little Lagoon Pass Park is a great spot for taking in the sites and accessing the beach. The park is situated directly on Little Lagoon Pass and is perfect for a beach day with the family.


March through May and September through November may be the best time to visit Gulf Shores & Orange Beach when crowds are smaller & temperatures are cool, though the summer is the busiest time for tourism. The temperature ranges from 50 to 85 degrees throughout the year.

What is Gulf Shores-Orange Beach known for

White Sand Beaches, Hangout Music Festival, The Wharf, Recreational Charter Fishing, Shrimp Festival, Nature Trails
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some popular places to visit in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?

There are tons of great spots to visit in the area. The Wharf in Orange Beach is home to a massive ferris wheel, zipline tours, shopping, dining, and water excursions. The Wharf Amphitheater is also home to major concerts and events. The OWA amusement park in nearby Foley is a massive theme park complete with rides, dining, and entertainment. Visit hundreds of awe-inspiring animals at The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, or cast a line at the Gulf State Pier in Orange Beach. The world-famous Flora-Bama bar and lounge rests on the line between Orange Beach, AL and Perdido Key, FL. Flora-Bama is testament to the local culture offering seafood, entertainment, and giant events and concerts. Some other great spots to check out include The Hangout Gulf Shores (seafood dining and entertainment in a beach setting), The Track (family friendly go carts, arcade, and rides), and LuLu's Gulf Shores (beach-themed dining and music), and Waterville USA waterpark.

2. What are the differences between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores?

Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are neighbors in Coastal Alabama. Orange Beach, AL, lies directly to the east of Gulf Shores, and borders Florida. Gulf Shores is larger, with approximately double the population. Both cities offer coastal dining, attractions, activities, lodging, and nightlife. The culture is very similar as well, with Gulf Shores being more famously known for events like Hangout Fest Music Festival. The two areas are frequently grouped together given their almost identical offerings to vacationers and families.

3. What are the beaches like in Coastal Alabama?

Coastal Alabama beaches, specifically the beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, are composed of soft, white sand. They are, as a whole, less busy than Florida beaches, but may be a little cooler as well.

4. Are there islands to visit in Orange Beach, AL?

Yes, the Perdido Pass contains four islands famous to locals. They are Bird Island, Robinson Island, Gilchrist Island, and Walker Island. While Gilchrist Island is privately owned and not accessible to the public, the other three islands are owned by the city and visitors are welcome!

5. Which events take place in Gulf Shores, AL?

The most popular event in Gulf Shores is the Hangout Music Festival. Lots more annual events take place in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach including culinary festivals (Oyster Cook-Off, National Shrimp Festival), party festivals (Interstate Mullet Toss), and music festivals (Frank Brown International Songwriters', Festival of Art)

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