Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (2023)

Although I’m a California girl now, I was born and raised in Alabama. When it was time for a spring break trip or summer vacation, my family did what many all over the Southeast did: load up the station wagon or minivan and drive south towards the beaches of the Gulf Coast.

The destination? Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (1)

My husband and I have returned often to the Gulf Coast, although we had not yet taken our kids to the coast of Alabama until recently. A summer family reunion finally gave us the opportunity to spend a full week in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores revisiting the Alabama beaches of my childhood.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are well known all over the South as a relatively inexpensive, family-friendly beach destination. Now that I live outside the South, however, I’ve come to realize that much of the rest of the country is clueless about this area! If they do vaguely know about the region, most people certainly don’t know just how much it has to offer. Now that I’ve been to hundreds of beaches around the country and the world, I realize Alabama’s sugar white sand beaches and calm turquoise waters have ruined me for nearly everywhere else.

What I also love about going to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is that a vacation doesn’t necessarily require a ton of planning. So many travel destinations in 2023 require advance bookings. Activities can sell out if you don’t plan super early, but that’s just not the case for an Alabama Beaches vacation. It’s entirely possible to just spend a full week in the area enjoying the sand, sun, and water. And there is also a lot to do in the area for families, even on a whim – particularly eating great seafood or embarking in a few adventurous activities.

If you are considering a trip to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, this article has everything a first time Alabama Beaches visitor needs to know.

(Trips With Tykes uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through links in this post. See our full disclosure policy linked in the menu at the bottom of this site.)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (2)

Where are the Alabama Beaches?

So many people (especially those who live outside the Southeast) don’t even realize that Alabama is a beach destination. The panhandle of Florida eats up most of the real estate due south of the state, so Alabama’s swath of coastline is often missed after a quick glance at the map.

Related: First Timer’s Guide to the Florida Panhandle Beaches

But Alabama has two counties along the coast – Mobile County on the west bordering Mississippi and Baldwin County on the east bordering the Florida panhandle. The two counties are separated by the Mobile Bay.

When most people refer to Alabama’s beaches, they are mostly referring to two cities in Baldwin County: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. There are a few other beaches in the area (particularly the beaches along Dauphin Island in Mobile County) but they don’t have a lot of lodging or dining options.

Sub-Regions, Major Cities, & Layout of Alabama’s Gulf Coast: Gulf Shores vs. Orange Beach

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (3)
(Video) Gulf Shores - Orange Beach - A Coastal Alabama Travel Guide

The Alabama beaches in Baldwin County lie along 32 miles of coastline, stretching from the Florida border all the way to the tip of the Fort Morgan peninsula. Many of the major attractions are located right on the beach road paralleling the coast, Alabama State Route 182 (known as Perdido Beach Road in Orange Beach and Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores). The beaches are roughly intersected by State Route 59, which is the main thoroughfare that heads inland.

The entire area is very drivable from a home base in any location. And visitors can have the same type of vacation no matter where they stay in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, or beyond. But there are some very minor geographical and historical differences to note.

Major cities and regions in the area include:

Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores is the older, more established beach area in the region that is still the center of most of the action. Gulf Shores sits at the intersection of State Routes 182 and 59. Some lodging locations may have activities and restaurants that are walkable or bike-able.

Orange Beach

The stretch of beach that extends from Gulf Coast State park to Perdido Key, Florida on the east is known as Orange Beach. This area was developed later than Gulf Shores and still is a bit quieter (although the continued development makes it busier with each passing year!).

Fort Morgan

Keep heading west from Gulf Shores to travel along the Fort Morgan Peninsula. At the very tip is the historic Fort Morgan itself, the site of a Civil War battle. The neighborhood of Gulf Highlands you pass along the way is another popular cluster of vacation properties.


While not on the beach itself, the inland city of Foley is worth a mention as well. Foley is located about 12 miles due north of Gulf Shores on Highway 59. A lot of visitors to Alabama beaches will spend time in Foley because it is home to some popular outlets, a regional amusement park, and a number of restaurants.

What do I Need to Know about Road Tripping to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?

The vast majority of visitors to the Alabama Beaches come in by car. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach serve a pretty broad drive market that includes most of the Southeast. I was pretty surprised to find out recently from a friend in Kentucky that many families from her area make the road trip regularly every year! Even Illinois and Indiana-based travelers are also frequent visitors.

With so many cars piling onto such a short stretch of beach, that can mean traffic congestion. Traffic on Saturdays and Sundays can be especially crushing in the summer as weeklong vacationers tend to arrive and depart on the weekends. Weekends are also when the grocery stores in the area are at their busiest as newcomers load up their condominiums to start the week.

If you are planning a road trip, allow for plenty of extra time on crowded roads – what might be the last 10 minutes of the drive sometimes can take you a full hour! Use apps like Waze to find alternate back road routes that can sometimes save you major time when beach roads are backed up.

What is the Best Airport Near Gulf Shores, Alabama and Orange Beach, Alabama?

While the area is definitely more of a drive destination, travelers who want to fly in have several airport options for flying to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. Our family has flown into the vast majority of the airports in the region in our travels over the years, so we have a lot of experience with the options!

The best and closest airports to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for an Alabama Gulf Coast beach trip are:

Pensacola International Airport (PNS)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (4)

The closest commercial airport for flying to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach is actually just across the border in Florida. The Pensacola International Airport (PNS) is served by Southwest Airlines, Delta, American, United, Frontier, Spirit, and Silver. Flight options increase in the summer months due to seasonal schedule changes.

(Video) Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Alabama Update Tour

The drive from PNS to the Alabama beaches is only about 35 miles but takes about 1 hour in no traffic. A car is pretty much a necessity in this region of the country, and rental cars at PNS are ample and cheap. The lines to pick up rental cars, however, can be very long at PNS during busy summer months. I highly recommend booking a skip-the-counter option if possible (tip: often you can do this simply by joining a car rental company’s frequent rental program at no cost). At the very least, send the fastest member of your traveling party to make a mad dash after deplaning to camp out in line.

Related: Tips for Renting Cars When Traveling with Kids

Upon departure, give yourself plenty of time for bag check and security. Even though PNS is a small airport, it’s busy during peak periods.We were surprised on our most recent visit to find that Southwest Airlines had no electronic kiosks to check-in or self-tag bags. We had wait in a very, very long ticket counter line to check our bags and were grateful we arrived early.

Mobile Regional Airport (MOB)

The closest airport within the state of Alabama to the Alabama Beaches is the next county over is Mobile Regional Airport. As the name suggests, this airport is smaller than Pensacola and served by just three airlines – Delta (to Atlanta), United (to Houston), and American (to Dallas and Charlotte). The airport is located on the far west side of the city, making the drive from MOB to Gulf Shores about 1.5 hours long.

Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS)

Another viable option in a pinch for travelers to the Alabama Gulf Coast might be the small regional airport in Destin/Ft. Walton Beach (VPS). VPS is about a 2 hour drive to Gulf Shores, but if you can get a non-stop flight there, it would be quicker than booking a connecting flight into either PNS or MOB. VPS has service on Delta, American, Southwest, Allegiant, and Sun Country and is small and easy to navigate. I’ve used it often for trips we’ve taken to the Florida Panhandle.

More Airport Options Coming Soon?

While visitors arriving by air have to drive a bit to reach Alabama’s beaches, there are more options on the near-term horizon to watch for future trips.

Gulf Shores International

The general aviation airport in Gulf Shores just a couple of miles from the beach got a new air traffic control tower and a new name last year – Gulf Shores International. The airport authority is in talks to bring commercial service to the airport within the next two years. There are plans to construct a new passenger terminal as well.

Mobile International Airport

The Mobile Airport Authority is also in early stages of rebuilding another airport in the region, the Mobile Downtown Airport, into what is now called the Mobile International Airport (BFM). Commercial service is due to start on Avelo Airlines in late May 2023. Eventually all commercial service in Mobile will be moved to this airport (from MOB) because of its location closer to the city center. It will also be closer to Alabama’s beach destinations at about an hour away.

Are the Alabama Beaches a Good Destination to Visit with Kids?

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (5)

Yes! When it comes to family friendly, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are about as good as it gets. Most of the accommodations were built with families in mind. Kid-friendly food and activities abound in the area. Restaurants all reliably have amenities for families like kids menus and high chairs, and no one is going to look twice at you taking kids just about anywhere in the area. The shallow water and normally calm seas of the Gulf of Mexico also make its beaches pretty safe for swimming as well.

That’s not to say there isn’t a scene, however, for other kinds of travelers. The area is increasingly popular for girlfriend getaways and golf trips. And there’s enough of a party and bar scene that spring breakers and 20 somethings can find something that works for them too. But family-friendly is definitely the dominant vibe.

Where to Stay on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (6)

For travelers used to beach vacation destinations in many other places, the lodging situation on the Alabama Gulf Coast might appear a bit strange at first glance. The vast majority of the accommodations available in the area are condos for rent from individual owners — not hotels. There is a fair mix of standalone beach homes available for rent as well.

For families, having a condo or a house with kitchen, laundry, living area, and multiple bedrooms is probably just what you want. Most travelers come and stay for a week, making these kinds of accommodations even more useful. But if you want a full service luxury hotel or resort vacation experience like you might be used to in a beach destination like Hawaii, the pickings are a bit slim.

(Video) This Beach is SO MUCH BETTER Than We Expected!! First Time in Gulf Shores (RVing in Alabama)

You can certainly do an Alabama Beaches vacation on the very cheap by staying in a hotel that isn’t directly on the water. And when you want to get to the water, there are public beaches with 15 access points. But if budget allows it, I highly recommend lodging with a water view and direct beach access. There are literally hundreds of choices.

Best Condo Complexes on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Many of these condominium complexes are managed by the major realty companies in the area – Kaiser, Spectrum Resorts, Brett-Robinson, and many others. If you rent directly from the management company, you’ll sometimes pay a higher price but also get some amenities that you will miss out on if you rent direct from an owner (club access, beach umbrella rental rights, fitness centers, etc.). It is vital to read the fine print to find out what amenities you need and what you might be passing up depending on the method you choose for rental.

A lot of the management companies advertise or rent on sites like VRBO, Airbnb, and Vacasa, so it’s easiest to start there to compare all the options and locations. Check out VRBO rentals in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to see the array of choices.

Most of these condo complexes are pretty indistinguishable from one another, with similar amenities and layouts. While most are beachside, there are quite a few resorts that are on the bay side which may or may not be what you want. Look at maps carefully!

From my experience, the nicest of all the condo choices is Turquoise Place, a newer high rise in Orange Beach managed by Spectrum Resorts. Each unit has a hot tub on the balcony and accommodations from 3 to 5 bedrooms are available. Spectrum also manages The Beach Club in Gulf Shores.

Another name you will see often is Phoenix – there are over a dozen condo complexes by this name in the region. Each Phoenix complex has a slightly different mix of pools and amenities.

Our family stayed in a complex called Summer House on Romar Beach on our last trip which is a mid-range option in Orange Beach.

Best Hotels in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

If you prefer a hotel, the most luxurious in the area is The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel. The property is built to blend in with the pristine natural surroundings of the state park that divides Gulf Shores from Orange Beach. A number of the room types have bunk beds in addition to a king, making them ideal for families.

Two other more moderately priced hotel choices that punch well above their weight are the Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach/Gulf Front and the Best Western Premier, The Tides.

Things to Do in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores

While I highly recommend spending a lot of lazy time at the beach and by the pool, there are so many activities in and around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. While we were in the area for a whole week on our last vacation, there were quite a few activities we could not find time to fit in. Figure out your top 3 before you go, because you may run out of time once you discover how gorgeous the beaches are and how much time you will want to spend there.

Here are the activity highlights that I’d recommend to other Alabama Beaches visitors, particularly families.

Lulu’s (Gulf Shores)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (7)

Lulu’s Gulf Shores is both a place to eat and a place to play. This enormous outdoor restaurant founded by Jimmy Buffett’s sister has amazing seafood, cocktails, and live music, but also features an arcade and ropes course that is a must-do for kids. Expect very long lines for dinner in the summer – we found lunch time was much easier to find a table.

Tropic Falls Theme Park at OWA (Foley)

Tropic Falls at OWA is now a full sized amusement park and giant indoor water park in one. The amusement parks offering 23 rides, from roller coasters to kiddie classics. And the indoor water park comes in handier than you might imagine because it means it can operate in winter as well as on rainy summer days (heads up: thunderstorms are common in the region!).

(Video) Gulf Shores: The Don'ts of Visiting Gulf Shores, Alabama

There are a number of ticket options to make a day out affordable as well. Theme park only access is just $26.99 per person. Combination tickets with the water park included are $63 per person. Family four packs save more, as do two day ticket options or season passes. There is an adjacent shopping and dining district as well with an arcade, theater, restaurants, stores, and more.

The Track (Gulf Shores)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (8)

The Track is another giant entertainment complex perfect for a day out with the family. It features multiple go-cart tracks, a large arcade, bumper boats, and amusement park rides for younger kids. Buy points online in advance to save money and share among a larger group.

Adventure Island (Orange Beach)

Similar to the Track, Adventure Island is another family-friendly entertainment complex on the Orange Beach side of town. It’s an OG attraction in the area – having opened when I was a kid! Adventure Island has mini golf (practically a requirement at the beach), bumper boats, go-carts, and a couple of smaller attractions. Just be sure to watch out for erupting volcanoes if you visit.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (Gulf Shores)

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo – better known as “The Little Zoo that Could” – is just a few minutes off the beach. The zoo has a new larger location as of 2020 and packs a pretty big punch.It’s home to 300 animals, including 22 endangered species from a Bengal tiger to lemurs.

Pirates & Princesses Breakfast at the Hangout(Gulf Shores)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (9)

The Hangout is a huge open air restaurant, bar, and entertainment complex in the dead center of Gulf Shores. Most mornings in summer, the restaurant offers a character breakfast featuring pirates and princesses that is perfect for families. Portions are hearty and the prices are ridiculously cheap ($19.99 for adults, $8.99 for kids 6-10, free for kids 5 & under).

The Wharf (Orange Beach)

The Wharf is a shopping, dining, and entertainment district on the bay side of Orange Beach. There’s a ferris wheel, train, arcade, movie theater, evening laser light show, and marina on site, so there is plenty to take your pick from depending on your interests, time of day, and the weather.

The Yard (Gulf Shores)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (10)

After a hot day on the beach, take the whole family to The Yard for an enormous milkshake treat. The shakes here are pricey, but come complete with decadent toppings like a whole cupcake or brownie.I highly recommend sharing.

Flora-Bama (Perdido Key, FL)

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (11)

Just straddling the state line is perhaps the most famous dive bar in America. But with multiple restaurants and shops, the Flora-Bama is now a destination unto itself. Country greats like Kenny Chesney play here regularly. Believe it or not, kids are also welcome in much of the complex. You can even attend church here on Sunday mornings.

More Tips & Tricks for First Time Visitors to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

  1. Eat Out Early: The food in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is amazing all around, but top restaurants are very, very popular. If you arrive at peak dinner hour, you can often expect waits of 1-2 hours or more. If you want to beat the crowds, plan to eat very early – arriving at 5 or 5:30pm is pretty necessary. If you have a large group, consider restaurants that will take advance reservations or even book a private room.
  2. Consider the Off-Season: As much as I love taking a dip in the ocean or pool during the heat of Alabama summer, there are a few down sides to going to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in June, July, and August. First, if you are doing anything other than spending time by or in the water in a bathing suit, it’s really, really hot. And humid! Second, it can be very crowded during the peak summer months. So, definitely consider the area other times of year, especially in shoulder season. Just be aware that hurricanes last well into the fall too. And while it’s too cold (for me, at least) to swim from about November to February, the area is particularly peaceful in winter.
  3. Get a Discount: As you might find in a lot of beach destinations, activities in the area can be expensive. But it’s so easy to find a discount for a number of the things you might want to do in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. While plenty of specials are posted on company websites and sites like Yelp, you’ll often find the best deals by picking up the old-fashioned flyers in hotel lobbies advertising area attractions. Low tech coupons still abound there!
  4. Have a Plan for Groceries: With most of the lodging in the area being condos and home rentals, almost everyone has a kitchen. And that means everyone needs to stock it! Grocery stores and superstores can be a madhouse on Saturday afternoon when new guests arrive. Consider going to a smaller, more off-the-beaten path store to dodge some of the craziness. We found the Publix in Orange Beach to be a tad pricier, but well worth the markup for the shorter lines and less hectic atmosphere. There are also curbside pickup or delivery options that might save you time and stress. It’s possible to order Instacart at Publix or do curbside pickups at both area Walmart locations. Concierge services like the Beach Moms also will do grocery runs for you.

More Alabama Beaches Information

If you are headed to the Alabama Beaches, make the packing process easier with this beach vacation packing list from Stuffed Suitcase. And for even more perspectives on Alabama beach vacations, check out these guides from some fellow family travel bloggers I personally know and trust who have also traveled recently to the area:

Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (12)
(Video) The Ultimate Guide To Gulf Shores And Orange Beach Alabama | OBA real estate


Alabama Beaches First Timer's Guide: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach? ›

The Hidden Beach In Alabama With Clear Waters That Rival The Caribbean. Alabama is well known for its beautiful Gulf Coast beaches. Fort Morgan Beach is a hidden beach with the clearest water in Alabama.

Which beach has the clearest water in Alabama? ›

The Hidden Beach In Alabama With Clear Waters That Rival The Caribbean. Alabama is well known for its beautiful Gulf Coast beaches. Fort Morgan Beach is a hidden beach with the clearest water in Alabama.

What is the prettiest beach in Alabama? ›

According to U.S. News, the prettiest beaches in Alabama are Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Gulf State Park, Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan, West Beach, Fairhope, and Robinson Island.

Which is better Gulf Shores or Orange Beach? ›

If you like a busy beach with lots of activities, Gulf Shores is a good choice. But if you want a more quiet and calm beach experience, Orange Beach is a better option. If you are on a budget, you most likely will find more budget-friendly options in Gulf Shores.

What is the best month to go to Orange Beach Alabama? ›

Orange Beach is much less crowded in the fall. Despite the hot, humid weather, summer is still peak season for Orange Beach. June, July, and August are all super busy times to visit. In the fall, it might feel like you have the beach to yourself!

Is Orange Beach Alabama water clear? ›

The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is a tranquil region with a moderate climate (that means warm temperatures and sun-soaked skies year-round) and crystal clear blue-green water.

What beach has white sand in Alabama? ›

The white, sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Dauphin Island are popular vacation destinations for Alabamians and out-of-state tourists. The fine quality of the sand and gentleness of the surf make for some of the prettiest beaches in the world and are the top tourist destination in the state.

Which beach is less crowded in Gulf Shores? ›

Fort Morgan Beach in Alabama

Bypass Gulf Shores and the crowds for quiet Fort Morgan at the inlet to Mobile Bay. Visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge to witness the beauty of an untouched barrier island habitat; three sea turtle species and migratory tropical songbirds stopover here.

Does Orange Beach Alabama have white sand? ›

In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the name tells the story – miles of pristine white quartz sand washed by blue-green Gulf waters.

What beach in Alabama has blue water? ›

Located three miles south of Mobile Bay, Dauphin Island has clear blue water and powdery white sand galore.

Is Orange Beach or Gulf Shores more expensive? ›

Orange Beach is more upscale. There are tons of high-rise condos lining the beach in this area, so it is not quite as family-friendly as Gulf Shores.

Which is quieter Gulf Shores or Orange Beach? ›

The stretch of beach that extends from Gulf Coast State park to Perdido Key, Florida on the east is known as Orange Beach. This area was developed later than Gulf Shores and still is a bit quieter (although the continued development makes it busier with each passing year!).

What is Orange Beach known for? ›

What is Orange Beach best known for? Orange Beach, Alabama, is best known for its white sandy beaches and family-friendly activities. Orange Beach is one of the most popular getaways in the South.

Is Orange Beach Alabama expensive? ›

Explore Orange Beach, AL

36561 has a median listing home price of $772K, making it the most expensive city. 32506 is the most affordable city, with a median listing home price of $286.3K.

What is the hurricane season for Orange Beach Alabama? ›

Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th. Peak of hurricane season occurs in August and Septem- ber for interior southeast Mississippi, southwest Alabama and the western Florida panhandle. Keep in mind, hurricanes can strike any month during hurricane season.

Can you swim at Orange Beach Alabama? ›

There are many white sandy beaches in the southern part of the state. Waters are usually warm enough to spend the day swimming at the beach. Popular destinations include Gulf Shores Beach and Orange Beach.

Can you drink alcohol on Orange Beach Alabama? ›

Orange Beach doesn't ban alcohol from its beaches but does step up law enforcement with a no tolerance warning on drinking and driving, underage drinking and illegal drug use.

Can you drink beer on the beach in Gulf Shores Alabama? ›

Prohibited Items and Actions

PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED on any of the sand beaches in Gulf Shores. Pets are welcome at Gulf Place, but they may not travel on the sand beaches. No glass or breakable containers. No alcoholic beverages.

Can you drink alcohol at Orange Beach Alabama? ›

Alcohol on the Beach:

Per the City of Orange Beach: "Drinking alcohol is allowed on the beach but glass containers are strictly prohibited."

What is a sugar sand beach? ›

Some beaches have little rocks or pebbles in with the sand, and others just have grains of a coarser texture. White sugar sands are made of ultrafine mineral sand with a significant percentage of organic granules. This forms fine silt that is often too light to support cars and trucks on the beach.

Is it illegal to take sand from the beach in Alabama? ›

No person shall intentionally remove any sand or beach vegetation from any portion of the Gulf Place City Beachfront.

Is Gulf Shores a man made beach? ›

The Alabama Gulf Coast offers more than 32 miles of beaches for visitors to explore. The sand here is made of quartz that came from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago and has since been filtered down to create the gorgeous white beaches we see today!

What month is best for Gulf Shores? ›

The best times to visit Gulf Shores are March through May and September through November. Travelers can take advantage of these sweet spots outside the busy (and more expensive) summertime and enjoy swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, which still offers pleasant temperatures in the late spring and early fall.

What is peak season in Gulf Shores Alabama? ›

During the summer months, visitors can expect larger crowds enjoying the beach and other favorite attractions. Popular vacation times during the summer months include Hangout Fest week, Memorial Day week, and the 4th of July holiday week, just to name a few.

Which is cheaper Gulf Shores or Destin? ›

So if you're looking for an affordable spot… Gulf Shores wins!

What is the difference between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores? ›

Gulf Shores is the older, more established beach area and is a little closer. It sits at the intersection of State Highway 182 and Highway 59. Orange Beach extends from Gulf Coast State Park to Perdido Key, Florida. Orange Beach is newer and slower-paced but becomes busier every year.

Are there sand crabs in Orange Beach? ›

In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, summer evenings bring out guests with flashlights scouring the beaches for tiny sand crabs before they burrow into the sand.

Why is the water green in Orange Beach Alabama? ›

Presence of microscopic plankton along the Emerald Coast

The plankton produce chlorophyll, which gives off the beautiful greenish color when the sun's light hits the water and underlying white quartz sand.

Is Orange Beach Alabama worth visiting? ›

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are charming beach communities alive and vibrant, with a good mix of the young and old bringing excitement to the area. You'll find unique attractions, incredible dining experiences, fantastic lodging options,and adventure on and off the water.

Is there red tide in Gulf Shores Alabama? ›

— The Alabama Department of Health says that red tide has been found in water samples taken near Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

How far apart is Orange Beach from Gulf Shores? ›

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are located approximately 6 miles from each other and are separated by Gulf State Park.

How much money should I take to Gulf Shores Alabama? ›

The average price of a 7-day trip to Gulf Shores is $1,594 for a solo traveler, $2,863 for a couple, and $5,367 for a family of 4. Gulf Shores hotels range from $62 to $284 per night with an average of $92, while most vacation rentals will cost $360 to $480 per night for the entire home.

What part of Gulf Shores is the best? ›

Typically, we give one of two answers: West Beach or Little Lagoon. Each of these wonderful areas offers our guests a wide variety of vacation rentals to choose from. However, one thing always remains the same: the sand is sugar white, the ocean is bright blue, and the family-friendly atmosphere is infectious.

Is Orange Beach a party town? ›

Conclusion. Orange Beach and Gulf Shores offer lots of fun during the day, but there's a great nightlife in Orange Beach, Alabama, too. The fun doesn't end when the sun goes down. You're sure to find an activity that you'll love on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Can you go on Orange Beach at night? ›

The beach is fun at night, too.

At night, you'll see people taking flashlights to the beach. They're out there because you can spot crabs making their way across the sand. However, the light from your flashlight may confuse sea turtles who think it's moonlight, causing them to head in the wrong direction.

Does Orange Beach Alabama have a boardwalk? ›

Catch a Beautiful Sunset + Walk the Orange Beach Boardwalk

And Florida Point is the ideal place to watch the sun set here.

Does Orange Beach have a downtown? ›

Inspired by Southern small towns, Downtown OWA's pedestrian-only streets are a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment! From big names like Paula Deen's Family Kitchen and Legends in Concert to coastal favorites, there's something for everyone in Downtown OWA.

Does Alabama have blue water beaches? ›

Alabama Point East Beach is popular amongst travelers for its beautiful blue-green water, sand dunes and picnic areas.

Does Gulf Shores have white sand and clear water? ›

The Gulf Coast boasts most of the true white sand beaches in the United States, from Gulf Shores to the Gulf Coast of Florida. The Florida Keys also have white sand beaches. Build a glistening white sand castle and take in the turquoise waves when you stay at one of our Gulf Shores condos or Orange Beach rentals!

What is the cleanest lake water in Alabama? ›

Lewis Smith Lake

Better known as Smith Lake, this 21,000-acre stunner on the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River is known for being one of Alabama's cleanest and clearest lakes.


1. The Top 5 Surf Fishing Equipment Must-Have When Visiting Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
(Visit Alabama Beaches)
2. Alabama Travel VLOG: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
(Nash Potatoes Outdoor Show)
3. Tourist Guide to Orange Beach, Alabama
(ebc digital nest)
4. First trip to GULF SHORES, AL - Holiday Inn Express ORANGE BEACH
(aList Adventures)
5. Our Week In Orange Beach / Gulf Shores Alabama | Staying at Turquoise Place Condos | Pangani Tribe
(Pangani Tribe)
6. 5 Pompano Fishing Tips in Gulf Shores, Alabama | Surf Fishing Guide with the Bama Beach Bum
(Visit Alabama Beaches)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carlyn Walter

Last Updated: 08/14/2023

Views: 6618

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carlyn Walter

Birthday: 1996-01-03

Address: Suite 452 40815 Denyse Extensions, Sengermouth, OR 42374

Phone: +8501809515404

Job: Manufacturing Technician

Hobby: Table tennis, Archery, Vacation, Metal detecting, Yo-yoing, Crocheting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Carlyn Walter, I am a lively, glamorous, healthy, clean, powerful, calm, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.