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Gulf Shores

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Gulf Shores [1] is a city in Alabama located on the Gulf Coast. It has beautiful white sand beaches, but is quieter and cheaper than the Florida beaches nearby.

Get in[edit]

By plane

You can fly into nearby airports such as Mobile, Alabama or Pensacola, Florida. Private and corporate planes are served by the Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores.

Other options include Montgomery, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana - both of which would require a three-hour drive.

By car

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.

The congested traffic on Highway 59 can be avoided by taking the Beach Express. Current information on the best route to the Beach Express is at: http://www.how-to-get-to-gulf-shores.com/

By ferry

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.

By boat

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.

Get around[edit]

By foot

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.

By car

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.

There is a van service called "Ride for 5" that runs routes between various Gulf Shores/Orange Beach establishments- well worth looking into. $5 each way! http://www.ridefor5.com/

See[edit][add listing]

  • Fort Morgan 51 Hwy 180 West. (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, (251) 968-5731. Open daily 9-4. $8.80 for adults $6 for children. Children under 2 are free.[2]The Zoo features many exotic animals, inlcuding 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, 251-968-1473. Learn about Gulf Coast weather with a video on the Hurricane Hunters. Great exhibition on shrimping and fishing. Free.  edit
  • Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum, 25850 John M Snook Avenue, Orange Beach, 251-981-8545, [3]. Tu-F, 9AM - 4PM; Sat. 9AM - 2PM. Collection of local artifacts and items that tell the area's Native American and fishing history.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

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 [4]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. [5] 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.  edit
  • Adventure Island, 24559 Perdido Beach Blvd, 251-974-1500, [6]. Fun for the entire family with mini golf, bumper boats, go-karts and arcade.  edit
  • Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 Hwy 180, 251-540-7720, [7]. sunrise - sunset. Great location for hiking with more than six miles of trails. Amazing beach access - worth the hike.  edit
  • Ferris Wheel at The Wharf, 4985 Wharf Parkway, 251-224-1000, [8]. M-Sa 10AM-10PM; Su 1PM - 8PM. Take a ride on the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southeast. Great views from the top. $4.  edit
  • Pirates Island Adventure Golf, 3201 Gulf Shores Parkway, 251-968-4653, [9]. Family-friendly mini-golf with a fun pirate theme. Waterfalls, pirate ship and fog machine.  edit
  • The Track Recreation Center, 3200 Gulf Shores Parkway, 251-968-8111, [10]. Splash in the water with bumper boats. Ride go-karts, play mini-golf. Dare to try the sky coaster.  edit

DO- rent a boat! Numerous marinas and boats range from personal watercraft to pontoons to speedboats. Run around in the lagoons, see some nice waterfront homes and some will allow travel onto the open ocean- ask your marina for maps and recommended routes/stops. Good, waterfront restaurant/bars all over the island.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Gulf Shores is filled with souvenir shops that offer classy to trashy gifts to take home. Some idea include seashells, airbrushed shirts, beach towels and various small gifts.

  • Tanger Outlet Center Hwy 59 S. Foley, AL. Just a short drive north of Gulf Shores this outlet mall has over 120 stores.
  • Alvin's Island Gulf Shores, 100 West Beach Blvd, 251-948-3121, [11]. With locations in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the perfect spot for swimwear and souvenirs.  edit
  • Alvin's Island Orange Beach, 24949 Perdido Beach Blvd, 251-974-1123, [12].  edit
  • Bayou Village, 701 Gulf Shores Parkway. Shops include Original Oyster House, Original Oyster House Trading Company, Sharkey's Arcade, Jubilee Gifts & Apparel, Ocean Eddie's, Taylors Serendipity, Cleopatra's Oasis and Blonde John's Surf, Skate & Skim.  edit
  • Souvenir City of Gulf Shores, 217 Gulf Shores Parkway, 251-948-7280. 7 days, 8AM - 11PM. A tradition for vacationers. Family owned since 1956.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen - 138 W. 1st Ave. - Gulf style seafood, steaks, pasta, and salads. Decent prices. [13]
  • Hazel's Nook 120 East Fort Morgan Road, (251) 968-7065. Famous for its breakfast. Home cooking and kid friendly.
  • Sea-n-Suds 405 East Beach Blvd., 251 948 7894, [14]. Value priced sandwiches, seafood and beer on the beach. Friendly and somewhat nostalgic atmosphere, bringing customers back to the days of boardwalks and piers. Everything is kept neat and simple, and the food is comforting and delicious. It can get really busy in the tourist season, so enjoy sitting out on the porch while you're waiting for a table!
  • Buford's Floozy Shack, 1618 Gulf Shores Pkwy, 251-948-7444, [15]. M-Sun 9-5. Gourmet sauces in a funky little location, 109 different jams, jellies, marinades, dips, dressings, rubs and sauces, including the flagship Buford's Floozy Sauce line (available in three flavors)  edit

Bahama Bob's Beachside Cafe- Right on the beach. Indoor/Outdoor seating, great bar & food. 601 West Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542 and 251--948-2100 or www.bahamabobs.com

Calypso Joe's- Great, fun decor & atmosphere, outdoor waterside bar and great carribbean style food & drink. Orange Beach Marina, 27075 Marina Road,Orange Beach, AL 36561 Call: 251- 981-1415 or www.calypsojoes.com

Cobalt- Great waterfront restaurant/bar located at the Caribe Resort off Perdido Pass. www.cobaltrestaurant.net

Flippers Seafood & Oyster Bar- GREAT waterfront view. The food/service is excellent. www.flippersrestaurant.com

Sea n Suds- Right on the ebach and a favorite for many years. www.sea-n-suds.com

Original Oyster House- Dine on the bayou! www.originaloysterhouse.com

Gulf Island Grill- very good seafood and more; bar and Carribbean atmosphere. 244 E Beach Blvd Gulf Shores, AL 36542, (251) 968-4440. Has a Facebook page.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Alcohol sales are now allowed on Sunday in all areas of Gulf Shores.

  • Pink Pony Pub [16]Public Beach area at the foot of Hwy. 59. Bright pink building - can't miss it.
  • Flora-Bama Lounge On Hwy 292 on the Alabama-Florida State Line. There are usually cars lining the highway so watch out for people crossing road. A local favorite!
  • The Hangout, 101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, 251-948-3030, [17]. Great beachfront, new bar/lounge/restaurant with large outdoor area for live entertainment. Great decor and atmosphere.  edit

Tacky Jacks- Two great lcoations, one in Gulf SHores and another in orange Beach. Excellent drinks and food. www.tackyjacks.com

Lulu's- Owned by Lulu Buffet, sister of Jimmy Buffet! Margatiaville/Carribbean style hangout with great food and drink. Located at Homeport Marina. www.lulubufet.com

Live Bait Restaurant & Night Club- restaurant by day, night club by night. www.livebaitrestaurant.com

Cosmos Restaurant & Martini Bar- Great martinins, and everything else. www.cosmosrestaurantandbar.com

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Gulf Shores is full of rental properties that run from budget to luxury. Most are condominium type places that site overlooking the beaches. Beach houses are also available.

Several RV parks are located in the area. The Gulf State Park, [18] offers cabin rentals, lakeside cottages and camping.

Alabama State Park, Gulf Shores, offers another alternative for RV, cabin or tent camping. Although ravished by Katrina the campground has come a long way in its journey towards its former splendor. New trees have been planted and you'll see campers water them from the well equipped camp sites that have water, electricity and sewer hook up for your RV. Plenty of shower and rest room facilities in air conditioned buildings all clean and well cared for. The camp ground has plenty of capacity and is seldom full according to staff. Conveniently located close to the beach, depending on where in this large camp ground you pitch your RV.

  • Gulf Shores Plantation, 805 Plantation Road, 800-554-0344. [19] 600 unit resort with 7 pools on 70 acres right on the Gulf

Gulf Sands Vacation Rentals- Specializing in properties in this area & great values. www.gulf-sands.com

Perdido Beach Resort- The premier hotel facility in the area. Restaurants & bars on site. www.perdidobeachresort.com

Get out[edit]


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Pensacola, FL See the National Naval Aviation Museum at the Naval Air Station. Well worth the drive.

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