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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alcohol sales are now allowed on Sunday in all areas of Gulf Shores.
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
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,  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 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
Wikipedia:Gulf Shores, Alabama Dmoz:North_America/United_States/Alabama/Localities/G/Gulf_Shores Pensacola, FL See the National Naval Aviation Museum at the Naval Air Station. Well worth the drive.