Alabama’s beautiful, sugar-white sand beaches and pristine turquoise waters set the scene for the ultimate family vacation.
In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, collectively known as Pleasure Island, life seems to slow down, and worries melt away. With numerous activities and events, delicious culinary options and accommodations that fit families of all sizes, a vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast is one to be remembered for a lifetime.
Alabama’s family-friendly beaches have seen generations return year after year. From exciting activities and events to delectable culinary options, it’s no wonder families continue to travel back to this area for their yearly vacations.
Throughout the year, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are booming with a multitude of exciting festivals and events. Celebrating its sixth year in Gulf Shores is Hangout Music Festival (May 20-22). This three-day festival features genres such as rock, indie, hip-hop and electronic dance music.
This year, nationally recognized artists such as The Alabama Shakes, Florence + the Machine and Calvin Harris are taking to the stage.
Also in Gulf Shores is the 45th Annual National Shrimp Festival (Oct. 13-16). The four-day event continues to attract more than 300,000 attendees year-by-year. The festival will feature more than 800 pounds of fresh Gulf shrimp, national musical acts, more than 50 local and regional food vendors showcasing a multitude of mouthwatering delights and roughly 200 art vendors.
A new event coming to Alabama’s beaches in 2016 is the World Food Championship (Nov. 8-15). In February, The Wharf in Orange Beach was chosen as the host for this event. The competition is expected to host more than 1,200 competitors representing 400 teams from 20 countries and 45 states. Foodies definitely do not want to miss out.
The Wharf also hosts a concert series throughout the year. With a continually growing lineup, The Amphitheatre at The Wharf is already expected to host artists such as Keith Urban, Twenty-One Pilots, Florida-Georgia Line, Jimmy Buffett and many more this year.
From zip lines and waterparks to golf courses and fishing charters, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have many entertainment options and activities to offer visitors. For nature lovers, Alabama’s beaches are home to vast ecosystems and wildlife.
The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail spans through Gulf Shores, the Gulf State Park and Orange Beach. This trail spans six different ecosystems and includes several of the stops along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail.
Adventurers also have a variety of options to explore. With multiple scuba diving and snorkeling spots, parasailing and flyboarding opportunities and miles of hiking trails, there are many thrills to be had on Alabama’s beaches. And for those looking to relax, the area has spa locations, yoga classes and shopping options at outlet malls, local boutiques and souvenir shops.
A trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast would not be complete without a few visits to some of the area’s fabulous restaurants. Many offer one-of-a-kind dining experiences making them destinations on their own. From waterfront dining and open-air floor plans to live entertainment and children’s play areas, there is something for everyone to enjoy when dining in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
The majority of restaurants serve fresh Gulf seafood and locally-sourced produce and meats. And, for those visitors who fish, some locations offer a program called “hook ‘n’ cook” where guests can bring in their catch to be prepared by a local chef.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a wide selection of accommodations to fit groups of all sizes. From beachfront condos and national hotel chains to colorful beach houses and full service resorts, every visitor can choose the perfect place to lay their head. Many accommodations have indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centers, spas, tennis courts, activities for children, seasonal events and much more for guests to enjoy.
Visit GulfShores.com to learn more about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. While there, be sure to request a copy of the 2016 vacation guide, a 100-page magazine that features a photographic tour of the area, and includes complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do, and great places to eat.