Gulf Shores, AL

Travel Guide
Gulf Shores showing general coastal views and a sandy beach as well as a small group of people

Beautiful beaches, championship golf courses, great seafood and unusual nature experiences attract carefree vacationers to this pleasant Alabama resort area.

White-sand beaches and emerald-green water are the popular attractions of Gulf Shores and the Alabama Gulf Coast. Find some of the state’s best golf, good shopping and many natural attractions.

Orange Beach and Alabama Point East are among Alabama Gulf Coast’s most popular beaches, great places to start exploring the area. Sandy shores stretching for miles feature sand dunes, boardwalks and several picnic areas. For a bit more action, try Gulf Shores Public Beach where you’ll find volleyball courts and numerous lively beach bars. Go shopping here and eat fresh seafood.

The Gulf Shores region is also home to some of Alabama’s best golf courses. Test your skills at the three designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer: Cotton Creek and Cyprus Bend at Craft Farms and Lost Key Golf Club on the way to Pensacola, Florida.

Other nearby courses to investigate include the affordable Glenlakes Golf Club and Gulf State Park Refuge Golf Course. If you’re here mostly for golf, consider a “stay and play” package offered by the various hotels and resorts.

For outdoor adventure off the course, hike along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, a collaborative effort between the city of Orange Beach and property owners along the trail. Try to catch a glimpse of the “Catman,” a part-man, part-wildcat creature that has allegedly lurked along the paths and swamps for decades. If you’d prefer not to walk, join an eco-tour, which provides a trip through the natural habitats in a covered electric cart.

Enjoy the many water-based activities in Gulf Shores and along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Rent a kayak and explore the back bays of the area or join a dolphin tour. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is a must-see for bird lovers, offering more than 50 birding sites. The trail is designed in a series of loops and provides information about the birds you might expect to see at each place.

Come to the Alabama Gulf Coast for adventure, fun and relaxation.

Where to stay in Gulf Shores

Beachside Resort Hotel
Beachside Resort Hotel
2 out of 5
610 W Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
The price is $110 per night from May 23 to May 24
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Gulf Shores. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the clean rooms and the overall ...
3.6/5 Good! (200 reviews)
"Enjoy the stay, access to beach great"

Reviewed on May 12, 2022

Beachside Resort Hotel
Hilton The Lodge at Gulf State Park, AL
Hilton The Lodge at Gulf State Park, AL
3.5 out of 5
21196 East Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
The price is $187 per night from May 23 to May 24
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in Gulf Shores. Enjoy free WiFi, 3 restaurants, and a beach locale. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (1,015 reviews)
"Still one of the best places to stay in the Gulf Shore area. Amazing facility and staff."

Reviewed on May 10, 2022

Hilton The Lodge at Gulf State Park, AL
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gulf Shores
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gulf Shores
2.5 out of 5
3600 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $169 per night from May 30 to May 31
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Gulf Shores. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
3.7/5 Good! (939 reviews)
"Everything was good Only problem right under the bed was dirty it hadn’t been cleaned in awhile"

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gulf Shores
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Phoenix All Suites West Hotel
Phoenix All Suites West Hotel
3.5 out of 5
533 W. Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
The price is $234 per night from May 23 to May 24
Stay at this 3.5-star beach aparthotel in Gulf Shores. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a beach locale. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (354 reviews)
"Great place to stay, very close to most everything. Not to mention it’s really nice place to stay and the maintenance employees are constantly trying to keep it in top condition."

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Phoenix All Suites West Hotel
Phoenix All Suites
Phoenix All Suites
3.5 out of 5
201 East Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
The price is $234 per night from May 23 to May 24
Stay at this 3.5-star aparthotel in Gulf Shores. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a beach locale. Our guests praise the overall value and the property condition ...
3.9/5 Good! (151 reviews)
"Is not the most updated and clean place to stay but the view and location is the best!!! To be honest I did not go there to stay in the hotel but to enjoy the beach. Everything is close to it and you have parking too!!!"

Reviewed on May 16, 2022

Phoenix All Suites
Beachview Condominiums by ALBVR
Beachview Condominiums by ALBVR
3.5 out of 5
200 East Beach Boulevard, Gulf Shores, AL, 36542
Stay at this 3.5-star condo in Gulf Shores. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a flat-screen TV. Popular attractions Gulf Shores Beach and Gulf State Park are ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (9 reviews)
"Pro: Loved how close it was to the beach and the ease of having an elevator and a keypad door entrance. Bedroom and bathroom were cleaned meticulously, and the refrigerator was perfect size for what we needed! Con: they said that it had been “cleaned” prior to our arrival, yet there was sand, dirt, ..."

Reviewed on Apr 19, 2022

Beachview Condominiums by ALBVR
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Gulf Shores

The area around Gulf Shores lends itself well to biking, with miles of cycling trails to explore in beautiful wilderness areas like the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. A car is also a good option for exploring the surrounding countryside; both car and bike rental companies can be found in town. On the water, a boat tour can help you spot dolphins. Many hotels are within walking distance of the beach. Visit the Alabama Department of Transportation website.Browse Gulf Shores rental cars.

Best time to visit

Gulf Shores’ greatest attribute is its stretch of sandy beach, and if you’re looking to make the most of it then the weather will play a major part in when you visit. Summers are very hot, so fall is probably the best time to visit, when the weather is balmy but not too hot, and the sea is lovely after months soaking up the heat of high summer. Winter is pleasant and the town has a large snowbird population.

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