One of the hardest parts of vacation is leaving a wonderful destination. This is especially true when you only scratched the surface of seeing a place’s beauty and sampling a bit of the experiences available. Before you know it, a returned trip has been booked and your suitcase packed. I left Gulf Shores, Alabama with a longer bucket list then when I arrived. With endless miles of white sandy beaches and countless activities for all visitors, the list continued to grow day after day. We decided to compile a bucket list of fascinating attractions that we hope to experience in our upcoming travels to Gulf Shores. Here are 15 things to do in Gulf Shores to put on your bucket list from ours. This post contains affiliate links. As always opinions are my own.
Attend A Church Service At The Flora-Bama Beach Bar
Straddling the Alabama and Florida state line the Flora-Bama Beach Bar is one of the most notable beach bars in the country. With live music every night of the week, entertaining events and top-notch food this needs to be added to your bucket list ASAP. Every Sunday at 9:00 am and 11:00 am they offer a church service to the public that is said to be phenomenal. I am also intriqued by their annual Mullet Toss and Gulf Beach Party. That is bound to be an experience for the books!
Lemur Encounter at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Did you know that you can pet sloths, kangaroos, lemurs and more at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo? While this little zoo may be tiny, their animal encounters are truly a unique experience. During our visit, we had the opportunity to spend time with the kangaroos and the sloths. However, a lot of excitement seemed to be coming from the lemur encounter! Squeals and laughter could be heard echoing through the nearby exhibits as onlookers observed these curious and frisky creatures. Be sure to add the lemur encounter to your zoo visit! Exciting times are coming as the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is getting a new home. Construction has already begun and they hope to be all settled in their new, modern and hurricane-safe facility by late 2019.
Sunset Dolphin Cruise
Sadly during our visit, the Dolphin Cruises were not running. Traveling during the off-season has its perks, but visitors can miss out on great attractions like this. Locals and guests alike were telling stories of how many dolphins are seen of each cruise and how it is a must-see attraction in Gulf Shores. The multitude of Dolphin Cruises that are available during operating times is phenomenal. There is a dolphin cruise for everyone. Want a romantic sunset dolphin cruise? Need a family-friendly cruise that is aimed at children? Want a private dolphin cruise? They have all of it.
Rent A Bike and Explore the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
Fifteen miles of trails snake their way through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that gives visitors a scenic ride through freshwater marshes and saltwater swamps. The trail also goes through Gulf State Park which is breath-taking. Bikes are available to rent at Gulf State Park and Beach Bike Rentals. There are even places to rent jogging strollers!
Parasailing Over The Gulf
A big bucket list item for me has to been to go Parasailing! What better place to do it then over the turquoise waters of the gulf. Who wouldn’t want to soar 400ft in the air with the warm sea breeze in their face and exceptional views of the coast? Whether you want to go up solo, with a group or with your three year old, there is a parasailing option for you!
A tranquil and serene way to enjoy the coast and the wildlife is on a paddleboard. With multiple areas to paddleboard that can accommodate all levels from novice to expert, this is the perfect way to enjoy the Gulf Coast.
Take a Guided Tour of Fort Morgan
Fort Morgan was a highlight of our visit to Gulf Shores. The fort is over 100 years old and is a historical treasure. Not only is it a photographers dream, but it is also a wildlife preserve. During our visit, we opted for the self-guided tour of the fort but hearing the guides weave their stories about the fort brings history to life. Next time I am signing up for the tour! Read more about why you need to visit Fort Morgan here!
Watch The Blue Angels Practice from Fort Pickens
This is a great day trip for those looking for something really unique and special. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will often time practice and put on shows that can be viewed from Fort Pickens or at the National Naval Aviation Museum. You will have to drive into Pensacola for this, but it is worth it. An expert told me to pack a cooler and sit on the seawall at Fort Pickens to enjoy the show in more comfort and for a fraction of the cost!
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Looking for a truly unique and remarkable experience? Consider taking a hot air balloon ride over the gulf coast. This is an adventure for the books as it is not every day you see a hot air balloon over the beach. Hot air balloon rides are so popular that they often sell out. Book yours in advance and not only save money but secure a memorable Gulf Shores experience.
Birding in Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
A highlight of any destination is the natural beauty that is hidden within its parks and refuges. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 360 types of birds. It is a birders paradise! Spring and fall bring the most migratory birds as they often use the refuge as a “layover” on their way to their nesting grounds. Sea turtles can also be spotted during hikes and along the beach.
Have an Indoor Picnic at Picnic Beach
If rain happens to hit during your stay in Gulf Shores, Alabama don’t get discouraged. There is plenty to experience like this restaurant that offers guests indoor picnics. Picnic Beach is not only serving up delicious picnics to go, but they offer guests the opportunity to picnic indoors. With a wide selection of picnic options, this place is a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
Hold an Alligator at Alligator Alley
With over 450 alligators ready to greet you upon arrival this is a place to enjoy these majestic creatures for afar or up close. Guests have the opportunity to hold a baby alligator after the tour and naturally get that gator selfie. Try to schedule your visit during feed times for a real treat! They will even let you feed them if you are adventurous enough!
Visit the Estuarium at The Dauphin Island
For another fun day trip hop aboard the ferry to Dauphin Island to visit the Estuarium. The Estuarium is a public aquarium that is home to a 7,000-gallon string ray touch pool, a Living Marsh Boardwalk and over 100 different species on display. Learn more about the habitats that surround Gulf Shores and the creatures that live in them.
Spend time on the Gulf Shores Pier
Take a moment out of one of your days to walk along the pier. It is the largest pier on the Gulf of Mexico and Alabama’s only public pier on the Gulf. Covered seating, concessions and fishing options are available. I recommend going for the views.
Land That Fish On A Gulf Shores Fishing Charter
Have you ever wanted to land a big fish? It is hard to believe that in all my years of travel I have yet to go on a fishing charter to catch the big one! The options are endless from deep sea fishing, full day trips to only a few hours there is a fishing trip for you! Show off your inner fisherman or at least enjoy your time at sea and pray the others did see you catch that boot.
What other great attractions or experiences should we add to our Gulf Shores Attraction Bucket List? Comment below with your favorite Gulf Shore Activities.
Curious as to what we did while we were in Gulf Shores? Be sure to skim over our Family Guide To Gulf Shores and 10 Great Kid-Friendly Places To Eat At in Gulf Shores!
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