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Things To Do In Gulf Shores Alabama In January

Dolphin Cruise Orange Beach

Things To Do In Gulf Shores Alabama

One of the coolest things to do in Orange Beach Alabama if youre an animal lover is to take a dolphin cruise!

Orange Beach sits on a thin strip of land with surrounding channels and bays just to the north of it. The great thing is that these waterways are perfect for water adventures without the strong ocean waves.

Taking a dolphin cruise means youll be able to depart from The Wharf and stay on the smooth water. Pods of dolphins live within the channels and its perfect for a dolphin tour in Orange Beach.

Fun fact: These dolphins are smaller than the dolphins that live in the open ocean on the Gulf, because the food they eat is smaller, as apposed to large fish in the open ocean.

Be sure to bring your camera and keep it on the film setting because you never know when a dolphin will pop its head up! You can take screenshots of the video if you want photos.

Pro tip: opt for a sunset cruise to get beautiful water views while watching dolphins!

There are many tour companies offering dolphin cruises. I used Cetacean Cruises and had an absolutely fantastic time! The captain and waitress were so genuine and entertaining I highly recommend them!

This is such a fun adventure, it could definitely be the highlight of your trip!

Book it now: dolphin cruise Orange Beach

Location: 4673 Wharf Pkwy W , 4673 Wharf Pkwy W, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Visit The Wharf In Orange Beach

Are you looking for the best things to do in Orange Beach? From shopping and dining to attractions and events, The Wharf in Orange Beach offers year-round family fun. Soar on a zipline adventure at the Hummingbird Zipline Course, enjoy ice skating with the whole family, or play a game of laser tag at Arena The Next Level. Afterward, enjoy delicious cuisine at one of the local restaurants.

Take A Tour With Lost Bay Helicopters

If youre looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, then look no further than Lost Bay Helicopters.

Lost Bay Helicopters, located in nearby Gulf Shores, grants you a birds-eye view of the beauty of Orange Beach and the surrounding area. Theyve got several different flight options and tours to fit exactly what youre looking for.

The Sea & Wildlife Tour will take you out above the Gulf of Mexico in search of dolphins, the State Park tour takes you above Alabama Gulf State Park, or just take a quick, 8-minute flight down the coast! Whatever you choose, youre guaranteed to love it. DISCOUNT TICKETS!

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Take A Sunset Tiki Bar Cruise

This one just sounds fun, doesnt it? If youre into sunsets and cocktails, youll love catching a sunset cruise on a tiki bar! Float your worries away on a tiki bar as you watch the sun going down in the beautiful water surrounding Orange Beach.

This is a BYOB, which is perfect if youre traveling as a couple, with friends, or go light if traveling with kids!

Book it now: Sunset Cruise on a Tiki Bar

Location: Caribe Marina, 28101 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Visit A Waterfront Park

10 Awesome Things to Do in Gulf Shores on a Family Vacation

Orange Beach Waterfront Park is a nice place for walking, fishing on the 400-foot pier, picnicking under covered pavilions , and letting the kids play on the amazing playground.

There are onsite restrooms, and pets are welcome, too!

Waterfront Park, open year round to the public, is ideally located on scenic Wolf Bay.

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More Airport Options Coming Soon

While visitors arriving by air have to drive a bit to reach Alabamas beaches, there are more options on the near-term horizon to watch for future trips.

The general aviation airport in Gulf Shores just a couple of miles from the beach recently got a new air traffic control tower and a new name Gulf Shores International. The airport authority is in talks to bring commercial service to the airport as early as Summer 2022. There are plans to construct a new passenger terminal as well.

The Mobile Airport Authority is also in early stages of rebuilding another airport in the region, the Mobile Downtown Airport, into what will become the Mobile International Airport . Eventually all commercial service in Mobile will be moved to this airport because of its location closer to the city center. It will also be closer to Alabamas beach destinations at about an hour away.

Where On Earth Is Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores, Alabama is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico so that means they get some enviable weather year round. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, or a golfer, you can make use of the weather to enjoy your particular sport or hobby, even in January when the chill sets in elsewhere.

And have you seen the beaches? The Gulf Shores area has some of the prettiest beaches and sunsets around. They deserve to boast about their pristine squeaky sand and spectacular skies and they are much less busy than so many other coastal beach areas, so that makes it a naturally peaceful and fun travel destination.

Many snowbirds migrate to this area for the winter months and its easy to see why. Gulf Shores has 32 miles of pristine waterfront. The sand is like icing sugar and the beachfront area is serene. This stunning beach is the greatest asset of all the Gulf Shores Alabama attractions I could find. Its number one on the list of things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama.

A post shared by Paula Schuck on May 8, 2017 at 11:30am PDT

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Fun Things To Do Outdoors In Gulf Shores And Orange Beach

A funny thing happened to my husband and me recently: we both came to the realization that we didnt enjoy hanging on the beach for days on end as much as we used to. All we needed for a week-long vacation in the past was a beach chair and a good book, but now both enjoy more time away from the beach enjoying more active pursuits.

But wed need more than a week. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have more outdoor activities than anyone could enjoy in just one week. We do love getting out on the water any chance we get, and I was thrilled at the variety of water activities at these Alabama beaches.

Heres a few we enjoyed, along with several others added to the list to pursue on the next trip.

Rent a kayak with Gogo Kayaks. One of the owners, Tami Woerner, took our group out paddling on Bon Secours Bay. The water was calm, but we saw plenty of activity. Nearby fisherman attracted dozens of pelicans begging for a treat and a pod of dolphins was close to the shore gathering its early-evening meal.

Gogo Kayaks main business is delivering kayaks and paddle boards to your home or condo. Select what you want before your vacation and when you arrive, your equipment is waiting for you for a day or an entire week. Rentals include life jacket and paddles.

We were equipped with walkie-talkies so as I drove the boat, my friend Nicky was our communications officer so we could hear Ken point out homes of interest and direct us through the waterways.

Take A Sunset Cruise With Sail Wild Hearts

Gulf Shores – Orange Beach – A Coastal Alabama Travel Guide

This was a really lovely way to spend an evening. Sail Wild Hearts has an open ocean catamaran and its big enough for 49 people. The service at Sail Wild Hearts is wonderful and attentive and the crew are very responsible with regards to the area and the marine animals. You will spy dolphins in their natural habitat while having a lovely evening cruise. They occasionally also have a cruise when The Blue Angels pass over head. They also do private cruises and adventure cruises that last longer and involve a stop with activities like snorkelling.

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Take Out A Pontoon Boat

Is there any better way to enjoy the waters around Orange Beach than taking out your own pontoon boat? How about if your boat had a slide?!

Rent an Orange Beach Full-Day Slide Pontoon Boat, and you and your group can enjoy an entire day of fun in the sun while sliding down a slide into the water!

Looking for something more luxurious? Try renting a Luxury Pontoon Boat from OB Watersports. These boats are equipped with bimini tops for sun protection, and state of the art stereos for a rockin good time.

Charter your own Tritoon Pontoon Boat for a half-day excursion that youll love. This boat is the ultimate party machine, complete with seating for 11, premium stereo, and a cabana that provides plenty of shade.

Island Life Beach Rentals And Charters

Island Life Beach Rentals and Charters offers rental equipment and tailored excursions for visitors looking to explore the pristine waters of the Gulf Coast. Tandem and fishing kayaks are available for rental on a daily or weekly basis, along with YOLO yak boards, standard paddleboards, and lightweight childrens kayaks. Kayak and equipment rentals may be delivered directly to visitors or picked up at the companys shoreline location. The company works with a number of experienced fishing guides to offer customized fishing charters for single participants and small groups of up to 20 people. In-shore, near-shore, and deep-sea experiences are available.

16961 State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, Phone: 251-233-9493

“Best Things to Do in Gulf Shores, Alabama for Locals & Tourists – Restaurants, Hotels” Back to Top or Beautiful places near me, what to do, restaurants for breakfast, travel guide, nearest beach

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Are The Alabama Beaches A Good Destination To Visit With Kids

Yes! When it comes to family friendly, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are about as good as it gets. Most of the accommodations were built with families in mind. Kid-friendly food and activities abound in the area. Restaurants all reliably have amenities for families like kids menus and high chairs, and no one is going to look twice at you taking kids just about anywhere in the area.

Thats not to say there isnt a scene, however, for other kinds of travelers. The area is increasingly popular for girlfriend getaways and golf trips. And theres enough of a party and bar scene that spring breakers and 20 somethings can find something that works for them too. But family-friendly is definitely the dominant vibe.

Best Restaurants In Gulf Shores And Orange Beach

9 Brilliant Things To Do In Gulf Shores, Alabama from Alligators to ...

Our first stop on the way in was The Gulf where we enjoyed tacos and tuna at a picnic table right on the beach after placing an order at one of the blue shipping containers. Nothing puts you in a beach frame of mine faster than a sip of a cool beverage with your feet in the sand.

Whether its seafood, steaks, acai bowls or decadent milk shakes, youll find plenty of places to eat, one of my favorite things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

For our first meal we headed to Woodside Restaurant, located in Gulf State Park and the perfect place to grab a bite prior to jumping on the free bikes just outside the restaurant.

Its open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you can choose to sit in the inside space, on a large screened porch or in the outside area, which has games and a stage for live music.

That night we went DeSotos Seafood Kitchen, where we tried the royal red shrimp, a local favorite, trigger fish, shrimp and oysters in the colorful dining room. It was the beginning of my husbands goal to down as many oysters as possible in Gulf Shores.

So when he spotted Sea N Suds right below our condo, I knew where wed be going for a pre-game snack for him. If youve ever been to Gulf Shores, youve seen this restaurant, which juts out into the water. It started in 1975, which is how I assume they were able to build right on the water. He loved his oysters and I enjoyed watching the sun set.

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Where To Eat In Gulf Shores Alabama

See also our 8 Great Restaurants in Orange Beach Alabama.

Local Gulf Shores cuisine experiences we love include eating Royal reds at The Steamer, sampling craft beer at Big Beach Brewing, dining on fresh grilled seafood and rum drinks at LuLus , local BBQ at Hog Wild, and happy hour at Bills by the Beach .

On our way out of Gulf Shores, heading toward Pensacola, Ruby Slipper in Orange Beach for brunch was an amazing treat. See a photo of our Ruby Slipper breakfast.

We attended a NUISANCE dinner at Voyagers, at Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, under the direction of Chef Brody Olive. NUISANCE raises awareness of flora and fauna which are a nuisance, underutilized or invasive, but sustainable and available through noble, culinary endeavors. In other words, our meal included ingredients that are not friendly to the local environment, like oyster drills and venison. That was a unique Alabama beaches dining experience.

For more Gulf Shores Alabama restaurants, please see:

Fun & Free Things To Do On The Gulf Coast

  • Alabama Coastal Bird Fest is held in October and features workshops, a reception and expertly guided tours on land and water.
  • The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is located along the coast and inland in Baldwin and Mobile counties with 50 designated birding locations.
  • Boggy Point Launch
  • Canal Park Boat Launch
  • Canoe Trails in Orange Beach
  • Cotton Bayou Launch
  • Fort Morgan Boat Launch
  • Lagoon Park Launch
  • Galvez Landing Boat Launch
  • Millview Boat Launch
  • Big Lagoon State Park Boat Launch


Nature is on full display along the Gulf Coast. There are numerous places where you and your family can get up-close-and-personal with wildlife and the local flora and fauna.

  • Gulf Shores Kids Park
  • Gulf Shores Wetlands Nature Park
  • Meyer Park
  • Orange Beach Kids Park
  • Orange Beach Waterfront Park
  • Robinson Island and Bird Island Park
  • Sims Park
  • Skateboard Park
  • Wade Ward Nature Park

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Free Bike Rentals At Gulf State Park

Sticking with the wheels theme! Up next is one of the best, free things to do in Orange Beach Alabama.

Alabamas Gulf State Park has a fun, free bike-sharing program. Its a cool way to see the area and get some exercise in! You know those hiking trails we talked about in #4 above? Well, hop on a bike and explore them!

This is how bike-sharing works:

  • Find a bike through the bike share program
  • Scan the QR code at the site to download the free app
  • Use the app to scan the QR code on the bike
  • That will unlock the bike and track its location as you ride
  • When finished, return the bike to a drop off spot
  • Lock it with the app

That sounds like a lot but honestly it takes 2 minutes to grab your bike and go!

I especially like that there are baskets on the front for items you may need to bring with you

There are several locations for picking up and dropping off the bikes. I hopped on one near the Woodside Restaurant But there are many other locations throughout the park.

The only downfall is that the bikes are standard and there arent kid sizes. So this is a fun activity for a friends trip, couples or families with adult children.

Location: 20115 State Park Rd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Nearest Airport To Orange Beach

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama – Things to Do and See When You Go

At the time of publication, the closest large commercial airport to Gulf Shores is Pensacola International Airport, about an hour east of Orange Beach. Alternatively, you could fly into the Mobile Regional Airport, about two hours northwest of the area.

Current plans are underway for commercial flights to be added to the expanded Gulf Shores International Airport, which would make airplane travel super convenient. Check the official airport website for details.

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Trampoline Jump And Ninja Course

The Factory looks to have just about every possible activity to expend every drop of your kids energy for the day. Tons of trampolines at all angles, ninja obstacle course, foam pits, trapezes and extreme dodgeball, something called the adrenaline wall and, in case your kids were getting tired, ice cream to give them a boost of energy! Believe it or not, that is just the beginning of the list- take a look and book your trip!

Peninsula Golf Course Tournament

Prefer to stay cool while hitting the links at Gulf Shores golf courses? Alabama’s Gulf Coast is like a massive air-conditioned room in the fall and winter, so you’ll barely break a sweat when you’re swinging your 9-iron for what could very well be your first hole in one. The annual golf tournament at the Peninsula Golf Course in February attracts thousands of people to watch some of the best professional and amateur players in the world. Bring your family or your pals to enjoy a few hours surrounded by not only athletic talent, but the incredible beauty of this coastal area.

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