The city of Gulf Shores is rich in southern history. This land, originally home to the Chickasaw, Creek and Cherokee Indians, was settled in the 1500s by the Spaniards, who built Fort Morgan, a site that can still be visited today.
The Confederate Army rebuilt Fort Morgan in the 1800s during the Civil War because the view from the top of the fort gave them an exceptional view of the harbor, protecting them from surprise attacks from the Union Navy. It was here that the words “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead.” Were uttered by Admiral David Farragut, only to me immortalized in American history.
Visitors to the Gulf Shores can get a first-hand account of what life in Alabama was like during the Civil War by attending the re-enactment that is held in the Gulf Shores every year. If you aren't in town for the re-enactment, one trip to the Gulf Shores Museum will give you a full account of this City's history.
Today, this city is part of Baldwin County and has a population of nearly 10,000 residents. Residents and visitors alike spend their sunny days fishing, kayaking, golfing, are taking advantage of all this small coastal city has to offer. With an average high of 77 degrees and an average low of 57 degrees, Gulf Shores is a costal retreat that you can enjoy any month of the year.
Today, this city, situated along the Gulf of Mexico, is known for its white sandy beaches, which are perfect for making the ultimate sandcastle. This city has adopted a very relaxed way of living, with the whole city seeming to operate to the rhythm of the waves lapping on the beach. Getting to Gulf Shores couldn't be easier because this city is just a short drive from Mobile, Alabama.
Families that visit this area can rest assured that they will experience a family-friendly atmosphere where the whole world seems to slow down so you can take a deep breath of fresh coastal air. With luxurious hotel accommodations, family-fun events, great golf courses, or beachfront shopping, Gulf Shores offers something for every member of your family.
Things to Do
Gulf Shores Museum
One of the many great area attractions is the Gulf Shores Museum, which focuses on the history of the surrounding area and how hurricanes affect the surrounding communities. The museum offers several special events to its visitors throughout the year, including the speckled trout fishing rodeo, collections from the local Navy Cove, and artifacts that represent the region's main economies, fishing and shrimping.
Gulf State Park
Another place to visit in the Gulf Shores area is the Gulf State Park. This is home to the Gulf of Mexico's second longest fishing pier and 6,500 acres of land where you can explore its many nature trails, kayak, or canoe on its three fresh water lakes, and enjoy its fabulous beaches nearly year round.
If you are a history buff you may enjoy a visit to the remains of historic Fort Morgan, which was built to protect the entrance to Mobile Bay and Southern coast of the United States with its counterpart across the Bay on Dauphin Island, Fort Gaines. It was named after General Daniel Morgan, who is well known for his part in the Battle of Cowpens, during the Revolutionary War.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Located just off the beach is the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. This small zoo is home to several different types of animals, including lions, tigers, bears, and several types of animals that call the Gulf Coast home. During the summer, visitors to the zoo can enjoy animal shows and encounters.
Located in nearby Summerdale is a fascinating place called Alligator Alley. Visitors here can view the park's many alligators of all ages and sizes from above, walk among them, feed them, and if you are brave enough, hold one. This would be a unique experience for your entire family.
Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and IMAX
In nearby Mobile, visitors of all ages can enjoy the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and IMAX dome theater. Here everyone can enjoy the many hands on exhibits that include the health gallery that features the human body and an IMAX theater.
Also in Mobile, you will find the retired battleship, the USS Alabama, and the Mobile Museum of Art. Visitors to the area can also enjoy the nearby National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida, which is also the home base of the Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team. There are also many outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the surrounding area, such as para-sailing, mini golf, kayak rentals, and swimming.
How to get around
Gulf Beach Express
This is a fixed route shuttle that serves Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Foley. They bill themselves as a 'Ride for Five' service.
Reel Fun Charters Water Taxi
Ray and Debi Dyal run Reel Fun Charters, a water taxi service that serves the barrier islands, including Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Ono Island and Perdido Bay, Florida. They emphasize a desire to meet new friends and to offer a personalized experience.
One of their captains can pick you up at your waterfront location and transport you with a dose of southern hospitality. They suggest bringing your camera along to capture the white sand beaches and the blue-green waters of the Gulf Coast. Reel Fun Charters Water Taxi provides you with a convenient and unforgettable way to get around the Gulf Shores area, while enjoying those warm ocean breezes.
Gulf Coast Transportation
Gulf Coast offers both shuttle and limousine service throughout the Gulf Shores area. Perhaps you need casino or airport shuttle service. Or, maybe you are planning a wedding or a golf outing. Gulf Coast Transportation has been serving the area for 12 years. They are fully licensed and insured, and they have received the highest safety rating from the Department of Transportation.
Beach Buggy Taxi
This taxi service offers the traditional taxi services as well as service for bachelor parties, birthdays, and other special events. They offer drivers that are knowledgeable about the area. Should you need airport transportation to the regional airports for Mobile or Pensacola, Beach Buggy Taxi can assist you. For prompt and reliable service to concerts, casinos, and parties of all kinds, Beach Buggy Taxi can give you a ride.
Yellow Cab of Baldwin County
The Yellow Cab service for the Gulf Shores area includes a free cover charge at a variety of participating establishments. For safety, call on Yellow Cab after a night of partying. Yellow Cab of Baldwin County is ready to serve your airport transportation needs to Mobile Regional Airport and Pensacola Regional Airport. Enjoy the convenience of their around-the-clock service.
Ms. Mary Taxi Service
As the name suggests, this is a friendly, personal taxi service run by 'Ms. Mary. She has been serving Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and the surrounding area for several years now. In 2012, she added airport transportation service to and from Pensacola Regional Airport.
The Tanger Outlet in the Gulf Shores features about a hundred and twenty stores. Famous designer labels and chain stores are present in this mega outlet. Some of the stores include Calvin Klein, Chico's, Bass, Brooke Brothers, Nike, Old Navy, and Ann Taylor. The outlet even has a Starbucks with a drive through, and features varieties of items for everyone in the family.
Alvin Island is a tropical department store in the Gulf Shore of its own kind. Designer labels of various attires from swimwear to sportswear are present in this venue. Here one cannot miss something for any member of the family; this store has items that would impress even the people who do not get impressed easily. The store also sells a good variety of gifts and souvenirs that anyone would like.
Pottery Central World Headquarters
The Pottery Central World Headquarters is a gorgeous gallery that features various kinds of interesting artwork pieces. This store incorporates unique clay works such as folk style jugs, tiki lamps and fine garden as well as patio art.
Jubilee and Apparel Gifts
The perfect accessories to compliment your outfit can only be found at the Jubilee and Apparel Gifts. Trendy jewelry pieces, belts, and beads are featured in this shop. The shop has an eclectic collection of big designer labels like Vera Bradley and Lindsay Phillips. Men can shop for modern sportswear from this outlet. The good thing about Jubilee and Apparel Gifts is that they not only specialize in the famous designer labels, they also feature accessories and jewelry pieces that have been handcrafted by the local designers.
For the finest home accessories that feature the latest trends in interior decor, Tuesday Morning is the place to be. Bedding, collectibles, and home accessories are all found here. The store also features pets and toys for kids.
The Gulf Shores also offers a taste of its fine chocolate at the Chocolate Corner. Here you would find assorted homemade chocolates, gourmet truffles and even real butter fudge. The gourmet goodies come in specialty gift boxes that one can give out as ideal presents. There are also other mouth-watering delicacies like the Brownie A La Yumm or a scoop of the Blue Bell Ice Cream.
The Gulf Shores feature an ideal shopping outlet for the environmentalists. The Happy Shark is a store in this area that provides Eco-conscious, natural as well as recycled clothing. The shop also has a good variety of hem products as well as clothing.
Orange Beach Arts Festival
Visitors to Gulf Shores, Alabama, will find there are numerous special events to enjoy throughout the year. The Orange Beach Arts Festival features dozens of artists and a wide array of art spanning all spectrums. This annual February event has been part of life in the local Gulf Shores area for more than three decades. Exhibitions include music, glass blowing, pottery, performing arts, and much more.
Annual Confederate Living History Day
History buffs may also enjoy the Annual Confederate Living History Day held each April in Gulf Shores. The event is held at the Fort Morgan Historic Site. Activities include artillery and infantry demonstrations, such as artillery firing, small arms firing and drills on the fort's parade ground.
In July, Fort Morgan holds a Salute to American Independence. The annual celebration includes small arms firing, artillery firing, and special tours of Fort Morgan State Historic Site.
Battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan
In August of each year, Gulf Shores celebrates with a Commemoration of the Battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan. The event is held at the Fort Morgan State Historic Site and includes an exchange of infantry sharpshooting and artillery fire between Federal and Confederate re-enactors.
Fans and visitors alike gather together for the football season kickoff in Gulf Shores in late August at the SEC BeachFest. Celebrity appearances will be made by current and past players and coaches as well as ESPN commentators. The event also includes a fashion show, golf tourney, alumni bar parties, a 5K Fun Run, and pancake breakfast.
Annual National Shrimp Festival
The Annual National Shrimp Festival is held in mid-October each year and offers locals and visitors the opportunity to enjoy live music, fresh Gulf seafood, fine arts and crafts, and a children's activity village.
Colonial Isle Dauphin
Colonial Isle Dauphin is an annual event held in mid-October at Fort Morgan State Historic Site. Visitors can spend the day exploring how life was lived prior to the construction of the fort. Re-enactors don pre-1840 costumes to make the Fort come to life while soldiers fire the canon and perform drills.
Christmas Lighted Boat Parade
The annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade takes place on the 2nd Saturday of December. The parade travels along the Intracoastal Waterway Canal and provides fun for all ages.
Civil War Christmas
Visitors may also wish to visit Gulf Shores in time for a Civil War Christmas at Fort Morgan. The candlelight tour event is held at the Fort Morgan State Historic Site.
FAQs about hotels near Gulf Shores Beach
How much does a cheap hotel near Gulf Shores Beach cost per night?
In the last year, a 2 star hotel near Gulf Shores Beach can be as cheap as $115.81 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a 3 star hotel near Gulf Shores Beach cost per night?
In the last year, the average 3 star hotel near Gulf Shores Beach has been $184.50 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a higher-end hotel near Gulf Shores Beach cost?
In the last year, the average 4 star hotel near Gulf Shores Beach has been $192.46 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)