Roll tide! Welcome to the Alabama Gulf Coast, spanning 27,000 acres between Mobile Bay and Pensacola, Florida. Characterized by its soft, white beaches, warm waters and weather year-round, the Alabama Gulf Coast is home to two coastal gems: Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Head to Orange Beach for the best deep sea fishing, spectacular Mardi Gras celebrations, golfing, and exception family beach vacations.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best destinations in the state for fishers, beach goers, and music lovers—there’s something for everyone in Alabama.
- Explore nature and history in relaxing Fort Morgan. Located west of popular Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan is a serene escape from reality packed with more low-key activities. Tour the fort that played a role in both the War of 1812 and the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War. While you’re there, hike the paved Fort Morgan Road Trail to see why much of Fort Morgan is a protected wildlife habitat or go deep sea fishing.
- Celebrate Mardi Gras in Orange Beach. Originally founded by the French, it’s only natural that Alabama boasts some of the best Mardi Gras celebrations in the country. As an alternative to fighting the crowds of New Orleans, Orange Beach hosts a variety of Mardi Gras-themed events and three parades throughout the weekend before the holiday, culminating with the city’s official parade that takes place along Perdido Beach Boulevard on Fat Tuesday. Organizations also host balls and other festivities to ensure Mardi Gras weekend is jam-packed with fun for everyone.
- Visit one of Gulf Shores’ nine public beaches. There’s definitely enough room for everyone at Gulf Shores, known for its year-round warm waters and soft, white sand beaches. Families, couples, and singles tend to head to the always popular Gulf Shores Public Beach, while more adventurous visitors travel further north and stay near Gulf State Park. Visitors can also check out Little Lagoon Pass Park, Gulf State Park Pavilion, or any of the different public access options.
- Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. A perfect destination for families, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo boasts over 500 animals and is located in Gulf Shores, just off Highway 59. The zoo was actually featured in Animal Planet’s “The Little Zoo that Could,” which focused on its struggle to rebuild after it was struck by numerous hurricanes in 2004. On top of hundreds of animals to observe, the zoo also offers up close and intimate encounters with some of the zoo’s more gentle animals.
- Find your next favorite band at Hangout Music Festival. In May, Gulf Shores’ hosts the three day music festival on Gulf Shores Public Beach. Catch the best bands of the year right on the beach, or come to discover new, up and coming artists. The festival offers more than just live music; there’s beach volleyball, a tropical spa, yoga in the mornings, and roller disco, too.