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Fun Things to Do in Gulf Shores, AL | Best Gulf Shores Restaurants + Activities | Gulf Shores Photographer

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores | Gulf Shores photographer

As an Alabama native and lifelong resident, I've spent many years exploring the Gulf Coast, so I'm excited to share the best Gulf Shores restaurants and things to do in Gulf Shores, AL! Gulf Shores, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is much more than meets the eye—while the beach is a huge draw for tourists, the city has many more fun things to see and do for nature lovers, history buffs, and everyone in between. Keep reading for a local's perspective on the best things to do in Gulf Shores, from family-friendly activities to picturesque landmarks and mouthwatering restaurants.

Ultimate Guide to Gulf Shores, AL

Things to Do

Family beach photoshoots: I might be slightly biased, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't start this guide off by talking about how much I love family photos! There is no better way to document your time at the beach than with a fun family photoshoot. Although summer is the most popular time of year to experience Gulf Shores in all her beauty, a beach family photoshoot works well any time of year! This is the perfect opportunity to take updated photos with loved ones while creating fun new memories. I would love to document your family time in Gulf Shores, a place near and dear to my heart.

Dolphin tours: Taking a dolphin cruise is an essential Gulf Shores activity for families. Many dolphins live along the Alabama Gulf Coast, and seeing them up close and personal is an unforgettable memory. Regardless of how old you are or where you're traveling to Gulf Shores from, you'll love exploring the waters by boat while spotting pods of dolphins gracefully swimming nearby.

Fishing charters: One of the most popular things to do in Gulf Shores is to charter a fishing boat and hit the open water. Gulf Shores fishing charters are reasonably priced and fun, whether you're a pro or beginner angler. Expect to catch everything from tuna and mackerel to trout and marlin during your Gulf Shores fishing charter experience.

Parasailing: Thrill-seekers can enjoy incredible Gulf Shores views from above with a parasailing adventure. You'll fly hundreds of feet in the air while being guided across the water by a boat. If you're afraid of heights, this might not be the best Gulf Shores activity for you. However, I highly recommend trying it at least once during your Gulf Shores vacation.

Shopping: What's a vacation without some shopping? Gulf Shores has many stores to browse, from local boutiques to global luxury brands. The nearby Foley Tanger Outlets are a great place to spend the afternoon, with over 120 retailers and several dining options. I also suggest visiting Downtown OWA, a pedestrian-only shopping center.

Places to See

Fort Morgan: Learn more about local Gulf Shores history at Fort Morgan, a historic fortification overlooking Mobile Bay. Fort Morgan has been a Gulf Shores staple since 1834 and is one of my favorite places to bring visitors. Diving into the fort's past is fascinating, and there are many beautiful photo backdrops for you to snap Instagram-worthy pics!

Gulf State Park: A Gulf Shores vacation would be incomplete without seeing Gulf State Park. Situated in Baldwin County, this public park encompasses thousands of acres of pristine coastline, walking trails, and scenic views. Whether you explore for several hours or camp overnight, there's no shortage of fun things to do in Gulf State Park.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: For a romantic Southern coastal vibe with large oaks and Spanish moss, visit Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. This area includes over 7,000 acres of wetlands, waterways, and forests, offering endless opportunities for exploration. Bon Secour is a fabulous and underrated alternative to the classic beach vibes Gulf Shores is famous for.

Where to Eat and Drink

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores | Gulf Shores photographer

Mikee's Seafood: If you're craving fresh, flavorful seafood after a day of Gulf Shores activities, Mikee's Seafood is the place to beat. This casual spot has been a local favorite for over 30 years and serves Southern classics like gumbo, po boy sandwiches, and fried fish baskets.

The Hangout: Bring the whole family for a fun meal at The Hangout. The Hangout is more than a restaurant—it's an entire experience! Aside from the delicious food, there are also games, shopping, and live entertainment, all just steps from the beach.

LuLu's: Another family-friendly spot serving tasty seafood in a lively restaurant setting is LuLu's. While LuLu's specializes in Southern coastal favorites, it also offers dishes with Mexican and Cuban-inspired flavors, so everyone can find something to enjoy.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores | Gulf Shores photographer

Crico's Pizza & Subs: Not a fan of seafood? Don't worry: Crico's will save the day! This no-frills Italian joint serves tasty pizzas, subs, and salads to fuel your day of adventures.

Big Beach Brewing Company: Big Beach is the perfect spot to grab brews with friends. The brewery has an open, laid-back vibe, making it a favorite among locals and tourists.

The Cove Bar & Grill: I suggest visiting The Cove for the fun, relaxed atmosphere, extensive drink menu, and delicious bar food. Enjoy everything from live music to pool tables at this classic Gulf Shores restaurant.

With this ultimate guide to things to do in Gulf Shores, you're in for an unforgettable beach vacation—don't forget to book your family beach session with me!



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Jessi is a lifestyle documentary photographer based in southern Alabama, serving the Gulf Coast from Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL, along with the Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta areas. She specializes in couple, wedding, maternity, newborn and family photography, and also enjoys commercial and creative portraiture. Available for travel worldwide. Find out more at