Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Three Hidden Spots on Alabama's Gulf Coast

Do you wonder what some of the Alabama Gulf Coast’s best-kept secrets are?

If you’re a nature lover or an enthusiast for the unique and bizarre, you’ll love these three gems hidden away in coastal Alabama.

Graham Creek Nature Preserve

The Graham Creek Nature Preserve is a short drive from Gulf Shores, near the neighboring city of Foley, Alabama. The preserve offers nearly 500 acres of habitats, as well as a canoe and kayak launch and hiking and biking trails. Spend a few hours or an entire day exploring this serene getaway.

It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, and there are restroom facilities nearby. You can also challenge your fellow explorers to an 18-hole game of disc golf at the preserve.

While you’re in the area, make the drive to Barber Marina in nearby Elberta. On your drive in, you’ll find an enchanted forest filled with beasts that once roamed the Earth. A dinosaur crossing sign lends a clue to what lies ahead. You’ll want to spend some time taking selfies with the T-Rex, exploring Alabama’s version of Stonehenge (Bamahenge) and posing for a photo with a giant spider.

If you decide to explore the marina by boat, you’ll be greeted by the Lady in the Lake, a large installation in the water just outside the marina; only her head and knees can be seen peeking out of the water.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Meaning “safe harbor,” the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 for the protection of neotropical migratory songbird habitat as well as threatened and endangered species. The area is a stopover point for hundreds of species of migratory birds during the fall and spring, so numerous trails exist for birdwatching and sightseeing. In addition, loggerhead, green and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nest on the beaches of the refuge between May and October each year.

Besides the land-based activities, canoes and kayaks can be launched into Little Lagoon in Gulf Shores from the Jeff Friend Trail, and beaches are open for swimming and sunbathing. Public education programs and guided trail tours are offered periodically throughout the year. Whatever activities you choose, be sure to bring along a hat, sunscreen and bug repellent, especially during the summer months.

For the latest happenings, visit our calendar of events.

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