A Dad's Guide to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

When you’re ready to treat the kids to fun in the sun, Dad style, a dadcation is the hottest ticket in town. 

Make memories the kids will be talking about for years to come when they bring their own children to the beach. “Remember when Dad took us to Gulf Shores and . . .” will be the start of many dinner table conversations. We’ve got a few ideas to add to your playbook for a dadcation home run with the kids.

Good game plans begin with research.

Order up a digital download of the Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation Guide and find fun family activities, great restaurants and lodging ideas. Request a print copy for your kids to flip through. Remember those Sears Wishbooks your parents received during the holidays? Think of the vacation guide as your kid’s version, only instead of RC cars and dollhouses, it’s filled with sandcastles and go-kart tracks.

Beach lodging comes in all forms. Depending on your needs and caravan size, a Gulf Shores condo or Orange Beach hotel may fit the bill. If your trip is a weekend getaway, a beach hotel may offer the space and amenities you need. Many serve a complimentary hot breakfast to kickstart your day. However, some hotels, including Phoenix All Suites Hotel, offer kitchenettes so you can prepare meals yourself. Or combine the resort and hotel experience at Perdido Beach Resort. While there isn’t a complimentary breakfast, there are several restaurants located onsite. For longer trips, a beach condo with in-room laundry facilities and a fully equipped kitchen may better meet your needs. Don’t forget, there’s camping, too. Get back to the great outdoors with a Gulf Shores camping vacation. Gulf State Park offers more than 500 campsites for primitive camping or RV camping. There are also more than 30 lakeside cabins and cottages available. You’ll find 14 additional campgrounds sprinkled throughout Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, so you’ve got options for a rustic beach vacation.

When the natives are restless, there’s no shortage of beach activities to keep them busy. Make memories on an Orange Beach charter fishing trip. If your kids have never been charter fishing, opt for a four-hour trip rather than a full day. Bring plenty of drinks, snacks and sunscreen. While you’re at it, score extra points with the captain and crew by bringing along a few snacks for them, too. For the ultimate dad/kid memories, stick around while the deckhands clean your catch, then take it to one of the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach cook-your-catch restaurants.

Does your family rise to the challenge of a good competition? Hit up one of several go-kart tracks. The Wild Woody at The Track Recreation Center boasts a fun thrill around a wooden track. Or challenge the kids to a round of miniature golf. Winner buys ice cream!

In addition, we’ve compiled a short list of “check these out” and “don’t forgets” for your dadcation with the kids.

  • Stop by the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach Welcome Centers for information from locals. You can also score coupons and discounts for your vacation.
  • Brush up on rainy-day activity offerings before you have a rainy day. A rainy day is a great time to experience one of the beach area’s escape-room adventures or jump around at The Factory.
  • Check out Fan Favorites for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants. These are a “People’s Choice” of restaurants along the beach.
  • Browse the calendar of events for activities your crew may be interested in. Check back often, as new events are added daily.
Daddy and Daughter Having Fun at the Beach


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