5 Places to Discover By Foot on Alabama's Beaches
Take time to explore and enjoy other places in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
When you go to the beach, walking barefoot in the sand is a given. Sand between the toes . . . ahhhh! But did you know there are lots of other places to explore on foot in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach? (Though I recommend shoes for most of them!)
1. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge– Located at the western edge of Alabama’s beaches, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established by the federal government to protect the natural habitat of migrating songbirds. Every spring and fall, vacationers come to watch these colorful songbirds on their journey. The area is also home to the endangered Alabama beach mouse and sea turtles. Pretty cool, eh?
Visitors can see wildlife by hiking the trails. Volunteers and staff also offer guided bird walks, dune hikes and night prowls throughout the year. Photographers, birders and hiking enthusiasts will enjoy hoofing it through this pristine area. If you prefer to explore by boat, kayaking is also an option here.
Plan your visit: The refuge is located on State Highway 180 on the Fort Morgan Peninsula in Gulf Shores, Alabama. You can reach the refuge by the ferry from the west side of Mobile Bay or driving through Mobile and heading south to Gulf Shores. It’s open during daylight hours year-round. Admission is free, even for the guided walks. Pets are not allowed. (Service animals are permitted.)
2. Fort Morgan State Historic Site – Nearby, Fort Morgan offers trekkers lots of places to explore. This fort was used during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II to protect Mobile Bay. Today, the site showcases the evolution of coastal fortifications used by the U.S. military. Visitors are welcome to explore the area and learn some military history while they’re at it.
Besides the fort, the Fort Morgan area offers beaches (one of them dog friendly), hiking trails, a snack bar and a museum. Birders will also enjoy watching the migratory songbirds that stop in each spring and fall to fatten up for their long journeys.
Plan your visit: Fort Morgan is located 23 miles west of Gulf Shores on State Highway 180. You can also reach it via the ferry from Dauphin Island. Fort Morgan is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fees start at just $4.