Time spent in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach means plenty of time near the water. There’s no mistaking one of the biggest draws of the Gulf Coast is the warm waters and the white sandy beaches. A visit to the coast will almost certainly mean time spent swimming in the Gulf, wading near the shore, building sand castles or just relaxing with a book as you listen to the waves.
But there’s so much more to the waters of the Alabama Gulf Coast than just the beach. If you’re looking to get a little more active, it won’t take long to find watersports to match your vacation style.
When I recently visited Alabama (for the first time!) for a Beach Momcation, I found that I was a little more adventurous than I thought I would be. Whether you’re visiting with adult friends or enjoying a family getaway, there are plenty of water sports to match your style.
For the Wildlife Lover
If you’re looking for the serene side of watersports, kayaking is a great place to start. Although you can kayak into the Gulf waters, you might want to head into the back bays of Orange Beach where you’ll likely be treated to wildlife you didn’t even know to look for.
On a recent outing with Coastal Kayak Excursions, our guide motored us through Bayou Saint John on a pontoon boat to a larger bay where we spotted bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the waters. A little farther inland, we anchored the boat and set out in our kayaking party – and we spotted osprey, kingfisher mullet, and even a stingray!
For the Fitness Enthusiast
When you’re looking for a relaxing experience but want to give yourself more of a workout, standup paddleboarding might be the right choice for you.
Time spent paddleboarding is usually time spent on the back bays of Orange Beach. Although the waves are much calmer (thanks to the many wake-free zones), you can still expect to get a good core workout as you find your balance on specially designed, wide paddleboards.
For the Novice Daredevil
Maybe your idea of watersports isn’t relaxing or getting a workout. Maybe you’re looking to get your heart pumping a little (but just a little!). Cat boating is a relatively new experience to the area that will have you starting out slow and ending up fast!
We partnered with Orange Beach Cat Boat Tours for what I was hoping would be a nice little motorized tour around the bayou. Our tour guide set the pace, though, and we didn’t want to disappoint. Once you get the hang of the stick steering, you’ll be ready to push yourself until overloaded with adrenaline or entering a no-wake zone (whichever comes first!).
Watersports for Everyone!
Or just keep your eyes open. There’s always something new and innovative popping up on the waters of Alabama’s Gulf Shores!