A Runner's Guide to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Vacations may be for rest and relaxation, but don’t throw away your fitness routine during your stay.
Beat the post-vacation letdown by staying energized, active and take in the beauty of our nine distinct ecosystems on our scenic trails.
With so much great scenery and numerous trails, it’s easy to stay on track during your Coastal Alabama getaway. Check out some of these top spots for running (or walking, cycling and wheeling) in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Our Three Favorite Running Spots
Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
This 28-mile trail system winds through more than 6,000 acres of Gulf State Park land, connecting the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Experience coastal Alabama’s diverse flora and fauna, where you can potentially see alligators, osprey, and bald eagles. Several restroom facilities and park benches are available along the route. Enjoy a more private run, away from the hustle and bustle on this trail system.
You’ve got 32 miles of white-sand beaches to get your steps in! If you’re not accustomed to running in the sand, give yourself a little extra time. Run near the water where the sand is more firm, and enjoy the incredible view! For an added calf exercise, pump out a few cardio minutes in the soft sand. We promise a challenging workout here. Few things beat an early-morning run (or stroll) on Alabama’s beaches, especially when you follow it up with a great beach breakfast at your favorite Gulf Shores or Orange Beach restaurant.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
These trails are well suited for hiking, but for the off-roader, you can also get in a great workout. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge features four trails of one to four miles each, each showcasing various habitats and serving as a haven for coastal creatures, such as the endangered Alabama Beach Mouse and 360 species of birds. You’ll want to bring along a bottle of water and insect repellant for your time on these rustic trails. Note that biking is not permitted at the refuge.
So, lace up your shoes and get moving – coastal Alabama is a runner’s dream! No matter what time of year, there’s a race to be won and a scenic view to enjoy during your sportcation.