While many of us daydream about kicking back on a white-sand beach with a fruity cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other, many vacationers also crave active experiences while traveling. An Adventure Travel Trade Association study shows that 54 percent of travelers plan to participate in an adventure activity on their next trip. Whether you’re a fitness-minded couple, a family on the go or a group of friends yearning for a transformative getaway, Alabama’s beaches provide the quintessential combination of relaxation, rejuvenation and recreation for the active traveler. This go-to guide will help you plan the perfect active escape to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Hit the Trail: Surround yourself in nature on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail — a nearly 25-mile flat, paved trail system through Orange Beach and Gulf State Park that weaves through a natural ecosystem of trees, marshes and alligator habitats. The trails are ideal for walking, running or biking and cater to everyone from marathon runners to families with small children.
Do Something Out of the OAR-dinary: Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at Lake Shelby in the Gulf State Park, as well as many other spots in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Paddle your way across Lake Shelby, taking in the natural beauty and peaceful surroundings of this 900-acre freshwater lake. Refuel after your adventure with a lakefront picnic.
Flow to Nature’s Playlist: Close your eyes and let the sound of the waves gently washing to shore guide you as you flow through a beachside yoga class. Contact Glow Yoga to set up a personal session or group event on the beach, or visit their studio during your stay.
Go for a Rave Run: From 32 miles of beach to flat, scenic roads to hidden trails, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer the perfect canvas for every runner. Whether you’re looking to maintain your training while traveling or just want to move your muscles in the fresh salt air, lace up your shoes and find your perfect running route.
Soar to New Heights: For true thrill-seekers, Gulf Adventure Center’s Hummingbird Ziplines at The Wharf offer spectacular views of the Alabama coast as you fly 90 feet above the ground. With nine towers and seven ziplines stretching a mile long, this experience provides a unique vantage point to experience the gulf coast.
Consider a Race-cation: For the ultimate active vacation, plan your trip to Alabama’s beaches around one of our marquee endurance race weekends. Runners can experience our flat and fast Big Beach Marathon or Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Gulf Shores during the winter while triathletes can test their limits at the Brett/Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon in September.
Relax Your Muscles: No active vacation would be complete without a relaxing massage. Check out the directory of spas in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and leave refreshed and ready to return to reality after an escape to paradise.
Ready to get moving? Start planning your trip to Alabama’s beaches now.