Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have beautiful sugar-white sand beaches. It’s what brings visitors here year after year. But don’t limit your fun to just the beach. The warm Gulf water and calm inlet waterways offer plenty of opportunities for fun and enjoyment during your stay. Boating is one way to enjoy your time on the water. Depending on how you want to spend your day, you can paddle, see dolphins, sail, speed, or go deep sea fishing. I love being on the water and the recreation it provides. Here are a few of my favorite ways to boat the beach.
Be laid back and go for a leisurely paddle aboard a stand-up paddleboard. This is my favorite way to boat and see the area. Paddling in one of the inland bays provides the opportunity to get on the water to see local birds, fish, and dolphins. I’ve paddled in the area behind GT’s On The Bay in Orange Beach a few times. Each time, I’ve seen their resident dolphin pair swimming nearby. Local stand up paddle boarding companies offer lessons, guided tours, and rentals.
Here’s another way to relax on the water. Paddle out into one of the area waterways with a friend or in a large group. Just like with paddleboarding, you can see local wildlife. One of the best places to do that is through the waterways of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Find a local kayak rental company here.
Looking to go fast? Ride a catboat at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. This small two-person watercraft glides above the water allowing you to feel the spray on your face and wind in your hair. Orange Beach Boat Tours is the only place you’ll find cat boats in the area. They offer a great two-hour guided tour of area waters including Cotton Bayou and Old River. Cat boats are also available for rent.
Deep Sea Fishing
Head out deeper into the Gulf of Mexico for a day of fishing. Cast your line for red snapper, amberjack, mahi mahi, and other fish. The last Gulf Shores fishing trip I took was with Ocean Ox Charters for a half day. They took us directly to where the fish were. As soon as the line was set in the water, we hooked fish again and again. They made it an ACTIVE day of fishing with friends. You can search for a local fishing charters based on the type of fishing you want to do and the area of town at gulfshores.com.
Sailing aboard a Catamaran
End the day aboard a catamaran for a sunset cruise. Imagine yourself sitting back relaxing as the water glides underneath. Gaze over the water as the sun sets slowly over the horizon. You’ll never see anything else like it and if you aren’t already persuaded that you need to vacation here again, this will do it. It’s my favorite way to boat in the evening. Local charters like Sail Wild Hearts make a sunset cruise a must during your visit. The cruise includes appetizers and beverages so you can enjoy the experience with friends or family.
I hope this list inspires you to spend more time on the water during your next trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.