The Factory Gulf Shores

21 Wonderful Ways to Enjoy a Rainy Day at the Beach

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

You’ve dreamed of your sunny beach vacation for months. You packed swimsuits, enough sunscreen for a year of sunny days, and every beach toy ever made.
A month before vacation, you find yourself checking your weather app’s long-range forecast, thrilled to see sunny days ahead.
And then it happens. You get to the beach just in time to welcome — rain. Lots and lots of rain.
You could order online movies for the kids and slink off to the bathroom to cry over your lost vacation.
Or, you can embrace the weather and make the best of it!
I hope you’ll choose the second option!
I speak from experience here. We seem to attract rainclouds like Eeyore. And, we have learned to appreciate the rainy days for what they are — vacation, just wetter.
If the weather is really bad, take advantage of all the options available at your hotel, resort or condo. Play board games, build tents out of blankets or steam up the bathroom mirror and draw funny pictures. (For more ideas check out this article: 20 fun things to do when stuck at a hotel.
If it’s just wet, but not stormy, enjoy the uncrowded beach. Put on swimsuits and walk along the water’s edge anyway. Just be sure to follow the guidelines set out by the beach flag warning system to keep your family safe. Admit it, dancing in the rain sounds at least a little bit fun. Right?

What Can You Do on a Rainy Day at the Beach?

The Factory in Gulf Shores AL

When cabin fever sets in or the weather is bad enough that going to the beach is not a smart option, there’s still plenty of fun indoor activities to do in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan. Without further ado, here’s my list of 21 great rainy day family fun activities at the beach!

Indoor Activities to Burn Energy

1. Bounce the day away at The Factory in Gulf Shores, an indoor trampoline park for kids of all ages.

2. Build your sense of teamwork at XIT Escape Room in Gulf Shores or at Breakout Games in Orange Beach. With four different experiences to choose from, you can try to improve your skills and go twice. If you’ve never been to an escape room, read this article.

3. Relive your own youth at Fat Daddy’s Arcade with locations in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Enjoy traditional pinball machines and interactive games, and earn points for prizes. Another tip — save time and money by pre-purchasing tickets online.

4. Enjoy some retro fun at Gulf Bowl. If bowling’s not your thing — or if it’s a really long, rainy day — add on laser tag or the indoor high ropes course for more fun! Budget tip: They offer money-saving coupons online!

5. Head to Arena the Next Level at The Wharf to play laser tag and bazooka ball.

The Hot Shop in Orange Beach

Indoor Activities to Inspire Creativity

6. Take an art class at the Foley Art Center. With classes for kids and adults offered throughout the year, discover your inner creative self by attending a class. Vacation tip: Even if it’s not raining, you can enroll the kids in a class and enjoy some downtime with your significant other!

7. Let your senses drive your scents at High Cotton Bath Company. Combine unique smells and essential oils to create custom bath products.

8. Throw pottery or make a blown-glass masterpiece at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. Reservations are required, so call ahead!

9. Catch a movie at the AMC Classic Wharf 15 in Orange Beach or at Cobb Pinnacle 14 Theatres in Gulf Shores. If it happens to rain on Tuesday, enjoy $5 Ticket Tuesday at either theater! After the movie, have the kids create alternate endings and act them out or design movie posters inspired by what they just saw.

Foley Train Museum

Indoor Activities to Inspire the Mind

10. Tour the Smith-Coles Historic Home in nearby Bon Secour. The home was built in 1882, a stunning Southern plantation style home with more than 3,000 square feet of porches (to watch the rain). It is open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays.

11. Visit the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum to learn about coastal Alabama’s Native American and fishing heritage. It’s open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and admission is free.

12. Head to Foley to see the model train exhibit at the City of Foley Museum Archives. I can’t convey how incredibly impressive the model train exhibit is, though I tried in this post. Feel free to ask the volunteers who “work” here to point out their favorite parts of the exhibit. They’ll gladly share!

13. Step back in time at the Holmes Medical Museum, just a couple blocks away from the train museum. You’ll see antique medical equipment, learn about this small town hospital located above the general store and even get a chance to see some strange medical “oddities” believed to help patients. It seems quackery has been around a long time! Download a Holmes Medical Museum kids’ explorer guide, a treasure hunt for elementary age kids, to make this museum experience even more fun.

14. Head to the library! Totally serious! The Orange Beach Public Library has weekly kids and teen programming that is fun, creative and relevant — like Minecraft Guild on Tuesday afternoons. You can even get a library card and check out books — residency is not required!

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Indoor Activities Beyond the Beach

Nearby towns and cities have even more things to do inside with kids! So, explore everything Alabama’s Gulf coast has to offer as you discover history, science and art.

15. The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and IMAX Dome Theater in Mobile. This science center and IMAX theater offers hands-on exploration to inspire STEM creativity. The “Wharf of Wonder” exhibit is designed specially for young kids, aged 0 to 5. The center is closed on Mondays. Special discounts are available for military families.

16. Attend a concert performance by the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. Offering free tickets for school-aged kids on select Sundays through the Big Red Ticket program, an orchestra performance can be very affordable. Classical music is part of our everyday life, providing the backdrop music for TV commercials, shows and movies. Discover — or rediscover — your love of music together. See their website for concert schedule and tickets.

17. Visit the USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park. Explore the WWII Battleship USS ALABAMA, the Submarine USS DRUM and more than 25 aircraft at Mobile’s Memorial Park. One of the treasured pieces is the A-12 Black Bird, a super-secret spy plane that flew at 2,300 mph and was used by the CIA in 1965! Active duty military is admitted free!

18. Shop till you drop at the Tanger Outlet Center in nearby Foley, with shops and restaurants for a full day of fun. Download discounts from their website to save even more!

19. Take a trip back in time at the Fairhope Museum of History about halfway between Gulf Shores and Mobile. Kids will love the old time jail cell and 1935 fire truck on display in this historic building. Admission is free!

20. Visit the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum for the best views on the Gulf Coast! The museum tour takes you up the lighthouse for spectacular views. The keeper’s house houses exhibits about Civil War history, U.S. Coast Guard history, the first Pensacola Lighthouse, maritime history, and local archaeology. Located about an hour east of coastal Alabama, the lighthouse and museum sits on the Naval Base in Pensacola, so special security requirements are in place. Read about them on their website.

21. Experience Carnival year-round at the Mobile Carnival Museum. The museum shares the history of Carnival (or Mardi Gras), with crowns, scepters, elaborate costumes, floats and interactive exhibits to bring the celebration to life year-round.

A rainy day at the beach doesn’t mean a bad day at the beach! Since you can’t change the weather, embrace it. Get out and explore everything there is to do beyond the beach in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Or, stay in and get creative. If you’re anything like us, you might find the best memories are made when you least expect them!


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