Teens at Gulf Shores Public Beach

Six Teen-Approved Things to Do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

As a travel writer, I get to explore lots of great places.

When I travel with my teen, though, I try to choose places I know she will enjoy. After all, one of the big benefits of family travel is the chance to unplug and reconnect. 

For my daughter, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach tops the list of places to go with Mom. We enjoy long walks on the beach, stunning sunsets, and the area's natural beauty - especially when we bike along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Curious, though, I asked her to tell me why she loves Gulf Shores and Orange Beach so much. 

She came up with six reasons in about 10 minutes! Here they are, in her own words.

Top Six Teen Activities on Alabama's Beaches

OWA Amusement Park in Foley, AL

OWA - Amusement Park and Entertainment District

If you love amusement parks, this is the place! OWA is a small amusement park with thrill rides and a great roller coaster. It might be smaller than other parks, but I enjoyed the shorter lines and smaller coasters. The park is especially fun at night when you can see the lights glow and the music rocks.

MOM’S TIP: The Park at OWA and surrounding Entertainment District is a great place to spend a day. The park offers several types of tickets, including an inexpensive spectator-only access for those who don’t want to ride. You can come and go from the amusement park all day. The entertainment district offers several restaurants to grab a meal or a snack and great shopping. 

Miniature Golf at The Wharf

Miniature golf is always a good time! The  course at The Wharf is really awesome, with challenging holes and cool places for selfies. The course at The Wharf looks easier than it is, so good luck!

MOM’S TIP: Activities like mini golf provide a great opportunity to slow down and relax. Take silly selfies. We took one of my daughter pretending to “eat” the shark fin. Keep score the traditional way, or just count who wins each hole as one point. There are several courses in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Maybe play a round at each one to see who wins grand champion for the week!

Shopping at The Wharf

After or before mini golf, go shopping! I love shopping at The Wharf because there are lots of cute shops and fun places to check out. Get a smoothie or frozen coffee drink and stroll through the shops. You never know what cool things you might find.

MOM’S TIP: There are many fun places to shop in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but The Wharf is hard to beat. The palm trees, Ferris wheel, fun shops and restaurants make this better than a day at the mall. We enjoyed getting smoothies to enjoy by the marina, dreaming of what life on a yacht might look like! There’s also a great hotel at The Wharf, so if shopping is your thing, this might be the place to stay!

Lazy river at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, AL

Ride Go Karts at The Track

For teen stuff, it’s hard to beat The Track! There are a few go kart tracks, arcade games and fun things to do. Try both the tracks to see which one you race better. If you’re going with your parents, play one of their old-style arcade games. They call it retro.

MOM’S TIP: When you go to The Track, don’t sit on the sidelines. Get out there and enjoy the race! Play arcade games. When we went, I raced the go karts too. My teen grabbed my hand as we walked back to the car and said, “Thanks for racing, Mom. That was really fun.” Life’s too short to sit on the sidelines. Play with your teens! They may not say it, but it’s a great way to connect with your teen.

Amazing Food

There are so many great places to eat at the beach. My favorites are Lulu’s (fried green tomatoes and great music) and The Ruby Slipper. There are tons of places to eat, so try something besides pizza and tacos. You might find a new favorite. 

MOM’S TIP: There are so many amazing restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Many have outside dining and stunning views. Even the “fancy” restaurants are family-friendly and relaxed. 

Great Condos and Hotels

I have been to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach three times and it’s always awesome. There are lots of great places with great pools and beach views. But, I think you should try to talk your parents into staying someplace that has a lazy river! 

MOM’S TIP: We prefer condos when we go to the beach, though the hotels are quite nice. It’s great to have a full kitchen for late-night snacks, a living room for hang out space and separate bathrooms! Hotels and resorts with lazy rivers include Turquoise Place, Phoenix West, Caribe Resort and Phoenix by the Bay.

And there you have it, six teen-approved reasons to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. My teen doesn’t know it, but there are lots more cool things to do that she just hasn’t done yet! 

Ask your teen to check out all the options in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and include a few of those in your travel planning

Trust me, parents, you won’t regret it!


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