Woman lounging on Alabama's beaches

Alabama’s Beaches Are Worth the Wait

You’ve waited all year for your trip to Alabama’s beaches and we know you’re anxious to get on with the fun.

Like many cities across the country, our destination is experiencing a shortage in available workforce which has caused longer than usual wait times at area businesses. In fact, many of those businesses have altered their hours of operation or modified their services. We highly recommend you contact attractions, restaurants and other places of business prior to visiting. We apologize for the inconvenience but sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding. 

We’ve put together a list of ways you can get the fun started early and tips on how to beat the wait during your Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation.

Delayed at check-in? Visit these popular area attractions!

Man feeding giraffe at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores, AL

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Lions and tigers and lemurs…oh my! The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is a “wild” spot for beginning your vacation. The zoo opened a new location in spring 2020 that’s truly larger than life. At the zoo you’ll find hundreds of animals from all over the world, animal encounters with kangaroos, lemurs and more, theme park rides, and several dining options.

Gulf Shores Main Public Beach


Our destination is home to 32 miles of sugar-white sand coastline and pristine Gulf waters. Scattered along this coastline are over a dozen public beach access points making it easy to find a spot to catch some sun while you wait to check-in. Many include amenities such as restrooms and outdoor showers for a quick rinse.

Boardwalk at Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park

A destination within the destination, Gulf State Park’s 6,150 acres have become a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you want to hop on one of the park’s free bike rentals to explore the trails, rent a kayak and paddle on Lake Shelby, or cast a line off the Fishing and Education Pier, there’s much to keep you busy at Gulf State Park.

Teens taking selfies at The Wharf in Orange Beach, AL

The Wharf in Orange Beach

If your crew can’t agree on what they want to do while waiting, a visit to The Wharf in Orange Beach is just what you need. Here you can shop, dine or drink at several local eateries, ride a Ferris wheel, catch live local music, play in the arcade and much more.

Pro-tip: If you have teens, book an hour-long session at the Cool Shots Selfie Museum. They’ll be having so much fun getting pics for the ‘gram, they’ll forget all about the wait time.

Family at the Gulf Shores Welcome Center

Welcome Centers

Whether you’re a new or longtime visitor of the Alabama Gulf Coast, it’s always a good idea to stop by one of our welcome centers to find out what’s happening in the area. We have locations in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that are open daily. 

Family playing mini golf in Orange Beach, AL

Other Awesome Attractions

Along with the suggestions above, there are a plethora of other activities and things to do while you’re waiting to check in. Our destination is home to loads of attractions including arcades, escape rooms, mini-golf courses, laser tag, and dolphin cruises.

Beat the wait when dining out.

Dining out at local eateries is a favorite pastime for travelers, no matter where they’ve traveled from. We can promise you that the food found along our shores is worth the wait! In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, we offer a wide array of dining options that serve a variety of delicacies including fresh Gulf seafood, Alabama BBQ, Southern classics and more.

Below are some tips to help you beat the wait when dining out during your Alabama beach vacation:

  • Dine at non-peak hours such as lunch and happy hour (2-5pm). Not only will you save time, but you’re likely to save money because lunch menus are typically lower in price and happy hour typically comes with food specials.
  • Make reservations or use call-ahead seating options.
  • Take advantage of delivery and carryout. But, be sure to order in advance to lessen your wait time at pick-up.
  • Check for revised restaurant hours and limited-capacity seating by contacting your eatery of choice.
  • Pick up ready-to-cook meals or consider grocery delivery. We recommend waiting until after check-in to place your grocery order.

While long wait times are not the norm in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, we can promise you that the wait is worth it. Our local businesses are thrilled to see your smiling faces back on our beaches. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience with area attractions, restaurant and lodging partners as they navigate an unprecedented season.


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