Gulf State Park
Ok, I am guessing you have heard of Gulf State Park, but have you gotten away from the crowds and explored the park? Gulf State Park is more than just the pristine sand and surf on the southern-most tip of Alabama. Just across the road from the beach area lies the 900-acre Lake Shelby. This quiet spot is a great place to get away from it all. Hop in a kayak and paddle through the lake or enjoy a scenic lakeside picnic.
The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system winds through the park, connecting the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. There are 28 miles of trails through the park that are perfect for enjoying time outside. Twenty-four miles of these trails are paved making it easy to get out and explore.
Remember to step to the side when you see people coming by and maintain a safe healthy distance from other park visitors. While in the park you can look at for the sand and shell mounds that are part of the Native American Mound Trail.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge has a great trail system and access to the beach and sand dunes. You can get out and see more of the coastal dunes that make this secluded area that much more appealing for those seeking to get away from the crowds.
Entrance to Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is fee-free. Stop in at the refuge office for a map of the trails and information on the types of flora and fauna you’ll encounter while in the refuge. The park office is located at 12295 State Highway 180 in Gulf Shores.
Wade Ward Nature Park
Wade Ward Nature Park offers the opportunity to explore natural wetlands and waterways. There is an elevated boardwalk that connects Little Lagoon and Lake Shelby. Keep an eye out for pelicans, alligators and otters while you’re exploring.
The area is also part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail which showcases great places to see migrating and local birds. Wade Ward Nature Park is located at 500 Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores.