Visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast is the perfect vacation destination for anyone who loves getting outside and enjoying nature.
There is no shortage of amazing things to do, see, and explore at the beach. One thing to remember is to always keep an eye out for birds and other wildlife while driving from place to place. We have had some of our most fantastic birdwatching moments in random parking lots as we drove from the areas we thought the birds would be.
This nature lover’s trip itinerary can be easily adjusted based on the weather and how you feel about the day.
Being in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, we must hit the beach right off! We suggest getting up early to watch the sunrise over the water. While on the beach, search the shore for unique shells that washed up overnight. Also, look for shorebirds, osprey, and pelicans on the beach and over the water.
Follow up your walk with breakfast at Foodcraft at The Lodge at Gulf State Park for a meal with a jaw-dropping view of the sand and surf.
Since you are already in Gulf State Park, pick up a bike from the bike share site at The Lodge and head towards the central portion of the park near Lake Shelby to explore the 28 miles of Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. You’ll have easy access from The Lodge to Lake Shelby via a walking/biking bridge over the beach road.
The trail is paved and accessible for all nature lovers. Keep an eye out for gators, birds, and other wildlife along the trail. Make sure to stop by the Nature Center to learn more about the wildlife and ecosystems you can see in the area.
After you have worked up an appetite, stop by Woodside Restaurant for dinner, refreshing drinks, and fun yard games.
Fort Morgan offers beaches, nature trails, birdwatching areas, and lots of local history.
It’s a great area to look for migrating birds flying over the Gulf. Fort Morgan is a rest area for birds before continuing their long migrations to and from South America. This area is part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, so do not disturb the dunes or marshes, as they are essential ecological areas.
The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail winds its way through Baldwin and Mobile counties. The trail has more than 50 sites on public lands.
While you’re here, explore Historic Fort Morgan and learn more about how the Fort played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864. You’ll wander through the tunnels and enjoy incredible views from the top of the Fort’s fortified wall.
It is easy to spend most of the day exploring Fort Morgan and the surrounding areas.
There are so many ways for nature lovers to experience the waterways of the Alabama Beaches, including boating, diving, kayaking, dolphin cruises, and more.
One of our favorite experiences in the area is heading out on a dolphin cruise. Being out on the water and watching bottlenose dolphins surround your boat is genuinely amazing.
You can book a guided dolphin cruise or rent an Orange Beach Cat Boat and explore the waterways on your own. You can even take a Cruisin’ Tiki Boat out on the water!
If you prefer being on the coastal waterways, rent a kayak or paddleboard and head out to Bon Secour, Little Lagoon, or Lake Shelby.
End the day watching the sunset from Gulf State Park Pier. It is one of our favorite places to watch the sun go down and see the great catches anglers bring in.
Three days is never enough time on Alabama’s beaches, but it is an excellent start to exploring the area. After visiting multiple times, we still find new places to explore, and we can’t wait for our next trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Check out all of the remarkable water and outdoor activities in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and get ready to immerse yourself in the area's natural beauty!