If you are familiar with Alabama beaches at all, you understand the confusion with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Some folks say they’re headed to Orange Beach when they are actually vacationing in Gulf Shores, and vice versa. While the two cities are neighbors, they occupy different beach spaces. But don’t worry… you will be close enough to enjoy the amenities and attractions in both communities.
Orange Beach – founded similarly to Gulf Shores and with original settlers being Native American – had industries of forestry, turpentine, naval stores production and a shingle mill. The late 19th century saw the depletion of the forestlands in the area. They were replaced with orange groves, and there is the name origin for Orange Beach! Unfortunately, Orange Beach freezes were too much for the groves and by 1926, the citrus crops were no longer in the area.
Tourism developed into the main industry over the years following the completion of the Intracoastal Waterway. Today, vacationers visit the area to enjoy some of the most gorgeous beaches in the United States – and I would argue, in the world! Charter fishing is still a highlight for locals and visitors, along with water recreation. Restaurants are plentiful, offering fresh seafood catches in farm-to-table venues that are mostly casual and serve the entire family.
I have grown up with Alabama’s beaches, and nostalgia always pulls at my heartstrings when I revisit. From humble beginnings to a thriving tourism mecca, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer world-class beach facilities that my family adores. Explore the area, visit the landmarks, stay in amazing accommodations and taste the culinary delights. Your walk through the years with Alabama’s beaches may only be beginning, and that’s ok. You’ll be back… again and again.