Spring Break Itinerary
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
When you’re daydreaming of warm days in the sun, you’re ready to think spring. After all, spring is the ideal warmup for summer. There are so many ways to make memories when you start summering now on Alabama’s 32 miles of white-sand beaches and turquoise water. We’re taking the guesswork out of planning your family’s spring vacation. Browse our three-day itinerary for plenty of fun in the sun and get ready to savor the memories of picture-perfect days with a splash of adventure and unexpected finds.
The word from the bird is you should stop in at Sunliner Diner on your first morning in Gulf Shores. Experience a 1950s-era diner with traditional diner fare in an atmosphere that’ll take you back to the sock hop. The bright colors and rotating glass towers of cakes may have the kids asking to come back for dinner, too.
Hit the beach and build sandcastles! However, we don’t mean just any sandcastle. Call the folks at Sand Castle University for some sandcastle building 101. Learn the tips and tricks to building a castle fit for a mermaid.
It’s your first day at the beach. The kids (and you) may not want to leave the sand, so pack a cooler and enjoy a picnic! When you plan ahead and order online Publix will have your order ready for pick-up when you arrive, including their custom subs,salads and other bites perfect for a beach day.
Arrrr you ready for a swashbuckling good time? Board the Pirate Adventure Cruise at Hudson Marina in Orange Beach. Both the young and young-at-heart will enjoy this unique dolphin cruise packed with pirates and surprises around every turn.
At Hudson Marina, you’re right next to Anchor Bar & Grill. After you walk the plank, head over for the More In Than Out Burger, a mouthwatering treat after a couple of hours on the water. The adults will enjoy one of the chef’s unique variations on the traditional bushwacker. The options are seasonal and may include creations such as s’mores or peach cobbler.
Kick off your second day in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach at Ruby Slipper Cafe. This popular brunch spot brings a Cajun twist to your typical Southern breakfast. Choose from candied bacon, stuffed French toast and eggs benedicts piled high with pulled pork and fresh Gulf shrimp.
After a Ruby Slipper breakfast, you may feel the need to exercise. Disguise it for the kids with biking the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. More than 28 miles of trails wind through Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Rent a bike with Beach Bike Rentals and spend the morning looking for local wildlife (like Lefty the Alligator) in the wetlands near the trails.
Looking for lunch on the lighter side? GT’s on the Bay offers an impressive salad bar. There’s also a play area for the kids outside. Dine on the deck and enjoy views of Wolf Bay. If you bring your boat on vacation, you can also boat in to GT’s.
No family vacation in Gulf Shores is complete without a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Get up close and personal with baby kangaroos, lemurs and sloths during an animal encounter. Encounters are an additional fee, but where else can you take selfies with lemurs? It’ll be an experience your family won’t soon forget.
For a no-fuss dinner, drop by Hog Wild Beach & BBQ. Whether you’re in the mood for ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken or a whole lot of everything, this locally-owned BBQ joint is the perfect place to refuel after a fun day spent exploring.
While you’re at The Wharf, hang around for the nightly SPECTRA Light & Sound Show. The Wharf closes Main Street while music fills the air and lights dance in the palm trees. Kids (and adults, too) like to dance in the street during the light show.
Let the kids sleep late and enjoy a quiet morning on the balcony. Then make the drive to BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets in Orange Beach. The pastry chef bakes up sweet breakfast treats the kids will love, including giant cinnamon rolls and house-made pop tarts. You’ll also find a menu of biscuits, eggs, grits and more.
Paddle your way through Lake Shelby at Gulf State Park with onsite paddleboard and single or double kayak rentals. The kids will love the sandy banks in the swimming area, too. Pack a lunch and take advantage of the picnic areas at the lake.
Finish up your day of adventure at the Gulf State Park pier. Rent poles and purchase bait onsite and cast a line for an afternoon of fishing fun. An Alabama saltwater fishing license is required and can be purchased onsite, as well.
Wind down your family’s spring vacation with dinner in your condo. Break out the board games and enjoy a low-key night in with the sights and sounds of waves crashing on the shoreline just a short distance from your balcony. Dinner in doesn’t mean you have to cook, though. Browse the restaurant offerings for delivery services like Gulf to Go or order up some heat-and-serve dishes from shops like Sarah’s Homemade.