Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Warm, sunny beaches and great weather make fall the perfect time to keep on summering on Alabama’s white-sand beaches. After the summer crowds are long gone, bring your family back to the beach for long weekends, holiday breaks and even weeklong escapes from the classroom. If you’re planning a fall beach vacation, browse our three-day itinerary for ideas on how to spend your time in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Get crazy this morning and order up a fun breakfast at Sassy Bass Crazy Donuts. Order a unique combination of doughnut, plus breakfast sandwich for a Gulf Shores breakfast to write home about.
Arrrr you ready for fun? Then board the Pirate Ship Cruise at Hudson Marina for swashbuckling fun in Orange Beach. The young and young-at-heart will enjoy this interactive dolphin cruise.
Take the family for a blast to the past at Sunliner Diner in the heart of Gulf Shores. Decked out in 1950s style, the whole family will love this happening hangout for hamburgers, cherry pie and good-old rock-n-roll.
Afternoon & Dinner
Spend the afternoon exploring The Wharf in Orange Beach. With miniature golf, the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southeast, laser tag, specialty boutiques and even a spa, there’s something for everyone in the family. When hunger strikes, pop into one of the awarding-winning restaurants at The Wharf for fresh, Gulf seafood or brews and burgers. Be sure to stay till dark and enjoy the SPECTRA Sound and Light Spectacular, a choreographed light show featuring musical favorites.
On day two, chow down with breakfast on your balcony. Enjoy the early-morning views, or even the sunrise, from the best seat in the house at your Gulf Shores beach house or Orange Beach condo. Pack a cooler with bottled water and protein-filled snacks, then load your beach bag with sunscreen, sunglasses and hats for your morning adventure.
Orange Beach is the charter fishing mecca of the Southeast. Treat your family to a day of adrenaline-pumping fun aboard a fishing boat. For those new to deep-sea fishing, a four-hour charter fishing trip is ideal. There are also eight-hour trips available, as well as overnight trips.
After you reeled in the biggest fish in the Gulf of Mexico, take it to one of the destination’s cook-your-catch restaurants. It doesn't get any fresher than right off the boat. Mikee’s Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores will cook your fish just how you like it, or the chef can offer preparation suggestions, too!
After all that work reeling in your catch, use the afternoon to relax on the sandy shores of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Build sandcastles, splash in the surf and create memories the kids will remember for a lifetime.
Combine dinner and family fun at LuLu's in Gulf Shores. Order up a cheeseburger in paradise while you sit sand-side as the kids build sandcastles or play in the Fountain of Youth. The tweens and teens in your group can challenge each other to a game of beach volleyball or test their courage on the Mountain of Youth.
Fuel up for your last day of fall beach vacation with traditional diner grub at The Diner in Gulf Shores. Shrimp and grits will hit the spot or opt for a traditional Southern breakfast of grits and eggs.
If you haven’t hiked or biked the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, it’s a can’t-miss activity. Bike through more than 25 miles of trails and six different ecosystems. Keep a look out for Lefty the alligator along one of the trail’s waterways. New boardwalks and overpasses easily take you from the Gulf State Park Pavilion to Lake Shelby.
For lunch and ice cream all in one place, stop by COASTAL in Gulf Shores. COASTAL serves up a variety of family-friendly foods, as well as ice cream and a milkshake bar. Located next to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, you’re just a few steps away from your next Gulf Shores and Orange Beach fall vacation adventure.
If you’re never taken selfies with a lemur or played with a baby kangaroo, here’s your chance! Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and say “hello” to all of our “wild” friends. If you plan to purchase tickets for animal encounters, including the lemur and kangaroo encounters, call ahead to learn the best times to interact with the animals.
Say farewell with a dinner at GT's on the Bay. The whole family will enjoy the one-of-a-kind menu. A stone hearth pizza oven and loaded salad bar will hit the spot. The kids will love the outdoor play area and pirate ship, too!