Best 2024 Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parades & Celebrations

It only happens once a year, but people from all over flock to Gulf Shores to celebrate Mardi Gras. There are beads, masks, costumes, and parades galore. Many people think of New Orleans as the birthplace of Mardi Gras but French settlers organized the first Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile, and there have been Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parades and celebrations for all ages to carry on the festivities for dozens of years.

Ready to celebrate? We’ve compiled a list of the best Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parades and events happening in 2024!

Mystics of Pleasure and The Marshals Parade

When: 5:30 pm,

When: 6:00 pm, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024

This fun parade began in 2001 to become Pleasure Island’s first nighttime Mardi Gras parading society. Watch as the Mystics of Pleasure and The Marshals roll down Perdido Beach Boulevard on motorcycles, floats, and more for this year’s one-of-a-kind Mystics of Pleasure Mardi Gras Parade.

Fort Morgan Mardi Gras Parade

When: 1:00 pm, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024

You’ve never seen Mardi Gras like this before! This unique parade finds revelers rolling down the picturesque Fort Morgan peninsula on golf carts, jeeps, boats, cars, and trailers as they toss beads and treasures up and down the coast. The route will run along Ponce De Leon Court from Triple Tale Lane to Bernard Ct. E. Space is limited, so get there early!

Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade

When: 10:00 am, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024

For the 45th year, the City of Gulf Shores will be celebrating Mardi Gras with their famous Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade! The first parade made its way through Gulf Shores in 1978 and continues to wow and excite all ages with craftily detailed floats, colorful cars, and exuberant passer-bys tossing beads into the crowd. The Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade will begin at 10 am on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 13).

LuLu’s Mardi Gras Anniversary Celebration & Boat Parade

When: 10:00 am, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024

A Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parade on the water? Check. Live music? Check. Complimentary cake? Check! This Fat Tuesday, you’ll want to be at Lulu’s for a complete day of bead-tossing, king cake eating fun. The boat parade will depart from The Wharf towards Lulu’s and Homeport Marina. The music starts at 11 am with guests dressed in costumes and good ole’ green, gold, and purple. The fun continues after the 3 pm boat parade at Lulu’s with live music, delicious food, and much more!

Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade

When: 2:00 pm, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024

Head east to Orange Beach on Fat Tuesday for the Annual Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade! Nearly 30,000 people have stood along Perdido Beach Boulevard in years past to watch dozens of vibrant floats, costumed participants, flag twirlers, and more march down the two-mile stretch to enjoy this centuries-old celebration! The parade begins at 2 pm, starting east of Phoenix West and ending at Highway 161 in Orange Beach.

MoonPies on Main at The Wharf

When: 4:00 pm, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024

If you’re looking for some family-friendly fun, head over to The Wharf on Lundi Gras (that’s the Monday before Fat Tuesday) at 4pm. The festivities will kick off with a kid and pet parade that everyone can join, followed by fun family activities and an evening float parade at 6pm. After the parade, stick around for the SPECTRA Laser Light Experience and night full of music, kids activities and more.

As we like to say, Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Check out our blog for travel tips, news, and things to do in Gulf Shores and along the Alabama Gulf Coast!

6 Fun Things to Do for Labor Day in Gulf Shores

The Labor Day holiday weekend serves as the unofficial end to summer, so it’s only fitting to spend it at the beach. (Wait a second, did you know it’s warm well into November? That’s right! You’ve got plenty of time to keep on summering. But, we’re also celebrating a staple to beach vacationing – Labor Day in Gulf Shores!)

Take advantage of that three-day weekend and plan a getaway. After all, there’s plenty of sunshine, long summer days, warm temperatures and lots of activities for every member of the family to enjoy during Labor Day in Gulf Shores.

Labor Day Weekend Fun

Fort Morgan - Gulf Shores

Escape Fort Morgan

It’s the summer of 1864 and you’re a Federal spy captured by Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Your job is to find a defensive map and escape route. It’s the challenging scenario for the Espionage at Mobile Point escape room at Fort Morgan Historic Site. The hours are 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so your options to be a spy are limited. Be sure to reserve your time in advance!

Address: 110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Alabama Gulf Coast Fishing

Set A Hook

Celebrate the end of summer with a charter fishing excursion, either inshore or offshore. Book with one of the experienced local captains who will take you right to the fish during your Labor Day in Gulf Shores.

Labor Day Celebration at OWA

Wrap up your summer and celebrate Labor Day Weekend with an epic fireworks show at OWA on Saturday, Sept. 3. The fireworks go off at 8:45 p.m. sharp. This show is timed perfectly with music and can be seen throughout the entire property at OWA in nearby Foley. 

Address: 100 N. OWA Blvd. Foley, AL 36535

Labor Day Car Show

Returning for its third year, the OWA Labor Day Car Show is back on Saturday, Sept. 5! Cars of all makes and models will be on display throughout the Southern-style streets of Downtown OWA. With hot rods and custom builds lining the street, this car show is picture perfect.

Address: 100 N. OWA Blvd. Foley, AL 36535

Listen to the Music

For those about to rock….Parker McCollum will take the stage at The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach! Come down and also hear your favorite tunes from Corey Smith and Frank Foster.

The Wharf Address: 4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Kids activities at The Beach Club

Enjoy the Amenities

A stay at The Beach Club provides everything you need for a memorable Labor Day in Gulf Shores, including great amenities and a fun line-up of kids and family activities. Get as involved as you want, or kick back and relax by the pool, at the beach or on your balcony. Spread out and enjoy five football fields of private beaches, treat yourself at The Spa or indulge in your favorite dishes at Coast Restaurant & Sushi Bar.

As a Spectrum Resorts guest, you get priority reservations when it comes to booking a beach chairs, umbrella or other services. But reserve your beach chair early. It is a holiday weekend, after all.

And, remember that our guests enjoy a hassle-free vacation guarantee including freshly laundered coverlets with every stay, complimentary resort activities, onsite maintenance and housekeeping, and more. And, who could forget the 10% discount on dining, shopping, and spa when Spectrum guests use resort charging privileges!

Book your stay at The Beach Club, a secluded resort on the Fort Morgan peninsula for one more great summer hoorah over Labor Day in Gulf Shores.

6 Ways to Make the Beach Your Classroom

If you’re distance learning, virtual schooling, or homeschooling or roadschooling this year, things probably look a lot different for your family. Maybe you’re searching for creative ways to teach the kids, or maybe you just need to get outdoors for a while. Regardless of how you school, there’s no better place to do it than on Alabama’s white-sand beaches!

If you’re wondering how to pull off schooling your kids in a non-traditional environment, check out this list of 6 Ways to Make the Beach Your Classroom.

1.  Take Your Kids on a Guided Pier Walk

Gulf State Pier (handicap accessible) is a must see when visiting Gulf Shores, so why not make it educational? Gulf State Park offers tours free of charge, though you will have to pay to access the pier. During this tour you’ll learn about the eco-systems of the Gulf, observe fisherman, be educated on species of birds and fish, and so much more! The pier is a half-mile walk there and back, making it accessible to even the littlest of learners. If you’ve got older kids, check out Gulf State Park’s Angler Academy, where you’ll learn how to saltwater fish!

*Note: The pier is undergoing renovations currently, but is scheduled to reopen in August 2020.

2. Visit Historic Fort Morgan, Alabama

Just a short drive from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Historic Fort Morgan is rich in history and fun! Fort Morgan was used throughout several wars, making it a unique destination to learn about those who came before us, and the battles that were fought to protect our area. Be sure to stop in the onsite museum and talk with historians, as well as pick up a map of the grounds. Guided tours are also available. The Fort has several areas where you can picnic, as well as let the kids play. If you decide to visit the Fort, plan to stay all day; it’s a wonderful experience to be able to watch the sunset over beautiful Mobile Bay!

3. Take a field trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

The beach is the ideal location to dive deep and learn about marine biology. At Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the public aquarium is a great place to learn everything you need to know about the critters you’re swimming with in the Gulf! If you’d like to go a little more in-depth, join one of their Boardwalk Talks where you’ll learn how you can help preserve coastal and oceanic ecosystems.

*Note: As of August 2020, due to Covid-19, guests are required to wear a mask and must schedule their tour ahead of their visit.

4. Embark on a Dolphin Cruise

Though a dolphin cruise may just sound like another activity to entertain the kids, it’s far from it! Dolphin cruises are a wonderful opportunity to explore the calm back bays of the area and learn about local wildlife. Most captains are happy to answer any questions you may have, and some even have information and facts they will share throughout the journey! Dolphin cruises are family-friendly, and oftentimes have bathrooms on-board if you’re worried about younger kids. Most cruise staff welcome small coolers with drinks and snacks for your convenience. These cruises are a fun and engaging way to learn about aquatic animals, and you and your kids will no doubt have an amazing time!

5.  Stop by Alligator Alley

If your kids want to learn a little more about the reptiles that call our sunny climate home, check out Alligator Alley. Your journey begins on an elevated boardwalk that will lead you to the habitat of more than 450 alligators! What’s the first thing you see? Baby gators! These cute little creatures are so much fun to watch, and you’ll even have the opportunity to hold one, if you’d like. As you continue down the boardwalk, you’ll see adult alligators, and you won’t believe how big they are! Along with these creatures, you may also see turtles, snakes, Osprey, Bullfrogs and even owls. If you’d like to see the alligators feed, you can watch at 11 a.m., at 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. This activity is handicap accessible.

6.  Visit Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is one of the most popular family attractions in the region. Also known as the “Little Zoo” for its starring role in the 2006 hit documentary series, “The Little Zoo That Could” on Animal Planet, this non-profit zoological park is not just a little community zoo; it’s home to more than 199 species, 31 sub-species, and haven to eight endangered species. The zoo is about a mile from the beach and sits adjacent to a protected nature reserve. Tucked just off the main highway, visitors feel like they have entered a tropical urban oasis filled with intriguing sounds from their rich diversity of exotic animals. Whether it’s the distinctive call from their peacocks, chatter from the monkeys, or the occasional roar from one of their lions, you are instantly transported out of life’s hustle and bustle and into a peaceful nature setting. With wide pathways spread out over seven and a half acres, the zoo has shaded picnic areas, rest stops and benches, a seasonal concession stand, and a gift shop filled with awesome animal-themed merchandise. Voted the “#1 Zoo in Alabama” two times, they offer more than your typical zoo experience. Their friendly staff wants your trip to be as educational as possible, so they are always available to answer your questions. A trip to The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is a field trip like no other!

With so many unique learning experiences, there are plenty of ways to roadschool when you book it to the beach. Enjoy a whole different kind of recess when you bring your family to The Beach Club Resort & Spa in Gulf Shores. The resort is just a short drive from every activity listed, making it easy for you to make the beach your classroom. So, what are you waiting for? School is in session!

4 Hottest Ways to Spend a Couple’s Getaway in Gulf Shores

A couple’s getaway is the perfect time to reconnect, relax and revel in your relationship. With white-sand beaches, five-star amenities, and exclusive perks, The Beach Club Resort & Spa combines all the best ingredients for a romantic trip that’s second-to-none. Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, or just an intimate weekend away, you’ll find more than a few fun and romantic activities for couples on and near the resort. If you’re looking to find love on a lover’s trip, here are the four hottest ways to spend your couple’s getaway in Gulf Shores!

Book a Session at The Spa at The Beach Club

Nothing says I love you like a relaxing hour (or three) of pampering during your couple’s getaway in Gulf Shores. The Spa at The Beach Club offers a full range of luxurious spa services, from hot stone massages to rejuvenating facials and more. You can enjoy complimentary mimosas in our co-ed relaxation room before or after your spa treatments, and a chance to reconnect and indulge in each other’s company. And guests booking their accommodations direct through Spectrum Resorts get 10% off their service! It’s the perfect way to escape your troubles and emerge a new, refreshed couple.

Make Your own Relaxation at High Cotton Bath Company at The Wharf

While we’re talking about relaxation, why not make your own? At High Cotton Bath Company at The Wharf, you can! This unique boutique lets you choose from more than 200 ingredients to mix your own home and bath products. We’re talking bubble bath, body scrubs, lotions, candles, and more! Plus, all the ingredients are natural and chemical-free. You’ll love the fun experience, and it’s a great way to take your romantic couples getaway home with you.

Beach Campfire - couple's getaway in Gulf Shores

Turn Up the Heat With a Romantic Beach Campfire

There’s nothing as romantic as a quiet fireside conversation – especially if it’s on the beach. Guests renting through Spectrum Resorts at The Beach Club can reserve a roaring campfire on the beach for a unique evening experience during a couple’s getaway in Gulf Shores. You’ll love gazing into your partner’s eyes as you listen to the crackling of the flames and the rushing of the waves. You’ll also get everything you need to make S’mores, a cooler of cold water and enough firewood to keep it burning for two hours. Plus, an onsite attendant takes care of all the set-up and clean-up for you! Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot in advance.

*Limited availability and seasonal.

couple's getaway in Gulf Shores

Take a Sunset Sail

Enjoy a romantic evening on the water with a sunset sail! Sail Wild Hearts offers two-hour sails on a 53-foot catamaran, giving you plenty of space to stretch out and get cozy. Sunsets over the Gulf horizon are spectacular, creating a romantic vibe that’s sure to get your hearts racing. Though sailing is about the journey and not the destination, your evening can only end in paradise when you spend it surrounded by Gulf Coast beauty.

No couple’s getaway is complete without the perfect place to return to at night – and that’s where we come in! Book your stay today to guarantee your Beach Club rental. And don’t forget to download our  Ultimate Vacation Guide! It’s your go-to planning tool for a Gulf Shores and  Orange Beach vacation, no matter your group size.

A Snowbird’s Guide to Winter Activities in Gulf Shores at The Beach Club

Flocking to the warmer weather of the Alabama Gulf Coast is a rite of passage for our snowbird friends. If you’re staying at The Beach Club Resort & Spa, you’ll have far more than great weather to look forward to! The Beach Club offers a variety of winter activities in Gulf Shores, both on and off-site that are perfect for our winter visitors.  They’ll take you back in time, introduce you to new places, or just give you a fun way to spend a few hours (or a weekend). So, grab your vacation planner and be sure to mark down the dates for these fun winter activities at your Gulf Shores AL resort!

Spectrum Welcome Reception

Date: January 7 & February 14
Time: 2pm
Cost: Free
Bring your ticket from rentals for admittance.

Join us in the Island Room as we welcome you to our resort for the winter season! This nautical-themed reception will start your trip off on the right foot as you mingle with other guests and enjoy refreshments and greetings from your friends at The Beach Club. The reception should top your list of winter activities in Gulf Shores for fun and fellowship!

*This is the perfect time to say hello to people you’ve met on The Beach Club Snowbirds Facebook Page! If you haven’t joined yet, it’s a great way to connect with fellow snowbirds and find new friends for your stay. 

Brandon Styles Trip Down Memory Lane Dinner Show

Date: January 25
Time: 5pm
Cost: $34 for Spectrum Members and Guests, $38 for Non-Spectrum Guests and Owners
Register at the
Club Desk by January 11

Take a trip down memory lane to the tune of your favorite 1950-1970’s songs! Master impressionist Brandon Styles will channel the voices of the past as he performs popular songs by nearly 40 classic artists. You won’t believe it’s not Frank Sinatra himself! Before the show, enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner buffet presented by Groovy Goat.

winter activities in Gulf Shores - Brandon Styles Dinner Show

winter activities in Gulf Shores - 1920s Dinner and Dance

1920’s Dinner and Dance

Date: January 31
Time: 5pm
Cost: $34 for Spectrum Members and Guests, $38 for Non-Spectrum Guests and Owners
Register at the Club Desk by January 24th, 2020

Celebrate 2020 by stepping into another great decade – the 1920s! This themed dinner and dance bring back the Roarin’ 20’s to the sounds of the Tony Bowers and Friends band. Enjoy a fresh buffet (that’s not from the 1920s) full of delectable dishes like pan-smoked salmon and chicken piccata. Be sure to dress in your best Gatsby finery for one of the best winter activities in Gulf Shores. Make a stop in our complimentary photo booth to capture your 2020 for decades to come!

Relay for Life Bingo Night

Date: February 11
Time: 6 pm
Cost: $10 per person
No registration needed

B-I-N-G-O spells great fun for a great cause! Come out and try your hand at winning some great local prizes as you compete in 20 rounds of bingo or get lucky in our 50/50 drawing. Spelling has never been so fun! All proceeds benefit the Relay of Life of Baldwin County. 

Mobile Mardi Gras Trip

Date: February 15
Time: 12 pm
Price: $45 Spectrum Members and Guests, $50 Non-Spectrum Guests and Owners
Register at the Club Desk by February 5

In this thrilling taste of Mobile history, your first stop is the Mobile Exploreum. Here you’ll learn about a history that belongs to all of us – the dinosaurs. Explore the interactive Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit and watch them come to life on the new PCI Digital Dome. After a delicious lunch, we’ll take to the streets to experience a unique part of Mobile’s history – Mardi Gras! Take home beads, moon pies and memories from six popular parades as they roll through the streets of downtown.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Brunch

Date: February 28
Time: 10 am
Price: $27 Spectrum Members and Guests, $30 Non-Spectrum Guests and Owners
Register at the Club Desk by February 21

It’s not Tiffany’s, but this traditional southern buffet is just as iconic. Join us at a Breakfast at Tiffany’s-themed brunch to start your day with a delicious southern meal of scrambled eggs, bacon and smoked sausage links, loaded grits with cheese and scallions, southern-style biscuits with sawmill gravy and more. When it comes to winter activities in Gulf Shores, this brunch is one of the most delicious around!

winter activities in Gulf Shores - New Orleans Trip

Stennis Space Center/New Orleans Trip

Depart: February 19 at 7am
Pricing Varies by Room Size
Register at the Club Desk by January 28

This overnight trip will take you out of this world and then drop you into the heart of New Orleans. First, stop at the Stennis Space Center to explore 20 galleries and exhibits that are all about space. When you’re ready to come back to earth, we’ll travel to downtown NOLA for an overnight stay on St. Charles Avenue.

Watch a famed New Orleans Mardi Gras parade pass right in front of the hotel that evening and enjoy a late lunch the next day on The Steamboat Natchez to learn about the city’s founding on the Mississippi River. Spend the time between exploring the best places in the city for a taste of spicy Cajun flavor.

More Winter Activities in Gulf Shores at The Beach Club

Date: Tuesdays and Saturdays, January 5 – March 4
Free for Spectrum guests; prices vary by craft for Non-Spectrum guests
Book at The Club Desk

Find your inner DIY-er at one (or all) of our bi-weekly craft classes. From building birdhouses to basket weaving and more, you’ll learn how to make a variety of masterpieces by hand – and get a complimentary craft to take home with you!

For the latest schedule, view the Activities Calendar.

Live Music at The Village Hideaway

Date: Every Tuesday, January – March
Time: 4-8pm

Each Tuesday, join us in The Village Hideaway for delicious food and toe-tapping tunes by great local artists. Guests who are young or young at heart will love a game of pool or taking a swing on the HD Golf Simulator. Spectrum guests receive a 10% discount with their Spectrum Resort wristband!

For the latest live music schedule, visit the Music Calendar.

Say “Ahh” at The Spa with Winter Specials

Open: 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday

Vacation means relaxation – and there’s no better place for it than The Spa & Salon. Drop in for a massage, brand new hairstyle, or relaxing pedicure – this full-service spa has everything you need to pamper your cares away. Spectrum guests receive a 10% discount with their Spectrum Resort wristband!

Don’t forget to ask about our Spa Loyalty Program! Get six punches on your exclusive loyalty card and you’ll receive $100 in spa services for your next visit. As if you needed any other reason to come back for some more me-time!

There are many other daily and weekly winter activities in Gulf Shores at The Beach Club. Check out the Activities Calendar for an hour-by-hour look at everything going on at the resort!

Great Spots To Experience the Flavor of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Taking a vacation is all about the senses – and when you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast, you’ll experience a local flavor like no other. There are so many fun and unique activities and restaurants to enjoy when you visit, and each one of them will give you a glimpse into our one-of-a-kind culture and flavor of Gulf Shores. So if you’re thinking about taking a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast, here are some great spots to experience local flavor in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Eats & Drinks

The Gulf

27500 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
(251) 424-1800

The Gulf is a reflection of all things Orange Beach. The hip design is built around shipping containers for environmental stability, their vibe is chic yet casual, and forget being waterfront – this charming restaurant is on it’s own beach! Enjoy a cocktail with your toes in the sand, get to know the locals at a communal table, or grab a spot near the firepit in the evening. The menu features fresh, local seafood and changes daily. If you’re looking for local flavor, you’ve got to stop here first.

Flavor of Gulf Shores

The Hangout

101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 948-3030

This popular spot is known as a great place to do just that – hangout! Located right on the beach, this family-friendly restaurant features an open design that feels perfect for the coast. Venture out into the courtyard for live music, a kid’s play area, games, foam parties and more! When you’re ready for a bite, check out the large menu and indulge in a customizable cocktail. Order up a Wipe Out Burger while you’re there. It’s on the list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die! Flavor of Gulf Shores? Absolutely!

The Royal Oyster

807 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 923-4882

If you really want to taste flavor of Gulf Shores then you’ve got to try raw oysters – and there’s no better place to do it than The Royal Oyster. This quaint waterfront dive serves up oysters and cocktails from all over the country, as well as, from local oyster farmers. Navy Cove Oysters and Shellbank Selects are both served here and are straight out of Fort Morgan. Customize your oysters with their impressive topping selection – they have everything from gin to housemade pickled watermelon rind. There’s also fresh seafood and burgers for the oysterphobes. Order a flight and try several different preparations.

The Flora-Bama Lounge & Package

17401 Perdido Key Dr, Pensacola, FL 32507
(850) 492-0611

No Orange Beach vacation is complete without a trip to the last, great American roadhouse, Flora-Bama Lounge & Package. This historic dive bar has been voted one of the best beach bars in the world and it stands for all things Alabama coast – delicious cocktails, live music, beachfront views and a heaping helping of Southern hospitality. You can grab a bite at one of their three food spots, jam to tunes on one of their five stages, or enjoy the beach sunset. Just don’t forget to try out the world-famous bushwhacker before you go – it’s the official cocktail mascot of Alabama’s beaches!

The Big Beach Brewing Company

300 E 24th Ave, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 948-2337

If you’re looking for a taste of local craft brews, this one’s for you. Big Beach Brewing Company is located in the heart of Gulf Shores and crafts everything from IPAs and Stouts to Cream Ales and Belgian Style Beers. They always have 12 housemade beers on tap in their comfortable taproom, so be sure to stop by and sample some local brewskis. You’ll know you’re hanging out with the locals when 5 p.m. rolls around. A popular spot for post-work talk and relaxation, you can strike up a conversation and get locals’ intel on what to do and where to go during your search for the flavor of Gulf Shores.

Arts & Culture

The Coastal Art Center of Orange Beach

26389 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
(251) 981-2787

This waterfront art center gives you a glimpse into the local arts of Orange Beach – and then lets you take part in the fun! View the gallery of local works, try your hand at glassblowing at The Hot Shop, or take a turn at the clay wheel in the Clay Studio. The center also offers a variety of art classes for crafters of all ages.

Sand Castle University

(251) 600-9771

What better way to immerse yourself in the local beach culture than to leave your mark with a killer sandcastle? The masters at Sand Castle University will come to your spot of sand at The Beach Club and show you all the tips and tricks of building the perfect sandcastle. Their classes are great for all ages and include all of the tools you’ll need to make your sand creation.

South Baldwin Community Theater

2022 West 2nd Street, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 968-6721

If you’re looking for a live representation of the flavor of Gulf Shores, check out the South Baldwin Community Theater. This nonprofit organization uses a local cast and community volunteers to put on dynamic and entertaining shows. Their lineup ranges from southern classics like Steel Magnolias to well-known hits like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. If you want to see your favorite acts with a Gulf Coast touch, be sure to stop by and enjoy the show.

Outdoor Activities

Flavor of Gulf Shores

Gulf State Park Pier

20800 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 967-3474

Fishing is a staple on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and there’s no better place to fish your fill than at the Gulf State Park Pier. The pier is the second longest on the Gulf of Mexico and has 2,448 feet of fishing space so you’re sure to have enough room to snag your own Moby Dick. Be sure to befriend the salty dogs who fish the pier every day to get the best fishing tips in the area! But, don’t worry about packing heavy – you can rent your gear from the pier’s bait shop and even get your fishing license right onsite.

Fort Morgan

110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

To really know a place, you’ve got to learn about its history. The historic Fort Morgan is an original masonry fort that played key roles in the Battle of Mobile Bay, the Spanish-American War, and both world wars. Step into Alabama history as you tour the fort, explore the local nature areas, or enjoy a picnic on the beach.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

12295 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
(251) 540-7720

Conservation is a huge part of the Alabama Gulf Coast culture. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last undisturbed coastal barrier habitats and provides a refuge for endangered species of birds, turtles, and more. Hike the trails or venture on a guided tour to experience the local environment in its true form and see why nature preservation is at the heart of all things Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Book your Gulf Shores rental now to experience the flavors of Alabama’s white-sand beaches.

Best Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Planning a day with kids in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is easy as A, B, C. or 1, 2, 3. There are so many kid-friendly things to do at the beach, you’ll find it hard to narrow it down during your vacation. We’ll help with that.

Dolphin Cruises at The Beach Club Resort Gulf Shores Alabama

Animal Encounters

Kids love animals. On Alabama’s beaches, we have all types, including reptiles and mammals. There are several ways to enjoy the wildlife in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

  1. Book a special one-on-one at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. For an additional charge, the Zoo offers the opportunity to cuddle with a kangaroo, hold a snake, touch a sloth or hang out with a lemur. The program provides interactive experiences in a safe, zookeeper-supervised environment.
  2. Take a dolphin cruise. Seeing a dolphin in their habitat makes everyone a little giddy – even the adults in your group. Reserve your spot on one of the many excursions that get you up close to these magnificent creatures. It’s one of the many kid-friendly things to do in Gulf Shores.
  3. Hike the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Seven trails wind their way along more than 26 miles of distinct ecosystems. Walkers and bicyclists have spotted deer, bobcats, lots of birds and even the occasional alligator. Be on the lookout for Lefty, the resident alligator. You’ll know her by her missing arm.

Beaches, Bays and Bayous

Of course, everyone loves spending time on our gorgeous, white-sand beaches. It’s what draws so many to our coast and is one of the top kid-friendly things to do in Gulf Shores.

  1. Kick back and relax while the kids play on our private, spacious beaches at The Beach Club. They are as big as five football fields, so there’s plenty of room to run and play. It’s the place where childhood memories are made. Fly a kite. Build sandcastles. Wade in the water. Look for sea treasures. It’s all right there.
  2. Paddle back bays and bayous. Wild Native Tours takes kayak tours to some of the more remote areas around the beach. A guide will take your group to inlets such as the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Bon Secour Bay and River, the Intracoastal Waterway or Oyster Bay, depending on weather and conditions. It’s a great way to see the beach from a different perspective.
  3. Cross over onboard the Mobile Bay Ferry, just minutes from The Beach Club. The ferry crosses Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan Historic Site to Dauphin Island, where you can visit the Estuarium at the Sea Lab and Fort Gaines. It’s about a 45-minute trip each way and you can take the car, bike or walk on board. The kids will love seeing the bay by boat and watching for dolphins.

More Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Gulf Shores

Well, okay, these are not just for kids, but kids will love these family-friendly attractions in Gulf Shores.

  1. Ride the Ferris Wheel at The Wharf in Orange Beach. It goes high. It’s got a great view of the coast. And, well it’s just plain fun. Plus, The Wharf is also home to Arena The Next Level, with an arcade and laser tag.
  2. Speaking of arcades, Fat Daddy’s, Adventure Island, The Track and Waterville USA also have video games, as well as, other fun, kid-friendly things to do in Gulf Shores like putt putt, go carts and rides.
  3. Don’t forget to plan a lunch or dinner at one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Gulf Shores, including LuLu’s, The Hangout and The Village Lawn at The Beach Club. LuLu’s and The Hangout both offer sand play areas and live music. At The Village Lawn (open seasonally), you’ll find four food trucks so there’s something for every appetite. There’s also family games and live music nightly.

Need more ideas for kid-friendly things to do in Gulf Shores? Download our free Ultimate Vacation Guide. New sections are added each season. Get the dish on family-friendly restaurants, rainy day activities and more!

The 12 Best Things to Do in Gulf Shores at Christmas

From lighted boat parades to merry celebrations and Christmas tree lightings, there are so many things to do in Gulf Shores at Christmas!

We’ve rounded up the best family-friendly Christmas events in Gulf Shores for the perfect coastal Alabama Christmas.

Check out the 12 best things to do in Gulf Shores at Christmas for the 2018 holiday season!


christmas tree and lights in background with wooden table in foreground

Ice Skating Rink at The Wharf

Ice skating by the Gulf? That’s right! Just a short distance from Gulf Shores, The Wharf in Orange Beach will once again feature its ice skating rink, a unique experience for all ages to enjoy this holiday season! Located next to the Fire Station at The Wharf, the ice skating rink is open from November 16th thru January 13th, with various times throughout. Admission is $10 per person and includes skate rentals. For $13, skaters can enjoy the ice skating rink and a ride on the Ferris wheel.

When: Friday, November 16th thru Sunday, January 13th; Various times

Where: The Wharf

Admission: $10 per person; includes skate rentals


Photos with Santa at The Wharf

Visit Santa’s Village and get a picture with the big man himself! You’ll find Santa’s Village at The Port at The Wharf from November 16th thru December 24th, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

When: Friday, November 16th thru Monday, December 24th; Various times

Where: The Port at The Wharf


Holiday Horse & Carriage Rides at The Wharf

Holiday Horse & Carriage Rides is the perfect way to spend an evening getting into the holiday spirit with your loved ones. Visit The Wharf Friday, Saturday, or Sunday between November 18th and December 16th for a ride through the lights and decorations of Orange Beach. Carriage rides are $25 per ride, up to four people, and $5 for single riders.

When: Sunday, November 18th thru Sunday, December 16th; 5 pm – 8 pm

Where: The Wharf

Admission: $25 per ride (up to four people); $5 for single riders


christams tree up close

Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens

Get into the holiday spirit with over 3 million lights and 15 different scenes at the Bellingrath Gardens from November 23rd thru December 31st! Located about an hour and a half from Gulf Shores, this dazzling display of Christmas lights will fill all ages with Christmas cheer, including decorations at the Bellingrath Home, nightly choral performances, hot cocoa available for purchase, and holiday meals available nightly at the Magnolia Cafe. Listed as one of America’s top 100 events by the American Bus Associaton and one of America’s best public light displays by USA Today, you will not want to miss it! Tickets start at $8 for children ages 5-12 and $16 for adults.

When: Friday, November 23rd thru Monday, December 31st; 5 pm – 9 pm

Where: Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Admission: $8 for children ages 5-12; $16 for adults

Contact: (251) 973-2217


Christmas Tree Lighting at The Wharf

Visit The Wharf in Orange Beach, Tuesday, November 27th for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting! This jolly celebration is filled to the brim with holiday activities and excitement, including festive musical performances, cookie decorating, letters to Santa, and much, much more. This festive event concludes with the SPECTRA Sound & Light Spectacular.

When: Tuesday, November 27th; 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: The Wharf

Admission: Free


7th Annual Merry Market Expo

Over 70 vendors will be on hand at the 7th Annual Merry Market at the Orange Beach Event Center! Shop, peruse and enjoy the season’s tidings with unique gifts, crafts, and more Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th. Search for the perfect gift for that special someone or shop for yourself at this year’s Merry Market. Admission is free.

When: Friday, December 7th 9 am – 6 pm & Saturday, December 8th 9 am – 5 pm

Where: Orange Beach Events Center

Admission: Free

Don’t miss out on the best holiday shopping in Gulf Shores.


9th Annual Gulf Shores Lighted Christmas Parade

Find the perfect spot around Gulf Shores Public Beach and Sims Park for this festive parade in Gulf Shores! Floats with glimmering lights, special appearances from holiday characters, and live performances from marching bands will be on hand for this holiday celebration. Once the parade concludes at Sims Park, the celebration continues at Sims Park with more Christmas fun and excitement including photos with Santa Claus and a snowball drop!

When: Friday, December 7th; 6:30 pm – 9 pm

Where: Gulf Shores Public Beach

Admission: Free


christmas ornaments on the beach

South Baldwin Community Theatre presents A Charlie Brown Christmas

The Christmas season isn’t complete without enjoying the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, and at South Baldwin Community Theatre in Gulf Shores you can enjoy it live! Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the other Peanuts come to life during this Christmas classic. Show dates are December 7th thru December 9th and December 14th thru December 16th.

Tickets start at $15 for adults and $9.95 for students. Call (251) 968-6721 for more information.

When: December 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th at 7:30 pm; December 9th and 16th at 2:30 pm

Where: South Baldwin Community Theatre

Admission: $9.95 for students; $15 for adults

Contact: (251) 968-6721


2nd Annual Jingle Jubilee Kids Crafts Day

Visit The Wharf Saturday, December 8th for a fun-filled day of arts, crafts, and more! The Jingle Jubilee Kids Crafts Day is a great day for kids to use their Christmas spirit and create unique, homemade crafts like ornaments, cookie decorations, and more. Craft stations will be set up at various shops along The Wharf where kids can use their creativity for special holiday treats. There will also be live music. The fun starts at 12 pm and ends at 4 pm, but stick around for the evening’s Christmas Lighted Boat Parade!

When: Saturday, December 8th; 12 pm – 4 pm

Where: The Port at The Wharf

Admission: Free


33rd Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade

Find a spot near the water for this year’s Christmas Lighted Boat Parade Saturday, December 8th from 5:30 thru 8:30 pm. Beginning at Lulu’s Homeport Marina, this glimmering holiday bonanza will wind past The Wharf, Bear Point, Ono Island, and Perdido Pass before making its stop in Terry Cove. Kayaks, sailboats, charters and many other vessels will be decorated with dazzling light displays and holiday spirit. A post-parade awards ceremony will be held at FloraBama Ole River Grille.

When: Saturday, December 8th; 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Lulu’s Homeport Marina


2nd Annual Happy Howlidays Kid & Pet Parade

Humans and pets alike are invited to this jolly pet-friendly parade! Take a short trip from Gulf Shores to Orange Beach for this year’s Happy Howlidays Kid & Pet Parade at The Wharf. Don your four-legged friend in their holiday attire so they can strut their stuff along The Wharf. Kids and adults are encouraged to dress up too, so make it a family affair! The parade begins at 2 pm on Sunday, December 9th and concludes with kids activities like a bouncy house, a live DJ playing music and games, and face painting. Pet adoptions and donations will also be available through the Baldwin Humane Society.

When: Sunday, December 9th; 2 pm – 5:30 pm

Where: The Wharf

Admission: Free


12 Days of Christmas Shopping

Still in need of that perfect gift for that special someone? Don’t fret, the 12 Days of Christmas Shopping event at The Wharf has you covered! For 12 days starting December 13th, various shops at The Wharf will be offering exclusive deals and one-day-only sales so you can grab the perfect present that won’t cost you an arm or a leg.

When: Thursday, December 13th thru Monday, December 24th

Where: The Wharf


Looking to book your Gulf Shores vacation? Why wait till summer? Check out these 5 reasons why you should book a fall and winter vacation rental in Gulf Shores.

Golf in Gulf Shores: The Top Courses for Your Golf Vacation

The Alabama Gulf Coast has more than its share of championship golf in Gulf Shores, and a stay at The Beach Club Resort & Spa puts visitors right smack in the middle of great golf opportunities. Why not plan to tee off for an epic golf getaway for your next Gulf Shores vacation? Here’s the scoop.


Gulf Shores is perfectly suited for the golfer in the group with an impressive sub-tropical climate that supports year-round play, lots of facilities to practice, PGA pros on hand for lessons and, of course, spectacular beach views like no other.


Nearby Gulf Shores Golf

 Gulf Shores Golf Vacation From the beginning golfer to the seasoned player, there are plenty of options for a nearby golf resort when staying at The Beach Club. Warning: you’ll be hooked on these fantastic courses when you see the course strength coupled with their impressive views.


But, first, practice your swing before hitting the greens at The Village Hideaway’s HD golf simulator. Get a grip on your game while the kids enjoy the arcade. You can even order lunch from the grill afterward. Craft beers are always on tap and multiple televisions line the walls.


Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club

 Peninsula Golf 6 miles from The Beach Club Resort & Spa

20 Peninsula Blvd., Gulf Shores, AL


The Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club is a unique venue offering three different nine-hole courses, each with their own challenges. The Earl Stone designed golf resort is conveniently located on Mobile Bay and rated 4 ½ stars by Golf Digest. Golfers love the idea of the Gulf Shores golf club’s three courses – Marsh, Lakes, and Cypress – to experience in a single venue. Amenities include a recently remodeled clubhouse, a restaurant, and a bar, an 8,000-square-foot fitness center, eight tennis courts, and both indoor and outdoor pools. (Tip! Click on SPECIAL OFFERS on their website and you might find a way to save a little money when you play.)


Kiva Dunes Golf Course

 Kiva Dunes Golf 1 mile from The Beach Club Resort & Spa

815 Plantation Drive, Gulf Shores, AL 36542


The award-winning Kiva Dunes Golf Club is less than five minutes from The Beach Club and is stunning in both design and setting. Located beachside along the Fort Morgan Peninsula of Gulf Shores, Kiva Dunes is Alabama’s number one ranked golf resort. The latest renovation was completed in 2015 on the championship course developed by Jim Edgemon and U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate making it more playable for average golfers. Need a lesson? No problem! Rea Schuessler is the resident PGA instructor with more than 25 years of experience. Also, golfers can work more extensively on their individual games by utilizing the full-service, full-swing practice facility. Additional amenities at Kiva Dunes include the clubhouse, fitness center and Kiva Beach Club. Call for tee times, specials and daily rates.


Craft Farms

15 miles from The Beach Club Resort & Spa

3840 Cotton Creek Circle, Gulf Shores, AL 36542



Craft Farms features 36 holes of championship golf. Cotton Creek and Cypress Bend each offer a challenging, but fair, 18-holes. Both courses are signature Arnold Palmer golf courses and are the only two courses in Alabama designed by the legend himself. Each course boasts scenic and peaceful views of surrounding Baldwin County Alabama, with lush greens and various water features that fill the course. For rates, tee times, and specials, call ahead.


Gulf Shores Golf Club

12 miles from The Beach Club Resort & Spa

520 Clubhouse Drive, Gulf Shores, AL 36542



Gulf Shores Golf Club was one of the first golf course built in Gulf Shores. In 2005, it was redesigned by Jay and Carter Morrish to lengthen the course and add numerous water features and bunkers. Don’t be surprised to see the courses atypical residents, like alligators and squirrels. This 18 championship hole course is renowned by visitors and is a can’t miss for golf enthusiasts visiting Gulf Shores. Call ahead for tee times, rates, and specials.


Glenlakes Golf Club

21 miles from The Beach Club Resort & Spa

9530 Clubhouse Drive, Foley, AL 36535



Just a short drive away in Foley, AL, Glenlakes Golf Club is a Bruce Devlin/Robert Von Hagge designed 18-hole course in Foley.  Glenlakes has the feel of Scottish links golf featuring extra bunkering and postage-stamp sized greens. The 18-hole Vista-Dunes course is a links-style course, stretching 6,938 yards, and widely considered a challenging Gulf Coast course. The adjoining Lakes course is a nine-hole course that expands 3,065 yards and is great for golfers of all skill levels. For rates, tee times, and golf packages, call ahead.


Lost Key Golf Course

29 miles from The Beach Club Resort & Spa

625 Lost Key Drive, Pensacola, FL 32507



Although not located in Gulf Shores, Lost Key Golf Course deserves a mention as one of the Gulf Coast’s top courses. Lost Key Golf Course is nicknamed “Lost Ball” for the tightness of the course and number of balls lost to water features, wind gusts, and other natural vegetation. However, golfers who play a precision game will enjoy the challenge and beauty of the course. Redesigned by the Arnold Palmer Group in 2006, Lost Key was the first golf course in the State of Florida to be certified as an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary.



Fall is an especially great time of year for golf in Gulf Shores. The temperatures are a little cooler, the wind is a little breezier and the crowds are a little smaller. Book your golf getaway and relax at The Beach Club Resort & Spa this fall.


Six Must-Experience Gulf Shores Water Sports Activities

When summertime temperatures soar, many beach goers look for alternate ways to cool off. Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a multitude of activities for water-loving visitors. Get ready to splash in the surf, paddle off into the sunset or even soar high above the water on your next beach vacation with these must-try Gulf Shores water sports activities.


Cat Boats in Orange Beach

Cat Boat Tours in Orange Beach

Orange Beach Cat Boat Tours is a unique experience in a zippy, yet stable boat with a tour guide who fully narrates the one-and-a-half-hour adventure. It’s a great way to get back to nature, see some wildlife and spend time on Alabama’s coastal waterways. You pilot your own vessel, which adds to the excitement. Each cat boat seats two people. Established in 2017, cat boat tours have quickly become one of the most popular water sports in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

  • Call Orange Beach Cat Boat Tours at (251) 980-8410


SUP and Kayaking

Fort Morgan Kayaking

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is all the rage in water recreation, as is kayaking. Both of these water toys can be rented from various outfitters for watersports in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. If balance and adventure are your strong suit, SUP may be just the thing for fun in the sun. Kayaking is also an exciting way to explore the waterways in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Both SUPs and kayaks are available for rent directly in front of Turquoise Place by Perdido Beach Services. There’s no reason to leave the resort to enjoy a day of water adventure.

  • Call Perdido Beach Services at (251) 981-4807

If you prefer a guided tour rather than going solo, there are plenty of options available. While on an Orange Beach vacation at Turquoise Place, call Captain Glenn of Coastal Kayak Excursions. The captain will lead you on a three-hour guided eco-tour of the back bays in Orange Beach. You’ll likely see dolphins swimming nearby and other local marine life, as well.

  • Call Coastal Kayak Excursions at (251) 253-2430 

For those vacationing in Fort Morgan rentals at The Beach Club Resort & Spa, don’t miss the opportunity to kayak with WildNative Tours. Float along the waters of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and enjoy a peaceful afternoon on the water. Bring your camera (and a dry bag) to capture picture-perfect shots of the flora and fauna of this protected area.

  • Call WildNative Tours at (251) 272-4088


Parasailing and Jet Skis

Watersports on Alabama's beaches

Parasailing is as much fun to watch as it is to participate. Flying high above the beach offers a bird’s eye view of the area. Hop aboard a boat and soar the length of five football fields in the sky. Typically, you can ride single, double or triple. At The Beach Club, you don’t even have to leave our Fort Morgan resort to get your adrenaline pumping. It’s available right from the beach.

Jet Skis are a fun adrenaline rush with waves splashing and the thrill of driving your own watercraft. Just like parasailing, Jet Ski rentals are located onsite at The Beach Club Resort & Spa.

  • Call 251-616-3613 to book a parasail or Jet Ski adventure at The Beach Club


Orange Beach Catamaran Adventures

Catamaran sailing in Orange Beach

At Turquoise Place, you may recognize Perdido Beach Services for their beach chair rentals, but did you know they rent catamarans (oversized, cool-looking rafts with sails on them)? Exploring the waters of Orange Beach has never been so exhilarating! Perdido Beach Services also gives surfing lessons. Yes! You can hang 10 with other surfing newbies and learn to ride the waves with style.

  • Call Perdido Beach Services at (251)981-4807


There are so many fun ways to spend time on the water during a Gulf Shores vacation. You could choose a new adventure every day! Start your adventure by booking your Gulf Shores vacation rental.