Free Things to Do in Gulf Shores and Around the Area

Pete Dimao - May 16, 2019

Looking for some wallet-friendly activities for your Gulf Shores getaway? You’ve come to the right spot!

Discover the best free things to do in Gulf Shores and around the area. From free events to historic museums and outdoor excursions, there’s a lot to do in and around Gulf Shores that won’t break the bank.

And be sure to book your Gulf Shores condo before it’s too late—select from spacious one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-bedroom condos at The Beach Club Resort & Spa.

Check out the best free things to do in Gulf Shores!

Go to the Beach

little girl building sandcastles on the beach

There’s nothing better than a day at the beach. Soak up the sun, play in the sand, and enjoy the surf with the family. Build sandcastles, search for shells, take a dip in the emerald Gulf waters, or just relax near the dunes. Gulf Shores has several beach accesses that include free parking like Cotton Bayou and Romar Beach in Gulf State Park. See more public beach areas with free parking.

SPECTRA Light Show at The Wharf

Where:  23101 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Contact: (251) 224-1000

Enjoy a dazzling sound and light show during SPECTRA at The Wharf in Orange Beach. During the performance, Main Street becomes a stage of dazzling lights as the palm trees that line the street illuminate with color. The show is free for guests to enjoy. Shows are nightly at 8:30 pm, 9 pm, and 9:30 pm.

Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum

Where: 25805 John Snook Drive, Orange Beach

Contact: (251) 981-8545

Explore the history of Orange Beach and the Alabama Gulf Coast by visiting the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum. Native American artifacts, memorabilia, fishing artifacts, and more are housed in a schoolhouse originally built in 1910. The museum also offers group tours. Admission is free.

National Aviation Museum

plane engine

Where: 1750 Radford Boulevard, Pensacola, FL

Contact: 1-800-327-5002

Located just a short drive from Gulf Shores in Pensacola, FL is the National Aviation Museum. Free to the public, the National Aviation Museum is the largest of its kind and a popular attraction for Gulf Coast visitors. The museum houses over 150 restored one-of-a-kind aircraft. There are several exhibits to explore, and the museum also includes extra attractions at an additional fee.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach

Where: 26389 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Contact: (251) 981-2787

Overlooking scenic Wolf Bay, the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach boasts two stories of local fine art pieces that include pottery, paintings, and photography. Admission is free to the public.

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails

Where: Orange Beach

Contact: (251) 981-1180

Take in the sights and sounds of the freshwater marshes and coastal hardwood swamps of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach at Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails. Hikers will be able to hike seven unique trails that wind through the Alabama Gulf Coast’s diverse ecosystem. The complex also includes several attractions including Boulder Park and a butterfly garden. Admission to the complex is free.

Orange Beach Waterfront Park at Wolf Bay

Where: 26389 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Waterfront Park, located along Wolf Bay in Orange Beach, boasts a 400’ fishing pier, picnic shelters with grills, a paved walking path, and covered pavilions located along the pier. Kids will love the lighted kids’ park with slides, a climbing area, and swings. The park is open to the public year-round. Whether you’re planning a picnic, fishing trip, or to burn some energy, Waterfront Park is the place to go!

Wharf Ferris Wheel

The Wharf

Where: 23101 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Contact: (251) 224-1000

The Wharf is a popular spot for fun and excitement, with tons of shops, restaurants, and attractions to peruse. This family-friendly entertainment complex also features free weekly events throughout the summer including Sparks After Dark Fireworks Show, Kids Night, Circus on Main, and the Pepsi Treasure Hunt.

See the weekly schedule for free, summer fun at The Wharf:

  • Painting Under the Palms → Sundays at 5:30 pm
  • Sparks After Dark Fireworks Show → Mondays at 8:45 pm
  • Kids Night → Tuesdays at 5:30
  • Circus on Main → Thursdays at 6 pm

Don’t wait—book the perfect Gulf Shores accommodations before they’re gone!