If you’re visiting the Orange Beach & Gulf Shores area of Alabama, you probably want to do more than just sit on the beach and look at the gorgeous sunsets – although I wouldn’t hold that against you. There’s so much to see and do when you’re in town you’ll definitely want to narrow it down, so I’m happy to assist. From cool art classes to historic forts, here are 6 fun things to do in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores with kids!
Disclosure: I was hosted by the fine folks at Visit Orange Beach & Gulf Shores to give you the scoop on what to do when you visit. All opinions are my own!
It seems like a lifetime ago, but last March my teen daughter and I hit the road for a three-week long road trip through the southern states. Having never visited Orange Beach or Gulf Shores, I was happy as a clam to dig in and see what there was to see and do. I’ve already written about cool places to eat in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores if you’re interested in the best spots to dine at. Here are my top recommendations for things to do in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores – especially with kids. * One thing to keep in mind, compliments of today’s physical distancing, many of the places mentioned have limited hours or are currently closed, so please check the website for details. This post is for when our travel world gets back to normal.
1. Fun Things to Do in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores: Fort Morgan
If your kids love exploring, Fort Morgan State Historic Site is THE spot to visit in the Orange Beach area. Roughly a 25-minute drive from the beach, it’s well worth the effort to get there. A massive, well-used soldier fort, you can walk around, over, and through it and it’s a great spot for photos. If you have children that like to play pirate or soldier, this is a perfect spot for them.
When you visit, carve out at least three hours so you don’t have to rush. There’s a small beach area at the very tip of the fort that’s worth checking out and makes a great spot for lunch or a snack.
2. High Cotton Bath Company
For older kids, High Cotton Bath Company is a great spot for creating your own bath products. We were able to choose from probably 25 different bases and oils, added in a customized scent, and watch it get bottled. My daughter has very dry skin in winter, so making skincare products that work well for her was ideal.
3. Fun Things to Do in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores: Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is the little zoo that could. It just underwent a massive move to a new location away from any major bodies of water. A few years ago, the zoo was massively flooded but it kept on keeping on and is back this year, but bigger and better than ever.
During our visit, we had the chance to tour the zoo before it opened. Hands down, the first thing I noticed was how very family-friendly it is. It’s not a giant zoo, but you could definitely spend the day there if you wanted.
4.Hammer & Stain
Hammer & Stain is a super creative spot, especially for teens and older kids. In a nutshell, you basically show up, check out all of the templates, and get crafting. Sure, that sounds vague, but the company is so much more than that. It’s jam packed with wooden templates for signs and cool additions like stick-on lettering. If you can’t decide, the owners are there to help you choose.
During our trip, my goal was to make something unique. So I dipped wooden flowers into paint, let them dry, and then added them to a wooden frame. The result was adorable! So cute, in fact, it’s by my front door so I can see it every time I come and go.
5. Fun Things to Do in Orange Beach & Gulf Shores: Gulf State Park – Lake Shelby
Made for hiking and biking, Lake Shelby is gorgeous even if you’re simply sitting at a bench beside it. It has annual festivals and events that get pretty busy, so make sure to check the calendar before you go.
6. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Welcome Center
This is, by far, the prettiest visitor’s center I’ve ever entered. It has a pretty dolphin fountain out front and is calming and lovely on the inside. My reason for a pit stop would be additional resources, too, like different travel style suggestions.
Additionally, if you simply want to ask where the locals go or where the nearest grocery store is, the folks that work there will know in a heartbeat.