GULF SHORES, Ala. – Now that school is out, it’s time for some relaxation, adventure and a whole lot of summer fun. If you’re looking for a place that has every summer vacation angle covered, Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Ala., is the place to be!
Here are our top 10 things you can enjoy this summer at Gulf State Park – and we’re willing to wager you can come up with plenty more great reasons to head to the Alabama coast.
1. Did you know Gulf State Park has about 25 miles of paved trails that lead you into the back country. These trails give you the opportunity to explore the wilderness and see animals in their natural habitat, all the while getting a little exercise and vitamin D. Get up close with tortoises and native plants, watch the migration of waterfowl through the wetlands and stroll under the shade of live oak trees.
2. Bring a swimsuit, because you’re bound to get wet at some point during your time at the park. There are kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and even Johnboats for fun on Lake Shelby. Check the beach rentals from Ike’s Beach Service where you can get beach chairs and umbrellas, beach wheelchairs, paddleboards and parasailing adventures. Check out ikesbeachservice.com or call 251-948-3757.
3. Take a free Fishing 101 class with park naturalists on the largest pier jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico! You can learn from anglers who have spent years fishing the Gulf from the pier. After a day on the water, stop by the newest restaurant – Angler’s at the Pier – for a drink and some food while watching the sunset over the Gulf.
4. Book a reservation at the Lake Shelby Cottages. Our cabins are great for friends or family. The 3-bedroom, 3-bath cottages were built in 2009 and all amenities are included. Remember to bring your food, clothes and beach supplies for a relaxing stay. Check out gulfstateparkcabins.com for more information.
5. Participate in one of our guided nature walks with a park naturalist and visit the Nature Center at the campground. Don’t forget to check out the latest additions to the center, our Barred and Great Horned Owl. Or, take a two-hour Segway tour on one of the seven trails in the 25-mile Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system. Reservations are required from coastalsegwayadventures.com.
6. Bring your golf game to the Refuge Golf Club. Many locals love the golf course at Gulf State Park because of the wildlife and peace and quiet it offers. Greens fees are a great bargain, too.
7. Engaged and looking for a place to tie the knot? Look no further than the Saltwater Beach Pavilion. Get married on the beach at sunset and have your reception under the pavilion. Mojo’s Restaurant operates daily and would be happy to cater your wedding.
8. Go camping where you have access to full hook-ups, extra-large campsites, a beautiful pool and splash pad, camp store, tennis courts and more. More information is at gulfstateparkcamping.com.
9. Observe nature throughout the park. We have added new trails and you may have a chance to see eagles in their habitat. No matter where you are, there’s a wonderful chance to see wildlife.
10. Relax on the sugar white beaches in Gulf State Park. Enjoy the waves crashing and soak up all the wonders this park has to offer.