What you need to know about a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama has long been a favorite vacation spot for my family in fact it an article that I wrote about it was the very first to be published on this site. Let’t not talk about that article though, it was after all my very first article and boy does it show.

Over Fall Break my family took a break from the grueling cross country schedule that seemed to involve all four of us. We even skipped a race, this was not an easy thing to convince my runner to do. But we all agreed that it was so good for us to get away, and it really did us all a lot of good.

Gulf Shores, Alabama is just over 9 hours from our home in Louisville Kentucky. Let’s face it, by the time we stop for potty breaks and food, we are looking at a solid 11 hours in the car. Our family doesn’t mind to drive, it probably has something to do with the fact that it is pretty cost prohibitive for us.

Gulf Shores Alabama

What to do outdoors in Gulf Shores, Alabama:

This question is a pretty self explanatory answer, which is to head for the beach. In fact, we spent/spend most of our time in town at the beach. We spent the bulk of our first day hanging out at the public beach waiting until we could check into our condo. There is ample parking, (just bring money to park), as well as clean public restrooms. Not to mention, the parking lot of the public beach backs up to the Hangout. So, you can soak up the sand and the waves and then grab a bite to eat.

Gulf Shores Public Beach

The Track Go-Kart course is a fun outdoor, go kart track that is reminiscent of some of the tracks featured in Mario Kart. The go-karts aren’t so speedy that it makes a chicken like me worried and it is perfect for my little guys.

Ferris Wheel at the Wharf is a fun family activity, costing $5 per person. The colorful lights that are visible at night make the perfect photo opportunity.

There are a ton of mini golf places in town, just do me a favor and make sure you show your kids who is boss when you play them.

What to do indoors in Gulf Shores, Alabama:

Fat Daddy’s Arcade, is a great place to head when it is rainy outside, just be sure to get ready to show your family who is boss when it comes to skeeball.

Fat Daddy's Arcade Gulf Shores Alabama

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an awesome stop while you are in town, bonus they have a sloth encounter that you don’t want to miss out on.

Gulf Coast Zoo, Gulf Shores Alabama


The Wormhole Virtual Arcade is a different sort of arcade experience in that you are inside the games that are specialized to this arcade.  Users put on VR headsets and explore the game that they have chosen.

Roughly 20 minutes up the road is the town of Foley Alabama, which is home to OWA, a theme park and downtown area that instantly makes you feel as if you have stepped into a small southern town.

In Foley, you will also find the Tanger outlet mall, you know, for when your skin has seen more of the sun than it can handle and you have sand in places you didn’t think that you could get sand.

Where to Eat in Gulf Shores, Alabama:

There is no shortage of amazing places to eat in Gulf Shores. In fact, we love the options so much that we wrote a whole separate post about places to eat in Gulf Shores.

You can check out the details here.

The Hangout Gulf Shores Alabama

But, just so you know, no trip to Gulf Shores is complete without a stop at the Hangout. We had never been before because I had incorrectly assumed that it wasn’t a family friendly spot. Don’t get me wrong, at night after the kids should be in bed, it gets a little bit more adult centered. However, it is a fantastic place to bring your family for lunch or dinner. It sits adjacent to the public beach area of Gulf Shores.

While you are in the area, either on your way into town or on the way out OR better yet on a day trip to go shopping, make sure you make a stop at Gelato Joe’s in Foley, Alabama.  They have the best Italian food, and obviously gelato.

But seriously, we covered all of these spots in the post about the best places to eat in Gulf Shores! Read it here.

Where to stay in Gulf Shores:

The fact of the matter is that there are an abundance of places to stay while you are in town. There are a wide variety of lodging options to choose from no matter if your preference is to stay in a traditional hotel or a condo set up.

However, we are extremely partial to The Beach Club Resort & Spa managed by Spectrum Resorts. 

The Beach Club

The Beach Club offers mostly condo rentals with a few villas for rent mixed in. While we were there, we stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 and 1/2 bathroom condo and it was the perfect set up for our little family. With a full kitchen that has every utensil that you could need for cooking in, a cozy living room, washer and dryer and expansive balcony it was heaven.

You may wonder why in the world I am so excited about having a washer and dryer in my condo. There is seriously nothing better than coming home from vacation with clean clothes, and folding them with a view of the ocean makes an otherwise tedious chore that much better.

Check out this video tour of the condo that we stayed in:

The Beach Club also has several restaurants on site including a permeant food truck set up. Upon checking in you also will get a voucher for free ice cream for the kids and the Beach Club equivalent of a RedBox coupon. You can use this coupon as often as you like during the duration of your stay.

Pools at the Beach Club in Gulf Shores Alabama

There is no lacking of pools on the property either. There are 5 outdoor pools and 1 indoor pool. Each pool is lovely and my kids took full advantage of the opportunity to try out the cannon ball skills. I lost count of the amount of times that they cannonballed into the pool.

Takeaways about Gulf Shores:

We love the laid back atmosphere of Gulf Shores and it is absolutely perfect for families. If you haven’t visited, maybe your next beach destination should be to the Alabama coast. We are willing to bet that you will be surprised by how much you like the area.

Everything you need to know about Gulf Shores Alabama. From food, to where to stay to the best places to eat!

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