Gulf Shores, Alabama: The Perfect Family Getaway

 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Florida isn’t the only state in the southeastern United States with beautiful beaches and near-perfect weather, as that’s exactly what travelers can expect from Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Only ten miles from the Florida state line, the small town of Gulf Shores is the premier tourist destination in Alabama, as it has a long stretch of white-sand beaches that are lined with luxury resorts, vacation rentals, golf courses and family attractions. But though popular for Alabama, Gulf Shores still only has a fraction of the crowds that can make some of the more well-known Floridian destinations feel so overdone.

The white-sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, which are mostly free from crowds.

The white-sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, which are mostly free from crowds.

Gulf Shores is a particularly appealing travel destination for families, as it has that perfect mix of fun and sun that is always in demand come summertime. A great accommodation choice for families is Martinique on the Gulf. Built in a style reminiscent of the French Caribbean, the resort provides vacation rentals that range from condos for small groups to beachfront houses for larger families.

The luxury vacation rental homes of Martinique on the Gulf.

The luxury vacation rental homes of Martinique on the Gulf.

When it comes time for an activity other than lying on the beach, one doesn’t have to go far as the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is just next door. Spanning 7,000 acres of coastal sand dunes, this refuge is a prime habitat for migratory birds and nesting sea turtles. There are a number of hiking trails in the park that range from 1 to 4 miles in length.

A hiking trail in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. CC SA

A hiking trail in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. CC SA

Just a few miles down the road, the Fort Morgan Historic Site is another cool family-friendly attraction. Built in 1834, the fort was at the center of the action in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War and is an impressive sight, even today, as its brick masonry is exceptional.

If the kids aren’t completely satisfied with swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf, Waterville USA is a water park that should be able to keep young children and teenagers enthralled for a day. Across the street the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is perfect for small children, as it has an intimate quality and offers opportunities for kids to get up close to some of the (safe) animals.

Nevertheless, the holiday shouldn’t only be about making the kids happy and there are a number of activities in Gulf Shores that are suitable for adults or couples.

Sports enthusiasts can check out one of the area’s fantastic golf courses. The Kiva Dunes Golf Club is an excellent choice, as this 18-hole course roams across a beautiful coastal landscape of sand dunes and lakes.

Couples, on the other hand, can leave the kids at the resort and enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the area’s restaurants. Nolan’s is one of the town’s most acclaimed eateries and it offers patrons both a romantic setting and excellent cuisine.

After a fun-filled day of family attractions and activities, it's nice to kick back and relax with your significant other.

After a fun-filled day of family attractions and activities, it’s nice to kick back and relax with your significant other.

See Gulf Shores on the Map

 

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