If it has been a while since you last visited Alabama beaches, then you might find it helpful to know what’s new in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. And, there’s plenty, with lots of adventure making it easy to maintain proper social distancing from others.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Although the amazing Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is not new, they have moved to a new facility on Oak Road East that offers room to roam, lots of beautiful spaces, a huge playground and fun extras like the butterfly house. Favorites for us are animal encounters (up close opportunities to visit with lemurs, baby kangaroos and sloths), giraffes and the carousel. Don’t miss a spectacular meal at the Safari Club Restaurant where Executive Chef Greg Buschmohle and his team serve small plates, salads and handmade artisan wood-fired pizzas as well as seafood and other choices. The ambiance is very Disney-like with beautifully decorated spaces and well-thought-out sustainable practices. You’ll definitely want to add this to your list of what’s new in Gulf Shores and plan a visit on your next trip.
Coastal Segway Adventure
Enjoy the natural beauty of Gulf Shores and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail with a Coastal Segway Adventure! You’ll get a two-hour guided Segway® tour in Gulf State Park or you can rent and ride on your own. Riders must be 12 years old and up, and a signed waiver (available on the website) is required. And, for your convenience, they also rent bicycles, kayaks and paddle boards.
Gulf Coast Ducks
Fun for the whole family awaits on this unique, 60-minute tour aboard a restored WWII vessel with Gulf Coast Ducks! Ducks is the only land and water adventure in the area, and offers an interactive tour. Guests will get an education on the exciting tourism industry as well as the history of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. A family favorite is the sunset dolphin cruise…take your camera! Check the website for possible discounts and note that it leaves from the Caribe Marina.
Sand Castle University
Also contributing to the growing list of things to do in Gulf Shores is lessons in sand castle building from Sand Castle University. They will come to your location (as long as there is sand and water), and teach tips and tricks plus show you the best tools for building sand castles that will wow those passing by! This is by far one of the best group activities my family has ever participated in.
Two years old, but still considered new, is the fabulously quintessential Sunliner Diner where signs of yesteryear make everyone feel at home. Enjoy American comfort foods like hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, all-day breakfast and milkshakes. Have fun in a throwback environment where juke boxes rule!
No matter what new activities, restaurants or adventures may come to Alabama beaches, you can always count on one thing: the white, sandy shores juxtaposing turquoise waters are the main draw. Soft and litter-free (thanks to the Leave Only Footprints initiative), you can walk on the beaches, spread a towel and enjoy sun-drenched days or head out for a day of water recreation.
This post is a collaboration with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. Opinions, suggestions and photos are all my own.