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Sunny Escapes: 25 Fun Things to Do in Orange Beach, AL

Sunny Escapes: 25 Fun Things to Do in Orange Beach, AL

Whether you’re adventuring with your family, catching up on gossip with your best friends, or out for a romantic stroll hand in hand, Orange Beach is the place to be. Here’s my scoop on 25 fun things to do in Orange Beach (and Gulf Shores!), Alabama, that’ll have you loving this spot just as much as my family and I do.

But first…


During my first trip down to the Alabama Beaches‘ sunny stretches, I was smitten—just like the countless others who’ve stumbled upon this coastal paradise.

Imagine thirty-two miles of the softest, whitest sand you’ve ever seen and a vibe as easygoing as a dockside hammock swinging in the Gulf breeze. Add in the warm, welcoming folks around town, and you’ve got the makings of an unforgettable getaway.

Where are the Alabama Beaches? They are between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. They border the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay, and Perdido Bay. 


1. Dive Into Some Fun at The Wharf

You’ve not seen a hangout until you’ve hit up The Wharf. My daughter gave me the lowdown on this mega entertainment center on the waterfront. It’s the ultimate “stay and play” spot. 


The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down at The Wharf. Lift your spirits on a giant Ferris wheel or indulge in the free light show, SPECTRA Laser Light Experience, where colors and tunes collide to gift you a vibrant spectacle. Show times are 7:30, 8:00, and 8:30. 

Warning: This show’s flashing lights and strobe effect could potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy or other sensory disorders.


You can try your hand at everything from boutique shopping to dining under the stars, and even if all you want to do is people-watch, it’s the perfect place to soak in the local color. My favorite shops are Fish on a Dish, Shades, and Archipelago.


2. Take a Walk on the Wild Side at AL Gulf Coast Zoo

Dubbed “The Little Zoo That Could,” this Alabama favorite punches way above its weight class with nearly 200 species (such as capybara, tigers, lemurs, and wolves), including some rare and endangered pals you won’t meet anywhere else.


Heart-pounding Animal Encounters? Check. Sloth selfies? Oh yeah. A spin on the carousel after zipping over gators? All that and then some. Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is hands-down a must-do for families.


3. Explore the Local Eats

The dining scene here is second to none—especially if you’ve got a thing for Southern comfort food and uber-fresh seafood, which practically swims onto your plate. Morning munchies are quickly satisfied with inventive egg benedicts at Ruby Slipper Cafe or classic indulgences at Sunliner Diner.

Come lunchtime, Wolf Bay serves up the best crab dip in town, and Lulu’s delivers a menu that won’t quit. When the evening rolls around, places like Luna’s Eat and Drink and DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen offer fresh seafood dishes and others that’ll have you drooling and ready for a nap afterward. 


Call or reserve your meal time online to avoid the crowds and long wait times. For more places to eat, check out these 25+ Delicious Best Places to Eat in Orange Beach/Gulf Shores.

4. Everyday’s A Festival at The Hangout

This is where live tunes, great grub, and chill vibes come together like saltwater taffy. Whether you’re in town for Spring Break fun or the Hangout Music Festival’s big acts, you can bank on a good time. 

Fire pits, foam parties, a sandy lounge—a better spot to loosen up and live a little just doesn’t exist. The Hangout is 100% family-friendly.


5. Pedal Paradise at Beach Bike Rentals

Why bring your own bike when you can rent a sweet ride instead? You can pick any color, any style—even electric ones—at Beach Bike Rentals! And with helmets that might just make you cooler than the other side of the pillow, hitting the trails is as fun as it’s practical. 


Check out Coleman Concierge’s run-down on the best paths to peddle around these parts.

6. Sandsational Relaxation

Here’s the main event—the jaw-dropping, dazzling Gulf Shores and Orange Beach white beaches. Whether you’re all about kicking back and cracking open a good book under the sun or keeping it active with a beach walk, this is pure, unadulterated bliss.


Take it from me; there’s no wrong way to enjoy these Alabama Beaches shores.

Pro Tip: The beaches are less crowded from March through early May and September through November. You can take advantage of lower prices, too. 


7. Outdoor Oasis at Gulf State Park

Whether you’re up for a hike, a swim, or getting to know the local winged residents, Gulf State Park is your go-to for outdoor fun. It’s a snapshot of Alabama’s wild side with critters like deer, armadillos, and a butterfly garden. And hey, don’t skip the tasty eats at Woodside Restaurant. 

One Muscle Shoals Omelet coming right up!


Fun Fact: I recently learned there are six miles between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. The property at Gulf State Park separates them. 

8. Stay in Style at Turquoise Place

Let’s talk about crashing in style. Turquoise Place is the crown jewel of accommodations here—a striking blue beacon of luxury with the Gulf’s shore at its feet. The balconies are huge. The outdoor pool is like a slice of paradise, complete with a noodle-friendly lazy river. 


Check this: there’s even an indoor pool where you can jam to tunes underwater. Cool, right? Every unit’s a gem, with plenty of bedrooms decked out to make you feel like royalty.

Spectrum Resorts rolls out the red carpet with perks galore, and trust me, you’ll appreciate that covered parking when it’s time to unpack your beach gear. 


9. Enjoy the Royal Treatment with The Beach Moms

Picture this: You’ve just arrived at the beach, and all the groceries you need for your trip have already been purchased, put away, and are awaiting you. Or, you may need help scoring those hard-to-get attraction passes. 

Enter The Beach Moms Concierge Service – they’re your fairy godmothers who also happen to throw Instagram-worthy gourmet picnics on the beach that’ll make your Instagram pop!

10. Do Art That Stirs the Soul

Take a detour to the Coastal Arts Center for a splash of culture. Here, creativity thrives with art from over 100 local masters in a 10,000-square-foot fine art gallery, each piece telling its own story. Wander through the grand gallery, where paintings and sculptures speak volumes and glass art captivates with its dance of light. 

Who knew Orange Beach could double as an art connoisseur’s playground?


11. Sand Castle University – Become a Sand Architect!

The beach has its own classroom at Sand Castle University. Yes, you read that right—masters of the grainy craft are here to turn you and your pals into sand architects in no time. Armed with just water and simple tools (such as a straw and fast-food knife), you’ll be shaping towers, carving doorways, and etching staircases like a beachside Michelangelo.

The secret lies in making the “glue,” the perfect mix of water and sand. 


It’s a hands-in-the-sand experience that’ll stick with you, no pun intended.


12. History Comes Alive at Fort Morgan

If history is your jam, Fort Morgan Historic Site is where past battles speak louder than any textbook. It was here that Admiral Farragut famously rallied his sailors with the cry of “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!” during the crucial Battle of Mobile Bay.

Immerse yourself in stories of yesteryear, and if you spot historian Dylan Tucker, you’re in for a treat – the man’s a walking history book!


13. Boating and Fishing – Big Thrills and Tall Tales

The call of the sea is irresistible here. Hop on a chartered boat from The Wharf and zip around Orange Beach’s back bays. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and gaze at the swanky seaside mansions. For those angling for the ultimate catch, the local waters are teeming with redfish and snapper just waiting to bite.

Charter a deep-sea fishing trip – bragging rights come standard.


14. Endless Beachfront Fun

Let’s be honest; the main draw here is the beach, and you will have plenty of things to do on these sandy shores. From building sandcastles to playing frisbee or just lounging with a cold drink in hand, there’s something for everyone.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at some watersports like water skiing, paddle boarding, and scuba diving.


But hey, we’re just scratching the sandy surface here. With jet skis, boogie boards, and glass-bottom boat rides within arm’s reach, your beach day can be as chill or as charged as you want it to be. Imagine yourself sailing the gentle gulf or finding Nemo while snorkeling deep—the possibilities are endless.

15. Step Back in Time at Bamahenge

Fancy a slice of ancient mystery? Bamahenge, in nearby Elberta, Alabama, is your answer. It stands tall as a replica of the legendary Stonehenge—but without the England chill. Built by artist Mark Cline, it’s a selfie hotspot that is totally free and awesome.

Photo by Lydia of Lost With Lydia.

16. Sip on Local Flavors at Southern Grind Coffee House

And if your adventures have you craving caffeine, Southern Grind Coffee House is the spot. When you’re here, do as the locals do – grab a Bushwacker coffee; it’s the signature sip of the Gulf Coast and much-needed fuel after days spent under the Alabama sun.

I adore shopping at this darling coffee shop, too. It’s an aesthetically pleasing space with excellent iced dirty matches and delicious pastries and sweets.


17. Check Out A Beloved Trail

The 25-mile Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail has six distinct ecosystems running through Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Gulf State Park. We saw pristine freshwater marshes, hardwood swamps, and the mascot of the trail, “Lefty,” an alligator that loves sunbathing. Be sure to say hello to him!

You can walk, jog, or bike the trail, popular with the locals and beach visitors. Be sure to snap a photo of the trail map as you enter so you don’t get lost—says someone speaking from experience.


18. Try Your Luck at Blowing Glass

A super trendy hot glass-blowing studio, The Hot Shop, has fun group classes and is great for a girls’ night out. In a beginner-level class, you can make your own glass creations for $35-$95 to make a flower, vase, or paperweight. 

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM. 


19. Indulge in a Burger Haven at The Hangout

The secret’s out! The Hangout isn’t just any restaurant; it’s a burger paradise where every bite is a circus of flavors. Don’t miss their Po’Boys – they’re a handful of happiness. And here’s a little insider tip: take a mini-tour of their cool retro collections, where lunch boxes and Pez dispensers tell tales of the good old days.

Psst… The Hangout’s handcrafted mules and mojitos are pure magic, and if you’re up for it, the Bushwacker is a creamy dream you can’t skip!


20. Get Creative with Pottery at Coastal Arts Center

Feeling artsy? There’s a pottery class with your name on it at the Coastal Arts Center. Channel your inner “Ghost” movie moment and sling clay, or sign up for a painting class to dab your way to tranquility.

Picture yourself on their porch, rocking away, surrounded by stunning artwork, and chatting with folks who love the beauty of this area as much as you do.


21. Explore the Wonder of Tropic Falls at OWA

Excitement abounds at OWA Downtown – where the air buzzes with the joy of 23 theme-park rides. And Tropic Falls? It’s the newly minted indoor water park wonder with a flashy outdoor wave pool that will thrill you, chill you, and make you want more.

Here are a dozen ideas for fun at OWA.


22. Flora-Bama: One Place, Two States

At Flora-Bama, plant one foot in Alabama and the other in Florida, and boogie down in a place where the party always goes through five bars and a vast indoor/outdoor space. Live music, ocean air, and a dash of southern spirit – it’s been the heart of the Gulf Coast’s good times since 1964!

Pro Tip: I’m not a bar girl but I had the best time at Flora-Bama. You’ll see people from all walks of life and all ages. 


23. City Doughnut – A Sugary Paradise

Calling all doughnut devotees! City Doughnut whips up the prettiest and tastiest ringed goodies you’ll find. Whether for breakfast or a midnight snack attack, these treats are your sugar sidekick anytime.


24. Sunset Sips at High Tide Daiquiris & Mimosas

Nothing whispers ‘beach life’ like a chilled drink in your hand and a cotton candy sky. High Tide Daiquiris & Mimosas is your go-to spot for that. Their daiquiri flights are a kaleidoscope of flavors (pro tip: ask for the chocolate-covered banana Bushwacker!). 

And for our friends who like it without alcohol, HTD&M’s mocktails are just as delightful.

Photo from FB page.

25. Feast Your Eyes (and Taste Buds) at Voyagers

Do you hear that? It’s the call of fine dining by the waterfront inside the Perdido Beach Resort. Voyagers promise an epicurean escapade with fresh-off-the-boat seafood and steaks that dance with flavor. And the wine list? It’s longer than a summer day. 

Cheers to great views and even greater bites that Chef Brody Olive has masterfully prepared.


Orange Beach Delivers Family Fun For All Ages

Orange Beach is waiting, with its treasure chest of fun things to do, and it’s a list you will want to tick off. There’s something to delight the whole gang, from sandcastles and history to art and deep-sea thrills.

Pack your bags, grab your sense of wonder, and get ready for a fantastic vacation.


Though I’ve been to Orange Beach/Gulf Shores multiple times, I want to thank Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism for hosting many of my stays and meals. As with all of my work, reviews and opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.

Check out our other Alabama posts:

Things for Millennials to Do in Gulf Shores

Best Things to Do in Huntsville

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