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OWA: A Hidden Gem On The Gulf Coast

OWA: A Hidden Gem On The Gulf Coast

Located in Foley, Alabama, OWA is the Gulf Coast’s premier entertainment destination. With a 23-attraction theme park, new indoor waterpark, unique dining, and live entertainment, it’s fun for the whole family. In total, OWA is made up of two parts (Tropic Falls and Downtown OWA) plus a hotel (TownePlace Suites). Learn all about this family-friendly vacation destination.

Know Before You Go: OWA is pronounced “oh-wah” and was inspired by the Muscogee Creek language to mean “big water”.

My visit to OWA was hosted. All opinions are 100% my own and unbiased.

Tropic Falls

At the heart of OWA is Tropic Falls, an award-winning theme park and all-new indoor waterpark. It’s the ultimate combination of thrill and chill.


Tropic Falls has 23 exhilarating attractions, and the centerpiece of the park is Rollin’ Thunder. Designed with daredevils in mind, this roller coaster will have you twisting, turning, and looping. While Tropic Falls has several thrill rides, it also has rides for the whole family and some for just children.

Additionally, the theme park has carnival-style games, a nice gift shop, and a designated space just for cooling off (much appreciated in the Alabama heat).


Attractions at the brand-new indoor waterpark are:

  • Six exciting water slides
  • A large lazy river
  • A very cute kid-friendly structure with five slides and a dump-bucket tower

The indoor waterpark is larger than a football field and has a convertible glass roof.


Phase two of the waterpark, Big Water Bay, is under construction. It will include a 30,000-square-foot tropical wave pool and surf simulator.

Note: You must bring your own towels.

Pro Tip: Visit at night for an even more exciting experience. 


Downtown OWA

Inspired by Southern small towns, Downtown OWA’s pedestrian-only streets are a destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. A new adventure awaits you at every turn. 

Alvin’s Island, Fairhope Soap Company, Native Treasures (authentic and inspired Native American products), The Spice & Tea Exchange, and Somethin’ Sassy (uncommon gifts), are just a few of the retail stores.


There’s plenty of fun to be had here, too.

Stop by Paint Party Studios to make and take art, or pop in the Arcade at OWA to play one of 50 larger-than-life games. Experience virtual reality gaming at Clash eSports & VR Experience, or try your hand at one of their virtual escape rooms. Sip fine wine at C’est Le Vin Wine Bar & Shop, or stop by Murder Creek Distillery for a sample of moonshine distilled on-site at OWA.

Take the whole family to see a show at the Brandon Styles Theater. With an ever-changing lineup of acts and shows, Brandon Styles is sure to deliver lots of laughs.

Fun Fact: Brandon Styles placed top six in the world for close-up magic from the International Brotherhood of Magicians.


Downtown OWA Dining

Downtown OWA is full of great restaurants. 

El Diablo Taqueria & Cantina serves authentic Mexican dishes, while Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen makes Southern-Style food in a unique family-style setting. Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant has coastal-inspired favorites and contemporary American fare prepared with local ingredients. Grab fresh-made sushi at Sushi Co, or head to Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill for casual fun and coastal cuisine.


Groovy Goat serves top-of-the-line food and drinks and has the largest screens for sports in the area. Their scratch kitchen offers a twist on many traditional sports restaurant offerings, creating some of the coolest dishes in town.


Valerio’s Pizza & Italian is a wonderful quick-service restaurant. Their salads, paninis, pastas, and sweets are all made with fresh ingredients. Enjoy your food at the restaurant, or take it to go for one of Downtown OWA’s events.


Visit the Hershey’s Ice Cream Parlor, Sweet Tooth at OWA, or Cinnabon to satisfy your sweet cravings.


TownePlace Suites By Marriott Foley at OWA

Stay in the heart of the excitement at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott Foley at OWA. Located on property, you can wake up and walk straight into a fun-filled day at OWA. Or, use it as a home base to explore more of what the area offers, as both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are just minutes away.

Pro Tip: Check out these things to do in Gulf Shores.


With plush beds made up with fluffy pillows and cotton-rich linens, Smart TVs with access to streaming services, and a kitchen furnished with full-size appliances and cookware, your spacious room at the TownePlace Suites will feel just like home.


The pet-friendly TownePlace Suites Foley at OWA has several amenities: a heated indoor pool and spacious fitness center, plus free parking, Wi-Fi, and a daily breakfast buffet. The hotel also has a nice outdoor area with comfortable seating arrangements, fire pits, and gas grills. It’s a great place to sit and relax after a day of OWA fun.

There is no on-site restaurant, but all of Downtown OWA’s delicious restaurants are steps away.


When To Visit

OWA offers endless family fun all year long. The destination resort offers a full calendar of events with exciting holiday activities.

During Christmas at OWA (December 3-23), have breakfast with Santa, see Holiday Express–A Christmas Spectacular, participate in an ugly sweater contest, watch special Christmas tree and fountain shows, and take part in a Christmas Murder Mystery Dinner Show, just to name a few offerings.

At Halloween, go Trick or Treating, see a special fountain light show, and explore frightful scare zones. OWA also has a Mardi Gras Parade, movie nights in the summer, and fireworks for the 4th of July. There’s always something festive going on here.

My Thoughts

I was blown away by OWA. Just in the past year, I have been to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area twice. I had no idea that such an awesome spot for families was right there, too. OWA makes for a perfect weekend getaway or addition to your annual beach trip.


I liked the smaller size of Tropic Falls’ theme park. I found it very manageable and easy to get around, especially since it is laid out in a circle. Tropic Falls was also very clean, which hasn’t always been my experience at theme parks.


The indoor waterpark was my favorite. It’s a lot of fun, and the decor gives it a cool vibe. There was plenty of seating, and I appreciate that life jackets are provided for children. I also want to note that we ate lunch at its Hawaiian-themed quick-service restaurant, Grub, and it was really good (absolutely start with the Mozzarella Cheese Sticks).


Downtown OWA is worth a visit, whether you plan on going to Tropic Falls or not. Although it has fewer retail stores than The Wharf (in Orange Beach), it is larger and offers more entertainment options. And I liked that the streets are pedestrian only. 

Overall, I loved OWA and cannot wait to visit again!

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