Explore Gulf State Park: Guide to Family Fun in Alabama Beaches

Gulf State Park, located in Gulf Shores, Alabama, ranks as one of the top attractions in this southern beach destination. Its white sandy beaches provide a place to relax, however there are plenty more things to do and see at the park. Gulf State Park also welcomes visitors to play golf and tennis, fish, hike, and make lifelong memories. Start exploring all the family fun at Gulf State Park.

Gulf State Park: Top 5 Fun Things to Do

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Photo: faungg’s photos

Plan a Beach Day

The park features nearly 4 miles of beaches, perfect for playing in the water or taking a scenic stroll. Guests have three access points from which to choose, including the Beach Pavilion and two in Orange Beach, Alabama. While at the beach, families can fish, swim, rent jet skis, parasail and surf. Those looking to read will also find plenty of space to spread out and soak up the sun.

Go Fishing

In addition to surf fishing, visitors can cast a line into Lake Shelby, which is located in the park. The 800-acre freshwater lake is home to redfish, bass, speckled trout and catfish, to name a few. An on-site pier also welcomes guests to cast a line, and possible catches include flounder, pompano and king mackerel. Experts advise anglers to use a variety of live bait, and a park permit and freshwater license are required. Anglers may purchase both at the pier, park headquarters and campground.

Park Perks

Gulf State Park prides itself on family-friendly attractions, so it’s no surprise dogs have their own place to play. The Dog Pond at Lake Shelby is located near Gulf Adventure Center, and pups are free to roam off-leash once inside the park. Read more dog park guidelines.

Those camping and staying overnight at Gulf State Park enjoy exclusive access to a large outdoor pool and splash pad. Lake Shelby also has several picnic tables, grills, public restrooms, and two covered pavilions that regularly host family reunions and other events.

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Outdoor Adventures

Gulf State Park also hosts outdoor adventures the family will love. For example, guests may rent bikes, Segways, kayaks, paddleboards and beach wheelchairs, ensuring everyone has a good time. Gulf Adventure Center, a top attraction in Gulf Shores, offers opportunities to zipline and enjoy water recreation on Lake Shelby. The Hummingbird Zipline course takes guests 90 feet in the air for unforgettable views of the beach and coastal waters.

Hikers and bikers have more than 15 miles of ecosystems to explore while hiking Gulf State Park. The park has seven trails that wind through six distinct areas, such as the butterfly garden, freshwater marshes and hardwood swamps. While strolling, keep an eye out for alligators, bobcats and white-tailed deer. These trails also serve as a great spot for nature and adventure photography.

Park Attractions

If this isn’t enough to keep the family busy and entertained, head to the Nature Center. Gulf State Park Nature Center serves as a living museum that showcases animals and plants native to the Gulf Coast region. The center works to educate, inspire and interact with guests, so they have a better connection to the natural world. Additionally, visitors participate in weekly programs, including guided nature, beach and pier walks.

Need more vacation ideas? Check out these 10 unique attractions in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

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