Orange Beach History: This Beach Town Has a Story to Tell

Orange Beach, Alabama, sits on the southern coast near Wolf Bay, Shelby Lakes, Perdido Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. For decades, this beach town has drawn vacationers to enjoy spacious beaches, lively events and laid-back vibes. Many may not know that the area once housed orange groves, from which the city received its name. Keep reading for more Orange Beach history.

Orange Beach History: 5 Facts About This Alabama Hot Spot

Settlement: The area that has become Orange Beach was settled in the mid-1860s, with three different areas: east, west and central.

Original industry: In the late 1800s, Satsuma oranges became a popular crop as orange groves filled the area. Although there are inconsistencies in why, the citrus industry ended around 1926. Some say it was several hard freezes, while others claim infested seedlings.

Tourism growth: In 1910, the Intracoastal Waterway expanded in the area and cut the city off from the mainland, but offered more water access. With it came the first hotel in the 1920s. Since then, the area welcomes some 6 million guests per year.

Top draws: For those who have never vacationed in Orange Beach should note Mother Nature remains the top attraction. Large white-sand beaches, Gulf State Park and Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail offer places to connect with nature. Popular activities include fishing, canoeing, swimming, bird-watching and bicycling.

Continued growth: Throughout Orange Beach history, the city has experienced a hurricane and massive oil spill. The beaches have recovered well, and tourism ranks among the top industries in the area.

Museums in Orange Beach

Orange Beach offers several sites where guests can learn about the area. Baldwin County Heritage Museum displays exhibits that include settlers, tools and early life. Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum showcases the regions Native Americans and fishing heritage. Other sites to learn about Orange Beach history include Fort Morgan and USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

To learn more about the area’s culture, visit these Alabama beaches historical sites.

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