The first time I ever saw the Gulf of Mexico was from the balcony of a condo I had rented for a week in Orange Beach. I instantly fell in love with the turquoise water lapping against white sand. By the end of the week, I had also fallen in love with Alabama’s beaches.
Browse through this collection of my favorite photos captured in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. With each additional photo you will see another reason I fell in love with the beach towns and why I will visit as often as possible in the future.
Turquoise water. White sand. Comfortable temps. Few skyscrapers dominate the skyline along Orange Beach – making it a beautiful beach to admire.
The shoulder seasons – March/April and October/November – are excellent times to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Turquoise Place by Spectrum Resorts is a fantastic place to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Gulf. By day, I enjoyed the brilliant white sands contrasted by greenish blue water. But at sunrise, the warm light cast a different color across the landscape.
The pier at Gulf State Park was an excellent place to enjoy the scenery. It only cost a couple of dollars to walk along the pier that stretched long over the water.
The Wharf is a one-stop destination for shopping, food, and entertainment in Orange Beach. The outdoor shopping mall invites people to get outside and enjoy the wonderful tropical weather. And the Ferris wheel offers a chance for a spectacular view – a view I did not opt to see.
The restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach feature some of the most stunning views of any eatery I’ve visited. Above, the outdoor seating on the beach at The Gulf was amazing. Below, the indoor seating at The Southern Grind at Indigo was one of the most gorgeous of any coffee shop I’ve visited on my travels.
Below, Lulu’s had a lot of indoor and outdoor seating, like this covered picnic table. I opted to sit inside at a table with the view above overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and Tacky Jacks.
Sunliner Diner was one of the most interesting restaurants in Gulf Shores. Inside and out, it’s designed to mimic a 1960s diner. The most desirable seating in the swanky eatery is this recreation of a classic car – with a cutout in the middle for a booth!
Food is a good reason to visit any destination. But Gulf Shores and Orange Beach take that experience to a new level with more fantastic restaurants than I’ve seen outside of a foodie city. Of course, seafood is almost always on the menu like the plate from Lulu’s above and The Gulf below.
2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers
Find the best gifts for travelers, road trippers, coffee lovers, and stocking stuffers with the annual guide – including my top gift recommendations.
Fried seafood (above) from GTs on the Bay and shrimp tacos (below) from Lulu’s are common on most restaurant menus in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
But seafood is not the only thing served at area restaurants, Above, “The Lifeguard” is a ginormous burger stacked nearly a foot high that can only be eaten with a fork and knife. Below, the double stacked cheeseburger and tots in a basket were a wonderful lunch at Anchor Bar and Grill.
Just in case you get tired of the seafood, there is one really fantastic pizza joint between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The personal pan pizza from Sauced was savory to the last bite and a welcome change in food scenery.
Don’t forget dessert! When I ordered the strawberry cream bagel (above) at The Southern Grind at Indigo I had no idea it was the size of a plate! Below, this savory dessert comes from The Yard Milkshake Bar and took nearly thirty minutes to finish.
There are lots of adventures on and off the water in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Although I’m particularly fond of putt putt, my favorite activity was go kart racing at The Track Family Fun Park. Just look at how fast they’re racing!
Looking for a little bit of history? Fort Morgan State Historic Site was an interesting place to visit. There is a lot of history to explore, but also a lot of scenic beauty inside the old brick fort.
An interesting activity in Orange Beach is to take a lesson in glassblowing at The Hot Shop. From start to finish, you’re involved in every stage of making your own Christmas ornament or paper weight. What would you want to make?
Every day of my visit, I fell in love with the Gulf just a little bit more. It was my first experience at the calm waters and fine white sand beaches. This gorgeous sunrise certainly helped the feeling.