Fun Things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama with Kids

The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area in Alabama is the ultimate family destination. With spectacular beaches and plenty of family-friendly activities and restaurants, you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit sooner!

Gulf Shores Attractions

Fort Morgan
Step back in time and see what life was like at Fort Morgan more than a century ago at the height of the Civil War. Most of the fort still stands intact. Touring the fort is a fascinating and humbling experience as you learn about the battles that took place just outside the walls as the soldiers at the fort tried their best to keep the Union Army at bay. Make sure to tour the museum before exploring the fort, so you will have a better understanding of the life inside the fort as well as learn about the people that inhabited it.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama with kids - Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores, AL
Historic Fort Morgan is a fun and educational family activity in Gulf Shores, AL.

Hugh Branyon Back Country Trail
Seven trails among six distinct ecosystems make up the 15 miles of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail that winds through parts of Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and the Gulf State Park.

Whether you want to bike, hike or just leisurely stroll, there is a trail for that. Be sure to bring your camera as you never know when you might spot a bobcat, deer or even an alligator or two as you explore marshes, swamps and forests on your back country adventure.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama with kids - Hugh Branyon Back Country Trail
Hiking and biking along the Hugh Branyon Back Country Trail is one of the fun things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama with kids.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Home to lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) plus monkeys, birds and so much more. This zoo in small in size but BIG in personality. What sets the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo apart from most other zoos is that they offer hands-on animal encounters. Very few places will allow you to play with lemurs, baby kangaroos and sloths, but this zoo prides itself on educating and engaging their guests through their interactive and educational animal encounters.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama with kids - Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Families love the animal encounters at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. (Tiger cub encounters are no longer available, but many other cool experiences are!)

Tip: Make sure to book an encounter in advance as sometimes they sell out, especially during the busier summer season. Occasionally the zoo will have tiger or wolf cubs but these interactions are very limited to protect the animals so they book up very quickly. Make sure to Like the zoo on Facebook so you are in the know next time they have a rare animal encounter available.

The Beach
Gulf Shores’ beaches are world-famous for their crystal clear water and white sandy shores. Families love to spend the day hunting for seashells, snorkeling or just splashing in the warm blue gulf water. Spend at least a full day in Gulf Shores unwinding on these beautiful beaches.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama with kids - beach
White sandy beaches and crystal clear water await you on your Gulf Shores vacation.

Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge
The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is over 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat for migratory birds, nesting sea turtles and the endangered Alabama beach mouse. Four hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous, take you through the different habitats of the refuge and introduce you to the animals and plants that call it home.

Wild Native Nature/Dolphin Cruises
Take a voyage through Oyster Bay, Bon Secour Bay and the Bon Secour River with Wild Native Tours, all the while watching for a variety of wildlife including dolphins, bald eagles, osprey, heron, pelicans and more. The captains will entertain and educate you while you relax and take in all the beauty the gulf eco system has to offer.

Gulf State Park Pier
Grab your fishing pole and head to the second longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico and Alabama’s only public pier on the gulf for some great fishing and spectacular ocean views. If you want an amazing experience, get there just before sunrise and watch the sun come up. It’s a spectacular sight, every time. Children under age 11 fish free with a paid adult.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama with kids - Gulf State Park Pier
Sunrise at Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, AL.

Places to Eat in Gulf Shores

The Gulf
Best burgers on the beach! The Gulf is a walk-up eatery fashioned out of old shipping containers. Seating is all outside and includes shabby chic picnic tables, outdoor couches and hammocks strung between palm trees. The Gulf definitely serves up the best food and views in Gulf Shores.

The Hangout
If you are looking for great food and a fun place to let the kids play, then you want to stop by The Hangout at least once during your vacation. The Hangout serves up a huge menu, and everything on it is delicious. Parents will love to unwind to the live music while kids will love the sandpit, courtyard games and hourly foam party!

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama with kids - Foam Party at The Hangout
Hourly foam parties at The Hangout, one of the best places to eat in Gulf Shores, Alabama with kids.

Tacky Jacks
Fresh seafood cooked to perfection and beautiful sunsets on the water are what you can expect when visiting one of the three Tacky Jacks locations. If you are bringing little kids, make sure to visit the location on East 24th Avenue because they have a great outdoor play area.

When Jimmy Buffet’s sister opens a restaurant on the beach, you know it’s going to be amazing. Lulu’s started out as a burger stand and bait shop and has turned into one of the best restaurants on the gulf. Burgers to die for, a huge allergy-friendly menu, live entertainment, and an outdoor play area for the kids make this the ultimate in family dining on the beach.

Where to Stay Near Gulf Shores:

Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach
Stunning ocean views and direct beach access await you at this family-friendly beach front hotel. Kids will love the pool and easy beach access. Parents will love the poolside tiki bar, delicious breakfast buffet, large clean rooms, and central location close to these fun things to do in Gulf Shores with kids.

Did I miss anything? What are your favorite Gulf Shores attractions? Please share them in the comments below!

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This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Jordyn C. Are you interested in traveling to Gulf Shores? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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