Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are known for their 32 miles of white-sand beaches that line the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But there is more than meets the eye for nature lovers searching for a vacation location. The Alabama Gulf Coast is home to a vast amount of diverse flora and fauna. From hundreds of migratory birds and monarch butterflies to bottlenose dolphins and pitcher plant bogs, it’s no wonder that the wildlife in this destination draws nature enthusiasts from around the country (and the world) all year long.
Gulf State Park is one of the most popular spots to get outdoors along Alabama’s beaches. This park is truly a destination within the destination. Boasting three miles of beaches, seven unique ecosystems, 28+ miles of paved biking and hiking trails, a 1,540-foot saltwater fishing pier, Interpretive Center, Nature Center and much, much more, it’s an ideal attraction for active adventurers who love exploring the world around them. Recently, the park welcomed a new addition: The Lodge at Gulf State Park, A Hilton Hotel. Located on the beaches of the park, this property offers 350 rooms, four restaurants and a variety of other amenities. The Lodge is also seeking several environmental and sustainability certifications including SITES Platinum and LEED Gold. The park’s updated cottages have been named as part of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World program.
Another favorite location to explore nature is the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Since its establishment, Bon Secour has become a safe haven for endangered animals including sea turtles and the Alabama beach mouse as well as the 360+ species of migratory birds who stop here between their breeding and wintering grounds. The refuge also encompasses some of the last remaining untouched coastal habitat in Alabama. Offering a variety of trails that explore several ecosystems, this is a great spot for those wanting to get up-close with the diverse wildlife found on the Gulf Coast.
Along with these fantastic parks and our miles of beaches, there is much more to be explored when you get outside in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. From paddling along the Coastal Alabama Back Bay Blueway and deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico to learning about dolphins on a nature cruise and ziplining through luscious green trees, you’ll never lack for adventure on the Alabama Gulf Coast.