Situated at the southernmost tip of Alabama between Mobile and Pensacola, Florida, the Alabama Gulf Coast encompasses the 31-square-mile city of Gulf Shores and the 13-square-mile city of Orange Beach, along with an unincorporated section of Fort Morgan. With its powdery white sands, sparkling waters, and various protected freshwater lakes, bayous and coves, the Gulf Coast region is perhaps best known for its picturesque natural beauty. In fact, its scenic surroundings have inspired such nicknames as "Alabama's Beautiful Beaches" and "Pleasure Island."
Beyond the stunning vistas, the Alabama Gulf Coast offers plenty more to explore, including a intriguing array of historic attractions. Visitors can travel in the footsteps of ship captains, fort commanders and military troops along the 90-mile Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail. Along the way, they can visit the spot where Admiral David Farragut is rumored to have given his famous command, "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!" at the Fort Morgan Historic Site. This massive fort was active during four wars, most notably during the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay.
Despite its colorful heritage, the Alabama Gulf Coast is in no way stuck in the past. In fact, this vibrant region is also a hotspot for new and enticing attractions. Art aficionados can peruse and purchase works by more than 120 local artists at the Orange Beach Arts Center. Housed in the historic Orange Beach Hotel, the center features works by watercolorists, potters, painters, sculptors, textile artists and more, and is home to the only public access glass blowing studio in the state, The Hot Shop. For front row seats to an eclectic blend of performing arts, visitors need look no further than the South Baldwin Community Theater, a Gulf Coast institution since 1972. Guests can also enjoy live performances from top artists at the new 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, or music 365 days a year at local venues including the legendary Flora-Bama.
No trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast would be complete without a trip to the coast itself. Home to 32 miles of beautiful beachfront along with sunny skies year-round, the Alabama Gulf Coast is the perfect place to soak up some rays. In fact, the region has been consistently ranked as one of the top beach spots by Southern Living magazine for more than a decade. Public beaches range from the 6,000-foot-wide, family-friendly Florida Point in Orange Beach to the more serene Gulf State Park beach area. The popular Gulf Shores Public Beach is perfect for a full day of fun thanks to volleyball courts, waterside bars and picnic areas.
Much more than a paradise for sun worshippers, the Gulf Coast region is home to a wide variety of recreational activities. The region features over 200 challenging holes on its array of championship golf courses, many of which have been designed by big names such as Arnold Palmer, Bruce Devlin and Earl Stone. It's also a haven for fishing, being home to the only trolling alley in the Gulf Coast and the nation's largest artificial reef. Go after blue marlin, yellow fin tuna, red snapper and more on one of the more than 100 fishing charters in the area. Or, for a more serene experience on the water, get on board one of the popular dolphin or dinner cruises offered by groups such as Sail Wild Hearts, Cetacean Cruises, Dolphins Down Under, Chapter II Charters and Southern Rose. By land or by sea, guests are sure to be captivated by the natural attractions of the Alabama Gulf Coast.