3 Days in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Written By Sammi  |  USA  |  0 Comments

Gulf Shores is one of the most beautiful places in Alabama and an excellent vacation spot for families. Whether you’re spending 3 days or 1 week, there is plenty of things to do and see in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

In this post you’ll read our itinerary for 3 days in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This was a jam packed itinerary and we did many activities. At the bottom of this post, you can find a map of all the restaurants and places we visited.

3 Day Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive at Gulf Shores
  • Day 2: Segway, SUP, Sailing
  • Day 3: Yoga, Zoo, Cat Boats
  • Day 4: Fly Out

The best way to get around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is to rent a car. You can also walk or Uber around but if you want to see and do many things, renting a car is the best way to go as this area is very spread out.

Where We Stayed in Gulf Shores

There are plenty of beachfront places to stay in Gulf Shores. We stayed at a beachfront condo tower called Phoenix West II. It had a large pool with a lazy river and a direct beach access. Our 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo had a beautifully furnished kitchen, large living room and balcony.

The group that owns these condos, Bret Robinson, also own a bunch of other towers in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. They also have a hotel called Phoenix All Suites Hotel. As for hotels, there are several such as Quality InnThe Lodge at Gulf State Park HiltonHoliday Inn Express Gulf ShoresBest Western On the Beach and Beachside Resort Hotel.

For families, we highly recommend renting a vacation rental condo so you can have all the amenities of home with a furnished kitchen, living room, etc.

Gulf Shores Alabama

Phoenix West beachfront condo

From our condo, we could see at least a few miles of the beautiful 32 mile white sand beach.

Day 1: Welcome to Gulf Shores!

Day 1 was our travel day to Gulf Shores as we were coming from Huntsville. Huntsville to Gulf Shores is a 5 hour drive so we took our time to enjoy the views and stop at a couple places along the way.

The best airport to fly into is the Pensacola International Airport which is 1 hour away. Mobile Regional Airport is 1.5 hours away.

When we arrived at our condo, we relaxed for a couple of hours, enjoying the view on the balcony. For dinner, we went to The Gulf on Orange Beach, an outdoor restaurant. We both had burgers which were delicious. The vibe of the restaurant is super chill and it has tons of nice seating areas on the beach and the deck.

Alabama Gulf Shores

Fried grouper burger

We went back to our condo after dinner to relax and get ready for the next day as we had a lot of activities planned.

Day 2: Segway, SUP and Sailing

We got up bright and early to begin our 3 days in Gulf Shores adventures. First, we had breakfast at The Southern Grind Coffee House which was a store-restaurant with cute beach-themed home decorations. Highly recommend their hash, but any of their breakfasts are great.

Segway

Then we went off to our first tour – a segway tour of the Hugh S. Branyon Backountry with Coastal Segway Adventures. Neither of us have ever segwayed before so we were stoked to try it and it was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought!

Our guide Jim led us throughout the state park, stopping a few times to explain about the different trees, plants and ecosystems in the state park. We even saw an alligator with her babies!

Thoughts: The segway tour was super fun and safe. However, since it was my first time on a segway, I paid more attention to my balance and feet than the views which is a shame. The trails are incredibly nice and well maintained. Next time, I’d like to go back and bike the trails.

They also offer kayaking tours as well as bike and paddleboard rentals.

Lunch

After our segway tour, we went to lunch at Anchor Bar & Grill. We had fish tacos but if you go, I recommend getting the tuna poke bowl with salad. The portion size was enormous and they gave a ton of tuna!

*Unfortunately Anchor Bar and Grill is now closed.*

SUP

Next up was a quick SUP session with Gulf Coast Paddle Company. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do the entire tour but it’s possible to see wildlife like turtles and dolphins in the area they paddle to. We love SUP and would love to do the full tour next time.

Sunset Catamaran Cruise

To end our day, we did a sunset catamaran cruise with Sail Wild Hearts which was lovely. They took us around the Gulf and we saw a couple of dolphins as we watched the sun go down.

gulf shores alabama

sunset catamaran views

Dinner

For dinner, we went to Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina. This was my favorite restaurant in Gulf Shores. The seafood was incredible fresh and it had a nice sophisticated ambiance.

gulf shores alabama

fried oysters

I highly recommend the oysters and the creme brulee.

Day 2: Yoga, Zoo and Cat Boats

For our second day in Gulf Shores, we enjoyed yoga, visited the famous Alabama Zoo and zipped around on cat boats.

Yoga

Yoga in the morning is a wonderful way to start the day, especially at the beach. Now after the COVID pandemic, wellness has become incredibly popular in tourism.

gulf shores alabama

yoga on the beach

We did an hour of yoga with Glow Yoga at 7 AM, feeling the sand beneath our toes, letting the waves help our breathing and listening to the sand of the gulls.

Breakfast

After our refreshing yoga session, we headed to Kitty’s Kafe for a quick southern breakfast. Of course we got grits and coffee and then we headed off to the zoo.

Zoo

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is known as the “little zoo that could” with a very interesting story. Several years ago during a big hurricane, one of their crocodiles got loose but they found him just chilling in the same spot even though all the animals had to be evacuated. Animal Planet did an entire series based on this zoo and their story with three different hurricanes.

The zoo focuses on education and conservation and are great for kids to learn more about wildlife and nature. We spent a couple of hours visiting their different exhibits and learning about the zoo’s conservation and education purpose.

An alternative activity: Check out the Alabama Coastal Foundation. They work in turtle conservation, environmentalism and education. You can volunteer with them to give back to the community.

Lunch

After the zoo, we had lunch at Hog Wild Beach & BBQ which was fantastic. It was not crazy expensive and had plenty of other options for me (I don’t eat red meat).

gulf shores alabama

barbecue

Cat Boat Rides

Our last activity for our itinerary was the Cat Boat Ride with Orange Beach Cat Boat Tours. This was something new for me too, they are like a paddle boat with an engine (so you don’t have to do any work) and they go up to 25 mph! We zipped around Gulf Shores around the different bays and neighborhoods for 2 hours. We got to see all of the million dollar houses and cottages as well as hundreds of luxury boats!

gulf shores alabama

Cat boats

After the cat boats, we had a couple hours to spare before dinner so we grabbed our towel and swimsuits to soak up the sun on the beach.

Dinner

For dinner, we went to Bill’s by the Beach which was featured on the Food Channel. We tried their special dishes seafood pot pie which was delicious. We also finally tried a bushwacker for the first time which is a staple in Gulf Shores. It’s like an alcoholic frozen milkshake which was very refreshing in the heat!

gulf shores alabama

seafood pot pie

Because we had an afternoon flight the next day, we took it easy the rest of the night. We spent the rest of the evening on the beach and enjoying the beautiful views from our condo.

If you want to go out, head to Florabama. It’s the famous beach bar in Gulf Shores with excellent food and live music.

gulf shores alabama

Gulf state park

Day 3: Back Home

We had one last Alabama breakfast at Brick & Spoon which was excellent. I had the crab cake benedict which was one of the most good looking (and tasty) benedicts I ever had.

Try one of their Bloody Marys. They are famous for them and have an entire menu dedicated to Bloody Marys!

gulf shores alabama

Crab Benedict

After breakfast, we set off for Mobile Regional Airport to catch our flight.

Thoughts and Tips for this 3 Day in Gulf Shores Itinerary

  • We visited in the beginning of May which was in our opinion, one of the best time to go to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Temperatures were around mid 80s F (26 C) during the day and low 70s F (21 C) at night. The temperatures were really comfortable for everything we did.
  • However, the water was not quite warm enough to swim in the Gulf Shores yet. We saw a few people splashing around in the waves, but not that many. You should wait until the summer months like July and August for warmer water temperatures.
  • Sunscreen is a must! The sun is strong here. Don’t forget mosquito repellent either.
  • You should rent a car to get around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.