For many travelers, they have a bucket list of exotic destinations that they just know their lives will not be as fulfilling without visiting, and those lists are often filled with the biggies we all know, including Paris and the Eifel Tower, New York City and the Empire State Building, and Gulf Shores and its white sand beaches. While the last one is our personal favorite, especially because we at Poole & Associates live, love, and work here, we understand that this region still hasn’t reached the level of excitement the first two cities on our list has, and that’s ok. We just look at that as a challenge to convince the rest of the world, and this guide to the top 10 reasons you should visit Gulf Shores as your next vacation destination will convince you that there is no place else on earth you will want to make your next vacation spot!

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Families Love Us

Everything we do, we do for our families, and finding a vacation destination that offers something for everyone to enjoy can be difficult. Gulf Shores embraces families, providing a variety of activities that all ages can enjoy, including parks with the playground equipment your tiniest travelers adore (Kid’s Park, 348 W 19th Avenue), go kart amusement parks with arcade games and rides that your tweens will want to return to time and time again (The Track-Gulf Shores, 3200 Gulf Shores Parkway), and the coolest of hot spots a selfie museum set up with a an intriguing selection of backdrops that your teens will thrill to pose in front of (Cool Shots Selfie Museum, 4700B Main Street Suite N-207 in Orange Beach). These are just a few examples of family friendly activities, and when you are here filling every minute of every day with adventures that keep the pouts away, you will know you made the right choice.

Adults Will Feel at Home

We’re not saying that you, as an adult, won’t enjoy the activities we just mentioned, but not all vacations include children, and sometimes even mom and dad need something that reminds them they are still able to have fun together without the ultimate in chaperones tagging along. Music is big in beach areas, and outdoor concerts offer the ultimate in beachy adventures. The Wharf Amphitheater, located at 23101 Canal Road in Orange Beach, may take you back to your own teenage days when the songs you listened to had meaning and there was nothing more romantic than sharing a live concert with your bestie or your boy/girlfriend. Black concert tees were the outfit of the day, and if you engaged in a little make-out session at intermission, all the better! Want to take this walk down memory lane to even higher heights? As an adult you can legally purchase the alcohol sold at the venue, enhancing your concert going experience!

A Taste of the Town

The best vacations often involve the best restaurants, and although we aren’t much for fancy and pretentions in our Alabama coastal town, we can promise meals that will haunt your dreams in all the best ways. De Soto’s Seafood Kitchen, 138 W 1st Avenue, offers a casual vibe and a delicious taste of the sea, with all dishes being made fresh on the premises, while the Sunliner Diner, 100 E 2nd Avenue, offers the best chicken and waffles in town, as well as all the Southern favorites our mothers raised us on. Lulu’s Gulf Shores, 200 E 25th Avenue, offers a semi-famous owner, Lucy Buffett, sister to our favorite beach-loving musician Jimmy Buffett, but she doesn’t rest on her laurels as being well-known for her more famous sibling. The menus at Lulu’s are filled with meals made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients, including what comes from the waters that surround our seaside town. And when you do want a special occasion meal to celebrate your very own special occasion, Perch, 21196 E Beach Boulevard, rises to the occasion, serving elevated surf & turf dishes with a side of stunning seascape views.

Wild Adventures

When you want to walk on the wild side but aren’t looking for an African safari, your Gulf Shores getaway will provide the ultimate wildlife viewing opportunity with a visit to our Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Located at 20499 Oak Road E is home to almost 200 species of animals, 31 sub-species, and provides sanctuary to eight endangered species. The zoo is also a local celebrity, having served as the star of the 2006 documentary series, “The Little Zoo,” so you may already know all about it.

If you prefer your natural adventures to be a little tamer, the Gulf State Park Nature Center, 22050 Campground Road, is a living museum dedicated to the plants and animals that are native to the region and the park in which it is located can be an excellent source of exercise and fun. Hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, even geocaching are all popular activities at Gulf State Park, so be sure to check out all this 6150-acre park has to offer. (Or at least as much as you can during your limited number of days in Gulf Shores!

An Artist Haven

Have you ever noticed that the most beautiful towns often attract the most talented artists? A visit to Gulf Shores offers the perfect opportunity to find the perfect seascape to hang over your living room sofa with visits to local galleries and shops. The Susan M McCullough Gallery & Studio, 350 Cypress Bend Boulevard Unit 105, is open weekdays from 10-4 PM, primarily featuring abstract works filled with color, while the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, 26389 Canal Boulevard in Orange Beach, is the epicenter of local talent. Offering an art gallery filled with just about every artistic medium known to man, they also provide classes to help visitors build their own souvenirs. The Sea Oat Studio, 1009 E Canal Road, is acclaimed for its sea themed pottery, offering the ideal spot to pick up a lovely gift for your pet sitter/plant waterer/mail gatherer whose selfless help allows you to travel to the most beautiful coastal town in the United States.

Catching Your Limit

As you might expect, fishing is a popular Alabama activity. There is nothing better than spending a day pitting your wits against the slippery creatures who live beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and your prize at the end of that day may be an exquisitely prepared fish dinner that will even entice your pickiest eaters to give it a try. Fish from the shores, needing nothing more than your pole, bait, a chair, and a cooler filled with your favorite beverages, remembering that the best spots to fish from are those where the water appears to be darker within fishing line distance. Or, if you prefer the challenge of a deep sea fishing expedition, perhaps earning the opportunity to come home with a big game fish, Red Sky Fish Co is a family-run business offering half- and full-day charters. Captain Jason Gamble is an angler with over 30 years’ experience, taking his clients to the spots where the fish bite the most and bringing with him a wealth of experience about fish, nature, and the region you are visiting. Yellowfin tuna, sailfish, and blue and white marlin are what you might expect to catch during your deep sea fishing expedition.

Adventures Under the Sea

The waters off Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to the largest artificial reef program in the United States, making our seaside village an ideal vacation spot for obsessed scuba divers. If you are new to the idea, not knowing enough as of yet to develop the obsession, don’t worry; it will happen and it will happen soon! Down Under Dive Shop, 1129 Gulf Shores Parkway, offers the opportunity to learn the sport, providing classes for training and certification, as well as running charters that take divers to the most popular artificial reefs. The Lulu, an intact freighter that was sunk in 2013, the Fairfield New Venture, a former research vessel that was sunk in 2018, and the USS Oriskany, a US Aircraft Carrier that was sunk in 2006 are some of the spots you can visit, with the USS Oriskany being our personal favorite. How often can you freely explore an aircraft carrier? This fascinating artificial reef is home to both sedentary and active marine populations and bears the nickname, “The Great Carrier Reef!”

Military History

As with many seaside towns, our military history is a respected one, and Fort Morgan has stood guard over Mobile Bay since 1834. Famous for its red brick exterior, it took over 46 million cubic yards of bricks, 15 years, and numerous skilled masons to construct. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction. Active during four wars—the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II—it is historically significant for its role in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay, where famed Union Admiral David Farragut uttered the historic orders, “Damn the torpedoes!”

White Sand Beaches, Turquoise Waters, and All the Serenity of the Sea

Our Gulf Shore area beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world, offering white sands, clear turquoise waters, and the serenity that can only come from the sea. Spending a day at any of our beaches will prove to be the highlight of your vacation experiences, providing something to do for everyone in your traveling group.

Toddlers will love building sandcastles at water’s edge, perhaps with older brothers chiming in on the perfect water-to-sand ratio and parents lingering close at hand to keep squabbles from arising. If you want to join in the fun and impress them with your skills, Sand Castle University offers castle building lessons; give them a call at (251) 600-9771 and prepare to wow your entire family!

Too cool teens can work on their tans or take selfies with the incredibly photogenic sea as their backdrop, and your water babies will enjoy every minute they spend frolicking in the surf, perhaps perfecting their body boarding skills. And you? You can be lounging on a beach chair, taking in all the action, with your toes buried in the white sands, and a refreshing beverage close at hand.

The Most Comfortable Homes and Condos in the State

A vacation rental can be the most important part of your vacation experience, and our Poole & Associates homes and condos are acclaimed for their comfort, style, and luxury. Discerning travelers no longer believe that accommodations are merely a place to lay their head every night, instead expecting more ways to be entertained as well as requiring comfort and luxury, and we aim to please. Choose a home on the beach, offering stunning views and that serenity we mentioned earlier, a condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico with access to community amenities that can include swimming pools and hot tubs, or a riverfront escape with all the luxuries you deserve, plus views that will touch your soul. The amenities we offer can include game rooms, soaking tubs, wine refrigerators, or privacy, quiet, and seclusion, all traits that are much needed and so well deserved for our hard-working guests. If you can think of something we may have missed in our quest to be the best vacation rental company in the Gulf Shores area, be sure to let us know, and in the meantime, reserve your favorite escape today!

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