Spend Christmas in Orange Beach surrounded by sun and warmth this year rather than snow and cold. Plan a Christmas vacation to a beach locale full of warmth, fun, sun, sand, and water. Make the trip memorable with an excursion to the beach and crashing waves of the Gulf of Mexico along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Choose Orange Beach and the surrounding area as your ultimate destination and start planning all the holiday fun. There are plenty of things to see and do while you’re here, from year-round activities to special holiday celebrations. Make your first move by booking a private vacation rental with Poole & Associates so you can enjoy time with loved ones in private. If you can’t stand a moment away from your furriest family members this Christmas, ask about pet-friendly rentals!
Vacation is a getaway from everyday life, and that may include preparing and serving an elaborate meal. Relax and enjoy the Christmas feast this year at one of the many area restaurants. You’ll want to check with your restaurant of choice about hours, reservations, and pick-up or delivery.
For guests and residents who celebrate, there are a variety of places of worship. Each has its own schedule of services. Get in touch with your church of choice and confirm dates, times, and locations of services.
Ice Skating at the Wharf
Starting November 17, 2023, and going through January 15, 2024, try your hand at ice skating in the Alabama warmth. The rink and all its fun, located near the Main Street entrance in a large white tent, is presented by Pepsi Co. Visit the Wharf website and check the event calendar for specific times. The rink is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. General admission is $15 and includes skate rental. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted.
Pictures with Santa
Include a visit with Santa to your visit to the Wharf for skating fun. Santa will be visiting and taking pictures with you and your family. He’s busy throughout the season getting ready for Christmas, but he’ll be taking some time out of his schedule Fridays 3-6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays 12-6 p.m. starting November 10. On the all-important night of Christmas Eve, Santa will have to cut the session short – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – so he can get home and prepare for the gift-giving adventure ahead!
Take part in beach activities like sunbathing, picnicking, take a swim in the Gulf, or whatever other beach fun you can dream up. Turn up the adrenaline with activities like parasailing, SCUBA diving, or snorkeling. End the day with a calming sunset cruise or wildlife-watching cruise.
Fort Morgan Road Trail
The 5.6-mile asphalt trail is a great way to go sightseeing and get your exercise at once. The trail, which parallels Fort Morgan Road/Highway 180, starts just outside the western border of Gulf State Park and stretches west through Gulf Shores, through tree-lined areas and neighborhoods, and ending at the Peninsula Golf Club. The trail is mostly flat and is an easy hike or bike for most people. The eastern end has only a few gentle climbs, but you can add some difficulty on that end and continue on through Gulf State Park’s Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trails.
Gulf Shores Museum
Take a trip into history this Christmas. Stop into the unique museum that tells the story of Gulf Shores’ history. The museum is located in a house that once stood as the beach house of Valerie Cole’s family from Mobile, and dates back to before World War II. The family donated the structure, originally located in West Beach. When Hurricane Frederic hit in 1979, the house was moved to its current home. The museum houses an array of permanent and temporary exhibits reflecting local history. The museum also offers various programs and activities for all ages and many interests.
Celebrate Christmas in Orange Beach
When you book a Christmas getaway to Orange Beach with Poole & Associates this year, you won’t be short on amazing activities to fill your time. Enjoy the beach, take in a holiday activity, lounge around your rental, or any of the other activities available to help build your unique Orange Beach Christmas retreat. We have everything from one-bedroom units for a solo or sweetheart trip, all the way up to four-bedroom homes that include everyone this Christmas. Savor the taste of home when you prepare a home-cooked meal, from the Christmas feast all the way down to a light snack, in the unit’s fully equipped kitchen. Enjoy spacious living areas and private outdoor spaces like patios and balconies. Unwind after a long day in a private bedroom or gather some snacks and enjoy your favorite holiday movies together on a flat-screen TV with an entertainment center in the living or entertainment space.
Warm up this winter with a vacation to a beach locale full of warmth, fun, sun, sand, and water. Make your winter trip memorable with a trip to the beach and crashing waves of the Gulf of Mexico and the Alabama shores. Choose Gulf Shores and the surrounding area as your ultimate destination and start planning the fun to come when you spend winter in Gulf Shores Alabama. There are plenty of things to see and do while you’re here, indoors and out. First, you’ll want to make sure to book a private vacation rental with Poole & Associates so you can enjoy time with loved ones in private. If you can’t stand a moment away from your furriest family members, ask about pet-friendly rentals and bring them along for all the winter beach fun!
Holly Days on Main at the Wharf
Enjoy the Holly Days this winter in Gulf Shores. The 4th annual event gives guests and locals alike the chance to enjoy arts and crafts vendors, special performances, a lighted boat parade, and many other activities. Billed as “jam-packed holiday fun,” the event is hosted by the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber. The event takes place December 9th – 10th on Main Street and Palms Plaza. Daily hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Ice Skating at the Wharf
Beginning November 17, 2023, and running to January 15, 2024, you can try your hand at ice skating. The rink and all its fun are presented by Pepsi Co. and can be found near the Main Street entrance under the large white tent. Visit their website and check the event calendar for specific times. The rink is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. General admission is $15 and includes skate rental. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted.
Photos with Santa
Santa will be visiting the Wharf to take pictures with you and your family. He’s busy throughout the winter season getting ready for Christmas, but he’ll be taking some time out of his schedule Fridays 3-6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays 12-6 p.m. starting November 10th. The important night of Christmas Eve, Santa will have to cut the session short – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – so he can get home and prepare for the adventure ahead.
There are several spas in Gulf Shores and the surrounding area that are ready to pamper everyone in the group from head to toe this winter. Choose from a menu of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, body treatments, and more. Some spas even customize services., tailoring them to the needs of the men in the group.
You and your loved ones chose a beach destination for your winter retreat for a reason: the warmth and sun of the beach. Take part in beach activities like sunbathing, picnicking, take a swim in the Gulf, or whatever other beach fun you can dream up. Turn up the adrenaline with activities like parasailing, SCUBA diving, or snorkeling. Calm down with a sunset cruise or wildlife-watching cruise at the end of a long day of Gulf Shores winter fun.
Fort Morgan Road Trail
The 5.6-mile asphalt trail is a great way to go sightseeing and get your exercise at once. The trail starts just outside the western border of Gulf State Park and stretches west through Gulf Shores, running parallel to Fort Morgan Road/Highway 180, through tree-lined areas and neighborhoods, and ending at the Peninsula Golf Club. The trail is mostly flat and is an easy hike or bike for most people. The eastern end has only a few gentle climbs, but you can add some difficulty on that end and continue through Gulf State Park’s Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trails.
Gulf Shores Museum
Take a trip into history this winter. A stop into the unique museum of Gulf Shores’ history starts with its unique location. It’s located in a house that once stood as the beach house of Valerie Cole’s family from Mobile, and dates back to before World War II. The family donated the structure, which was originally located in West Beach. The house was moved to its current home after Hurricane Frederic in 1979. The museum houses an array of permanent and temporary exhibits telling the story of local history. It also offers various programs and activities for all ages and many interests.
Celebrate Winter in Gulf Shores
When you and your loved ones book a winter getaway to Gulf Shores with Poole & Associates, you won’t be short on amazing activities to fill your time. Enjoy the beach, lounge around your rental, or enjoy the myriad of other activities available to help build a Gulf Shores vacation that is uniquely yours. We have everything from 1-bedroom units for a solo or sweetheart trip, all the way up to 4-bedroom homes that include everyone this winter. Savor the taste of home when you prepare a home-cooked meal in the unit’s fully equipped kitchen. Enjoy spacious living areas and private outdoor spaces like patios and balconies. Unwind after a long day in a private bedroom or gather some snacks and enjoy your favorite movies together on a flatscreen TV with an entertainment center in the living or entertainment space.
When winter weather gets too wintry and you begin to feel that you can’t take another day of snow, sleet, and gray skies, it may be time to plan a vacation to somewhere summery. You want to visit an area where the sun shines often, and cold is merely a slight inconvenience, especially as cold could be nothing lower than 60 degrees! If that area also happens to offer sandy beaches and Gulf waters that stretch out to the horizon and beyond, beachfront bars serving frothy tropical drinks, and vacation escapes draped in comfort and luxury, all the better! Everything mentioned above can be enjoyed in the coastal town of Gulf Shores, Alabama, a town filled with the eternal vibe of summer, and also offering all the festivity of a holiday celebration. And because less is never more at the shore, our Poole & Associates holiday hideaways will add an extra layer of wonderful to your winter getaway, keeping you warm on chilly nights, providing cheer as you celebrate your favorite winter holidays, and offering all the comforts of home even as you may be miles and miles away from your own backyard. This Gulf Shores guide to a perfectly beachy getaway in our Gulf Coast hometown will have you wishing that the black X’s on the days leading up to travel time would move a little faster!
Find Your Joy
Every day is a new adventure in Gulf Shores, and although nights will get chilly in the winter months, moderate daytime temps may encourage you to bury your toes in the sand every day at sunset, watching the sky come alive in kaleidoscope of fiery color. Our sunrises are also spectacular, and if you are a morning person, you will definitely want to toss on a jacket over your pajamas, and head to the beach watching with open mouth as the skies cycle from midnight black, to dusky gray, then pink, and then, just as at sunset, explodes into fire! Even those who are not morning people should experience an Alabama sunrise at least once during their stay; you can always go back to bed and sleep for a couple of more hours at the conclusion of the show—just remember to draw your curtains closed so the sun doesn’t interrupt your snooze!)
Take a Tour of the Town
Your first day in town could end up being confusing if you don’t really have an idea on what interests you (besides the beach—the beach always interests everyone!) and we suggest signing up for a tour of the area, checking everything out at the beginning and taking note of the activities or sites you want to explore later on your own. From the sky, Gulf Shores is simply amazing and Lost Bay Helicopters provides a thrilling birds eye view of the region. Located at 3190 Airport Drive, their tours range from a quick fly by of the beach to a 30+ minute Gulf Coast Experience Tour exploring all that makes this region unique while also revealing a few “secrets” that they only share with their closest friends. For those who prefer to keep their sightseeing closer to the earth, Coastal Segway Adventures offers a two-hour Back Country Tour through Gulf State Park, exploring its natural beauty and providing the opportunity to catch glimpses of the creatures that make the park their home, including alligators, tortoises, and delicate butterflies with wings that may be all the colors of the rainbow! This tour is perhaps the best way to experience nature at its most serene, and if you really love the park, you can return to it as often as you like! Located at 20115 State Park Road in Gulf Shores, this beautiful stretch of land and sea offers serenity and fun to every person who visits, and its trails and picnic spots are open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.
A Foodie’s Tour of Gulf Shores
This unofficial tour is the tastiest one in town and is one you will salivate over participating in, plus, all it will cost is the price of the meal. There aren’t any “guided foodie tours” in Gulf Shores, but with a few suggestions from your Poole & Associates friends, we can promise that this tour will be the most satisfying.
Start your mornings out with breakfast at Kitty’s Café, 3800 Gulf Shores Parkway #100, a spot that we have heard on good authority offers the best biscuits in town! Ok, we were the ones deeming it so; those biscuits are so good, they have become our newest obsession, but that’s not the only item on the menu that will have you salivating! The menu is a tribute to all the good old-fashioned cooking our Alabama mamas are known for, and if you leave hungry, well, we will have to put that on you, because their servings are generous and their food is the stick to the ribs type that you will dream about long after you have returned to your own comfy bed at home. Their “kitten’s” menu will delight your pickiest little traveling partners and because they are open for lunch too, it may be in your best interest to return for a midday break. Kitty’s Café is closed on Sundays, so be aware and maybe choose to make your own Sunday brunch in your Poole & Associates holiday haven!
Of course, once you have had your first “taste” of the beach, chances are you won’t want to have it out of your sight and if this is the case, a lunch at The Hangout Gulf Shores will be the best way to soothe your pangs of hunger! Open every day of the week starting at 10:30 and located on the beaches of Gulf Shores, this will be your first opportunity to enjoy the fresh seafood found in town. We are particular to Ultimate Seafood Boil, offering a massive portion of snow crab, mussels, Gulf Shrimp, potatoes, sausage, and sweet corn, but if that’s a little too much food for you, we definitely recommend their Shrimp & Grits! Devouring the sweet seafood as the ocean plays accompaniment to live music on the weekends is one of life’s greatest pleasures and yep, The Hangout offers that activity as well! Make a day out of it, starting for lunch and staying through the final encore and as a sweet treat that will make you smile, try a Bushwacker, a cocktail that doubles as a dessert, created with Malibu Coconut Rum, coffee liqueur, and ice cream.
Festive and Bright
Now, after your tours of sky, land, and food, you may think we have forgotten that you are exploring the delights of Gulf Shores over the winter holidays, but proving that we have considered all the things that will make your trip one you will never forget is an easy thing to do! The Gulf Shores holidays in your own hometown have probably started feeling stressful and chaotic as you shop, clean, shop some more, and cook until your back is breaking and you can’t even enjoy the food you have prepared. In Gulf Shores, however, the holiday celebrations take on a beachier and more relaxed vibe, something our guests deserve on every level!
The early days of December are for preparing for the big day, starting with the Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, generally held the second Saturday in December. We all love a parade, that’s for sure, but if you have never witnessed a parade of boats decked out in their holiday finest, you are about to experience a treat that will spoil you for all other parades! Starting at dusk, the cavalcade of boats leaves Lulu’s Gulf Shores, (another waterfront restaurant you simply must try!) skimming over the dark waters to their ending destination in nearby Orange Beach. The magic can be witnessed anywhere along the canals from both towns offering a Christmas celebration that is uniquely Gulf Shores.
The business of Christmas is very important indeed, especially to your tiniest travelers, and the most special of traditions can be followed with the opportunity to take Photos with Santa at the Wharf! Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, the Wharf in Orange Beach becomes our tropical version of the North Pole and rumor has it that Santa will even pose with pooches, so if you are missing your sweet fur child, be sure to stop by and check out everyone else’s whispering secrets in Santa’s ear! The Wharf is destined to be your one stop holiday spot, offering stores that make your holiday shopping easy, as well as delicious restaurants and from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, an ice skating rink! Live out your Hallmark Christmas movie fantasies, doing circles on the ice with your favorite human and warm up with a cup of hot cocoa from the Southern Grind Coffee House after your turn on the ice.
A Clean Slate
There’s something about the new year that creates an optimism in even the most pessimistic of people. We feel like once we have crossed from 11:59 to 12:00, all our failures, disappointments, and worries from the previous year will be erased, leaving a clean slate of days spread out before us, waiting to be filled with the most wonderful of activities! If your winter journey has you camped out in our holiday hideaways over New Year’s Eve, your celebrations are destined to be special ones!
Not everyone is able to stay up to midnight, especially if you are one of those early risers who has awakened with the sun every day of your stay, and that is perfectly ok. Lulu’s comes into the spotlight again, offering a Noon Year’s Eve at Lulu’s, a daytime party that counts down to noon! Offering sandcastle building, zoo animals, face painting, live music, and an excitement that is palpable, your kiddos will want to get there when the fun begins and stay until the final countdown to noon.
Not ready for the fun to end at the crack of noon? That is perfectly ok because the Wharf offers its own Street Party that continues until that big crystal ball drops down over Times Square at midnight! Offering more of what you experienced at Lulu’s Noon Year’s Eve, plus a massive fireworks display at the beginning of the new year, be sure to make reservations at the restaurants found at the Wharf, so you don’t have to leave when hunger pangs strike!
For those seeking a more adult celebration, Flora-Bama Lounge, Package & Oyster Bar, located in Orange Beach, Alabama and Perdido Key, Florida is known for its legendary celebrations, and its Flora-Bama New Year’s Eve Bash will show you the correct way to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new year. And finally, showing that good things come to those who wait, when the clock strikes 12, (noon, that is, on New Year’s Day) Flora-Bama celebrates the blank slate with their annual Polar Bear Plunge! The water is cold, for sure, but nowhere near as frosty as it can be in northern states, and if you submerge yourself completely, be prepared to enjoy a free beer and a free lunch of ham, black eyed peas, greens, and cornbread!
Relax with Poole & Associates
No matter how you spend the precious minutes of your days and evenings in Gulf Shores, coming home to our holiday hideaways at the end of every day will be a reward in itself! Watch all the new Hallmark Christmas Movies on state-of-the-art televisions, take a nap on Christmas day on the softest of sofas, and celebrate the end of the old year sitting on balconies that overlook the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Every minute will be your favorite one when you choose any of our Poole & Associates escapes to make your own over the winter Gulf Shores holidays. Reserve your favorite today!