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When I first started planning our trip to Gulf Shores, I had no idea what to look for. Up until this point, I had either planned adults/girlfriends beach trips to all-inclusive or on a cruise ship, or had gone with my family where the planning was done for me!
We try to keep activities to a minimum when we are on a beach vacation! It is the beach after all and we’re trying to relax, but after about day 2 we all start getting a little fidgety and need an outing. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach are side by side and most of the hustle & bustle is down in Orange Beach.
We couldn’t let a visit to the ocean go by without actually going out on it, and what better way to do that than on a Pirate Ship! We found the Hudson Marina on the Gulfshores.com tourism site, and were really surprised by how much fun it was! The ship is a replica of The Pinta from the 1400s and the crew does a fantastic job of keeping the kids engaged throughout the journey. Best of all, we saw dolphins while we were out so it’s like we got 2 excursions in one!
While you’re out, your kids will definitely want to do some shopping! Up and down Gulf Shores Parkway are some really cute shops and many with really nice candies or handmade treasures. But let’s be real, your kids will destroy those nice shops so we opted for Souvenir City. Not only does it have a cool shark door, but inside are isle and isles of “treasures” your kids can afford with their allowance money… or a loan from mom because they forgot their allowance money!
Just across from Souvenir City is a great restaurant called the Hangout. We’ve been once for lunch and once for dinner and experienced totally different atmospheres. At lunch, it’s a great spot that sits out by the water and gets a nice breeze through the inside! It also has what is probably one of the most fun gift shops we have visited! They have all kinds of funky, retro gifts as well as an entire wall of prank gifts!
At night, it comes alive and becomes a family-friendly party! If you happen to be there on your birthday, like Landry, they will get you up on the table and have you dance! He has awesome moves! Since my mom decided to surprise Landry for his birthday, the grown-ups decided to split a few appetizers and The Little Chill which is an assortment of fresh seafood! It was so good!
Another great stop is Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s! It sits a little off the beaten path and is very popular so the wait time can stack up, but they have great activities all around to keep the kiddos having a great time until your table is ready! The boys particularly loved the arcade! If you go here, I highly recommend the crab melt! It was really good!
If you’re looking for a little more excitement, Waterville USA is the Gulf Shores go-to place for family fun! It features 20 acres of both water rides and amusement park attractions like go-carts! Cabana rentals are available, and there are several dining choices on the property to please everyone.
Have you visited Gulf Shores? If so, I’d love to hear what you and your family did! Maybe I’ll try it out next time! Be sure to check out my post on The Beach Club and Beach Must-Haves if you’re planning your trip, and join our mailing list for more posts to help with your family vacation planning.Follow Our Story