Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, feeding the giraffes--best family activities in Gulf Shores

9 BEST Gulf Shores Activities for the Ultimate Family Vacation

Planning a trip to the most popular beach destination in Alabama? Not only does Gulf Shores offer pristine white sandy beaches, but there are so many family-friendly Gulf Shores activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re planning a big family vacation or keeping it small, these activities are sure to be a hit with everyone!

9 BEST Activities in Gulf Shores for Families

1. Hammock Time Tiki Tours

One of the newest activities in Gulf Shores is Hammock Time Tiki Tours. This unique boating experience lets you unwind and connect with your family in a truly relaxed setting. They offer two-four hour island tours, as well as, private tours. These boats can accommodate up to six people. There is a restroom on board and they offer plenty of games to enjoy on your trip, too. Lastly, don’t forget your camera, as the sunset views are spectacular and definitely Instagram-worthy!

Hammock Time Tiki Tours in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Gulf Shores Activities for families. Photo courtesy of Hammock Time Tiki Tours.

2. Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

One of our favorite Gulf Shores activities during a family vacation is to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Spread across 25 acres, the zoo is home to over 199 species, including lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, and macaws. Each habitat is designed to mimic the animals’ natural environments, providing them with comfort and stimulating their natural behaviors. This careful consideration contributes to a healthier, happier animal population and a more authentic experience for visitors.

Of course, while you’re visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, be sure to check out the up close encounters like the giraffe feedings or even meet a sloth! These encounters are an extra expense, but well worth it for the giggles and smiles they create with little ones.

Brittney Naylor and daughter in stroller in front of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo entrance--gulf shores backwards beach day activities, best activities in Gulf Shores for families
John Naylor holding daughter who is holding out a leaf for a giraffe to eat at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Gulf Shores Activities.
John Naylor holding daughter as they feed a giraffe at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores, Alabama--week in Gulf Shores, Alabama, backwards beach day activities

3. Foil Gulf Coast

Looking for a bit of adventure, this activity in Gulf Shores is sure to be a hit! Foil Gulf Coast introduces a thrilling new way to experience the water—hydrofoiling. With a variety of lessons catered to all ages and skill levels, this is your chance to glide over the waves like a pro. The friendly instructors ensure safety is a priority, making this an exhilarating yet secure activity for teenagers and adventurous adults.

Foil Gulf Coast boards laying in the sand and ocean waves--photo courtesy of Foil Gulf Coast

4. Sandcastle University

Building sandcastles is always a great beach activity for the family, but what if you learned how to build a sandcastle from a professional? At Sandcastle University, professional instructors will teach you and your little ones the art of sandcastle building. You’ll learn techniques to construct towering castles, sturdy walls, and intricate details that go beyond the basic bucket-and-pail creations. It’s a perfect way to foster creativity and teamwork.

gulf shores alabama beach, little girl playing in the sand with beach toys

5. Jurassic Golf

Step back in time with a prehistoric twist at Jurassic Golf! This indoor mini-golf adventure is a hit among families as it’s glow-in-the-dark and features dinosaurs around every corner. The course offers just the right level of challenge for both kids and adults. It’s a great way to spend an evening after a day at the beach, with plenty of laughs and friendly competition. Afterwards, head next door to The Yard Milkshake Bar for a milkshake, which is just one of the many great places to eat in Gulf Shores.

Jurassic Golf in Gulf Shores Alabama--glow in the dark mini golf for families. Photo courtesy of Visit Alabama Beaches

6. Fishing Charter

For a taste of local life, embark on a fishing charter and let seasoned anglers guide you to the best spots. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced fisher, Gulf Shores’ bountiful waters provide the perfect setting for a day of fishing. It’s a great way to bond and perhaps even catch your dinner!

Fishing Charter from Gulf Shores Orange Beach Alabama, fishing boat off in the distance in the water with fisher rods hanging off--photo courtesy of Alabama Beaches Tourism--best gulf shores activities for families

7. Fort Morgan

Another one of the best Gulf Shores activities for families is a visit to Fort Morgan, a historic landmark that played roles in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and both World Wars.

The fort offers stunning views and a fascinating glimpse into the past. It’s also a fantastic spot for bird watching, so bring your binoculars during migration season. The self-guided tours are ideal for families who like to explore at their own pace.

Fort Morgan Historic Site located in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Photo courtesy of Visit Alabama Beaches.

8. Dolphin Tour

No visit to Gulf Shores is complete without a dolphin tour. These magical creatures captivate children and adults alike as they dance through the waves. Choose a local tour company that practices respectful wildlife viewing to ensure a memorable and ethical experience. It’s not just fun—it’s an educational experience that highlights the beauty of Gulf Shores’ marine life.

Dolphin watching cruise at sunset in Gulf Shores Orange Beach, Alabama. Photo courtesy of Visit Alabama Beaches

9. Tropic Falls

Another great family activity in Gulf Shores is a day at Tropic Falls, an indoor water park that guarantees fun regardless of the weather. From exhilarating slides to a lazy river, it has something for everyone. It’s a perfect spot to unwind and let the kids (and adults!) play to their heart’s content.

Tropic Falls is home to a variety of water attractions that cater to every age and thrill level. For adrenaline seekers, the water park boasts some of the most thrilling water slides. The highlight for many is the “Hang Ten” slide, which features a steep drop that plunges into a massive wave pool. Younger children will adore the “Kiddie Cove,” a specially designed area with smaller slides, interactive water features, and shallow pools that allow for safe, supervised play.

wide angle shot of tropic falls featuring a waterfall, colorful indoor water slides, and more--best family attractions in gulf shores

Conclusion: Family-Friendly Gulf Shores Activities

It’s easy to see why Gulf Shores has become a frequent destination for our family. From thrilling adventures on the water to educational historical tours and relaxing sunset sails, Gulf Shores has all the ingredients for a perfect family getaway. Be sure to check out any of these family activities on your next Gulf Shores vacation.

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Leave a Comment

The Comments

  • Beth
    April 16, 2024

    I can’t believe we’ve been to Gulf Shores about five times, and the only one of these we’ve done is the zoo! Thanks so much for this list!

    • Brittney
      → Beth
      April 16, 2024

      So many new attractions have been coming to Gulf Shores!

  • Ben
    April 16, 2024

    A dolphin tour would be so much fun! My dad and I went deep sea fishing several years ago, and we actually saw a few dolphins.

  • Emily
    April 16, 2024

    I loved visiting Gulf Shores! It’s been so long since I last went and this is making me want to go back for another holiday.

  • Michelle
    April 16, 2024

    I would love to visit Gulf Shores one day, it looks so fun. Fort Morgan looks like it would be such a neat place to visit. I’m a huge history buff!

  • Marysa
    April 16, 2024

    It sounds like there are so many wonderful things to do there! What a great place to visit as a family. The hydrofoil sounds very interesting!

  • Richard Lowe
    April 17, 2024

    Looks like you’ve found some great places to visit. Never been there, but you’ve given me some reasons to go.

  • Sonia Seivwright
    April 17, 2024

    Is it summer yet? I cant wait to take my family to the Gulf Shores. Looks incredible. Perfect for a short one-week family holiday.

  • Catherine Kay
    April 17, 2024

    This is a great guide to Gulf Shores activities for families. Seems like a great place for families to visit.

  • Fransic verso
    April 18, 2024

    Wow, very cool, it’s nice to have these. Hopefully, my family would be interested in trying this awesome experience. Thank you for sharing!

  • Karletta
    April 20, 2024

    Love these activities. I wanna go to that sandcastle university. What fun!

  • Clarice
    April 22, 2024

    Wow! I had no idea that there is so much to see and do in Gulf Shores. My daughter loves animals so, I am pretty sure we’ll enjoy the trip to the zoo.

    I would love to enroll/ join the Sandcastle University. I think its so much fun to learn how to build towering castles the right way.

  • Kushi Mallya
    April 23, 2024

    I love the activities shared here. Sounds so fun.