Gulf State Park – Gulf Shores, Alabama

When you think of the Alabama Gulf Coast do sugar sand beaches, a surging surf, warm sea breezes, and a crystal clear coast come to mind? With three miles of beach, Gulf State Park has all of that and more, but the beach is only the beginning. I had a blast exploring another one of our fantastic Alabama State Parks and you will too.

Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail

With over 25 miles of paved trail and boardwalks, you’ll be hard-pressed to see it all. Suitable for biking, hiking, running, and strolling, these trails will not disappoint. Perfect for all ages, but families with young children will appreciate that fact that the trails close to motorized vehicles. There’s even a boulder park for climbing and a butterfly garden for further exploration! Forgot your bike? No worries! Rentals are available at the camp store.

Boardwalk, Gulf State Park
On the Boardwalk!

Want to try something new? A Segway Tour from Coastal Segway adventures is just the thing. Glide along the trails and boardwalks at 12 MPH after a short training and practice section led by a knowledgeable guide. A Segway Tour is an exciting and unusual way to explore the park. Our tour guide stopped at several points of interest along the way and even pointed out wildlife. This two-hour tour is perfect for all ages, but teens and tweens will especially love it.

Segway Tour, Gulf State Park
Fun Way to Explore!

Gulf State Park Nature Center

More than just a museum, the Nature Center offers hands-on interactive exhibits, plants and animals, and a myriad of programming throughout the week. Offerings such as nature walks, pier walks, live animal programs, even eco-crafts, will appeal to both children and adults. A trip to the center is a terrific choice on a rainy day as well.

Lake Shelby

Explore this 592-acre lake on a kayak or canoe. Rentals are available if you don’t have your own.  You can even rent a SUP if you’d like to give paddle boarding a try. I spent a lovely afternoon exploring the picturesque shoreline.

Lake Shelby, Gulf State Park
Kayaking on Lake Shelby

Fishing is also an excellent choice on the lake with redfish, bass, bream, speckled trout, and catfish among the most common catches.

Fishing and Education Pier

Are you looking for a saltwater fishing experience? Look no further than the Gulf State Park Pier! 2,448 feet of fishing space along with an onsite table shop, concession area, and comfort stations make this the perfect choice.

Fishing Pier, Gulf State Park
You Never Know Who’ll You Meet

Be sure to take a look at all of the informative and educational panels along the pier. Sunset from this vantage point is not to be missed.

Sunset, Gulf State Park
Another Beautiful Sunset

The Beach

Of course, the star of the show is the white sand beach located directly across the street. A short 1-mile drive gets you there (construction is underway on pedestrian bridges) and parking is readily available. A newly constructed pavilion awaits with concessions, clean restrooms, and indoor and outdoor showers. Beach service rentals are available if you prefer not to carry your chairs.


Gulf State Park offers 20 modern cabins and 11 cottages.  Cabins and cottages are fully furnished and equipped with everything you need to have a great stay. Different sizes are viable to accommodate your family.

Gulf State Park Campground offers 496 improved full hookup campsites with paved pads and with 11 primitive sites.  Tents are welcome on all sites. The campground features 11 modern air-conditioned bathhouses,  a camp store, laundry facilities, swimming pool with splash pad, tennis/pickleball courts, horseshoes,  and volleyball.

A primitive camping experience in a yurt is available at the Gulf State Park Outpost. Each of the three tents is set up and has four cots. There are outhouses on site for outpost guests only but no indoor plumbing bathroom.

Our Alabama State Parks are family friendly and affordable with loads of things to do.

Gulf State Park is no exception. Consider taking a walk on the wild side for your next vacation at an Alabama State Park.

For more information visit the Alabama State Park website.

Bad weather? Read about five favorite things to do on rainy days in Gulf Shores by clicking here.

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