Explore The Beach & Other Natural Wonders Of Gulf State Park

gulf state park gulf shores

Beaches, a lake, a fishing pier, a golf course interwoven into the natural landscape are a few of the things you’ll find at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

While vacationing in your gulf-front condo in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key, make time to explore the beautiful beaches and the other wonders of Gulf State Park.

And, while the park is known for its two miles of white-sand beaches fronting the Gulf of Mexico, it also boasts a new dog pond, a championship golf course, a covered beach pavilion, tennis courts, hiking trails, and a fishing pier that is 20-feet wide and extends 1,512 feet into the Gulf.

Beach & Fish

The beaches of Gulf State Park are some of the most beautiful ones in the world, boasting sugar-white sand and emerald-green waters. Park at the pavilion for only $5 and enjoy the convenience of restrooms, showers and a covered picnic area.

Nearby, the Gulf State Park Pier is a fishing hotspot for vacationers and local residents. Bring the family and fish from the 20-foot-wide, 1,512-foot long pier. The only thing you need to remember is to make sure that you have your fishing license, which can be purchased at the pier or online before you arrive.

Cotton Bayou Beach is another public beach nearby Gulf State Park. It is 5.1 miles east of Alabama Hwy. 59 and offers a limited amount of free parking. The restrooms, outdoor showers and parking area are conveniently close to the beach, so no need to lug all that heavy beach equipment too far!

Another state park beach option is Alabama/Florida Point, where parking is free, and there are miles of beaches to enjoy the sun and surf. A picnic area, outside showers, and restrooms are located on site.

Golf

Combining the natural scenery of Gulf State Park and the design of Earl Stone, Gulf State Park’s 18-hole championship golf course offers an exceptional experience and the natural beauty found only on the Alabama Gulf Coast.Opened in 1974, the Refuge Golf Course, part of the Refuge Golf Club & Grill, boasts 6,593 yards of landscaped courses, a driving range, a putting green, a pro shop, and the convenient Refuge Grill.

Opened in 1974, the Refuge Golf Course, part of the Refuge Golf Club & Grill, boasts 6,593 yards of landscaped courses, a driving range, a putting green, a pro shop, and the convenient Refuge Grill.

Bring The Pup

While most Gulf Coast beaches do not permit dogs, the new Dog Pond at Lake Shelby is a great place for your puppy to stretch his legs.

Enjoy the Dog Pond from 8 a.m. to sunset. If you want to bring your dog along as you explore the nature trails, the park welcomes you to do so as long as he’s on a leash.

Find dog-friendly vacation rentals.

Nature Center & Trails

Snakes, opossum and turtles are just a few of the animals you might see at the Gulf State Park’s Nature Center and also on a hike through the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system.

The Nature Center is a living museum with animals and plants that call the Gulf Coast home and was built to inspire visitors to care about the Gulf Coast environment and its animal residents. The Nature Center also offers fun and interactive programs like guided nature walks.

Kristal from Indiana commented after her stay at Royal Palms that her family enjoyed the location near the state park, condo had everything they were looking for and it wasn’t crowded.

Parker J. of Ashland, Mo., said they visited for a month last February not only to escape the cold but also to “bike the trails at the Gulf State Park.”

Gulf State Park I Do’s

The Gulf Coast is an amazing place to stage weddings, receptions and honeymoons. Gulf State Parkoffers a number of locations suitable for wedding ceremonies and receptions, including the Gulf State Park Pavilion. Suitable for 50 or 200 guests, the pavilion is located directly on the beach and provides a covered venue with tables and plenty of room for celebration.

Meyer Vacation Rentals is a terrific resource for those planning a Gulf Coast wedding. Find a list of wedding-friendly houses, photographers, event planning services, caterers, rental companies and more service providers whose goal is to make your day even more special.

Visit Gulf State Park from your a four-bedroom beach house or a three-bedroom vacation rental condo.

 

Fabulous Fall Festivals & Fun This October On The Gulf Coast

Visit the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast in the fall and you may find so many fun adventures you could end up staying for the whole month.

The month of October, especially, is full of opportunities to explore festivals like the Alabama Coastal Birdfest, the Festival of Flavor, the Annual National Shrimp Festival and fun fall activities like corn mazes, hayrides and pumpkin patches.

Alabama Coastal BirdFest

Alabama Coastal BirdFestBird lovers rejoice in the annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest, which is held every October.

In 2016, the festival will be held Wednesday, October 5, through Saturday, October 8.

On Wednesday will be a Hummingbirds Workshop, where Fred Bassett, certified master bird bander, will present an overview of hummingbirds’ habitat, food and migration and discuss how to attract hummers to your yard.

A second workshop will provide an overview of the basics of birding for those who want to enhance their experience during BirdFest and beyond.

Festival events the following days take bird lovers on a variety of excursions and visits:

Wednesday, October 5
o  Hummingbirds Workshop
o  Basics of Birding Workshop
o  Orientation, Presentation & Welcome Reception

Thursday, October 6
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
o  Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o  Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o  Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o  Lagan Park & Environmental Study Center
o  Eagle’s Nest Kayak Tour
o  Weeks Bay Paddle
Bon Secour River EcoCruise
o  Alligator Alley Adventure
o  Weeks Bay Sunset Cruise

Friday, October 7
Dauphin Island/Trans Gulf Migration Flyaway
o  Mobile Bay, DISL Research Vessel Alabama Discovery Cruise
o  Splinter Hill Bog
o  Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
Gulf State Park & Perdido Pass
o  Middle Bay Lighthouse Boat Tour
o  Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Kayak Tour
o  Delta Discovery Cruise
o  Bird & Nature Photography Workshop
o  BirdFest Social with Speaker & Silent Auction

Saturday, October 8
o  Dauphin Island Shorebirds
o  Blakeley Island Mud Ponds & Battleship Park
o  Fort Morgan Peninsula/Trans Gulf Migration Flyway
o  Bayou La Batre, Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Point aux Pins
o  Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve/Weeks Bay Explorer Cruise
o  Delta Discovery Tour
o  Alligator Alley Adventure
o  Wolf Bay Dolphin Cruise
o  Bon Secour River Paddle
o  Fairhope Fly Creek Exploration Paddle
o  Delta Sunset Wine Tasting Cruise

Annual Festival Of Flavor

Festival of FlavorThe Festival of Flavor, scheduled for Oct. 8 in downtown Foley, celebrates local and regional foods and this year is a qualifying event for a Golden ticket to the World Food Championships – The Ultimate Food Fight Experience.

The World Food Championship will be held Nov. 9-13 and highlight some of the most iconic cuisines around the world in categories like barbecue, chili, sandwich, burger, dessert, bacon, seafood, steak and recipe. The recipe category is based on a theme of food, which, this year, is “breakfast.”

A highlight of the Festival of Flavor is the farm-to-table dinner, which is held by the Chicago Street Supper Club. This ticketed event is the first of the festival, happening about two weeks before the actual weekend, and it features a special arrangement of expertly prepared foods for guests who purchase tickets to the meal.

In addition to the food displays and dinners, there are also a number of street vendors on hand to show off crafts and other works of art. Jazz performers and similar live entertainment provide the perfect background music for a relaxing day at the festival. Face painting and other kid-friendly displays are planned as part of the festival.

The Festival of Flavor will be held on October 8 and is open to the public. The festival will have sample tastes not only from competing chefs but also from local breweries, wineries, restaurants, mom-and-pop shops and much more.

45th Annual National Shrimp Festival

National Shrimp FestivalSlated for the second full weekend in October, the Annual National Shrimp Festival is always held Thursday through Sunday.

Free to attend, the festival was started in 1971 and today draws more than 250,000 people to the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area to browse exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, enjoy live music, enjoy kids’ interactive games and, best of all, indulge in the astounding variety of shrimp dishes. Those who don’t like shrimp will be able to enjoy foods like chicken, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, pasta, salads, nachos and even the now famous Cajun Pistol!

Kids are given the royal treatment at the Children’s Activity Village. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., this area features a sand sculpture contest on Saturday, interactive games, make-and-take arts and crafts, face painting, kids’ musical and dance performances, and more.

Locals weigh in on how to make the most of the Shrimp Festival experience.

Bring your best friends down to the beach for the weekend and reserve a three-bedroom condo in Orange Beach.

There are shuttle stops along the way making it easy to catch a ride to the festival site at your convenience.

Or, if the whole family would like to enjoy the festival, which is consistently rated among the top festivals in the country, consider a five-bedroom house in Gulf Shores.

There are plenty of conveniently located beach vacation rental options to suit every taste and size of group in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

See our Shrimp Festival deals and specials here.

The Original German Sausage Festival

Elberta German Sausage FestivalAnnually attracting an estimated 30,000 visitors, the Original German Sausage Festival is always held the last Saturday in October and March in nearby Elberta.

The festival is a town fundraiser spearheaded by the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department. Proceeds are used for improving the operations of the fire department as well as the quaint German heritage town located a few miles north of the beach.

Festival organizers sell about 7,000 pounds of German Sausage (with or without sauerkraut – your choice!) at each festival as well as German-inspired and American foods such as cabbage, potato salad, goulash, red beans and rice, hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue, ice cream, popcorn and peanuts.

Vendors at the festival feature everything from homemade crafts and jewelry to art and even clothing. Music is a big part of the festival, with polka, country, contemporary and German music entertaining festivalgoers. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to join in the dancing fun during for a Waltz or the Schuhplattler!

More October Delights

Magnolia Springs Corn Maze and Pumpkin PatchIn the weeks leading up to Halloween, the Gulf Coast area comes alive with opportunities to celebrate fall.

For example, the Magnolia Corn Maze this year will celebrate its eighth year as a fun local attraction.

Open from Oct. 1 through Nov. 5, the Magnolia Corn Maze is located at Magnolia Farms, a few miles north of the Gulf Shores beaches.

Families can enjoy

o  2 challenging corn mazes
o  Pumpkins
o  A hayride and cow train
o  A petting zoo, pig race and pony rides
o  Knocker ball
o  Jump pad
o  Bazooka ball
o  Corn cannons and duck races
o  Parties and campfires
o  Playground areas for all ages
o  Zombie paintball and the Field of Terror

All Aboard The Pumpkin Patch Express

Pumpkin Patch ExpressOpen from Sept. 30 through Oct. 31, the Wales West Light Railway invites visitors to board the authentic steam train to the kid-friendly pumpkin patch or the haunted barn maze.

Kids will enjoy Wales West’s mini train ride, hayride, refreshments, bounce house, pumpkin cannon, petting zoo and pony rides, café and gift shop.

Kids can also select their own pumpkin at other local pumpkin patches, including Hillcrest Farm, Magnolia Farms and Sanders Pumpkin Patch, for example.

If you’re going to be at the beach over Halloween, there are numerous neighborhoods that love opening their doors to trick-or-treating kids.

Best Pools In Gulf Shores

Ask anyone why they like swimming pools, and you’ll get a variety of answers. It’s refreshing. You can exercise without putting stress on your joints and muscles. It’s a great way to relax. It’s fun.

Meyer Vacation Rentals offers more than 1,000 beach condos with pool access in the coastal communities of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key, giving guests the opportunity to take full advantage of the benefits of swimming.

Some of the resort-style pools Meyer guests can enjoy on vacation feature lazy rivers, slides, concession areas and more. In addition, they are often located adjacent to other on-site amenities such as indoor pools, children’s pools, hot tubs, fitness rooms and more.

Here are just a few Meyer beach properties with super fun pools:

Phoenix On The Bay

Phoenix on the BayWith a giant Phoenix mosaic embellishing the bottom, one of Phoenix on the Bay’spools not only offers a refreshing respite, but it is also eye-catching.
This bright, clear pool is surrounded by a slow-moving lazy river that inspires visitors to grab a float and hop in for a relaxing spin around the courtyard.

A twisty yet inviting slide adds a little excitement for kids of all ages. A children’s pool rounds out the options.

Pools are located near amenities such as grilling stations, picnic tables and green spaces.

An indoor pool flanked by floor-to-ceiling glass windows means guests can swim regardless of weather or time of year.

Check availability at Phoenix on the Bay.

Caribe, The Resort

Caribe ResortBeautiful blue water surrounds you atCaribe, The Resort in Orange Beach. The front of the resort-styled property faces the Perdido Pass area, while the back overlooks Old River and the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.

Caribe offers more than 40,000 square feet of pool options: a lazy river, zero entry pools, kids’ pools, layered pools and lots of slides, all of which are surrounded by large comfortable decks and numerous hot tubs.

Check availability at Caribe, The Resort.

Turquoise Place

Turquoise PlaceWith five swimming pools and three indoor hot tubs, there is never a shortage of places at Turquoise Place to enjoy the water.

The complex, located in Orange Beach, features two heated indoor pools, a children’s pool, an outdoor pool and a zero-entry, seasonally heated outdoor pool. In addition, a 450-foot lazy river invites guests to kick back and go with the flow!

A poolside bar and grill offers the convenience of a frosty beverage and a bite to eat at any time.

The lazy river is surrounded by nearly a half an acre of sun deck and is located adjacent to a children’s playground.

Check availability at Turquoise Place.

Phoenix West II

Phoenix West IIWhen you vacation at Phoenix West II in Orange Beach, swimming at one of the pools is a must.

There is a large outdoor pool, an expansive and winding lazy river with a water slide, a children’s pool and a hot tub. An indoor pool provides a perfect break from the sunshine.

Gail F. of Chattanooga, Tennessee, said the pools at Phoenix West II were a big hit with her family. “We needed a large, spacious and comfortable property to accommodate three families. The space was amazing with plenty of room for kids and family. We especially enjoyed the two living areas and dining room. The pools and lazy river were a hit every family member. The beach and weather could not have been more beautiful. Thanks for a lovely respite away from reality. We are definitely coming back!”

Check availability at Phoenix West II.

Oasis At The Wharf

Oasis at the WharfThe Oasis Pool at The Wharf is a tropical paradise in the middle of a main street atmosphere.

There are three pools, including a zero-entry wave pool, a lagoon pool, a children’s area, a lazy river, waterfalls, a whirlpool spa, sandy beaches, a hammock island with rustling palms, and a grill to purchase snacks, meals and cold beverages.

If you’re staying at The Wharf, the Oasis is the perfect way to enjoy a tropical island atmosphere.

Check availability at The Wharf.

Beach Club

Beach ClubA coastal retreat, Beach Club, located in the quiet and scenic Fort Morgan area, spans more than 86 acres of private beaches and natural surroundings. Tucked into those natural surroundings are numerous pools, ranging from those located at your specific complex to those at the Clubhouse.

The Clubhouse pools include a heated indoor pool, where you might pick up a morning fitness class; an outdoor pool heated seasonally during March and April; a children’s pool; and a hot tub.

The Clubhouse is also where you’ll find the spa, the Coast Restaurant, a fitness center, a game room, and more amenities. A daily resort fee provides access to the Clubhouse.

In all, there are four outdoor pools, four hot tubs, and a poolside bar and grill at Beach Club.

Check availability at Beach Club.

50 Years Of Fun In The Sun

Meyer Vacation Rentals has been helping families create forever memories at cool pools across the Gulf Coast since 1967.

Check availability at vacation properties with pool access.

Stay On Top Of Gulf Coast News With Meyer Vacation Rentals

 

Sea Star

Stay on top of the latest headlines and issues affecting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan, Fairhope, Perdido Key and the surrounding areas on Meyer Vacation Rentals’ News Page.

Here are a few recent headlines and news snippets from around the area:

 

Orange Beach Tops List For 2016 Vacations

TripAdvisor reviewers have named Orange Beach No. 2 on its top 10 list for travelers’ choice destinations on the rise. (MORE)

 

Poseidon’s Playground Gets A Little More Fun

A pyramid, a rocket and a steel structure were deployed at Poseidon’s Playground, an artificial reef located in Orange Beach, giving divers more unique statues to explore. (MORE)

 

2016 Hangout Fest Tickets On Sale

Want to attend Hangout Fest 2016? Buy your tickets and reserve your preferred accommodations before both run out. (MORE)

 

Shorts & Flip Flops For The Christmas Tree Lighting At The Wharf

It was a festive—and warm—scene at The Wharf in December as people enjoyed the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Bands played, children sang and wrote letters to Santa, and more. (MORE)

 

Dune Restoration Underway At State Park

The Gulf State Park Enhancement Project team has begun work to restore the equivalent of more than 50 football fields of dunes flattened in 2004 during Hurricane Ivan. (MORE)

 

Stay tuned to our News Page for regular updates on local news.

10 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Shrimp Festival Experience

From Thursday, Oct. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 11, about 250,000 people will descend on our little slice of paradise to enjoy the Annual National Shrimp Festival.

 

The 44th edition of this beachfront festival showcases the Alabama Gulf Coast’s succulent celebrity—Gulf Shrimp—along with a variety of other delightful cuisine, live music of all genres, fine art, handmade crafts, children’s activities, contests and much more. There is truly something for all ages to enjoy.

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We wanted to share some ways to make the most of your Shrimp Festival experience from a local’s perspective, so we asked the teams from Meyer Vacation Rentals, Century 21 Meyer Real Estate and Meyer Services to share their ideas. Read on for our Top 10 tips for having a fabulous time during your Shrimp Festival stay.

 

And, here’s one more Shrimp Festival treat: Stay with Meyer Vacation Rentals and receive a special money-saving deal.

 

For the article and the special money-saving deal, go HERE.

Alabama Shakes performing in Orange Beach August 22

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes received two Grammy award nominations, including Best New Artist, in 2013. 

Hailing from Athens, AL, and led by vocal powerhouse Brittany Howard, the Alabama Shakes started out as a twice a week jam session among fellow classmates Heath Fogg and Zac Cockrell.

“I never really made a conscious decision to get into music,” Howard said. “I started to play guitar at a really young age and just loved playing music and writing songs for fun. I never really thought I could make a career out of it.”

Now, after releasing two albums and receiving multiple grammy nominations, the band is returning to the Ampitheater at the Wharf in Orange Beach August 22 with special guest the Drive By Truckers.

“The tour has been great so far,” Howard said. “Lollapalooza in Chicago was a lot of fun. I sat in with Paul McCartney for a version of ‘Get Back,’ which was a huge honor.”

This summer, the band has traveled to Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, and even The Greek in Los Angeles and Red Rocks in Colorado. For Howard, she’s most excited to return home to Alabama.

“I’m looking forward to getting home to see friends and family this weekend at our two Alabama shows. We have yet to play our home state on this new record so I am excited about playing these new songs for so many familiar faces.”

Sound & Color was released this April, coming off 2011’s breakthrough album Boys & Girls.

“This new album is definitely more layered and textured than the last one,” Howard said. “We had a lot more time to make Sound & Color compared to Boys & Girls. We were able to experiment more and go off in some new directions.”

Although the band was able to try different things, Howard said they still were able to stick to their roots.

“We were able to do some things that we just didn’t have the time or resources to do on the first one. To me, Sound & Color feels like a natural extension of Boys & Girls,” Howard said.

Alabama Shakes continues to stay grounded through finding inspiration close to home. Drawing creativity through their family, friends, and where they are from, they are able to connect to the audience on a personal level.

“We are also really big music fans with wide taste,” Howard said. “So we definitely soak in as much as we can and see where it takes us.”

There’s plenty of concerts to see at the Wharf. Join us for a vacation in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, or Perdido Key. From one bedroom condos to sprawling beach houses, Meyer Vacation Rentals has it all.

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