Things to Do With Kids in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Roadschooling has become the rage in today’s post-Covid culture, but we’ve been doing it for 26 years. Planning is a key factor in making an educational road trip a reality. I’ve learned some tricks of the trade, and I’d love to share them with you.  Maybe you are not road schooling but have kids and want the best of the best of things to do with kids in Gulf Shores, Alabama; this blog is for you too!

Full Disclosure: To help offset the costs of running Gleason Family Adventure, you’ll find affiliate links throughout the site. If you choose to purchase through one of these links, there’s no additional cost to you, but I’ll earn a small commission. You can read the entire legal disclosure on the full disclosure page. Thank you to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism for creating this hosted itinerary. As always, all opinions are mine.

Stay at Eagles Cottages in Gulf State Park 

After a day playing in the sand and surf on one of the pristine Alabama beaches, you will want a place to stay that rejuvenates you for another day of play. Eagles Cottages in Gulf State Park is the place to be for families. Every cottage has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, plenty of places to spread out for an evening on Lake Shelby. Sunsets on the lake are breathtaking, and the abundant wildlife in Gulf State Park will enrapture you.

Each cottage has bikes for every guest, a fire pit with comfortable Adirondack chairs, a picnic table, and a charcoal grill. The swing under the cottage had stunning views of the lake, and I found myself there more than once enjoying the beauty surrounding me.

Mom-Tip: Eagle Cottages is one of the unique lodges of the world, and they tailor each experience for guests. Upon your arrival, you will have a charcuterie board, adult beverage of your choice, coffee creamer, and a warm welcome. Breakfast at Woodside Restaurant is complimentary for guests staying in the cottages. BONUS for moms who don’t want to cook on vacation.

Book your stay here: Eagle Cottages

Click here to learn more about Gulf State Park

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have the food scene well in hand. Let’s just say we did not go hungry while we were there. You can find locally-owned foodie stops all along the coast.

Breakfast

Woodside; is one of the most family-friendly places for breakfast with an easy casual style. Order and then sit at one of the tables and play a game or build a puzzle until the food comes out. 

OSO Early, early risers will enjoy grabbing a quick bite in this delicious little joint in Orange Beach. We grabbed some waffles before heading out for the day.

Sunliner Diner; If you want a fun, upbeat place to start your day, this hopping joint is for you. Eat in the caddy and tap your toes to the 1950’s music.

Lunch

Foodcraft; if you want good food with great views, take lunch at this upscale yet casual restaurant on Gulf State Park’s beach.

YoHo Rum and Tacos; this is simply one of the top places to grab a taco before heading out for more fun at the beach. 

Dinner

LuLu’s: Our kids love LuLu’s, and we do too. After dinner, give the teens some money for the arcade, and you can sit and savor dessert and coffee.  

The Gulf; Dine in the open air at the beach. Order your food, grab a spot at one of the picnic tables in the sand and enjoy dinner on the Gulf.

The Original Oyster House: Eat where the locals eat! We stuffed ourselves with crab claws and an all-you-can-eat salad bar. 

 Get Active with Segway Eco Tour

Families with kids ages 12+ can take them on a Segway tour with Coastal Segway Adventures through Gulf State Park. There is something about combining fun with education, and this trip on two wheels is just the ticket. Admittedly, it took a minute for me to feel comfortable, but within 10 minutes, we were ready to get going. Our guide, David, was excellent and knew when to give us a break. What you will see and learn on the Eco tour will be up to mother nature. Every trip into the park is unique and changes with the weather and seasons.

Learn about Historical Locations in Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are rich in history. Plan at least a full day for history while you are here in the area.

Historic Fort Morgan

Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum

Gulf Shores Museum

Alabama’s Coastal Scenic Byway

Bike the Trails in Gulf State Park or to the Beach

Biking is an excellent way to get around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Rent a bike at Beach Bike Rentals for the week and get active while learning. Bike the trails in Gulf State Park for an educational and healthy adventure. You can see deer, gopher turtles, eagles, alligators, snakes, and flora, and fauna only found here in the state park. Once you have enjoyed the state park, use your bikes to get around to the beach and other parks in the area.

Mom-Tip: Use your bell and wear a helmet when out and about. Trails can be busy at times and will have walkers, segways, and other bikers on them. There are nearly 30 miles of trails in the Gulf State Park. 

Take a Dolphin Cruise

Our kids love being out on the water, and the Cetacean Cruises dolphin and eco-tour was a perfect way to learn while we were in Gulf Shores. Hop onboard this two-hour trip in the calm waters of the bay. You will find your boat surrounded by these friendly mammals with plenty of learning opportunities. Our captain was extraordinarily knowledgeable and gave us a plethora of information about the dolphins in the area. You might even be able to start enjoying the dolphins before even leaving the dock.

Mom-Tip: If you only have time for one extra event while at the beach, this one should be at the top of your list. (Even sulky teenagers will love this one!)

Build a Sand Castle on Alabama Beaches

One thing that always gets me about Alabama’s white sandy beaches is that it squeaks when you step out onto the sand. This is a learning opportunity for you to research why it does that. Building in this sand is fantastic, and I even get into it.  If you’ve never built a sandcastle, have Sand Castle University come and teach you the art of how to build a Sand Castle. I had the privilege of meeting the owner, Janel, and she is fantastic. I highly recommend this guided activity. Sand Castle University website 

Mom Tip: If you have been the main teacher on this trip, now is the moment to sit back in a chair on the beach and let someone else teach and entertain the kids for a minute.

Free Things to Do with Kids in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

One thing about a beach road school trip is the availability to enjoy

Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

No visit to Gulf Shores is complete without a visit to the zoo! The new Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo opened in 2019 after moving about a mile north from its previous location. The new location offers more space and modern facilities for its residents. This modern zoo will keep your kids busy for hours. Experience a sloth encounter or take a ride on the carousel. Grab a snack at the restaurant before you leave and enjoy the views from the outdoor eating area.

Roadschooling is a great way to learn and explore the United States. Even if you are not roadschooling and just exploring with your children, embrace each moment in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as an opportunity to learn something new. From the birds in the bright blue sky to the smallest crabs hiding in the sand, this part of Alabama is RICH with learning experiences and plenty of moments that will bring your family closer together.

Happy Road Trips!

Brandy