13 Things to Do in Orange Beach

Last updated: June 21st, 2023 | Originally published: June 21, 2023
Things to Do in Orange Beach

Orange Beach, Alabama is one of the South’s premier beach destinations. Here you will find all the ingredients for an ocean vacation are present: white sand, blue water, and activities galore. In addition to the basic beach aesthetics, O.B.’s sights are clean, criminally undercrowded, historically significant, and host a family vibe throughout. If you’re looking for an amazing tropical location, stop and consider the many fun and interesting things to do in Orange Beach.

Things to Do in Orange Beach
Alabama Point — Things to do in Orange Beach

In addition to Orange Beach, nearby Gulf Shores has some of it’s own attractions. And if you’re weighing whether you should visit the Alabama Coast (link), or the Florida Panhandle (link), we’ve done a contrast/comparison between the two locations, The Redneck Riviera Review, to help you decide.

The following are what we found to be the 13 best things to do in Orange Beach, Alabama. We hope you enjoy!

1. Cotton Bayou Beach

Things to Do in Orange Beach
Things to do in Orange Beach

If you find yourself on the Alabama Coast, you are likely there (at least in part) for the white-sand beaches. There are a handful of beaches in town, and each is one of the best things to do in Orange Beach. Our favorite of the group was Cotton Bayou Beach because of the superior setting.

2. Fort Morgan — Things to Do in Orange Beach

Things to Do in Orange Beach

Other than sitting in a short-chair on the perfect sands of Alabama, our favorite of the things to do in Orange Beach was our visit to Fort Morgan. Since 1834 Fort Morgan has stood as the guardian of Mobile Bay, seeing significant action in the Civil War. It also sits on a beach and has some majestic resident herons. Spend a few hours exploring the tunnels and manning the turrets, damn the torpedoes.

3. Gulf State Park

Things to Do in Orange Beach
Things to do in Orange Beach

Gulf State Park is on the short list of best state parks in the USA and definitely one of the best things to do in Orange Beach, Alabama. The park includes 6,000 acres of Alabama Gulf Coast and is home to nine unique ecosystems.  There are three lakes for fishing, and miles of hiking and biking trails. And best of all, there are beaches. Bonus points for a first-rate RV park.

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4. Perdido Key

Things to Do in Orange Beach

If you run a stretch of shore 35 miles in a straight line you shouldn’t expect to find many differences from one beach to the next. Therefore, judging beaches is kind of stupid. Yet nonetheless, here we are, judging beaches. Perdido Key is as nice as most any point along the coast of Alabama. The vibe is a bit better, and the scenery is a bit better, so we give it an edge over Joe’s Generic Beach.

5. Flora-Bama — Things to Do in Orange Beach

Big Earl owns the Main Stage at Flora-Bama

Flora-Bama is a quintessential music venue in The South, made even more famous by musicians like Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett. If you’re a music lover they have multiple stages showcasing local musicians all throughout the day. They say it’s child friendly, but Big Earl’s lyrics (photo above) suggest otherwise. Seven days a week you’ll find the Flora-Bama crawling with good-timers eating fried shrimp and hanging on the sweet sounds. Be sure to visit this notorious haunt — it’s absolutely one of the best things to do in Orange Beach.

6. Alabama Point — Things to Do in Orange Beach

Alabama Point, Perdido Key
Things to do in Orange Beach

Just north of The Gulf restaurant (mentioned below) a bridge transverses the scenic Perdido Pass to Perdido Key, rising far above the landscape and giving some breathtaking views. There’s a lot of beauty in these surrounding areas, including Alabama Point, the southernmost tip of Perdido Key. We found this active beach with boat-wake waves to be one of the best things to do in Orange Beach.

Have you ever visited the Florida Panhandle, aka, the Emerald Coast? It is amazing!! Be sure to check it out our article, Emerald Coast Florida: A Complete Guide.

7. Ferry to Dauphin Island

Things to Do in Orange Beach

If the beaches of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores aren’t enough for you, take a ferry ride across Mobile Bay and explore even more beaches on Dauphin Island. While you’re there you can also check out the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Fort Gaines, and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. This is considered one of the best things to do on the Alabama Coast.

8. The Gulf — Things to Do in Orange Beach

The Gulf -- Perdido Key

Orange Beach’s preeminent, waterfront, family-friendly restaurant is The Gulf. Located on a premium plot of shore at Perdido Pass, The Gulf was artfully constructed from blue shipping containers. The vibe is fantastic, with seating whimsically tossed around a backyard beach-party –It is the envy of all other restaurants. As an added bonus the prices are reasonable and the food is delicious (menu).

9. Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail

Things to Do in Orange Beach
Things to Do in Orange Beach

Seven trails make up more than 15 miles of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex. Great for walking and even better for hiking, the trails run from Gulf Shores through Gulf State Park into Orange Beach. Here you can spot wildlife, cross the waterways, and indulge a butterfly house while getting your exercise. Bike rides are one of the best things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

10. Johnson Beach National Seashore

Perdido Key
Things to do in Orange Beach

Johnson Beach National Seashore is an incredible beach that runs for miles down the length of Perdido Key. If you want to avoid the crowds, this is where you go, as long as you can stomach the $15 per car entrance fee. At the very end of Perdido Key are the remnants of military relic Fort McRee (not necessarily recommended — it’s a couple miles down the beach).

PRO TIP: Parking is limited. There is a large parking lot just inside the gate, but the beach there will likely be crowded with people. Drive further down Perdido Key and you can park on the sides of the road within a limited space — Park here to get less-crowded access to the beach. At the end there is a turnaround with NO Parking.

11. Doc’s Seafood Shack

Doc's Seafood Shack -- Things to Do in Orange Beach

Doc’s Seafood claims to have the best fried shrimp in the civilized world. And We Believe! Along with The Gulf, this was our favorite meal in Orange Beach. The ambiance is cool, the staff is friendly, they teach you how to make tartar sauce (who does that?), and the fried shrimp were bonkers good. Be sure to stop at Doc’s Seafood and Oysters (different from Doc’s Seafood and Steak near the beach).

12. The Wharf — Things to Do in Orange Beach

Things to Do in Orange Beach

Every beach town has a mega-shopping complex with arcades, coffee shops, candy stores, etc. The Wharf is a diminutive, two-story commerce center with a large movie theater and a Ferris Wheel. The facility is charming and a pleasant assortment of stores are represented.

13. Gulf Shores Museum

Gulf Shores Museum
Things to Do in Orange Beach

The history of G.S. is interesting, and the city has collected the stories and swag and assembled them in once, small place. It takes about an hour to peruse. We found the hurricane history and the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival to be some of the more interesting exhibits at the Gulf Shores Museum.

An Honest Conclusion for Things to Do in Orange Beach

Things to Do in Orange Beach
Fort Morgan — Things to do in Orange Beach

We found Orange Beach, Alabama to be one of the cleanest beach towns we’ve ever visited. The people were clean, the streets were clean, even the touristy nonsense was clean. So many USA beach towns are run-down, druggie havens that it was a welcomed surprise to see Alabama has kept it classy on the coast.

The beaches were beautiful. The seafood was delicious. Gulf State Park was a fantastic hub for our vacation. We just can’t say enough good things about Orange Beach! It completely surprised us.

We typically vacation in Destin, Florida (link). This time we decided to give the Alabama coast a chance and it did not disappoint. If you would like to read our compare/contrast between the Alabama Coast and the Florida Panhandle, check out our Redneck Riviera Review. We think you’ll like it.

Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!

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