Who doesn't like free?
We at Beach Life Vacation Rentals, understand that times are tough and we appreciate any all business our lovely guests bring to us, and the town. With prices rising faster than the tide, we took it upon ourselves to compile a list of free, or relatively cheap, fun things to do with your family during your stay here at the beautiful Gulf Coast!
First, lets talk about parking. During the Winter, parking is easy to come by. Summer vacation time is a different story as hoards of people pile in to get there tan on from April through August. Parking fees at any public beach parking lots offered by the city can range from $5 for 4 hours, which may be plenty of time for you on the beach, to $15 for the whole day (7am-2am). Gulf Shores does offer some on street parking for free at these locations:
- East 1st Avenue
- East 2nd Avenue
- East 1st Street
- East 2nd Street
- West 1st Avenue
- West 2nd Avenue
- West 1st Street
- West 2nd Street
- West 5th Street North of Beach Boulevard
- West 12th Street
What a lot of repeat vacationers have learned, the best way to get the most out of paying to park is to find a neutral location, pay $15 for the whole day, and then walk to there desired locations. There are plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops, and beach activities within walking distance from Gulf Place (main public beach area).
This one's for the outdoorsy types!
Gulf State Park has beautiful and diverse trails. With 28 miles of paved trails or boardwalks, this park will definitely get your heart rate up with the view alone! Seven of the park's trails are part of the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail Complex, that inspire guests to survey the 9 different ecosystems within park boundaries. Gulf Oak Ridge Trail will have you strolling underneath Live Oak trees overlayed with Spanish Moss. You can ride your bike on Rosemary Dunes but you'll need to be on the look-out for the elusive Bobcat every now and then. Explore Gopher Tortoise Trail and Lake Shelby if you're hoping to spot an alligator! Open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, the trails at Gulf State Park are suitable for walking, running, and biking. Oh, we forgot to mention...its free!
Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Museums
Calling all History Buffs! There are 4 major historic homes, forts, or museums here on the Alabama Coast. The Gulf Shores Museum is a house that dates back to before WWII and was originally located on West Beach, it was donated to the city after Hurricane Frederic in 1979.
Next, we have the Fort Morgan State Historic Site. At the end of Highway 180, in Gulf Shores, sits Fort Morgan. The Fort Morgan Museum is the last stop along the Mobile Bay Civil War Trail. Fort Morgan played a critical role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864 and it was also used in the Spanish-American War, WWI, and WWII. Since 1834 Fort Morgan has stood as the guardian of Mobile Bay.
Next, we have the Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum. The building that houses the Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum was originally built in 1910 as a schoolhouse. It has served as a museum since 1995 and was moved to its present location in 1999. The Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum houses local artifacts and memorabilia relating to our Native American and fishing heritage.
Free and open to the public, the gorgeous waterfront gallery of the Coastal Arts Center features beautiful works from local artists including watercolor, pottery, paintings, photography, sculpture, textiles and more. Unless the property has been rented for an event, the waterfront grounds are accessible daily and you are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy or bring your easel and be inspired to draw or paint the breathtaking surroundings!
Don't Mind Spending a Little Cash?
Do you really want to see how athletic your kids are? Maybe they could go pro in mini golf. Formally known as putt-putt, mini golf destinations are very easy to spot in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. We have indoor mini golf at Jurassic Golf, located in Gulf Shores, admission from adults is $14 and $9 for kids ages 4-12. Outdoor mini golf can be found at various places on the Coast. Our favorite location is Zooland's Mini Golf. For just $5 you can play as many rounds as your heart desires...unlimited putt-putt...literally, what is better than unlimited putt-putt for $5? Maybe you're into fishing? No worries, I wont tell Nemo. The Gulf State Park Fishing Pier is $10 for the whole day. Historic Fort Morgan tours are $8 for anyone who likes to learn about war. Date night? Take your significant other on a romantic ride on The Wharf's Farris Wheel for $8 per person.
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
If we haven't given you enough ideas to fills your days with inexpensive activities, we understand. Visit the welcome centers for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and snag the coupons for any and all activities, plus restaurants, along the Coast!