Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers something for the entire family: white-sand beaches, unique shopping destinations, delicious seafood and a variety of outdoor activities. There are also several places on Alabama’s Gulf Coast that many people don’t even know about, making them a best kept secret.
The 10 places listed below are the best kept secrets of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Don’t forget to check them out the next time you’re vacationing in the area.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab opened in 1971 and is Alabama's marine research facility. One of the sea lab's main attractions is the George F. Crozier Estuarium. This is an aquarium that specializes in estuarine organisms, and it's also open to the public. Address: 101 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
2. Fort Gaines
Also located on Dauphin Island is Fort Gaines, a historic fort that was established in 1821. Fort Gaines is best known for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay, which was the most important naval battle of the American Civil War. Address: 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528
3. The Wharf Amphitheater
The Wharf, which is located in the city of Orange Beach, is the Gulf Coast's finest dining and shopping destination. Also located at The Wharf is its popular Amphitheater. The Amphitheater hosts the biggest concerts that come to the Gulf Coast area, and these concerts attract people from all over the Southeast. Address: 23325 Wharf Ln, Orange Beach, AL 36561
4. Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo opened in 1989 and is home to more than 500 animals, including monkeys, lemurs, tigers, kangaroos, lions, bears, etc. This fun zoo also features a reptile house, petting zoo and an aviary. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is open from 9-4 daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Address: 1204 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
5. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 and covers more than 7,000 acres. It functions as a resting and feeding place for a variety of migratory birds, and it's also among the most beautiful places on Alabama's Gulf Coast. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for hiking and wildlife viewing. Address: 12295 State Hwy 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
6. Waterville USA
Located in Gulf Shores, Alabama is Waterville USA. Waterville USA opened in 1986 and is a combination waterpark and amusement park. This Gulf Coast attraction is great for all ages and features a variety of rides, including 17 amazing waterslides. Address: 906 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
7. Fort Morgan
Standing at the mouth of Mobile Bay is a masonry star fort known as Fort Morgan. Fort Morgan was constructed between the years 1819 and 1834, and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1960. Fort Morgan is a definite must see, especially if history excites you. Address: 110 State Hwy 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
8. Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a multi-use trail that was established in 2003. More than 15 miles of the Backcountry Trail are made up of seven different trails among six distinct ecosystems. This nature attraction also features several camping spots, making it the perfect place for a family weekend getaway. Address: Hwy 161, Orange Beach, AL 36561
9. Barber Marina
Barber Marina is located just north of Orange Beach, Alabama. In addition to many boats of all different kinds, Barber Marina is also home to some of the most unusual sculptures. These sculptures include "Dinosaurs in the Woods," "Bamahenge" and "Lady in the Lake." Barber Marina is a true hidden gem. Address: 26986 Fish Trap Rd, Elberta, AL 36530
10. Graham Creek Nature Preserve
The Graham Creek Nature Preserve is nearly 500 acres of rare plant and wildlife species, and it's the perfect place for a true outdoorsman. This nature preserve offers several outdoor activities, including hiking, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching and disc golf. There's also an archery park onsite. The Graham Creek Nature Preserve is open seven days a week from dawn until dusk. Address: 23460 Wolf Bay Dr, Foley, AL 36535
What are some other best kept secrets of Alabama’s Gulf Coast? For more of Alabama’s best kept secrets, let’s take a look at 10 of the state’s