4 nature escapes when you’re ready to return to Alabama’s Gulf Coast

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Enjoy a scenic nature escape at the Alabama Gulf Coast. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

There’s no denying that we’ve all undergone some major life shifts the past few months. And with summer here, we are all in some serious need of a break from the real world. If you’re craving a summer getaway, but are still trying to lay low, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism is ready when you are with these nature escapes that are off the beaten path. Bonus: you’ll still be able to dig your toes in the sand. 

1. Gulf State Park

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A sweet escape. Photo via @gulfstatepark’s Instagram page

Featuring two miles of pristine sandy beaches, a spacious campground, a brand-new Lodge and more, Gulf State Park is a spot you are destined to visit time and time again.

During your visit, get back to nature with activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Swimming and paddling in the Alabama Gulf Coast and Lake Shelby
  • Camping under the stars
  • And more!

The Lodge at Gulf State Park sits directly on the beach offering stunning views of the Alabama Gulf Coast and easy access to all the park’s amenities. You’ll also be spellbound by gorgeous sunrises and sunsets right outside your front door. So dreamy!

You can also turn your vacay into an educational adventure when you stop by Gulf State Park’s Nature Center. If you’ve ever wanted to know how long a pelican’s beak is or how high it can fly, this is where you’ll find your answer!

From Camping to Glamping

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Become one with nature while camping. Photo courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

Enjoy campfires and stargazing? Gulf State Park offers tons of great camping sites. Just pitch a tent or hook up that newly-renovated RV and you’re good to go.

If you’re like me, glamping is much more your style. So be sure to check out Gulf State Park’s new glamping sites nestled among the trees and along the creek. You’ll have access to must-haves like:

  • White-sand beaches
  • Lake Shelby
  • Back bays
  • Historic Fort Morgan

Gulf State Park may seclude you in nature’s bubble, but camping sites are in close proximity to a number of cool spots, including:

  • Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
  • Foley
  • Fairhope
  • Mobile

Use this map to plan your visit.

Address: 20115 State Park Rd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Distance from Birmingham to Gulf State Park: 4 hours, 14 minutes via I-65 South

2. Hugh S. Banyon Backcountry Trail 

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Hugh S. Banyon Backcountry Trail. Photo courtesy of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Stretching across the 6,180 acres of Gulf State Park, you’ll find the Hugh S. Banyon Backcountry Trail Complex. It features 15 trails that make up more than 25 miles and travel among six distinct ecosystems as they wind their way through the park and connect the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

From hiking and wildlife watching to photography and plant and tree identification, this is the ultimate area to connect with good ole’ Mother Nature.

Use this map to pick your trail.

Address: 4009 Orange Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Distance from Birmingham to Hugh S. Banyon Backcountry Trail:

3. Fort Morgan

Birmingham, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism
The Fort at Fort Morgan. Photo courtesy of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Grab those binoculars, Birmingham, it’s time to see some wildlife! When venturing on a nature escape, birding is one thing you must experience. Happily, I know of just the spot for you—Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores, Florida.

Located at the western extremity of the Florida Peninsula, Fort Morgan is a migrant trap for a variety of species, like wading birds, terns and even the occasional rarity.

Birmingham, Gulf Shores, Gulf Shores Tourism, Orange Beach, beach, vacation, birding
What a bird! Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

As cool as the birds are that zip outside your windows in Birmingham, just imagine what else you’ll discover during a nature escape at a true birding paradise like Fort Morgan!

Address: 110 Hwy 180 W, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Distance from Birmingham to Fort Morgan: 4 hours, 37 minutes via I-65 South

4. Beaches

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Can you feel the sand between your toes? Photo courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

You can’t have a guide to nature escapes without mentioning the Alabama Gulf Coast. And as nature escapes go, this one truly delivers.

Close your eyes and get swept away by miles of pristine white quartz sand that squeaks beneath your bare feet and gorgeous blue-green waters that stretch before you and lap against the shore.

Whether you choose to stay in a condo, beach house, at a resort or even in your own RV, when you visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach you’re sure to get fresh air, sunshine and breathtaking views.

For the ultimate vacation, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism offers everything you need.

Distance from Birmingham to Gulf Shores: 4hours, 17 minutes via I-65 South

Plan Now!

Now what do you say, Birmingham? Are you ready for a nature escape? Then pack that knapsack, sunscreen and camera. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism is ready when you are.

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