An inside look at Gulf State Park including the best recreational trail in the country

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Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Grab a bike and hit the trails at Gulf State Park. (Chris Granger)

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking an adventure beyond your own backyard, we know the perfect place—Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. From active fishing piers and lodging for all moods to a recreational trail deemed the best in the country, read on for what to do at this destination hot-spot just a few hours drive from Birmingham.

Ready to plan your beach getaway? Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism has you covered. 

Why you’ll love it:

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Gulf State Park is a vacationers paradise. (Chris Granger)
  • It’s a mecca for fans of the great outdoors.
  • Adjacent to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, it’s a destination within a destination.
  • It stretches 6,150 acres + features 28 miles of trails for biking, hiking + walking including the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail—voted the best trail in the country by USA Today.
  • It’s home to nine unique ecosystems.

It’s time to plan that nature escape with a visit to Gulf State Park? Plan now with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism.

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What to do

1. Travel the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail 

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
You’ll be surrounded by nature on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

Recently named the best recreational trail in the country by USA Today, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a must-visit if you enjoy scenic escapes filled with hiking, biking, wildlife sightings and more. Here are some reasons why this trail is making headlines:

  • Part of Gulf State Park, it includes 29 miles of paved and unpaved paths and boardwalks.
  • It features several distinct ecosystems filled with flora and fauna.
  • It offers outdoor recreational opportunities like rock climbing for kids + adults at Boulder Park.
  • It includes the Primitive Outpost Campsite for a rustic camping experience.
  • It’s equipped with restrooms, picnic areas, a dog park, boat launches and water fountains at various points; it’s also ADA-accessible.

Location: Orange Beach, AL 36561

2. Have a picnic at Gulf State Park Pavilion

Gulf Shores pavilion
Gulf State Park Pavilion. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

Want to enjoy a relaxing day with friends or family at Gulf State Park? Load up your gear for a carefree day at the Gulf State Park Pavilion. 

Here you’ll find:

  • Miles of gorgeous sugar-white sand beaches + emerald green waters
  • A brand-new pavilion featuring air conditioned restrooms, privates showers
  • A snack bar + lots of shade for a beachside picnic 
  • A paddleboard rental for fun on the water

Location: 22250 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

3. Visit the Gulf State Park Pier

Gulf Shores pier
Grab your fishing pole for a day at the Gulf State Park Pier. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

Grab your fishing pole for an exciting day on the Gulf Sate Park Fishing and Education Pier. One of Alabama’s only public piers in the Gulf, here’s what it offers:

  • 2,448 feet of fishing space
  • Indoor retail store with bait + tackle and access to saltwater fishing licenses
  • Concession area
  • Shaded seating

Location: 20800 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Ready to explore Gulf State Park? Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism has you covered

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4. Rent a bike from the Bike Share Program

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Rent a bike and hit the trails. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

Want to cover more ground during your visit to Gulf State Park? Grab a set of wheels. There are 50 bike rentals scattered throughout the park. Just download the Bloom Bike Share App, scan the code found at the bike station, and you’re ready to ride! The first three hours are free.

Where to eat

Gulf Shores
Enjoy a meal at Foodcraft at The Lodge. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)
  1. Foodcraft: Enjoy a menu filled with coastal favorites like steak and oysters, delicious cocktails and regional handcrafted beer.
  2. Perch: At this upscale restaurant, you’ll take in dreamy sunset views while dining on fresh seafood, unique entrees and handcrafted cocktails.
  3. Woodside Restaurant: For creative Southern cuisine and cocktails made with fresh, local ingredients, Woodside is a vacation-must.
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Where to stay

1. The Lodge, A Hilton Hotel

The Lodge
Book at room at The Lodge. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

A premier tourism destination, The Lodge features:

  • 350 rooms
  • 4 on-site restaurants
  • Outdoor terraces + fire pits
  • Boardwalks with direct beach access
  • Easy access to Gulf State Park activities

Where: 21196 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
More info + booking

2. Eagle Cottages

Gulf Shores
Dreamy views at Eagle Cottages in Gulf Shores. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

Nestled along the shoreline of Lake Shelby at Gulf State Park, you’ll love the spacious, calming atmosphere these cottages provide.

Each cottage includes:

  • Adirondack chairs around a fire pit
  • BBQ grill
  • Porch swing
  • 2 bikes

Where: 1 Bald Eagle Ln, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
More info + booking

3. Gulf State Park Campgrounds

camping
Hook up that RV and enjoy camping. (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism)

Living that RV life? Hop on the highway and drive to the Gulf State Park Campground. Located less than two miles from the beaches of the Alabama Coast, the campground includes:

  • 496 full-hookup campsites with paved pads + water hookups
  • 11 air-conditioned bath houses + laundry room
  • Camp store with daily essentials + souvenirs
  • Swimming pool with splash pad
  • Tennis/pickleball courts
  • And more!

Where: 22050 Campground Rd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
More info + booking

Don’t wait another minute—book your beach trip now with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

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