5 events that will make you want to book a quick and easy trip to Gulf Shores right now


Shrimp Festival
Eat big at the Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism)

Did your summer vacation plans fall through? No worries. Fall is coming up soon, and it’s a wonderful time for a quick and much-needed getaway. We discovered five big events filled with amazing food, family-friendly activities and unique experiences that are perfect for a mini vacay this October and November. The best part is they’re all within driving distance from Birmingham in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Read on to find out what they are and start planning.

Gulf Shores

1. Orange Beach Freedom Fest

Gulf Coast
Freedom Fest. (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism)

Celebrate red, white and blue during this weekend-long event at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Perfect for the whole family, here’s what to expect:

Friday, October 6

Show off your patriotic side as you visit a variety of booths and demonstrations from Orange Beach’s police and fire departments and US Armed Forces and veterans’ groups.

Be sure to take the little ones to the kids’ zone while you’re there—they’ll have a blast with snacks, bounce houses and more.

Saturday, October 7

On day two of the festival, there’s even more fun—delicious food, local arts and crafts booths, live music, an outdoor village and more.

Love cars? Both days of Freedom Fest will showcase the Bama Coast Cruisin’s annual car show. You’ll have the opportunity to admire dozens of cool vehicles, from classics to hot rods.

  • When: Friday, October 7-Saturday, October 8 | 9AM-5PM
  • Where: The Wharf
  • Cost: Free admission

Want more events happening in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach? Plan now with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism.

2. 50th Annual National Shrimp Festival–Oct. 12-15

Shrimp Festival
Enjoy eats, eats and more eats at the 50th Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism)

Running October 12-15 in Gulf Shores, this annual foodie event is celebrating 50 years of delicious fresh seafood straight from the Gulf of Mexico. 

In keeping with the 50-year theme, there will be 50 food vendors serving everything from shrimp and crab cakes to lobster and conch fritters. 

Not a seafood fan? No worries. There will be plenty of other options, plus lots of exciting activities, including:

  • Live music (more than 100 hours over 4 days!) from national, regional and local acts playing Motown, classic rock, jazz, country and more
  • 200+ arts and crafts booths offering unique finds like jewelry, paintings and pottery
  • Sand Sculpture Contest—all are welcome to enter for a chance to win cash prizes
  • When: Thursday, October 12-Saturday, October 14, 10AM-10PM | Sunday, October 15, 10AM-5PM
  • Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Cost: Free admission
Gulf Shores

3. Experience the Oyster–Nov. 3-4

Experience the Oyster
How many oysters can you shuck? (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism)

Love oysters? This is the ultimate event for you, my friend. Featuring two food-filled days, here’s a look at what’s in store:

Friday, November 3

Experience the Oyster kicks off on Friday, November 3 with an exclusive VIP Cocktail Party at Zeke’s Restaurant. Highlighting renowned chefs and Gulf Coast farmers, you’ll indulge in fresh oysters, delectable appetizers and more. 

Saturday, November 4

The oyster love continues on Saturday, November 4 at The Hangout in Gulf Shores. 

During the day’s festivities:

  • Feast on raw and cooked oysters, shrimp, gumbo and jambalaya by food influencer Staleracker
  • Participate in an oyster farm learning experience hosted by Lane Zirlott of Murder Point Oysters
  • Listen to live music
  • Watch football on the big screen
  • Check out an epic oyster shucking competition

Psst—you’ll also find The Hangout’s iconic shaka statue, which made our recent list for 9 of the most Instagrammable spots in Gulf Shores

  • When: Friday, November 3, 6PM | Saturday, November 4, 11AM-7PM, VIP 10AM-7PM
  • Where: Friday, November 3 at Zeke’s Restaurant | Saturday, November 4 at The Hangout
  • Cost: General Admission – $75 | VIP – $200 | Tasting Ticket – $40 | Kids 5 + under are free with a paid adult
  • Tickets

4. Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival–Nov. 9-19

Song Writer's Festival
The annual Frank Brown International Song Writers’ Festival is a must-experience. (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism)

Calling all music fans! If you’re looking for a memorable trip, make plans to attend the annual Song Writers’ Festival, November 9-19.

Taking place at various venues around Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and more, this unique festival gives you an up-close and personal concert experience where you can learn the stories behind the songs from the original songwriters.

Participating in the festival are more than 200 songwriters from around the world, from Grammy Award-winning songwriters to up-and-coming stars.

Gulf Shores

5. Coastal Alabama Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival–Nov. 11-12

Craft Beer Festival
Enjoy a weekend escape at the Coastal Alabama Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, Nov. 11-12. (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism)

Food, beer, vendors and more—there’s no better way to celebrate a weekend away than at the Coastal Alabama Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival in Gulf Shores.

Hosted by Food Truck Festivals of America, the event showcases some of the most popular food trucks in the Gulf Shores area, plus:

  • Dozens of regional and national brews
  • An Artisan Market with local and regional artisans selling handcrafted goods and packaged food products
  • Music from local DJs

This is a family-friendly event—including leashed dogs—so bring your crew, some lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy.

Ready for a quick getaway? For easy planning, visit Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism.

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