Alabama Alabama

Zero-Cost Fun: 10 Free Things To Do in Gulf Shores Al

Gulf Shores, Alabama, is an unforgettable destination that offers one of the most well-rounded vacation experiences in the United States. Having a list of free things to do in Gulf Shores al just makes exploring this beautiful place convenient.

With its cuisines, tourist attractions, and extensive options for both water and land-based activities, which appeal to couples, families, and solo travelers equally, it is one of the best places to go for a vacation.

The Gulf shores are considered to be one of the most pristine and scenic places in the world. Its beautiful beaches with plenty of flora, fauna, and marine wildlife around account for one of the most beautiful places to enjoy a beach vacation.

Though the Gulf vacation may have a huge on your pockets, there are also a few things you can enjoy while not spending a single penny or just a few cents.

Free Things To Do Gulf Shores Al You Must Know

Here are some free things to do without burning a hole in your pocket. When you go on vacation to the beach, you should relax and not stress about remaining under your travel budget.

Thankfully, there are many of cheap and free activities available in our destination, from museums to outdoor excursions. Here are eleven beachside sights and activities in Alabama that are both cost-effective and free.

The picturesque coastal city of Gulf Shores on the Alabama Gulf Coast provides a variety of enjoyable activities, from being outdoors on the water to interior pursuits that are enjoyable during inclement weather.

While many of the local activities are free, some of them—particularly the charters and boat rentals—can grow rather expensive.

1. Beachy unwind

Alabama Gulf Coast is home to the best, calm, and breezy beaches in the world, making it one of the most peaceful free things to do. Soak up the sun, feel the breeze, relax your mind, and ride the waves. Mostly the gulf shores and orange beaches are uncrowded even during the peak times.

The picturesque coastal city of Gulf Shores on the Alabama Gulf Coast provides a variety of enjoyable activities, from being outdoors on the water to interior pursuits that are enjoyable during inclement weather.

Dauphin Island to Robinson Island

While many of the local activities are free, some of them—particularly the charters and boat rentals—can grow rather expensive.

Robinson Island is considered the most popular of all Orange Beach Islands. Boaters in Orange Beach continue to enjoy Robinson Islands, which became popular in 2013. Enjoy kayaking and exploring wildlife and natural habitats.

2. Visit the museums

The Gulf Coast has plenty of museums to visit and experience the rich history and heritage. It is a great place to enjoy for all the history buffs and also one of the best free things for history addicts.

free things to do gulf shores al
by chapstickaddict , flickr, copyright 2021
  • 2.1 Explore the Foley Model Train Exhibit and the Railroad Museum in Foley.

This great museum is not only the perfect spot to enjoy with the entire family, but on selected days, they offer families free mini-train rides.

The Foley Model Railroad Museum has several artefacts that depict the city’s history and the important part the railroad played in developing the area. This place depicts the sheer workmanship and details that have gone into forming this fun exhibition.

This museum offers varied artifacts that go back to the area’s Native Americans and fishing heritage. This place contains all the school desks and photographs donated by the native people whose ancestors settled in the gulf shores.

The museum covers a sweeping land of about 500 acres. The Baldwin County Heritage Museum displays ordinary artifacts from the daily lives of the farmers who settled on the gulf shores. This place provides the visitors to experience the ethnic and farming culture of Baldwin County.

free things to do gulf shores al
by denisbin, flickr, copyright 2021
  • 2.4 The Gulf Shores Museum

The Gulf Shores Museum tells the stories of the local people of the Coastal town. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens, experience the “Hurricane Hunters,” seasonal films, and youth festivals organized throughout the season, which accounts for the adventures, fun, and joyous ride that adds to the list of best free things to do Gulf Shores Al.

The museum is housed within what was Baldwin County’s first hospital. Exhibitions of actual recreations of medical antiques, operating rooms, X-ray equipment, and many more. Intriguing medical devices and equipment are also on display at the Holmes Medical Museum.

3. Orange Beach Waterfront Park And Arts Center

Overlooking the scenic Wolf Bay, the Orange Beach waterfront park offers a Leafy bayside park with picnic pavilions, BBQ grills, a fishing pier, a playground, a lighted kid’s park, a covered beach pavilion, and picnic shelters.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped. Waterfront Park shares the grounds with the Coastal Arts Center. A good place to watch Orange Beach Sunsets in the summertime. The pier is 400 feet provides a scenic sight to the eyes, and adds to the list of amazing free things.

The Orange Beach Arts Centre is built on the same grounds as the waterfront park. This place has the only public access Glass bowling studio in the entire state where you can watch glass artists make beautiful hand-blown works. It’s fascinating to see the artist create pieces of art out of glass.

The Coastal Arts Center, a stunning structure with local artwork that is highly popular for weddings, is located in the park. A 400-foot pier, a playground, BBQ areas, a pottery studio, and my favorite—the Hot Shop—are also there. Also, stop at the Clay Gallery, where you can make/ paint pottery pieces.

4. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Discover the Butterfly Garden’s ageless beauty as well as that of the magical Freshwater Marshes and the Coastal Hardwood Swamps. A White-tailed Deer or a Bobcat may be spotted on Gulf Oak Ridge or the Twin Bridges. Bring your camera with you to photograph an alligator enjoying the sun.

Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trails Overview Orange Beach, Alabama #OrangeBeach #BackcountryTrail #OBA

It dates back to the early settlers of the region. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Gulf State Park covers more than nine different ecosystems, making it one of the most exciting. Your choices vary from fresh marshes to butterfly gardens, with lots of life roaming as you hike.

Because of the expansive trails, it’s counseled to plot out wherever you wish to hike before you arrive. Seven trails among six distinct ecosystems make up more than 15 miles of paved trails with interpretive signs of the Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trails complex through Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Alabama, and the Gulf State Park.

Stroll through the natural beauty, dunes, butterfly garden, and many more.

5. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

This national wildlife refuge is a nice spot to hike, explore, and get away from the crowds. It is located west of Gulf Shores off Fort Morgan Road.

You can drive to a beach that is typically less busy than other beaches in the region. There is a hiking trail where you can see a wide variety of wildlife.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge serves as a haven for migratory birds, nesting sea turtles, and the Alabama beach mouse. It was initially established in 1980 as a means of protecting the environment of the coastal dunes.

Welcome to the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Oct. 21, 2019

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,157-acre National wildlife refuge located in five separate units in Baldwin and Mobile County, directly west of Gulf Shores, Alabama  Coast.

The refuge was established to guard vulnerable species within the area, so you will have exposure to wildlife that you may simply not otherwise encounter. With miles of hiking trails and refugee beaches to explore, each trail has its unique adventure to enjoy.

6. The National Naval Aviation Museum

Just a short drive towards the east, The National Naval Aviation Museum, formerly known as the National Museum of Naval Aviation and the Naval Aviation Museum, is a military and aerospace museum located in Pensacola, Florida.

In addition to the displays, the museum features a Giant Screen Theater, flight simulators, Blue Angels 4D Experience, a museum store, and a café. In its own right, the Cubi Point Café displays squadron memorabilia from the closed NAS Cubi Point Officers’ Club.

National Naval Aviation Museum In Pensacola FL - Blue Angels + 150 Aircraft - Free Admission

There are more than 150 historical artifacts and outstanding exhibits from WWI and WWII, making it one of the most exciting free things to do. The Blue Angels’ precision flying team air shows are a must-watch.

Examine modern airplanes and associated stuff. Young children can play in a small indoor playground, and older children and adults can spend hours exploring the exhibits.

7. The Civil War Trail

The Civil War trail marks the landmarks of history and the Civil War. Hike down through the battle of the Mobile Bay that runs through the site. It spans over 90 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to north Mobile County.

One of the most important naval battles of the Civil War took place in the late summer of 1864 between Union and Confederate forces. The locations of its battles and other military issues on Mobile Bay are still there even though this conflict took place more than 150 years ago.

With the help of our official guide to the Civil War trail, see the famous sites and learn about the struggles faced by the soldiers during the Battle for Mobile Bay.

Heading to the west of the Gulf shores on Mobile Point is Fort Morgan, famous for its role in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay. Fort Morgan was active throughout the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II.

  • Battle sites

7.1 Historic Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan, one of the key battle locations in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864, stood guard where the bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.

7.2 Historic Blakeley State Park

The Battle of Fort Blakeley’s final major battlefield and several miles of intact Confederate and Union fortifications are both located in Historic Blakeley State Park.

7.3 Fort Gains Historic Site

For more than 150 years, the ramparts of Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island have protected the entrance to Mobile Bay. One of the important locations in the renowned Battle of Mobile Bay is Fort Gains, where Admiral Farragut yelled the famous command, “Damn the torpedoes! Full throttle ahead!

8. Alabama Birding Trail

The eight Alabama Birding Trails combine known and potential birding locations into a network of connected trails and loops that are promoted as a whole as a state-wide system.

Thousands of birders and other tourists already frequent many of the locations along the numerous routes each year.

The public can access eight distinct geographic areas in Alabama known as the following: North Alabama, West Alabama, Appalachian Highlands, Piedmont Plateau, Black Belt Nature and Heritage, Pineywoods, Wiregrass, and Alabama Coastal Birding Trail.

free things to do gulf shores al
by geopungo, flickr, copyright 2021

It offers millions of opportunities to befriend birds up close and personal. With 280 sites covering Alabama from the mountains to the gulf, the Alabama Birding Trails provides a roadmap of the most effective public lands to look at the birds.

Over 430 different bird species are noticed in Alabama. Blue herons, pelicans, egrets, and many other colourful species stop here on their migration routes. There are several trails to choose from and capture the scenic beauty of this place.

Have you ever seen a Bald Eagle feeding its young in its nest close to Guntersville State Park? Check! sitting silently as scores of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks on Dauphin Island virtually crash-land into the closest tree. Absolutely! These are just a few perks of this trail that will never fail to mesmerize you.

9. Graham Creek Nature Preserve

It is home to thousands of plants and wildlife species. Graham Creek Nature Preserve protects rare plant and animal species by preserving their unique habitats and enhancing and restoring natural areas.

The preserve also provides educational, recreational, and vacation rental opportunities for the community and is a great place for the entire family to explore the coastal ecology.

Graham Creek Nature Preserve
Image by Ruth Spicer, Flickr/Copyright 2021

The City of Foley owns more than 600 acres of the Graham Creek Nature Preserve, which is devoted to protecting local wildlife and vegetation. In your own backyard, you may enjoy nature.

Discover 10 miles of trail, 2 boardwalks that are accessible to those with disabilities, a kayak launch, and 4 disc golf courses while getting up close to endangered plants.

Other recreational opportunities are available at Graham Creek, including an all-sizes archery range and a playground with a kid-friendly outdoor classroom.

You can book both indoor and outdoor areas for your upcoming event! Discover Graham Creek Nature Preserve for yourself, and you’ll understand why it was chosen as the Best of Baldwin 2022 Public Park.

10. Adventure Island and Concerts

Adventure Island is located in the middle of Orange Beach. A list of long and exciting activities like laser tag, mini-golf, go-karts, and many more for tourists and visitors makes this place one of the cheapest things to enjoy for great deals and great experiences.

For almost 30 years, Adventure Island has welcomed visitors to the Gulf Coast. Adventure Island, which is still run by the same family, has a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions in addition to having one of the biggest redemption arcades in the area.

For simple access to all attractions and arcade games, load up a fresh Adventure Island Treasure Card with points. With free bonus points available after spending $40, each point costs just $1.

10.1 Adventure Golf

The two 18-hole courses offer family-friendly entertainment. You will undoubtedly make a hole in one, day or night. Witness the explosion as this five-story volcano erupts in a magnificent display of strength and beauty. Experience the vibrations, watch the steam, and revel in the delight for all.

10.2 Go Kart

Take a turn on our track if speed is more your thing. Enjoy the bends, bumps, and spins on this five-minute trip.

10.3 Glow Golf

It is a brand new black light mini golf indoors with 9 holes to enjoy the experience. it is suitable for All ages, handicapped, and stroller accessible, brand-new attraction for 2023.

Come play the 9-hole indoor black light mini golf course, which is ideal for any occasion or weather.

10.4 Kiddie Rides

The younger crowd may enjoy the rides and thrills at Adventure Island. Allow your children to have fun while they race around a track that is specifically designed for them or while they ride the Tea Cup Ride.

10.5 Arcade

Over 100 video and redemption games are available in this Alligator Alley Arcade, thrilling players of all ages. Attractions at arcades start at just.25 points!

A great option is the Max Flight Roller Coaster Simulator. To participate, you must be at least 42″ tall, and there must be two individuals on each ride.

10.6 Bumper Boats

Use the boat’s water weapons to bump into and shoot your loved ones.

free things to do gulf shores al
by Lim Ashley, flickr, copyright 2021

Gulf Shores organizes a lot of music festivals and concerts too. Events like Hangout music festivals, the Wharf, and many more offer something or other to everyone and can be enjoyed at a very reasonable price.

10. The Wharf

The Warf is a canalside entertainment facility. The Warf holds several different events throughout the year, including concerts. There are numerous dining options and lovely shops. If you have some extra cash, there is also a Ferris wheel, arcade, and movie theatre.

It’s an open-air, 10,000-seat The Wharf Amphitheater that serves as the stage for numerous top artists in the country, hip hop, and rock and roll. Additionally, it is one of the biggest music venues on the Gulf Coast and hosts the beloved C Spire Concert Series.

And if you see your favorite band enjoying the Gulf Coast, don’t be shocked. They travel here to have fun on the stage and on the beach.

This place is the prime destination for the city’s shopping and dining experience. Take a stroll through the amazing gift shops, enjoy with your friends and family wandering through the streets, and enjoy window shopping.

Final Thoughts.

No matter what you have planned for your trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, adding a few free activities can make it more enjoyable and unquestionably more affordable. These pursuits are thrilling adventures in addition to being cost-effective.

Also, some more free things include a drive on Alabama’s scenic byways and reveling in distinctive sights found in obscurity elsewhere in the world.

Breathless outline views, picturesque woodlands, and bayous. Historic forts, shell mounds, and war battle sites. Of course, you will need to prevent the thanks to snap photos or capture the natural beauty on video.

No matter what you have planned for your trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, adding a few free activities can make it more enjoyable and unquestionably more affordable. These pursuits are thrilling adventures in addition to being cost-effective.

Last Updated on November 28, 2023 by ritukhare

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