The Perfect Family Vacation in Gulf Shores, AL

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The Perfect Family Vacation in Gulf Shores, AL

Gulf Shores vacation. When you say those words to me, I immediately think fun in the sun, white sand beaches, great food, and good times. I recently had the opportunity to take a sponsored trip down to Gulf Shores thanks to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism, and they didn’t have to ask me twice! The area is already a top vacation pick for our family, and we take any opportunity we can to get in some Gulf Shores vacation fun. My family and I were provided complimentary accommodations through Gulf to help facilitate this review. All opinions are of course my own.gulf shores alabama, gulf shores vacation

We stayed at the beautiful condo at Summer House thanks to Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacations. In fact, I recommend anyone searching for a condo to visit Wyndham Vacations. They are my first go to source when in search for condo vacation rentals. The Summer House is such a great place to stay for any Gulf Shores vacation. The room was beautifully appointed and spacious. The location is very important to us and we loved the fact that this condo was in close proximity to everything. Not to mention right on the beach with gorgeous beach front views from our balcony. Sometimes, we prefer vacationing in condos versus a hotel, because it provides more comfort, room, and privacy. Also, if you are vacationing for a week, the convenience of having a fully-equipped kitchen is very handy. You can see a sneak peek of our condo in this YouTube Video:

Dining in Gulf Shores

Dining in Gulf Shores is equally important because it’s all about the food right? There are some incredibly delicious dining options in Gulf Shores. From creative and daring to good old fashioned, straight ahead entrees, these restaurants should definitely be a part of any Gulf Shores vacation. These are all the places featured on our getaway, and in my opinion, they’re the best of the best.

GT’s on the Bay:

GT’s on the Bay has an excellent blend of old favorites like shellfish with butter, pizza, and craft beers, as well as some daring options like gingered calamari and firecracker shrimp. Enjoy your food as you take in the view of Wolf Bay in Orange Beach.

Matt’s Homemade Ice Cream:

Matt’s Homemade Ice Cream features the best homemade ice cream in the area, Matt’s selection is all homemade right there and served fresh daily.

matth's ice cream in gulf shores, al

Shipp’s Harbour Grill:

A 20-year tradition of reinvented traditional Gulf Coast cuisine, Shipp’s Harbour Grill offers seven dining areas for your dining enjoyment. Three of them are on the water, so you can take in great views while you eat great food.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe:

Bringing a taste of The Big Easy to Gulf Shores, The Ruby Slipper Cafe offers breakfast, brunch, and lunch with a distinctive New Orleans feel.

Bill’s by the Beach:

Enjoy comfort food coastal style with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and outdoor seating for gorgeous views of the gulf at Bill’s by the Beach.   They have the best Comeback Shrimp around!

gulf shores vacation, Bill's by the beach calamari

BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets:

Pastry Chef, Kim Asbury, and Barista Manager, Lauren Nelson bring patrons everything from simple breakfast options to from-scratch pastries to delectable sweets at BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets. The also offer locally roasted coffee that’s the best you’ll find in the area. Breakfast here is an absolute joy. One of my personal favorites. Their espresso is delicious.

The Hangout:

Bringing the 50’s back in a big way, The Hangout hosts nightly music, limbo contests, and other Gulf Shores vacation fun for the family. Their food is some of the best in the area, with their WipeOut Burger featured in the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die”. The girls loved this place so much, we ate there twice.

The Hangout

Kitty’s Kafe:

Owner, Kitty Simpson, brings guests over 20 years of culinary experience at Kitty’s Kafe. Stop by this wonderful cafe and enjoy homestyle meals that scream southern comfort.


Owned by Lucy Buffett, sister of singer Jimmy Buffett, and located on the Intercoastal Waterway, LuLu’s offers Gulf Shores vacation fun for all. Featuring Delicious food and an atmosphere of fun, LuLu’s has a variety of great fun for the whole family. Live, nightly music, The Mountain of Youth, a pre-meal activity for kids, sand volleyball, and boat slips for boat dining are just some of the draws to this restaurant. And for those with allergies or gluten issues, LuLu’s is serious about making sure that they keep the fun rolling and the misery away.

Fisher’s Dockside:

Two restaurants in one, Upstairs and Dockside, Fisher’s Dockside offers a variety of delicious meal options including local produce, Murder Point Oysters, and more.

Cobalt Restaurant:

The quintessential Gulf Shores vacation dining experience and one of my favorites. Cobalt Restaurant offers contemporary, coastal cuisine with waterfront views of Alabama Point. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the view BOTH times we ate there.

cobalt restaurant in gulf shores

The West Beach House Kitchen & Cocktails:

Known for its fresh dishes, unique cocktails, and crawfish mac and cheese, the small, homey restaurant offers wonderful food and a laid back atmosphere.

Things To Do In Gulf Shores, Alabama

If you can tear yourself away from the 32 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, Gulf Shores has other wonderful activities waiting for you.

Back Bay Kayak Tour with Coastal Kayak Excursion:

We had the opportunity to enjoy dolphin watching on a pontoon boat thanks to Coastal Kayak Excursion. On the way back, we anchored at Bird and Robinson Island for some fun in the sun on the beach. Captain Glenn, our guide, even had beach chairs and umbrellas for us. It’s an excellent way to enjoy Gulf Shores vacation fun for the entire family. This was the highlight of our trip.

The Wharf: SPECTRA Light Show:

Running at 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, and 8:30 pm, the SPECTRA Light Show is half an hour of exciting visuals for the entire family.

Pier Fishing at the Gulf State Park Pier:

Nothing is quite as much fun as fishing together as a family. The Gulf State Park Pier is the largest on the Gulf of Mexico at 1,540 feet long and 41,800 square feet. The pier is open for fishing 24 hours a day, and you can rent poles and buy bait on-site.

gulf state park pier

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo:

Nicknamed “The Little Zoo That Could” by Animal Planet, the zoo earned its name by evacuating every animal in their care before Hurricane Ivan swept through the Gulf Coast. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo may be small, which I actually find more enjoyable because it doesn’t take a Herculean effort to see everything.

Gulf Shores Vacation Fun for the Whole Family

Gulf Shores vacation fun is waiting for your family, and it’s waiting right now. The weather is starting to warm up, which means it’s the perfect time to get the ball rolling on a Gulf Shores vacation that your family will remember for a lifetime. We had a ton of fun on our trip, and I know you will, too. While you’re there, try the kayaking tours, the zoo, and of course, ALL of the dining options that you possibly can!

For more information of places to visit and things to do in beautiful Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, AL, please visit

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About Winona Rogers

Winona Rogers is the author of Life Family & Fun a national blog focusing on parenting, easy recipes, Home & DIY, Lifestyle, Family Fun and Travel. Her site was nominated as the Top 10 Parenting Blogs in Atlanta, Top Disney Blog, Family Travel Expert and has been featured in media on 11Alive Atlanta & Company. In her spare time, she loves to travel with her family and cook. Winona and her husband have four children and five grandchildren living in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Meagan Nelms says


    I would most enjoy that it is close to home!

  2. Susan Taylor says


    Other than beautiful beaches would love to visit Fort Morgan

  3. Harolde says


    The awesome food and the beach!!!

  4. Ina Gribbins says


    The food looks amazing and my grandson would probably have a ball at the hangout!

  5. patrick jones says


    nature trails and the fort morgan

  6. Soha Molina says


    I would enjoy the beach.

  7. Jana Goldey says


    My teenagers and i love deep sea fishing

  8. Claudia Davis says


    I would love to go to Gulf State Park Pier!

  9. Karen Moore says


    I would enjoy the sound of the waves. So peaceful!

  10. Rhonda Y says


    I’d love to rent a boat and explore the coast.

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