Year-Round Reasons to Visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

The sun will soon set on peak summer season in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, and though the destination is known for its pristine beaches and fun in the summertime, we’re excited to share the many reasons why it’s also a great place to visit in all the OTHER seasons. If we listed out all those reasons, we estimate that you’d be reading a short novel … because there’s an incredible array of experiences available outside the summer season. So instead, we’re sharing two big reasons to visit each season. We hope you’ll want to learn more, and we encourage you to connect with us if the idea of hitting the beach outside of June, July and August appeals to you. 

Fall: Mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and fantastic festivals give Gulf Shores and Orange Beach autumn appeal. 

  • Easy Access to Sand & Sustenance: With its colorful sunsets, fall is an amazing time to enjoy 32 miles of sugar-white sandy beaches and the clear – still warm – waters of the Gulf of Mexico without the summer crowds. There’s also less competition for reservations and shorter wait times at the destination’s long list of incredible restaurants. Sure, you could say this about any destination’s “off” season, but it’s especially important here because there are so many fabulous and beloved culinary offerings. One such standout is Jesse’s Restaurant, which opened its second location on Fort Morgan this year. Offering casual fine dining, Jesse’s on the Bay is known for its steaks, fresh local seafood and signature entrees.
  • Festivals & Events: While Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are home to great events throughout the year, there are a few standout festivals worthy traveling to each fall.
  • The 50th Annual Shrimp Festival, which features 50 local and regional vendors, will be held October 12-15 in Gulf Shores. Festival attendees will find shrimp just about any way you can think of it.

Winter: With monthly averages between 50 and 60 degrees, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offers mild winter temperatures so you can still enjoy the great outdoors.

  • Birding: Thanks to its prime location along the Mississippi Flyway migration route, Gulf Shores is a popular destination for birders. During the winter migration, birders might spot bald eagles in Gulf State Park and other sites. As part of a larger statewide birding initiative, the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail features six birding loops totaling 200 miles along the Gulf Coast. With snowbird clubs, events and deals, the destination welcomes flocks of human snowbirds, too!
  • Golf on the Gulf: With mild winters and great shoulder-season rates, golfing on the area’s 15 courses is a year-round sport. Course terrain ranges from lush foliage of nature preserves to courses that overlook the Gulf. Among the course designers are such legendary names as Arnold Palmer, Bruce Devlin, Jerry Pate and Earl Stone.

Spring:The temperatures in this season often make it feel like summer, but visitors can beat the summer crowds and prices by going to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach between March and May. 

  • Spring Break: Planning ahead for spring break, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach community caters to families in a variety of ways:
  • Rules: The destination truly caters to families … so much so that alcohol has been banned on the beach during the spring break schedules of most major colleges and universities for the past seven years. 
  • Accommodations: The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton property, is one of the world’s leading eco-friendly hotels. It’s also family-friendly, with one-third of its guestrooms featuring built-in bunk beds.
  • Activities: A can’t-miss family activity is Sand Castle University, where families can build a sand castle under expert supervision.
  • Explore Gulf State Park: This is one that can (and should!) be explored any time of year, but spring is an especially good time. Each April, in celebration of Earth Day, the park hosts special programs and celebrations to showcase its incredible sustainability efforts. This park is an especially good place to get a handle on this fascinating coastal region that’s home to nine different ecosystems. In the past few years alone, the 6,150-acre park has restored its sand dunes; expanded its Backcountry Trail to 28 miles; and constructed an Interpretive Center.

The Perfect Fall Getaway: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Summer is officially in our rearview mirror, but that’s not stopping the twin-city destinations of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabamafrom looking at the open stretch of beach ahead! While these Gulf Coast destinations are synonymous with summer vacation for many travelers, today we’re sharing why a visit during the “off” season – specifically autumn – should be put on the map!

Autumnal Highlights

Mild temperatures, special rates and fewer crowds are just a handful of reasons why a trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is special in the fall.

The Beach Within Reach: After peak summer season, the temperature isn’t the only thing coming down. Average daily rates for lodging also drop in the fall. A list of seasonal vacation packages, deals and special offers can be found at GulfShores.com.

Uncrowded Beaches & Restaurants: With its colorful sunsets, fall is an amazing time to enjoy 32 miles of sugar-white sandy beaches and the clear – still warm – waters of the Gulf of Mexico without the heavy summer crowds. Food is this destination’s love language and there’s no shortage of dining options. Many restaurants here have outdoor dining well into the fall season and the wait times are much shorter at this time of year.

@Andrew Der

Fishing: Though fishing is a year-round sport along the shores of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, there are unique opportunities to reel in seasonal catches. The 2022 amberjack season remains open until November 1, and recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will be open until December 31. Check out the Fishing Seasons page for a full list of the best time to catch different species.

Mild Temperatures: After the country recorded its second hottest season on record, a break in the heat may be a welcome change. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are located in the southern subtropical area of the country, where mild temperatures – like an average monthly temperature of 71.2 degrees in October – greet visitors.

Fall Migration: At this time of year, birds and butterflies – including the endangered monarch – count Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as part of their migratory route. The destination offers such spectacular birding locations as Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf State Park, and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on nearby Dauphin Island.

Festivals & Events: There’s always something to do, see, and experience on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival takes place November 3-10 this year, and it will draw more than 200 songwriters from around the country and the world. The festival is named for Frank Brown, the former night watchman at the famed Flora-Bama roadhouse, and it serves as a fundraiser to provide healthcare for musicians, who are typically self-employed.


Accommodations Spotlight

From tiny homes to RV resorts to beachfront condos and resorts, there’s a place for everyone in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Brett Robinson Vacation Rentals: Offering the largest selection of beachfront and bayfront condos and hotels on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Brett Robinson Vacation Rentals’ “Outstanding October” promotion features 15% off bookings now through October 31, with additional savings available the longer you stay.

Perdido Beach Resort: This family-friendly resort, which underwent a complete renovation in 2021, is located right on the Gulf of Mexico in Orange Beach. The “Fall into Savings” offer includes a savings of 30% off when booking three or more nights. The offer is valid through December 31.

Sugar Sands RV Resort: For those who take their “home away from home,” this RV resort features 82 spacious sites with full hook-ups and five “tiny homes.” Sugar Sands is offering end-of-season specials through October.

Dining Spotlight

Here’s a look at some new and beloved dining opportunities and experiences in the destination.

NEW! The Oyster Experience: Murder Point Oyster Company is debuting “The Oyster Experience” on Saturday, November 19. This one-day oyster festival will feature local and East Coast oyster farmers and restaurants. Tickets can be purchased on Murder Point’s website.

Fisher’s: Chef Bill Briand, a five-time James Beard Semifinalist, leads the culinary charge at one of the best restaurants in town.  Fisher’s Dockside is the downstairs, more casual restaurant, while its sister restaurant, Fisher’s Upstairs, offers a fine-dining experience. Open-air seating at both restaurants overlooks more than 150 yachts docked at Orange Beach Marina.

Fresh of the Boat: Enjoy waterfront casual dining at SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach with an upscale bar and live music daily.

Picnic Beach: The menu at this indoor/outdoor, picnic-themed restaurant focuses on fresh, clean ingredients, from premium smoked BBQ to healthy green drinks. You can even take your picnic to go and head to the beach!

Opening Soon!  The owners of the beloved Jesse’s Restaurant in Magnolia Springs are opening a second location on Fort Morgan. Offering casual fine dining, Jesse’s is known for its steaks, fresh local seafood and signature entrees. This new restaurant is expected to open in late October.