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10 Aug 2019
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Things to Do

Vacations can be expensive. Luckily, you don’t have to choose between a vacation and making the mortgage payment. There are plenty of budget-friendly ideas for the little ones to do while you’re vacationing on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Here are 7 free things to do with kids while you’re in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Hike or Bike the Backcountry Trail

Weaving through the Gulf State Park that runs through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Comprised of more than 15 miles of paths for walking, running, biking, and more, most of these trails intersect, practically begging for a long bike ride. Along with local plants, keep your eyes out for alligators, birds, snakes, and deer.

Bonus: If you choose to break out your wallet, try traveling the trail on a Segway.

Catch Some Free Fun at The Wharf Entertainment District

Throughout the year, The Wharf provides kids (of all ages) with a truly unique experience. From sophisticated light shows choreographed to music (called SPECTRA Light Show) to treasure hunts, fireworks shows, circus parties, and more! All of these events are simply delightful (and free) to experience.

Note: Some of these events do have additional activities which require a fee, such as face painting


If you’ve never been geocaching, you’re in for a treat! Watch the excitement on the kids’ faces as you go on a modern-day treasure hunt across the Gulf Coast. Get started by heading to

Pensacola Naval Museum

With always free admission, you’ll find historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft displayed as well as flight simulators and a giant screen theatre at the Pensacola Naval Museum. Depending on your vacation days, you could even catch the Blue Angles practicing!

Share the Beach: Look for Sea Turtle Nests

From July to October, sea turtles come to lay their eggs on our coastlines. When you’re searching, be sure not to disturb a nest and call 866-Sea-Turtle if you find a one that hasn’t been marked yet. You could save a turtles life! For more ideas on how to share the beach with our turtle friends, head to

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge 

Start at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center to learn about local flora and fauna. Follow trails that showcase native plants and animals. See how many types of birds you can spot (there are around 360 species on the refuge), and keep your eyes peeled for the endangered sea turtles and Alabama beach mice. If you have a boat, kayak, or canoe, bring them here!

The Gulf of Mexico

Our favorite attraction is provided to you free of charge by Mother Nature. The Gulf of Mexico, by far Gulf Shores & Orange Beach’s most popular attraction is calling your name. Splash, float, boogie board, paddle board, or simply dip your toes in from the shore. Is there anything better than a day at the beach?

Want more ideas? Try some of these almost free activities for kids in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

For more budget-friendly accommodations ideas, check out our hot deals for major savings on beachfront condos for the whole family!