8 Free Things to Do in Gulf Shores, Alabama

hiking trail in forest

Looking for some great free things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama? You’re in luck-- there are plenty of awesome things for the whole family to do that won’t cost a thing.

Watch the Blue Angels Practice

The Blue Angels practice from June through November and you can watch the show for free from the public viewing area at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Gates open at 9:30 AM, practices begin around 10:30 a.m but check their schedule for dates. You can rent a chair on-site for $3 each, grab a seat in the bleachers, or bring along a blanket.

If you’ve never seen the Blue Angels in action, prepare for a show you won’t soon forget.

Gulf Shores Beaches

Gulf Shores features miles of beaches to kick back, explore, and play. While you have private beach access right out outside your Gulf Shores rental at Martinique, the area is home to numerous other beaches. Gulf Shores State Park is a 6,500-acre preserve with three miles of public access beach. Bring a picnic and enjoy a day surrounded by nature.

Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach

There is so much history and culture along the Alabama Gulf Shores, and the Coastal Arts Center is one of the finest. The Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach is an art gallery and campus overlooking Wolf Bay. The 10,000 square-foot gallery features work from local artists, a hot glass blowing studio, clay studio, art classes, and a scenic garden along the water.

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Address: 26389 Canal Rd., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Phone: (251) 981-2787

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system is a 15-mile loop of seven trails and six different ecosystems through Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and the Gulf State Park. The trail system is great for biking or hiking and offers plenty of opportunities to see wildlife.

There is also a kid-friendly boulder park, butterfly garden, and geocaching. View the trail map.

Alabama Coastal Birding Trail

Every fall, the Alabama Coastal BirdFest is a celebration of the migratory birds and opportunities to view a variety of species who have made their way south for the winter, but you can go birdwatching any time of the year. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is a series of loops, each of which can take about a half-day or more to explore.

You’ll see a wide variety of species, including long-billed curlew, black-crowned night Heron, American Woodcock, snow goose, ruby-throated hummingbird, and many more.

Gulf Shores, Alabama Events

Gulf Shores is home to a variety of free events that take place year-round. Experience local food, culture, art, and more at these annual events. Some local favorites include the Annual Festival of Art, the Cajun Festival and Car Show, and more.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,157-acre preserve in Baldwin and Mobile counties. The National Wildlife Refuge preserves some of the state’s last remaining undisturbed coastal habitats in five different areas along the Alabama Gulf Coast. There are about 6 miles of trails to explore and view local flora and fauna.

The Wharf

There is plenty to spend money on at The Wharf Orange Beach, but you can also just walk around for an afternoon. The Wharf features a marina, amphitheater, entertainment, and more to enjoy without breaking your budget. There are free events here on a regular basis, like Kid’s Night, Circus on Main, and Dancin’ in the Street.

Plan Your Gulf Shores Vacation Today

Book a stay at Martinique on the Gulf and you’ll have access to our two clubhouses and large property with plenty of things to do. The Gulf Shores vacation rentals at Martinique offer the space and convenience of home while you’re away so you can truly unwind and relax along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Published on Tuesday, December 27, 2022