Our Favorite Gulf Shores Alabama Things to do in Winter

sand snowmen

The holidays can be stressful, so why not escape to somewhere warm this holiday season? There are plenty of Gulf Shores Alabama things to do in winter, whether you’re looking to celebrate the holidays or not. You’ll love the mild weather during the winter months and the lack of crowds. Mingle with the locals and dig your toes into the sand while your friends are digging their cars out of the snow.

Plan your Gulf Shores winter vacation with our guide.

Explore the Outdoors

While much of the rest of the country is being coated in fresh snow, the Gulf Shores is an average of 65 degrees. These mild temperatures may not be ideal for the beach, but it is sure perfect for exploring the Bon Secour Nature PreserveGulf State Park, and more. Take a walk through nature and see the local wildlife and coastal habitats along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.

Enjoy Top Attractions Without Crowds

Summer is the biggest time of the year for travel to Gulf Shores, and some of the area’s top attractions can get pretty crowded during the peak season. When you travel to Gulf Shores in the winter, you can find these attractions have much shorter lines. Ride go-karts at The Track or visit the animals at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Gulf Shores Holiday Events

From Christmas to New Year's, there are several Gulf Shores holiday events to ring in the season. Whether you’re looking to buy local gifts for loved ones, view impressive lighting displays, or go ice skating, you’ll enjoy your time here in Gulf Shores.

Holly Days on Main Festival

The Holly Days on Main Festival takes place on December 12-13 at The Wharf. This event features local vendors, art performances, holiday music, and an appearance from Santa Claus!

Merry Market Arts & Crafts Expo

The Merry Market Arts & Crafts Expo is an annual event that takes place at Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. More than 70 local vendors gather to sell carefully crafted art, woodwork, jewelry, clothing, and more. There will, of course, also be festive drinks and snacks.

Magic Christmas in Lights Festival at Bellingrath Gardens and Home

From November 27 - January 31, 2021, with the exception of Christmas Day, see festive displays of lights at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. In its 25th year, the Bellingrath features 1,100 set pieces, 3 million lights, and 15 scenes. The 65-acre estate is transformed into a winter wonderland, which has been named as one of the “10 Best Botanical Garden Holiday Light Displays” in 2018.

Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade

Located at LuLu’s Gulf Shores, the Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is one of the largest in the Southeast. The parade begins at LuLu’s Homeport Marina and goes east down the Intracoastal Waterway Canal. Grab a great viewing spot at The Wharf to see the more than 40 sailboats, kayaks, and sportfishing boats. This year's event takes place December 12, 2020 from 5 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 

Ice Skating at The Wharf in Orange Beach

The Wharf in nearby Orange Beach is host to a number of holiday events and deals this time of the year. Visit for the ice skating rink, which is open from November 23 - January 18. The Wharf is also hosting the Yo Ho Ho 5K and Fun Run on December 12, 2020 starting at 8 a.m. Plus, all throughout the holiday season, you'll get a chance to see Santa Claus himself. 

Book Gulf Shores AL Vacation Rentals for the Holidays

Ready to swap snow for sand this holiday season? Book Gulf Shores AL vacation rentals at Martinique on the Gulf to escape the daily hustle of life and embrace island life. Martinique on the Gulf is a pristine resort located close enough to the dining, entertainment, and shopping of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, but far enough away to feel like you’re in your own oasis.

Published on Tuesday, December 27, 2022