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  • Writer's pictureCampBrood

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores Alabama

Updated: Feb 20

What makes Gulf State Park a great kid and family destination?

  1. Beautiful white beaches and turquoise waters

  2. Bike trails through wetlands and parks

  3. Beach side restaurants with playgrounds, volleyball, and other activities

  4. skim boarding, boogie boarding, and swimming in waves

  5. fishing

  6. wildlife viewing of alligators, birds, armadillos, and others

We were unaware of Gulf State Park until my sister-in-law convinced us in the parking lot of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to change our camping plans and join her in Gulf Shores Alabama. We had already driven almost 180 miles from Bowling Green and this would increase our drive 380 miles instead of the 220 miles we had planned. She's convincing and we were not disappointed. We pulled into Gulf State Park about 9pm that night and woke up the next morning to one of the best campgrounds we've been to.

What are the Campsites Like at Gulf State Park?

We were able to get one of the many pull through sites that had a nice walkout to the picnic table some grassy area and woods. Each campsite also had a charcoal grill and is paved asphalt and level. With full hookup including water, sewer, and electric you can park your RV and stay awhile. You could see through the woods the next site but it really felt like we were secluded and had our own personal space. Drivers were mostly cautious and stayed at the speed limit and park police seemed to be always present.

If you want more of what biking is like at gulf state park see this YouTube video

What are the Bike Trails Like at Gulf State Park?

There are over 28 miles of trails to explore throughout the park. Many of the trails are boardwalks that allow access over the wetlands throughout the park. We rode our bikes about five miles and experienced Lefty the alligator with her babies, and eagle nesting area, and climbing boulder area for kids and adults alike. The trail system has many maps available at important intersections. We were also greeted by many other explorers that were more than willing to share the best trail or provide us with directions.

What is there to do in the Gulf State Park Campground?

Bring your rackets or paddles to Gulf State Park. There are four tennis courts by the pool and nature center and were always in use. If you want to play tennis play early. By 10 am, the courts were taken over by Pickle ballers. The courts are first come first serve and there is an hour limit when people are waiting. After tennis the pool is conveniently located next door. It seemed the pool was heated and is quite large. Concessions are available with snacks and drinks. The pool is only four feet deep so it is limited to wading and light swimming. There is also a large splash pad for little ones.

Where is the closest beach to Gulf State Park?

Gulf State Park actually has two miles of beach. The parking pass from the campground allows access to the beach parking lot. We accidently paid the $5 fee and then noticed on our campground pass that we didn't have to. The parking lot is big but we can see where it could fill up fast. The white sand beaches are beautiful and great for walks, sunbathing, flying kites, and games. The water is great for skim boarding and boogie boarding. To the East is the fishing pier. They were also parasailing down by the pier.

Where can you see Alligators in Gulf State Park?

Be on the lookout for wildlife especially alligators throughout the park. We saw many pelican, a few alligators, and armadillo. On night walks bring a good flashlight. We stirred up an armadillo and it was fun watching it scurry from palm to palm across the road. You also want to make sure you keep an eye out for snakes and alligators. We didn't see an eagle, but the nesting area is visible in one of the distant trees on our bike ride. The nature center, by the pool, has purple marten houses and they seemed most active for viewing in the morning. Do you see the baby alligator sleeping on the branch below?

Where can you fish at Gulf State Park?

The Gulf Park fishing pier seems to be in a constant state of construction followed by various hurricanes. Hurricane Sally destroyed the pier in 2020. Fortunately, they are able to open some of the pier as they continue to build out the full length. There is a smaller amount of parking here. But, if you want freshwater fishing there are waterways and ponds in the park that are all approved for fishing. Make sure you have all the proper licenses before casting.

Are There Good Restaurants Near Gulf State Park?

There are many restaurants in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. We went to Sea and Suds on the beach. It was mostly fried seafood and chicken with a kids menu. The view was awesome and the sunset was amazing. Bigger pickups may have trouble finding parking spots in the area. I had to fold my mirrors in and get out the passenger side when we parked for dinner. Our favorite restaurant is the Pier House just outside the campground and next to Ron Jon Surf Shop. Woodside Restaurant inside the park is good for outdoor games, live music and decent sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Why is Gulf State Park so Special?

Gulf State Park is beach/coastal paradise. With hundreds of campsites with full hookups it is a great place for spending Spring Break or other vacations with your brood. We are planning to go again next year and spend a full week exploring the area. There is a lot to discover here for people who enjoy the outdoors by playing sports, wildlife viewing and spending time on the beach and in the water.

To learn why we might never go back to Gulf State Park watch this video next

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