What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach? My first thought was “go to the beach!”This is to be expected, as this area is very well known for its sugar- white sand beaches, sunshine and Southern hospitality. Did you know this area is also filled with outdoor activities and nature opportunities, too? Below are five fun ways to explore nature in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Rent a bicycle and take a ride on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. This beautiful paved trail is 25 miles long and crosses through six distinct ecosystems! Part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail and the Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway, it’s something not to miss for the nature lover.
Take a Segway tour. Coastal Segway Adventures offers two-hour Segway tours on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Certified Segway PT Operators will begin each tour with a lesson before heading out and visiting several popular locations of the backcountry trail system. The guides are knowledgeable about the trail system and will entertain you with interesting information about the Alabama Gulf Coast.
Go for a hike in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. There are four trails within the refuge, and I have to admit that I love the Pine Beach Trail. After hiking a mile, climb up to the observation tower overlooking Gator Lake to spot some of the area’s abundant wildlife. From here you can continue on to the beach.
Go kayaking through Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Wild Native Tours will provide kayaks, and an experienced nature guide will take you on a tranquil three-hour tour through the secluded inlets of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Bon Secour is a French term meaning “safe harbor,” making it a fitting name for this location that provides a stopover for migratory birds and animals to rest. The refuge also protects some of the last remaining undisturbed coastal barrier habitat in Alabama.
Go for a swim. Experience 32 miles of the prettiest white-sand beaches you will ever find stretching from Fort Morgan to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, including Gulf State Park. The turquoise water compliments the beaches and beckons you to go in. Of course, it’s also a great place to go for a walk, be a beach bum and even play a game of beach volleyball. Don’t forget your floaties and just sit back and soak in the sun and unwind. A day at the beach is always a day well spent! Inquire at the Gulf State Park Nature Center to find out the latest nature opportunities held on the beach, too. You don’t have to be a park ranger like me to enjoy the great outdoors. The Alabama Gulf Coast is filled with opportunities to get off the beaten path and enjoy all the natural surroundings have to offer. What are you waiting for? It’s time to plan a trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and start enjoying all the great activities. It’s a place for everyone, especially for those who love nature and the outdoors.