Vacations are a time to rest and relax, but they can also be a time to explore and experience the local flavor of your destination. And, by flavor, we don’t just mean all the great beach eats in Orange Beach. We’re talking about what makes this beachside city tick – from restaurants to attractions to the people who live and play here. With that in mind, check out some of our favorite spots to dive into coastal culture, whether it’s with your taste buds or your walking shoes.
Eats & Drinks
27500 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
The Gulf is certainly one of the best spots in Orange Beach for local flavor. The hip design is built around shipping containers for environmental stability, their vibe is chic yet casual, and forget being waterfront – this charming restaurant is on its own beach! Enjoy a cocktail with your toes in the sand, get to know the locals at a communal table, or grab a spot near the firepit in the evening. The menu features fresh, local seafood and changes daily. If you’re looking for local flavor, you’ve got to stop here first.
101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
This popular spot is known as a great place to do just that – hangout! Located right on the beach, this family-friendly restaurant features an open design that feels perfect for the coast. Venture out into the courtyard for live music, a kid’s play area, games, foam parties and more! When you’re ready for a bite, check out the large menu and indulge in a customizable cocktail. Order up a Wipe Out Burger while you’re there. It’s on the list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die! Local flavor? Absolutely!
807 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
If you really want to taste some local flavor then you’ve got to try raw oysters – and there’s no better place to do it than The Royal Oyster. This quaint waterfront dive serves up oysters and cocktails from all over the country, as well as, from local oyster farmers. Navy Cove Oysters and Shellbank Selects are both served here and are straight out of Fort Morgan. Customize your oysters with their impressive topping selection – they have everything from gin to housemade pickled watermelon rind. There’s also fresh seafood and burgers for the oysterphobes. Order a flight and try several different preparations.
17401 Perdido Key Dr, Pensacola, FL 32507
No Orange Beach vacation is complete without a trip to the last, great American roadhouse, Flora-Bama Lounge & Package. It ranks high on our list of best spots in Orange Beach for local flavor. This historic dive bar has been voted one of the best beach bars in the world and it stands for all things Alabama coast – delicious cocktails, live music, beachfront views and a heaping helping of Southern hospitality. You can grab a bite at one of their three food spots, jam to tunes on one of their five stages, or enjoy the beach sunset. Just don’t forget to try out the world-famous bushwhacker before you go – it’s the official cocktail mascot of Alabama’s beaches!
300 E 24th Ave, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
If you’re looking for a taste of local craft brews, this one’s for you. Beach Beach Brewing Company is located in the heart of Gulf Shores and crafts everything from IPAs and Stouts to Cream Ales and Belgian Style Beers. They always have 12 housemade beers on tap in their comfortable taproom, so be sure to stop by and sample some local brewskis. You’ll know you’re hanging out with the locals when 5 p.m. rolls around. A popular spot for post-work talk and relaxation, you can strike up a conversation and get locals intel on what to do and where to go during your Gulf Shores vacation.
Arts & Culture
26389 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
This waterfront art center gives you a glimpse into the local arts of Orange Beach – and then lets you take part in the fun! View the gallery of local works, try your hand at glassblowing at The Hot Shop, or take a turn at the clay wheel in the Clay Studio. The center also offers a variety of art classes for crafters of all ages.
What better way to immerse yourself in the local beach culture than to leave your mark with a killer sandcastle? The masters at Sand Castle University will come to your spot of sand at Turquoise Place and show you all the tips and tricks of building the perfect sandcastle. Their classes are great for all ages and include all of the tools you’ll need to make your sand creation.
2022 West 2nd Street, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
If you’re looking for a live representation of local flavor, check out the South Baldwin Community Theater. This nonprofit organization uses a local cast and community volunteers to put on dynamic and entertaining shows. Their lineup ranges from southern classics like Steel Magnolias to well-known hits like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. If you want to see your favorite acts with a Gulf Coast touch, be sure to stop by and enjoy the show.
20800 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Fishing is a staple on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and there’s no better place to fish your fill than at the Gulf State Park Pier. The pier is the second longest on the Gulf of Mexico and has 2,448 feet of fishing space so you’re sure to have enough room to snag your own Moby Dick. Be sure to befriend the salty dogs who fish the pier every day to get the best fishing tips in the area! But, don’t worry about packing heavy – you can rent your gear from the pier’s bait shop and even get your fishing license right onsite.
110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
To really know a place, you’ve got to learn about its history. The historic Fort Morgan is an original masonry fort that played key roles in the Battle of Mobile Bay, the Spanish-American War, and both world wars. Step into Alabama history as you tour the fort, explore the local nature areas, or enjoy a picnic on the beach.
12295 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Conservation is a huge part of the Alabama Gulf Coast culture. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last undisturbed coastal barrier habitats and provides a refuge for endangered species of birds, turtles, and more. Hike the trails or venture on a guided tour to experience the local environment in its true form and see why nature preservation is at the heart of all things Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Book your Orange Beach rental now to experience the flavors of Alabama’s white-sand beaches.