Gulf State Park – The Final Stop of 2017

The last place we visited in the first “phase” of our travel was Gulf State Park in Orange Beach, AL.  We stayed for 6 nights, several of which dipped below freezing – which was a first for us.

A cool water tower in the park

Gulf State Park boasts the largest campground that we’ve seen so far – it has nearly 500 full hookup campsites!  It also has over 25 miles of paved trails, over 3 miles of white sandy beaches and its own pier!  Gulf State Park meets just about any requirement you can think of.

Our site at Gulf State Park

We absolutely loved the trail system at Gulf State Park.  There’s access to the trails right from the campground and many of the trails intersect.  Some of the trails also have long segments of boardwalk that take you over marshy/scrubby areas, over water, and even over the highway!  The trails are great fir bikes and on the warmer days we put many miles on ours.  Calla actually seemed to enjoy most of it, too.

Miles of boardwalk – over marshes, water, even the highway
Ready to explore
Our favorite part of our stay at Gulf State Park – biking on the trails

There were lots of signs warning trail-goers of alligators.  Sure enough, there were alligators right off the trail.

The locals aren’t very friendly

Gulf State Park also has an interesting primitive area in addition to the huge developed campground.  It was empty so Hannah scoped it out one day while on a run.  It looks like an interesting place to stay when it’s warm!

The facilities at the primitive campground
The primitive shower – you had to pump the water up there by hand

The park has a great nature center with many live reptiles and lots of exhibits.  Calla loved seeing the snakes, turtles, and especially the owls that live underneath.  Note that these owls were injured and would not survive in the wild – they’re not kept there only for our enjoyment.

Many “do not touch” signs – sounds like a challenge for Calla
I don’t think Calla’s love for the owls was reciprocated

We dealt with some cold weather at Gulf State Park but the furnace did its job and we survived.  The worst part was being stuck inside when was cold outside.  The Christmas season was upon us, but that doesn’t mean it had to be cold!

Playing ball in the cold

Speaking of Christmas, every year there’s a Christmas-themed boat parade in Gulf Shores.  We made an evening out of it and got some fresh seafood for dinner afterwards.

Christmas boat parade
Playing in the sand in her winter coat at the boat parade
Straws are fun

We also explored the pier and the beach but it was too cold and windy to spend much time there.  It was almost as pretty as the beach at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Florida.

Gulf State Park also had a huge pool that looked great – too bad it was cold!  It even had a kid pool and a splash pad.

Not another soul in sight
Lots of fishermen at the end of the pier
A sunset over the boardwalk

Date visited: December 2017


  1. I’m so glad Calla is enjoying her bike rides. I’m sure that makes life easier! Such a beautiful place! And I’m impressed with the picture of the alligator. I have to admit I’d be afraid to get that close!

    1. Thanks, Ashley! Yes, it’s much better when Calla actually enjoys biking. And I believe there was some sort of barrier between the alligator and the trail. The park knows where they tend to be I guess. Thanks for reading!

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