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5 Things to Do this Fall in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores

September 20, 2023

Although any time of year is enjoyable along the Alabama Gulf Coast, autumn takes the temps and humidity down a notch, making it the perfect time to get—and stay—outside! Fall offers a quiet experience, ideal for those seeking tranquility along the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach shoreline, and it’s an excellent season for nature enthusiasts. Now’s the time to relish the pristine beaches, take invigorating hikes, savor fun festivals, and do it all with fewer crowds. Whether staying close to the beach or opting for a day trip to explore nearby areas of interest, the fall backdrop adds yet another dimension to outdoor explorations. 

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy fall in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores!

Get Some Exercise

Fall is the perfect time to walk, bike, or Segway through Gulf State Park, a public recreation area spanning over 6,500 acres. With 29 trails to choose from in Hugh S. Branyon’s Back Country Trail system, you can easily select a different hike every day of your trip. While there, take a dip in Lake Shelby, go for a boat ride, or cast your line for bream, redfish, and speckled trout.

The pleasant temperatures offer a refreshing escape from daily routines, and the warm, tranquil Gulf waters provide a serene environment for swimming and snorkeling or enjoying more active water sports like windsurfing or wakeboarding. Whether you want to relax to the sounds of the Gulf of Mexico or indulge in aquatic adventures, you’ll find no shortage of things to do this fall in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, even if it’s simply catching the sunrise with your favorite brew!

Have a Movie Night

Enjoy a movie night this fall in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. Meyer Park hosts outdoor movie nights, allowing you to enjoy films under the starry sky. Bring a blanket and some popcorn for a cozy night out with family and friends, or catch the latest releases at The Wharf and make a night of it. Hop aboard the train, take in a laser light show, or ride the tallest Ferris wheel in the Southeast before hitting the shops and enjoying a savory meal in the cool night air.

If you prefer a more private cinematic experience, setting up a themed movie night with classics or horror flicks in your luxury vacation home can be just as enjoyable. Pull out the blankets and snacks, curl up on the sofa, and create cherished memories during your beach getaway! 

Hit a Fall Festival

Southerners know how to throw a party, and we’d encourage you to attend some of our annual festivals this fall in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The Annual National Shrimp Festival will be the highlight of any trip, celebrating the Alabama Gulf Coast’s rich seafood heritage and attracting seafood enthusiasts from all over. Featuring lively performances by talented musicians, an array of arts and crafts vendors, and a mouthwatering selection of shrimp dishes ranging from classic favorites to innovative culinary creations, it’s an excellent opportunity to try fresh seafood Southern style!

The Orange Beach Freedom Fest is another family-friendly celebration with fireworks, live music, food vendors, and activities for all ages. Free of charge, it’s the perfect addition to your fall in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach itinerary. Main Street shuts down to host Bama Coast Cruisin’, an inclusive car show featuring vehicles of all makes and models, including hot rods, antiques, and classics. Browse the shops, enjoy the weather, and relish the lively atmosphere!

Learn more about migratory birds on the Alabama Gulf Coast at the Alabama Coastal BirdFest, a four-day event with tours, workshops, boat cruises, and more. The Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival showcases over 200 nationally acclaimed songwriters, and you can catch your favorites at restaurants, bars, and cafes along the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast. Check out the venues and see the musician lineup before you go and plan for some sweet sounds along the Coast!

Enjoy Halloween Fun

As autumn approaches, Halloween-themed events take center stage in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, offering delightful experiences for all ages. One standout event is the Trunk R Treat at The Wharf, offering a safe and fun trick-or-treating environment, a costume contest, and fireworks. Enjoy the festivities as businesses decorate their car trunks and distribute candies and treats to eager children, creating a lively atmosphere that embodies the spirit of Halloween. 

Don your favorite Halloween costume and head to Gulf Place for the Haunted Hustle 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run. If you prefer biking, join the Witches on Wheels bike parade and travel through town with fellow witches and warlocks, tossing beads and candy to onlookers. Participants in all events will receive a goodie bag, water bottle, towel, and event T-shirt.

Take the short drive to OWA in Foley for a host of Halloween events the whole family will enjoy. Downtown OWA comes alive in the fall, and you can take your pick from costume contests, Halloween movie nights, murder mystery shows, and more. Those daring enough should hit The Invasion, a haunted house with creaking floorboards, spooky sights, and eerie sounds, sure to get your blood pumping!

See the Sights

There are more than just Halloween festivities during the vibrant fall season in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Watch for concerts at The Wharf Amphitheater, a renowned venue that hosts top-tier musical acts across various genres. It’s a perfect opportunity to groove to live tunes under the crisp autumn sky.

The Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola is a breathtaking spectacle you won’t miss. Less than an hour away, the jaw-dropping aerobatic displays and the chance to witness the iconic Blue Angels in action make the short trip well worth it!

For a family-friendly excursion, consider visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The kids will enjoy Boo at the Zoo, featuring trick-or-treating, exciting activities, and delightful encounters with beloved animal ambassadors. Be sure to dress in costume for a chance to win a prize! 

Beyond stunning sunsets and glistening waterways, the changing season brings a new feel to our coastal communities, making fall in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach a season of bliss. Discover why so many choose the Alabama Gulf Coast for their fall getaway!

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