Are you considering a multigenerational trip? If so, Gulf Shores, Alabama, might be the perfect destination.
With travel opening up and people beginning to plan vacations, many 50+ travelers are thinking about taking the whole family on a trip. Multigenerational travel is a great way to bring generations closer together. Enjoying new destinations and experiences together is a beautiful opportunity to create lasting memories for all ages.
The best multigenerational destinations have an abundance of activities and experiences that all ages will enjoy. While some might enjoy one thing more than others, no one is bored, and everyone is happy with the trip.
I recently visited Gulf Shores, Alabama, and found it an excellent destination for a multigenerational trip. There is much to do and a large variety of activities for all ages. Let’s look at a few of the reasons you should consider Gulf Shores for your next multigenerational trip.
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, Meyer Vacation Rentals, and the Foley Depot Museum & Model Train Exhibit provided hosted experiences during our visit. All opinions are my own.
The main attractions at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the stunning white sand beaches and beautiful turquoise water. Families enjoy exploring the miles of shoreline.
A beach is an excellent destination for a multigenerational trip because it lends itself to many activities. Whether you enjoy swimming in the ocean, sunbathing on the beach, walking along the surf, building sandcastles, or playing beach volleyball, there is something for just about everyone to enjoy.
There are many public beaches, so you can enjoy the beach regardless of where you are staying.
Parasailing, banana boats, and kayak rentals are available at various places along the shore. You can also rent chairs, umbrellas, paddle boards, and beach wheelchairs.
I highly suggest making an appointment in advance for your multigenerational family with Sandcastle University. They will come and teach your family how to make the most awesome sandcastle you can imagine. This is a great activity for young and old as well as everyone in between. Building the sandcastle will create memories for all for many years to come.
Pro Tips: Sunscreen is a must. Watch for nesting sea turtles from May–November. It is illegal to disturb them.
If your family gets into fishing, they will love Gulf Shores. The Alabama Gulf Coast is considered a world-class fishing destination. Whether you choose beach casting, a deep-sea charter, or pier fishing, there are many varieties of fish to be caught.
There are many options when it comes to boats in Gulf Shores. You can rent a boat for the day, and the whole family can enjoy a day at sea playing in the water and riding the boat or fishing. There are single and double-deck pontoons with slides available. Jet Skis and other boats are also available to rent.
You can also take a sunset cruise to see spectacular views or a dolphin cruise. I think the dolphin cruise is the best option for pleasing all ages. At 61, I found the dolphins swimming beside our boat to be captivating. I think it brings out the child in all of us.
Coastal Arts Center At Orange Beach
This Coastal Arts Center at Orange Beach has something for all ages, plus you can create a keepsake to remember your trip. From creating glass art to sculptures to art workshops, there is something for most generations to enjoy. They provide creative programs in glass blowing, pottery, and visual arts. Plus, they host kids’ programs and a variety of teen workshops.
The Hot Shop features hot glass demonstrations throughout the day and offers a Make-Your-Own fused/blown glass lesson. When I visited, I made a glass starfish.
Pottery demonstrations and Make-Your-Own clay items are offered in the Clay Studio.
There is a lovely art gallery in the main building, along with a gift shop.
Pro Tip: Be sure to call in advance to reserve a spot. Walk-in slots are rarely available.
Something is always blooming at Bellingrath Gardens. This Southern estate garden is 65 acres of floral beauty.
Check their website to see what is blooming each month. They have special events happening throughout the year and lots of children’s activities. Just walking through the gardens is a fun activity for all ages.
Gulf State Park
Sitting between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama, Gulf State Park is a destination in itself. There is so much to see and do.
The state park has an area of 6,500 acres, including a wide public white sand beach area on the Alabama coast. There are two miles of beach, and most of the park lies behind the beach community.
The Lodge at Gulf State Park, run by Hilton Hotels, sits right on the beach within the park. The campground is one and a half miles from the beach and offers campers 496 campsites with full-hookup and paved pads. They also have eleven primitive sites. The camping area includes eleven modern bathhouses.
Cottages are also available for overnight stays.
The park has 29 miles of either paved or boardwalk trails. All are wide enough for strollers, bikes, wheelchairs, etc.
There is a large swimming pool and a splash pad within the park. Several paved tennis courts are part of the park.
Gulf State Park has over 2,000 feet of fishing space along the rails of the second largest pier on the Gulf.
There is a large nature center with interesting programs for all ages.
Bikes are available to use within the park for three hours at a time, free of charge.
Another fun way to see the park is via Segway. You can rent Segways within the park at Coastal Segway Adventures, and a certified Segway operator will provide lessons and help you glide through the park. When we visited, we rode over 12 miles and saw freshwater lakes, hardwood forests, swamps, bogs, and even some alligators during this unique guided tour.
Kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes are available for day use on Lake Shelby and in the Gulf.
Whether going to the park to stay a few nights or visit for the day, there is plenty to do for all ages.
Pro Tip: If you are planning to hike, remember your bug spray and sunscreen.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
A modern educational wildlife park sitting on 25 acres has something for everyone. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is known as “The Little Zoo That Could.” It survived all sorts of devastating losses and still came back better than ever.
They offer hands-on educational animal encounters, giraffe feedings, and even a zipline for a ride over the zoo to give you a bird’s-eye view.
The nice thing about this zoo is everything is spread out. All the animals seem to have plenty of room to roam around.
Since it is spread out, there is some walking from one place to another, but all the paths are paved and wide for wheelchairs and strollers.
Pro Tip: While visiting the zoo, you might enjoy a meal at the neighboring Safari Club restaurant.
Learn about Alabama’s Gulf Coast history dating back to Native American periods. Fort Morgan is just one of the many places to learn about colonial and Civil War History.
Fort Morgan was used as a military fort from the War of 1812 till after World War II. The state of Alabama accepted ownership of Fort Morgan for use as a historic site in 1946.
Pro Tip: Be aware there is a lot of walking, and if you desire to see the upper level, there are steps. Small children and those with mobility issues may not enjoy this visit.
Foley Depot Museum And Model Train Exhibit
Who doesn’t love trains? Kids and even great-grandparents will get a kick out of visiting Foley Depot Museum & Model Train Exhibit. Just a short drive (about 10 miles), and you can see this lovely museum that gives you a blast from the past.
When you visit the historic depot, you are transported back in time via photos, memorabilia, and tools documenting Foley’s history and the vital role the railroad played in area development.
The Foley Model Train Exhibit will thrill not only the younger crowd but anyone who enjoys trains. The impressive display covers 1,200 square feet of the tabletop. It includes trains, cars, a farming community, a model town, a country fair complete with a moving Ferris wheel, an operational car wash, an outdoor drive-in theater, and wooden bridges and tunnels.
There is no charge to view the model train exhibit. The engineers running the trains are volunteers who love what they do and are available to answer questions. Be sure to check their website for days and times of operation.
These are just a few of the many things to do during a multigenerational trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Once your family has experienced some of the world’s finest beaches and one of the country’s hidden gem destinations, they may want to return year after year. When that happens, you know your destination was the perfect choice for a multigenerational trip.
Pro Tips: If you desire to stay in a rental property so you can all be together as a family, check out the many options available through Meyer Vacation Rentals.
And while you’re in Gulf Shores, consider: