The beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are absolutely gorgeous. The aquamarine water hits the pure, white sandy as the sun beams down on the coast. It’s truly a gorgeous sight to see. But, let’s be real, you don’t want to spend your entire vacation sitting on the beach. You’ll want to find other things to do.

Well, you’re in luck! The Gulf Coast of Alabama offers plenty of attractions, some giving you a whole new view of nature, and others giving you fun for the whole family. Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find plenty to do in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Sure, the beaches and the wildlife preserves of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have plenty of fun critters to see, but do they have a kangaroo? Voted by patrons as the number 1 zoo in Alabama, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo provides guests with a number of animal experiences from the truly wild to the truly exotic.

With over 112 species on display, 22 of which are endangered, you won’t be disappointed by the options that the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has. Furthermore, for a little bit more, you can upgrade your experience to have one on one experiences with kangaroos, lemurs, and sloths! And, unlike many zoos and attractions of the sort, parking is completely free!

Outer Limits VR Game Room

Maybe you are looking for something a little more high-tech. With VR technology at a new height of popularity, everyone will have a blast at Outer Limits VR Game Room. Each game experience lasts for 8 to 10 minutes and will cost about $12 a play (though upgrades are available to make the per-game price cheaper). With over 35 games to play, hours of fun can be had at the Outer Limits VR Game Room, where fully immersive entertainment is the norm.

Just bear in mind, there is a 44” height requirement and a 300-pound weight limit on all rides, and the rides are first come first serve, and cannot be reserved.

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Maybe you want more time in nature, but you just want a change of scenery from the beach? The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail provides over 15 miles of trails, with 7 distinct trails taking you through 6 different ecosystems. On the trails, you are likely to see White-Tailed Deer, Alligators, and even Bobcats, and with a butterfly garden and primitive campsites spread all over the park, you’ll find that you can enjoy an afternoon, a day, or even several days on the Backcountry Trails.

Waterville USA

Want to stay cool and experience great thrills? Try the 20-acre amusement park known as Waterville USA. A multitude of thrilling water slides, 17 to be exact, can be enjoyed, or you can lounge around on the lazy river. Tired of being wet? Air-dry yourself with the go-karts! Want to get out of the sun and give your brain a little test? Give the Escape House a test!

The park is generally open from noon to 8 PM and will cost you about $33 per person. You can rent your own private cabana for a little more (good for up to 8 people), and there are 5 different dining experiences with beverages for refreshing and food for nourishing.

The Wharf

The beach will make you hungry, and the sun will make you hot. Take a break from all of that with great shopping and great food in an air-conditioned environment. The Wharf provides some great local shopping with all kinds of charming mom-and-pop shops. The Ginny Lane Bar and Grill is a great spot for seafood at lunch or dinner, or you can enjoy some fine wine at Red or White.

However, outside of the restaurants and shops, there are some great attractions as well. The aforementioned Outer Limits VR Room is in this area, but you can also find, and ride, the tallest Ferris Wheel in the southeast, enjoy laser tag and bazooka ball at Arena: The Next Level Arcade, or enjoy some fun photo ops at the Selfie Museum! While the beaches are nice, there is way more to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach than just beaches.