Guide to the Gulf Coast, Family-Friendly Guide to the Gulf Coast, Children playing in the sands of the Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast is the perfect vacation for the entire family. We curated a list of family activities and places to visit, as well as kid-friendly Gulf Coast restaurants and hotels to help make your planning easy.


Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (Gulf Shores, Alabama) Spanning over 300 acres, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is home to a diverse array of animals from around the world. Visitors can marvel at majestic big cats, including lions and tigers, observe playful primates swinging through the trees, and get up close and personal with exotic birds, reptiles, and more. 

Take a Dolphin Cruise (Orange Beach and Gulf Shores) Orange Beach, is renowned for its stunning coastal beauty and vibrant marine life, and one of the best ways to experience this aquatic wonderland is through dolphin cruises. These excursions offer visitors a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the Gulf Coast’s most beloved creatures: dolphins.

Explore Adventure Island (Orange Beach) This dynamic family entertainment destination nestled along the stunning Gulf Coast is a tropical-themed amusement park offers a myriad of thrilling experiences and leisure activities such as mini golf, go-carts, arcade games, and more!

Spend a Day at OWA (Foley) This sprawling entertainment complex has cemented itself as a beloved local and tourist hotspot, offering a seamless fusion of exhilarating rides, enticing dining options, vibrant shopping, and live entertainment. 

Learn to Build the Ultimate Sandcastle with Sandcastle University (Gulf Shores)  During these interactive sessions, you’ll discover how to transform ordinary sand into magnificent works of art, whether it’s a towering castle complete with turrets or intricate sculptures inspired by marine life. Sandcastle University’s instructors share their expertise, from selecting the right sand consistency to mastering sculpting tools, helping you create stunning creations limited only by your imagination.


LuLu’s (Gulf Shores) Lulu’s offers a lively and laid-back atmosphere where visitors can soak in the breathtaking waterfront views. The menu is a delightful fusion of Gulf Coast flavors, featuring a diverse selection of seafood, Southern classics, and tropical-inspired dishes. Lulu’s also offers a range of outdoor activities, including an expansive sandy beach area, a ropes course, and a gift shop where you can find unique souvenirs and coastal treasures. It’s a place where the whole family can unwind, play, and create lasting memories against the backdrop of Gulf Shores’ picturesque waterfront.

Tacky Jacks (Multiple Locations) Tacky Jack’s exudes a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a place where flip-flops and sandy toes are not only allowed but encouraged. The waterfront locations are a highlight of Tacky Jack’s experience. Whether you’re dining at their Gulf Shores marina restaurant, overlooking the tranquil Back Bay at the Orange Beach location, or enjoying the picturesque views of Mobile Bay at Fort Morgan, you’re guaranteed a stunning backdrop for your meal.

The Hangout (Gulf Shores) This iconic Gulf Shores establishment is more than just a restaurant; it’s a multifaceted experience that blends delicious Gulf seafood, live music, and family-friendly fun. What truly sets The Hangout apart is its commitment to live entertainment and family-friendly activities. The stage hosts a lineup of talented musicians, making it a hotspot for live music enthusiasts. The Hangout also offers an array of activities, including a sandy beach area, a foam dance party, and a play area for kids, ensuring that everyone in the family can have a great time.

Sunliner Diner (Gulf Shores) This delightful diner pays homage to the golden era of the 1950s. Whether you’re a fan of retro nostalgia, a lover of classic American cuisine, or simply looking for a fun and family-friendly dining experience, Sunliner Diner in Gulf Shores is a must-visit destination that brings the past to life in a delightful and delicious way.


Perdido Beach Resort (Orange Beach) The resort offers a wide range of family-friendly activities and amenities, making it the perfect choice for a beachfront getaway that caters to all ages. Families can enjoy the pristine, private beach for building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply relaxing under the sun, and there are multiple outdoor swimming pools, including a zero-entry pool and a kid’s splash pad, providing hours of aquatic enjoyment. For children, there are supervised activities and programs, water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking for adventure-seekers, and even family-friendly dining options with Gulf-inspired cuisine. Perdido Beach Resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and family-friendly fun, creating unforgettable moments against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural beauty.