As two of the premier destinations on Alabama's Gulf Coast, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are great places to enjoy some freshly caught seafood. If you want to discover just how important the fishing industry is to the area, and have a great time doing it, head to the Gulf Shores National Shrimp Festival.

An annual celebration

Gulf Shores Shrimp FestivalThe National Shrimp Festival has been an annual tradition in Gulf Shores for more than 40 years. You may have tasted good shrimp before you booked your Gulf Shores vacation, but we can assure you that the dishes offered at the Shrimp Festival will raise the bar.

Here in Gulf Shores, we value the importance of family, and there's no better way to get to know the real Gulf Coast than by visiting the Shrimp Festival with your loved ones. Besides loads of mouthwatering Southern cooking, you'll find plenty to see and do at the event. There's a special Children's Activity Village just for the younger set, and more than 250 vendors will be selling all manner of arts, crafts and souvenirs.

Throughout the festival's four days, you can expect to be entertained by live music on two stages, with local and touring artists who will provide the soundtrack to an unforgettable event. 

A taste of the gulf

Local restaurateurs and merchants set up shop throughout the festival grounds, offering guests a wide variety of succulent shellfish prepared as only folks from the South know how. The dishes offered at the festival go far beyond typical shrimp cocktails - here in Gulf Shores, we know seafood!

The Annual Zatarain's National Shrimp Festival Chef's Challenge attracts the area's most talented chefs. The 2011 winners were Levi Proffitt and Tony Luna of The Hangout (located right on the festival grounds), who took home the prize for their inventive use of flavors in their Fiery Irie Island Shrimp - a blend of chili and mango glazed shrimp drizzled with dark rum, served atop a bed of Caribbean rice garnished with arugula, pea tendrils and mint.

Much more than just a food festival, this event is nothing short of a seafood bonanza. If you want to tease your tastebuds and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Gulf Coast, head to the National Shrimp Festival.