Explore 3 popular activities in Gulf State Park

The Gulf State Park is a must-see for almost anyone staying at a Gulf Shores area vacation home rental, but with all the possibilities, it can be hard to decide which spots to check out first. Start with these three for a full park experience that is a little off the beaten path.

Explore 3 popular activities in Gulf State Park

Whether you have a beach house or condo rental in Orange Beach, Fort Morgan or Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park is a must-see attraction during your vacation. This park's varied activities offer something for everyone in your family, on or off the beach.

The possible activities to participate in - from golfing to geocaching - could last you an entire vacation, but if you're strapped for time and just looking for the highlights, check out these three spots first:

Fishing from the Gulf State Park Pier

This landmark was rebuilt and reopened in 2009 and
is now the largest on the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 1,540 feet long with 41,800 square feet of space. Its size and new amenities make it one of the best fishing spots along the entire Gulf Coast. Inside, you can sit and eat, buy fishing tackle or get a saltwater fishing license.

Learn about the area at the Gulf State Park Nature Center

Although much of the park is developed, its Nature Center seeks to educate visitors about its natural delights, building a connection between people and the environment. At the center, which acts as a living museum of native Gulf Coast plants and animals, visitors can brush up on their knowledge of species like great horned owls, American alligators and loggerhead sea turtles before they head out on a hike.

Hiking the Alligator Marsh Trail

Many of the park's attractions hug the shores of the Gulf of Mexico or Shelby Lake, but the expanse of land extends into the backcountry, too, and the sights are no less thrilling. To explore the backcountry trails in the park, which wind through the wilderness of the park, head out on the Alligator Marsh Trail and be on the lookout for alligators, turtles and frogs, as well as other small animals. The trail winds around a small canal and offers hikers a chance to see sawgrass - a type of tall marsh grass with sharp, saw-toothed edges.

After squeezing in as much activity as possible, head back to your vacation condo or beach house to prepare and enjoy the fish you caught earlier in the day. Once you have refueled, head out again to enjoy some of the nightlife of the island.

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What you can do at Gulf State Park

What you can do at Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park is a stunning oasis where seashells and white-sand beaches greet you the moment you arrive. With more than 6,000 acres, you can easily spend more than a day exploring this spectacular reserve. From bird watching to fishing, there's so much to do!

Take a day trip to the Weeks Bay Reserve

Take a day trip to the Weeks Bay Reserve

There's so much for you to do in the Gulf Shores, Alabama area that you will have a hard time fitting everything in. But the Weeks Bay Reserve, which spans 6,000 acres from Weeks Bay to Mobile Bay, is a must for your vacation experience.

Alligators swim in the park's creeks and canals.

Take the kids on a nature walk through Gulf State Park

Kids are sure to love a trek through nature to explore some of their favorite animals. Alligators, turtles, lizards and frogs dwell in Gulf State Park, where visitors can see them from a number of trails.

The green heron is one of many birds visitors to Gulf State Park will see.

Birds of the backcountry: Species to spot in Gulf State Park

The Gulf Shores area offers many opportunities for bird watching. One of the best places to see the region's magnificent birds is at Gulf State Park. Hike or walk along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, and you're likely to spot these three species.

Go fishing at Gulf State Park Pier

Go fishing at Gulf State Park Pier

Aspiring anglers who visit Gulf Shores will definitely want to check out Gulf State Park Pier, which is the largest pier on the Gulf of Mexico. With opportunities for fishing and relaxing, it's an ideal spot for sitting back and enjoying a gorgeous day along the coast.

The beaches of Gulf State Park

The beaches of Gulf State Park

Sure, your Gulf Shores beach house rental is right on the shores of Alabama's illustrious coastline, but if you want to get a taste of all this area has to offer, you may want to take a short trip to the Gulf State Park's beach areas that are equally spectacular.

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