The gorgeous Alabama coast that hugs the Gulf of Mexico draws in many travelers throughout the year. Many of these visitors want an opportunity to get as close to the water as possible, and to make that dream a reality, they head to the Gulf State Park Pier. This landmark is a can't-miss for individuals staying at local vacation rentals.

Gulf State Park Pier

Go fishing at Gulf State Park PierSince its opening in July 2009, the Gulf State Park Pier has become one of the must-see spots in Gulf Shores. At 1,540 feet long, it's one of the longest piers on the Gulf of Mexico, and it sits about 20 feet above high tide and has a width of 20 feet. From any spot on this landing you can take in gorgeous views of the Gulf waters as well as the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores.

This new pier was built to replace an older one destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. When the facility was reconstructed, builders added an indoor seating and concession area along with a few other conveniences that make time at the pier more enjoyable for visitors. Shaded areas and picnic tables throughout the wooden stretch provide welcome places to rest, and the large expanse offers plenty of room for some recreational activities.

The public can access the pier 24 hours a day, and they can take advantage of this flexibility to plan a visit around an existing trip itinerary. While fishing during the daylight hours is the most popular pastime, many enjoy heading to the pier at sundown to try night crabbing as well. 

Perfect For Fishing

If there's one activity that draws people to the pier, it's fishing. In total there is more than 2,440 square feet of fishing space along the wooden structure, allowing many travelers to roll in for a visit during their stay at Gulf Shores houses to try to reel in a catch. Commonly caught fish include King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Flounder, Speckled Trout and Red Trapper, among many others.

Travelers should note that anyone over the age of 16 needs a saltwater fishing license before they can fish off the pier. Licenses can be purchased at the pier or online, and prices usually change Sept. 1 of each year. An Alabama pier fishing pass is currently $6. For adults and children over the age of 12, a daily permit is $8, weekly is $40 and monthly is $80. Children under 12 do not need a permit when accompanied by a paying adult.

Regulations To Know

It is important for vacationers to know the ins and outs of the rules of Gulf State Park Pier so they have a clear idea of what to expect when visiting. These rules are in place to give every visitor a fun and safe experience, and understanding the regulations ahead of time can make your planning process easier.

Pier visitors are limited to six fishing rods per person and may only use one at a time. Similarly, guests can only have one crab basket per person, and they are not allowed to use wire baskets. There is no crabbing and fishing at the same time.

Any catch must be placed in a container within 10 minutes of reeling it in, and anglers can cut bait or clean fish at the designated tables only. Travelers should be aware that there is a fishing limit as well, but it varies based on the type of marine life you reel in and the size of the catch. This information should be available at the pier, but it can't hurt to have some general knowledge of the guidelines before you arrive.

Visitors should also keep in mind that the pier is a relaxing fishing locale, not a diving board. Diving and jumping off the pier is prohibited, and there is no standing or sitting on the rails that border the structure. Other forbidden items include skateboards, bicycles, beach umbrellas, lounge chairs and pets.