Part of the joy of staying at Gulf Shores vacation rentals is appreciating the gorgeous space that surrounds you, whether you're looking out of a window on your beach house or trekking right into the heart of the area. Visitors have the perfect opportunity to get up close to the land with a trip to Gulf State Park, which is located in a prime spot along Alabama's Gulf Coast and provides plenty of chances for travelers to go wild in the wonderful setting of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. 

Park basics

Gulf State Park is one spot you can't miss when you're visiting Gulf Shores.Covering more than 6,100 acres of land in Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park is one of the most stunning locations in all of Alabama. Within its borders are more than 2.5 miles of pristine beach, three lakes, an array of nature trails and several other attractions that visitors to the area will not want to miss. 

One of the best parts of the park is the fact that it extends across several different environments. Miles of shores are available for travelers who want to swim or work on their tans, while nearby areas have hiking trails, campgrounds and many other locales that can keep anyone entertained during their vacation. 

Explore nature

The diverse environment of Gulf State Park makes it ideal for exploration. Paths known as the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails run through the wilderness, giving visitors a chance to get up close to local flora and fauna that they may have missed had they not ventured out from Gulf Shores condo rentals. There are numerous routes meandering throughout the park, including many that are paved for easy access, so you can set out with your family and attempt to observe some local creatures in their native habitats. 

Fishing is also a popular pastime at the park. The ideal spot for this is at the Gulf State Park Pier, which stretches 1,540 feet into the Gulf and offers plenty of space for visitors to try to haul in the catch of the day. Several rules exist for using the pier, but they are easy to comply with, allowing families to enjoy the beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico as well as the thrill of reeling in a big fish. Anglers can also check out Lake Shelby, which borders one edge of the park and boasts more than 900 acres of open water for fishing. 

Hummingbird Ziplines runs within the park as well, providing another opportunity to see Gulf Shores from a unique prospective. 

Enjoy the finer things

Have you gotten your fill of the great outdoors? Never fear, as there is more than just nature on hand at Gulf State Park. An interactive Nature Center brings guests close to all of the information they need to truly appreciate the environment, while more fun-oriented areas like the sprawling green spaces found throughout the park offer a place for visitors to kick back and relax during nice weather. 

What you need to know

With so much happening at Gulf State Park, you should attempt to plan out your visit beforehand. While some of what you want to do will depend on the weather and how you feel on the day, a large portion of your itinerary can be scheduled ahead of time. 

There are several amenities present at Gulf State Park that should also help with your visit, no matter how many family members you bring along. The Beach Pavilion offers features like picnic tables and a concession stand on a seasonal basis, and travelers just need to be aware of the fact that they have to pay for parking on the site when they visit for beach outings, photo ops, weddings and more.