As cooler temperatures make their way to the Gulf Shores area, locals and visitors alike enjoy venturing outdoors to dine. It’s this time of year when many take the opportunity to soak in the casual coastal atmosphere and appreciate the beautiful scenery of the Gulf Coast as they enjoy a meal.

Several Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants that feature inviting patios, kid-friendly play areas, and balconies and have become known as outdoor dining hotspots. Here are a few of our favorites.

Gulf Shores

If you’re looking for a mini vacation within a vacation, head over to LuLu’s Gulf Shores.

The restaurant’s dining room opens up to outdoor amusements with a view of the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and a marina, such as a three-story ropes climbing course, a shop, a beach for the kids and live music.

Menu items range from fried seafood baskets and cheeseburgers in paradise to pulled pork sandwiches, shrimp and grits, kids’ specialties and desserts like LuLu’s famous Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

Also on tap are adult beverages like margaritas, mango coladas, bushwhackers, draft and bottled beer, and wine.

Located on the Intracoastal Canal Waterway, Tacky Jacks Gulf Shores is just across the canal from LuLu’s, with a sizable deck and bar overlooking the water.

A small beach area is the site of fun activities for kids from time to time.

Popular dishes include the Mexican garbage nachos, fish tacos, farmer’s omelet and overstuffed pod’ boy sandwiches.

Bahama Bob’s Beach Side Café is tucked into a beachfront location a little west of the main public beach area in Gulf Shores.

You have a choice of dining indoors or out with a view of the Gulf to the south.

Menu items include coconut shrimp, Grand Bahama grilled chicken, Governors Harbour grilled tuna and steamed Royal Reds.

A Gulf Shores landmark, Sea-N-Suds Restaurant and Oyster Bar is a well-known landmark in town for its location on a pier jutting out toward the Gulf of Mexico.

When you walk up the pier to the restaurant, you’ll be reminded of Gulf Shores in its early days of fish camps and seafood shacks.

The restaurant’s outdoor seating offers a fantastic view of the Gulf and beachfront.

Enjoy a full salad bar, a cup of gumbo, oysters on the half shell, the famous shrimp sandwich, or a burger and fries among other options. Kids are welcome here and can order everything from a hamburger or hot dog to shrimp and popcorn chicken.

“Life’s more fun with seafood,” according to the operators of the Acme Oyster House in Gulf Shores, where you’ll find oysters prepared just about any way you can imagine: raw, served with cocktail sauce and vodka and served in a shot glass, chargrilled, fried and served with remoulade, stuffed in a po’boy and more.

Diners can enjoy salads or overstuffed seafood platters and everything in between either indoors or outdoors. The restaurant overlooks the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and is located in the new Gulf Shores Waterway District.

A brand new locals’ favorite located just north of the beach on Hwy. 59, the Royal Oyster Bar is a fun spot to indulge yourself with oysters prepared in a variety of ways and creative adult beverages. Patio dining makes an outing to this restaurant even more fun, especially when local bands perform.

Said one recent reviewer: “Went for the first time and did not leave disappointed. I had the pork belly oysters and fried Brussel sprouts - YUM! Gary the bartender was really helpful and sold us on some Mojito oyster shooters. He really knows his stuff. He let us try his semi-house-made Bloody Mary mix. He adds his own mix to Zing Zang—they need to sell that stuff bottled, it's so good! Seriously. Wow.”

Orange Beach

The epitome of Gulf-front dining, The Gulf restaurant in Orange Beach is open daily from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., for lunch and dinner.

The Gulf is a uniquely designed restaurant at Perdido Pass that invites diners to enjoy fresh seasonal menu choices served at communal tables situated right on the Gulf beach.

Recline with your toes in the sand, have a seat at the bar, communal table, or meander about, enjoy the good vibes, views, and tunes. The restaurant’s casual atmosphere is complemented by its unique shipping container design, recycled, reclaimed and salvaged building materials, and operators’ efforts to practice sustainability and to reduce its carbon footprint.

A typical menu on any given day might include fresh oysters and shrimp, sandwiches, salads, fish tacos, burgers, side dishes and salads.

An Orange Beach, waterfront hot spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Tacky Jack’s is the perfect place to enjoy casual, coastal outdoor dining. You can even come by water and dock your boat on site.

With a menu featuring fish tacos, fresh seafood dishes, a variety of salads and sandwiches and more, Tacky Jacks has been voted a locals’ favorite hangout and recognized as Best Happy Hour and Overall Bar by listeners of Sunny 105.7.

Go when the weather cools a bit and you’ll be able to enjoy live music.

A Baldwin Country staple known for its quality fresh seafood dishes and local ambiance, Wolf Bay Lodge in Orange Beach is the owners’ newest location.

The restaurant is situated at Zeke’s Marina. Outdoor dining area overlooks and it's just steps away from fishing boats and beautiful yachts docked at the marina.

Favorite menu items at Wolf Bay Lodge include a well-stocked salad bar, fried shrimp and fish, Royal Reds, steaks and more. For dessert, try the luscious chocolate lava cake, coconut cake or key lime pie.

Located at Orange Beach Marina, Fisher’s Dockside recommends you call ahead for dockside seating.

Entrees range from fried chicken (three pieces of southern buttermilk fried chicken) and shrimp and grits to shrimp Creole and Gulf Courtbouillon (Gulf fish pan seared and smothered with Creole tomato sauce and served with green onion rice).

Sandwiches, salads, and appetizers such as boiled peanuts and buttermilk-fried okra are also on the menu.

Top your meal off with white chocolate coconut bread pudding or a double chocolate brownie.

Dine waterfront at Cobalt The Restaurant, situated under the Perdido Bay Bridge and next to Caribe Resort. A view of the bay is visible from every table.

Seafood is served fresh daily and includes entrees featuring yellow fin tuna, fried platters, Gulf shrimp and grits, and more. The restaurant is also known for its tasty pizzas baked in a stone hearth oven.

Located at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Villaggio Grille and Ginny Lane Bar & Grill are two restaurants where you can view people enjoying the entertainment at the Wharf as well as boats passing by in the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.

Villaggio’s outdoor dining area fronts Main Street, while Ginny Lane’s outdoor dining is waterfront.

Villaggio’s menu features a variety of Italian Fusion items such as seafood pasta, traditional lasagna, marinated sirloin steak and grilled salmon.

Shrimp and grits, bacon wrapped Gulf shrimp, filet mignon, seafood pasta, broiled seafood and more highlight Ginny Lane’s menu.

Newly opened on Wolf Bay in Orange Beach, GT’s on the Bay features a large outdoor dining area where you’ll be treated to live music, a full bar and fun events like watching football games under the stars.

A stone hearth pizza oven and freshly made salad bar accentuate culinary choices that include seafood hot from the fryer, pasta dishes, sandwiches, fresh catch, pork chops stuffed with sausage, onions and apples, ribs and more.

Dine at one of these outdoor restaurants next time you vacation in your four-bedroom house in Gulf Shores or Fort Morgan or two-bedroom condo in Orange Beach or Perdido Key.