Travel Destinations

Orange Beach, Alabama


Whatever your water preference may be the ICW, beach, gulf, bay, bayou, beach, lagoon, river or creek it's available around Orange Beach at the southeastern tip of Alabama. Although sport fishing is the big attraction, there are 10 golf  courses, 70 plus restaurants, pristine white sand beaches, festivals and hiking trails within minutes of the docks. Despite the range of activities attracting over 200,000 weekend visitors, Orange Beach has maintained a small town atmosphere for its 5,500 permanent residents.

Orange Beach is the center of some of the world's best and most diverse fishing. Offshore to the east is a natural underwater mountain range whose canyons provide the perfect breeding grounds for game and bill fishing. To the west, plentiful populations of grouper, amberjack, red snapper and triggerfish have flourished in the shelter of artificial reefs created from a graveyard of leftover World War II, Korean and Vietnam-era tanks and ships. The largest charter fleet on the northern Gulf Coast is docked here within three to 120 miles of almost any fish worth catching. Orange Beach Marina is headquarters to the world-renowned Mobile Big Game Fishing Club and hosts 12 annual Big Game fishing tournaments throughout the year. The Wharf Marina hosts several large fishing tournaments and its own Wharf Boat and Yacht Show this year on April 25-28.

For days onshore, adventures await the entire family on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. Many parts of which were historically utilized by the area's indigenous peoples, as well as explorers and settlers of the region. The Trail is steeped in lore and local legends such as a creature, The Catman, believed to be part man, part wildcat allegedly lurking along paths and swamps of the backcountry woodlands. Visit Adventure Island and find out why they call themselves the ultimate in family fun. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to midnight with rides, miniature golf, laser tag and more. The Indian and Sea Museum houses artifacts and memorabilia relating to the area's Native American and fishing heritage.

The area offers many annual festivals including the Seafood Festival in February and the Festival of Art in March ( Gulf Shores, the other community on Pleasure Island, hosts the National Shrimp Festival (Oct. 10-13) one of the country's premier outdoor festivals with over 300 vendors of arts, children's activities, live entertainment and shrimp, shrimp, shrimp ( Music lovers from all over the country flock to Hangout Festival (May 17-19) located directly on the Gulf Shores Beach. Just reading the lineup from a variety of musical genres would make any music lover star struck. Book your travel and hotel accommodations early (

Another draw to the area that brought in five million visitors last year is the pristine sugar sand of the 32 miles of Baldwin County beaches. Their beach renourishment project has restored around 2.2 million cubic yards of sand (think 690 Olympic size pools) that Hurricanes Gustav, Ida and Isaac washed away over the last four years.

Restaurants are almost as plentiful as the fish they serve. Louisiana Lagniappe serves steak and seafood dishes with a taste of New Orleans (27267 Perdido Beach Boulevard). Off the beaten path on Canal Road is neighborhood favorite Cosmo's Restaurant & Bar. The Year of Alabama Food named their Banana Leaf Wrapped Fish as one of the top 100 dishes to eat before you die (25753 Canal Road). Another award winner (where you can also dock and dine) is Cobalt, named Best Seafood Restaurant 2012 by Alabama magazine. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they are constantly serving masterpieces like paneed Gulf grouper over sweet pea and asparagus risotto, and the legendary firecracker shrimp with a spicy remoulade (28099 Perdido Beach Blvd.). A local deli worth a visit is the Grape Escape Deli and Wine Cellar boasting the best sandwiches on the island and offering all types of sandwiches, espresso, homemade desserts, wine cellar and free WiFi (3099 Loop Road).

If you like to get in your boat and hunt for places with character(s), head between Wolf and Perdido Bays to Pirates Cove in Josephine. Some say it's like being in the 1940s, others say it's impossible to tell by your surroundings what decade you're in. Their Mardi Gras celebration, The Royal Disorder of Riff Raff Parade, hints at the uniqueness of this spot. Loud raves go to the made-in-house cheeseburgers with onion rings and the infamous drink, the Bushwhacker (6664 County Road 95,

Another authentic beach roadhouse best visited by car is The Flora-Bama Lounge located on the Florida-Alabama state line. Of their many annual events, the most famous is the Interstate Mullet Toss & Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party which began simply as a big beach party. Participants throw a dead mullet over the state line to see who throws the farthest.

Where to dock:

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