Alabama Gulf Coast Activities, Gulf Shores Beaches, Orange Beach Beaches
Welcome to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Beaches. Our goal is to inform you of all of the public beaches that you may enjoy while on vacation on the pleasure island. There are some important rules you need to know about our beaches that will help keep you safe and help you enjoy your vacation in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.
Orange Beach Rules and Regulations
The City of Orange Beach has a list of Orange Beach, beach rules and regulations that relate to activities. There is a rule about the use of Tents and Sun Shades.
The rule is that no tent may be larger than 8 ft x 8 ft in size. You may not place them down by the surf. All tents have to be more than 50 ft from the waters edge. The reason for this rule is emergency vehicles need this much room to safely navigate to someone who may need assistance.
Glass beverage containers is prohibited. Glass is a safety issue and there are a lot of people who break glass and it may cut someone.
Digging big holes that is prohibited. Big holes cause a tripping hazard for those who walk the beach at night. Use some common sense. If you dig a hole, fill it back in if you leave it unattended.
No Pets are allowed on the beach for obvious reasons of safety and sanitary issues.
Stay off the sand dunes that have sea oats or vegetation growning on them. They are important in protecting the island. Use the cross walks and beach access to get to the beach.
Beach Warning Flags or Surf Flags are flown on all public beaches to protect you of potential harmful conditions.
No Flag – Because there is no flag, does not mean there are unsafe conditions. Be safe at all times.
Green Flag – Low Hazard – calm conditions and use caution in the surf.
Yellow Flag – Medium Hazard – moderate surf conditions and or rip currents.
Red Flag – High Hazard – High Surf and or strong rip currents.
Two Reds or Double Red Flags – The beach is closed to the public.
Single Purple – Dangerous Marine Life in the water like Jelly Fish and Sharks.
Beach Activities in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores
Caution: Sunburn effects thousands of vacationers each year. Use caution when doing beach activities.
Digging holes in the sand activity – One of the most popular activities for children and adults of all ages is to dig a hole in the sand, on the beach. From 1 year old to 100 years old, digging a hole in the sand and feel the cool earth below is fun. Most people bring their buckets and plastic shovels and start pushing and digging in the sand. Remember the beach regulations and don’t dig a grand canyon. When you leave, fill it back in so others will not trip in it at night.
Building a Sand Castle as an activity – Ever since we were children, there has always been the desire to build sand castles in the sand on the beach. A long time ago, we had to get creative with our sand castle building activities and use cups and buckets to pack sand in. We would turn them upside down and quickly place them in a strategic place where we wanted the sandcastle’s towers to be. We would gently raise the bucket and hope all of the sand was formed in the shape of the cup or bucket. If the sand is too dry, it will not stick. If it’s too wet, it will not come out of the bucket and make the tower. We also used to get near the edge of the water and grab a handful of sand that is wet and let it drizzle on the tower to give it a unique look. By allowing the wet sand drizzle, you could make squiggly lines and additions to your sandcastle.
Body Surfing Activity – When the wave conditions are right and your swimming skills allow you to be confident enough to go out just far enough in the surf, you can body surf a wave all the way to shore. If your good, you can ride all the way to the beach without stopping. You have to be careful not to get rolled up in the surf and get slammed on the bottom of the surf. That sand hurts when you hit it. It will also give you a strawberry burn mark if you hit too hard. Just be careful and try body surfing. You might like it.
Surfing Activity – There are some people who surf on the Gulf Shores and Orange Beaches on a regular basis. Most of the time, our surf is pretty calm and the waves are not big enough to do surf like they do in Hawaii. However, there are some times when you can hang 10 and really have a good time surfing. There are some surf shops in the are that sell surf boards. If you are not going to surf again, you might want to get a skim board or a body surfing board instead. Surf boards are large and take up a lot of room. Most of the time when surfing is good in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, the beaches are closed due to strong currents. Be sure to check the flags to see what the warnings are.
Snorkel or Snorkeling Activities – Every child that comes to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores at one time or another, asks their mom, “Wheres my goggles?” There have been tens of thousands pair of goggles purchased over the past 30 years in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Kids use them in the pool and in the surf. The water in the condo swimming pool is usually pretty clear. However, the water in the surf can be dingy or not very clear for Snorkeling activities. You have to catch the surf in ideal conditions to be able to have any chance of seeing more than a couple of feet in front of you. On a good day, you can see minnows, bait fish and jelly fish swimming as you peer underneath the water. Remember to be careful if you are snorkeling in areas where boats are moving around. They can’t see you very well and if you are anywhere other than the beach, it is wise to fly the divers flag to let boaters and jet ski operators know where you are.
Looking for Sea Shells – The best activity that almost everyone enjoys is walking the beach at low tide, looking for sea shells. The high tide and pounding waves move a large variety of sea shells wash up on the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and the entire Alabama coastline every day. Serious sea shell hunters walk the beach at the crack of daylight in hopes of getting the best shells first. If you are a late sleeper, you may only be able to find some small clam shells or sugar shells that have been picked through. The early birds usually get the good Sand Dollars early. Either way, there is nothing more fun than having your kids walk in front of you and watch them bend over and pick up the treasure. They will almost always run back to you saying “look what I found!” Be sure to bring your camera and a bucket to carry them all.
Chase Sand Crabs – One of the best things about being at the beach is going out on the beach at night time and chase some Sand Crabs. Don’t forget your flashlight, dip net and a bucket. Every night after sundown in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, the beach comes alive. It is too hot during the daytime for Sand Crabs to be out. At night time, they come alive and are everywhere. Sand Crabs bury themselves in the sand by diggin holes. It is cool to look down and see little crab tracks and watch them run when you shine your flashlight on them. You have to be fast to catch one of these little buggers. They are fast. You will be running so hard, you may even trip and fall. That is one reason you should not dig big holes in the sand. You can fall right in a hole and hurt yourself.
Tell Ghost Stories – Well, it all depends on how young your children are. Teenagers are usually fair game. There is a legend about Capn Croix duPerier, who walks the Alabama Beaches every night looking for his ghost ship and his crew. The legend about Capn Croix dates back generations, to about 1835. He was a friend of the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte who terrorized the Gulf of Mexico. Jean Lafitte used to hide out in Capn Croix’s New Iberia, Louisiana home. Capn Croix supposedly died one night, when his crew committed mutiny and tried to take the treasures for themselves. Before they could get to Capn Croix, the ship was caught in a violent summer storm and it sank somewhere on the Alabama coast. Everyone died and was burried, except Capn Croix. They never found his body. Legend has it that Capn Croix walks the beaches at night in the darkest areas and will approach young boys and girls and eerily moan “Where’s my ship?” “Do you have my ship?”.. The gentle sea breeze, combined with those moans will certainly make the hair on your neck stand up. Be sure to watch those sand dunes at night and make sure Capn Croix does not slip up behind you.