Family friendly activities in Orange Beach Alabama

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For a family friendly vacation that’s easy to plan and truly relaxing, it’s hard to beat the beautiful beaches of Alabama! Local leaders have chosen to focus on families, with alcohol free beaches at spring break to be truly kid friendly. Most restaurants are locally owned, with great menus and a laid back vibe that welcomes kids. And, there are so many family friendly activities in Orange Beach, the kids won’t get bored!

I have been to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores several times. Every time, I discover fun, new activities to enjoy. This guide highlights the best activities in Orange Beach and nearby Gulf Shores!

Title image: "Family Friendly Alabama Beaches" shows beach with lots of people playing in the shallow gulf water.

The best activities in Orange Beach

Enjoy the beach!

Coastal Alabama’s beaches are absolutely beautiful, and there’s a good reason for that. The local community is dedicated to preserving the beach, both for those who visit and for the local wildlife who call it home.

Girl in teh waves at the beach

The “Leave Only Footprints” program encourages people to use the recycle and garbage bins to keep the beach clean. Every night, beach patrols sweep the beach, removing chairs, tents, coolers and garbage that might have been left behind. Those wide, clean beaches don’t happen by accident!

Enjoy the beach! For special memories, schedule a private class for your family with Sand Castle University to learn the secrets of sand castle building.

Explore with Sail Wild Hearts! 

One of my all-time favorite activities in Orange Beach is a catamaran sail with local company, Sail Wild Hearts. Their 53-foot long open ocean catamaran takes guests on tours of the waters around Orange Beach. Choose from the three hour adventure sail, a two hour dolphin cruise, or a romantic evening sunset cruise.

I have taken two excursions with them and enjoyed both immensely. Kids, college students (photo below) and adults enjoy riding on the nets — watching the horizon or the water rushing by below.

Catamaran sail activities in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Seasonally, they offer a six hour Blue Angels cruise to Pensacola where you get an incredible view of the Blue Angels flying overhead.

Sail Wild Hearts at Alabama Beaches

Shop and play at The Wharf

Local entertainment district, The Wharf, is a great place to spend a day with the kids. It’s a nice alternative on a cold or rainy day, or just to take a break from the beach.

Kids will enjoy attractions like the ferris wheel, the kids’ train and Build-a-Bear.

The kids' train ride at the Wharf in Alabama.

For teens? The Wharf Orange Beach is one of the best places to spend the day! What teen doesn’t love a coffee drink or an challenging escape room experience? Though, the staff at Build-a-Bear told me more than half their customers are teens. Perhaps, they still like to be kids but don’t want to admit it.

Create your own souvenir at the Coastal Arts Center

Ellie and I first learned about the Coastal Arts Center when we attended the Festival of Art over spring break several years ago. Ellie was so inspired by what we saw that she started making her own jewelry, which she now sells!

Artist and Ellie posing for a photo at the Festival of Art.

The Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach is more than a spring festival, though. Open year round, locals and tourists can create their own custom souvenir or shop the curated art available at the main building.

Blown Glass for sale at the Coastal Arts Center.

I got to try my hand at glass blowing at The Hot Shop. The glass blowers first demonstrate how to make the glass, and then class members work one on one with a staff member to make their own piece which is available for pick up the next day. You must wear close toed shoes, and it’s only for ages 8 and up. Anyone is welcome to sit and watch for free!

Staff demonstrating how to make blown glass at the Hot Shop in Alabama.

It’s quite popular, and the arts center staff recommends making reservations far in advance.

There’s also a pottery shop, which offers pottery making classes and paint your own pottery. I don’t have photos because they were doing a kids’ art class when I popped in. The staff was actively working with kids, demonstrating technique and encouraging them to try new things. It was quite obvious the kids were having a great time.

Enjoy the great outdoors at Wolf Bay

Adjacent to the Coastal Arts Center, you’ll find lots to do outdoors on Wolf Bay. I actually learned how to paddleboard here many, many years ago! The Orange Beach Canoe Trail (I won’t tell if you use a paddleboard or kayak instead) has a launch spot here.

Selfie at Wolf Bay in Orange Beach.

Paved walkways along Wolf Bay are accessible with beautiful views of the waterfront.

Playground at the Coastal Arts Center.

And, there’s a children’s playground on the Arts Center grounds, too. Kids can enjoy unstructured free play while parents relax on benches nearby.

Things to do beyond Orange Beach

While there are lots of great activities in Orange Beach for families, don’t miss out on all the great things to do in Gulf Shores! In fact, Alabama’s Beaches from the eastern end at Orange Beach to its western end at Fort Morgan is only 32 miles long.

Girl in blue swimsuit with big smile, digging in the sand at the beach.

The beautiful beaches tie it all together, but each town has its own special things to share.

Some of our family’s favorite activities in Gulf Shores are the Hugh S. Branyan Backcountry Trail at Gulf State Park, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and The Track, with go kart racing and video games especially popular with teens.

I am honored to get to work with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach to share the beauty and fun of this coastal gem. I hope I’ve convinced you to add Alabama beaches to your list of destinations you MUST visit!