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Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Which Gulf Shores hotels are on sale?
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League City, Texas
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1,489 posts
198 reviews
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Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Travelling with my husband and my 15 yr old son. This is pobably the last vacation we will take as a family before my son starts driving and life really starts changing. Wanting to do all the kid stuff, waterville, zoo, beach. We''ve never been to this area before and wondering which is the best place to stay. Is Orange Beach too far away from everything? Is there anything going on at the beach there or do you need to drive everywhere. Would really like to stay somewhere where there are things within walking distance, beach, activities, shops, upbeat restaurants, etc. Found a great place in Orange beach, really affordable and upscale but wondering if the savings are worth it possibly being too dull.

New Orleans
2 posts
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11. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

We definitely prefer Orange Beach! We enjoy the beauitiful water and beaches. If you are looking for a condo on a budget I will clue you into a great condo on the beach side with 3 pools, a walkway to the beach and what I think is a super price. We stay at the Sugar Beach condos (thru Sugar Sands Realty) and we get a 1 bedroom 2 full bath condo that has washer/dryer, full kitchen, 1 bedroom upstairs and a sofa bed downstairs with a beach view (close not just a glimpse) and it's $130 a night 3 night minimum. Cheaper per night if a week. Just an idea but we have 1 kid and this works out great for us. Let us know where you end up and how you like it.

Birmingham, Alabama
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11 posts
9 reviews
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12. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

I would spend the money and stay at a beach/gulf front location. Most of the condo's and houses across the street do not have a direct access to the beach. In most cases you are directed to certain out of the way public access areas. 99% of the condo's that line the Orange Beach area do not allow anyone that is not a paid guest on their property. There is nothing like going out the back of the condo, directly to the pool, and just footsteps from there to the hot sand and gulf. If you are like us, we carry towels, lotions, drinks, small cooler, etc and this is just too much to tote for several blocks until you locate an access area. Also, my opinion of the difference of both beaches are; Orange Beach is mainly a faster pace area with major condo's along the gulf. Gulf Shores initially has many condo's, but it is getting to be more of a private home atmosphere. It seems to be where many of the families are now desiring to have a private, individual place to stay with a community pool. We are actually looking into one of these homes for next summer. We love the condo's, but for a change want to try a rental home.

Gulf Shores, AL
Destination Expert
for Gulf Shores, Orange Beach
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2,722 posts
23 reviews
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13. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Just to clarify some of Zbeachbum's comments, he (or she) is correct that most condo's don't allow non-guests to use their facilities. Their property does not include the beach, though. Also, in Gulf Shores there is public access to the beach located at the south end of each North/South street, so you have access every block down West Beach Blvd to Little Lagoon Pass.

Dallas, Texas
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22 posts
24 reviews
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14. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Hello all,

I am a TA employee, and through the nominations submitted, this thread was brought to my attention. First, many compliments on the excellent material submitted here.

Second, I just wanted to let everyone know that I took my first shot at preserving this information in a format that will allow you to link to it without always having to "bump" it to the top. This is with our new TripAdvisor Inside feature, where anyone can edit and update information.

The page is here:


To see (and edit/create) more Anaheim pages, go here:


Again, this first pass was meant to be exactly that ... a first pass. From here, it's up to you to update and maintain the information, and add things I missed from the thread!!! :-)

Have a great day!

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3 posts
4 reviews
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15. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Having just returned from our first trip to the Gulf Shores area ... we were glad we were in Orange Beach instead of Gulf Shores.

Orange Beach is cleaner and quieter and our particular gulf-front condo (at The Enclave) was within walking distance to everything we needed, including supermarkets, movie rental store, restaurants, souvenir shops, and Adventure Island (which your son will LOVE, I have a 15yo son too).

Gulf Shores is not trashy but it's more crowded and has a good bit of construction going on right now along Beach Boulevard.

Gulf-front units are worth the money. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be so close to the water (for example, we ended each day with moonlight walks along the shore and just had to walk back up to our unit thereafter through the sand ... the kids and teenagers loved this as much as we older folks did).

We have decided based on our observations this time that we will always stay in a gulf-front unit and always stay in Orange Beach.

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6 posts
48 reviews
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16. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Went to Gulf Shores right before Ivan and going back this summer. I prefer Gulf Shores because I don't like all the high rises in Orange Beach. Both are close enough to each other for all the activities. I think Gulf Shores has more to offer within walking distance. All the beaches are nice. NOTE: Check-In times are all the same time on Saturdays which is 3:00 pm traffic is horrible during that time (1:00-4:00 pm), so to avoid all the traffic headaches get into town early than get lunch or shop until check in time. The water temp is always very warm also.

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138 posts
27 reviews
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17. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

Never been to the gulf coast, but have been going to HIlton Head for several years. Now that we live in Dallas, looking for a similar place that is closer. Thinking about Gulf Shores, Destin and Panama City. Looking for a 3 Bed condo on the beach that is somewhat upscale and walking disctance to some dining and grocery. Saw a listing on vrbo for The Enclave in Orange Beach. Know anything about that? We have 3 kids, 8, 5 3.

Gulf Shores, Alabama
4 posts
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18. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

If you are in Texas you should dedinately try the Gulf Shores Orange Beach area. It is the closest nice beaches you can get to. Just had some cousins come down for the first time from Beaumont Tx and they fell in love with it. They had no idea that it was so nice and that close to them. Spend more time enjoying yourself and less time in travel. Look around online at places to stay and things to do. gulfshores.com and algulfcoastvideo.com will give you a good start.

Searcy, Arkansas
Destination Expert
for Little Rock
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2,307 posts
67 reviews
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19. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

I live in Arkansas and I agree, we have gone to florida a few times and it really is not worth the extra miles......I realy love gulf shores and the surrounding areas like orange beach and fort morgan. I would move there if I were able....

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9 posts
4 reviews
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20. Re: Orange Beach vs. Gulf Shores....

I've lived in both places. I lived in Gulf Shores for a while and in Orange Beach for about a year. To me, there is a lot of difference.

Orange Beach feels more quiet and less hectic to me than Gulf Shores and the beaches are, or were, less crowded. However, there is more rowdiness in Orange Beach. More charter boat crews in bars, etc....a more redneck environment, party wise.

Not that I'm bashing that. Just not everyone's cup of tea.

As I recall, there are condos right on the beach in Gulf Shores, very near all the shops at the 59 T in the road. Let's see, the Phoenix East, I believe, is one. There are all kinds of shops and restaurants there but I remember a lot less of that as you get away from Gulf Shores and head more toward Orange Beach.

Orange Beach is about 6 miles from the 59 T, toward Pensacola.