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Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

Lewisville, Texas
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39 posts
34 reviews
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Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

My extended family is coming to this area on a summer vacation. Normally we travel to Destin, but it has become so busy. We have decided to try something new. Which of the 3 would you say are better to stay? We will probably look for a house vs. a condo. I don't like high rises. Any suggestions of smaller condo complexes or areas for houses would be great. However, I am mostly wondering which area would be better. We have 3 teens, a tween, parents, and grandparents on this trip. Thanks in advance for your help!

Birmingham, Alabama
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1. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

There are lots of beach houses out West Beach Blvd and Fort Morgan Road. On West Beach you decide whether you want gulf front or across the street or bayside to save some money. The street is only 2 lanes and not difficult to cross, but if you are not gulf front make sure you are close to a public access to the beach.

Out Fort Morgan Road the question will be whether to be first tier (gulf front) or second or third tier or farther away from the gulf. Most neighborhoods are on the gulf side of Fort Morgan Road. Some have neighborhood pools like Morgantown

If you want a house and all the amenities of a resort, another option is to rent a cottage or house at Martinique, The Beach Club, or Kiva Dunes - all out in the Fort Morgan area of Gulf Shores. Except for Kiva Dunes, these cottages are not gulf front but are surrounded by beautiful landscaping and have easy gulf access through the resort. Most of these cottages/houses are luxuriously decorated compared to your typical beach house.

Orange Beach has mostly high rise condos.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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2. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

There are a lot of house and condo rentals available on vrbo.com. You can customize your search to bring up what you are looking for. We are making our first trip to Gulf Shores this summer, and I found a very nice condo on vrbo.com in the West Gulf Shores area. There were many to choose from! We've been to Destin as well, but am looking forward to Gulf Shores being a bit quieter and less congested as well. Good luck!

Lewisville, Texas
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39 posts
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3. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

Thank you both. We have rented from VRBO many times. I have been checking out thier sites and a few others. I think we have decided on a house. The high rises are just too big for me. If you think of anything else, please post. So is Ft. Morgan its own town or a part of Gulf Shores. I have read different things about this topic and am still unclear. We want to make sure we can get what we need (groceries and fresh seafood) and make it in to eat at some new places.

Birmingham, Alabama
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4. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

You should also take a look at all the vacation listings for Gulf Shores here on TripAdvisor (FlipKey).

Fort Morgan is just an historic Civil War fort (actually pre-Civil War) not a town, but the whole area out on the peninsula is commonly known as "Fort Morgan". Most of this area is in the Gulf Shores fire/police district and is considered part of Gulf Shores.

Most of the beach houses in Fort Morgan are between 11 to 20 miles from downtown Gulf Shores (Hwy 59). There is a Dollar General and a small seafood store and a couple of covenience stores in the Fort Morgan area, but you should plan to stock up on your groceries at the Publix, Win-Dixie, Bruno's, or Walmart in Gulf Shores.

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

I have been going to this area for the past 25 yrs and have seen it grow up from a few houses to a major destination. All three are gorgeous but Gulf shores will put you in the middle of all three and close to shopping, restaurants and the beach!

If you're looking for a laid back, sun drenched, sandy beach with blue-green Caribbean like waters- you will be happy here!

Enjoy!

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

You have a wide array from beach front to lagoon, bayside or gulf...condos, beach houses and hotels and there is a ton of stuff to do!

Edited: 1:54 pm, March 13, 2013
Madison, AL
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406 posts
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7. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

We stayed in Fort Morgan a few years ago and though we liked it, it is quite a ways (well not too far) from Gulf Shores. I agree with the other poster, if you decide to stay in that area, I would stock up on your groceries when you get into town. There really is nothing to do in Fort Morgan (unless you want to go to the fort of course!), so your kids may be bored if they like to do things like putt-putt, go carts, shopping, etc. We went unfortuntely during the oil spill and plus had rain, so it was not a good time for us (especially our son). We couldn't go to the beach and it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there, we left a day early. If we decide to come back to the area, we will stay in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach.

Have a great time whatever you decide!

Birmingham, Alabama
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8. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

If you stay at The Beach Club, Kiva Dunes, or at one of the nearby beach houses, the trip to downtown Gulf Shores is only about 14 minutes (55 mph on Fort Morgan Rd). Nothing that would discourage you from going to the amusement parks, zoo, shops, restaurants etc. There are also several 5 or 6 decent places to eat in the Fort Morgan area itself (including 2 at The Beach Club and 1 at Kiva Dunes). The advantage you get by staying there or out West Beach Blvd is an uncrowded, beautiful beach with plenty of room to relax and enjoy.

Starkville...
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340 posts
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9. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

Honestly I think IMO I think it would be nice staying in the Fort Morgan area. I guess if you weren't planning on eating out every meal then the drive back in to town, with such a beautiful view for your short drive, is just part of your vacation fun! You are on vacation time!

Indianapolis...
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355 posts
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10. Re: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, or Fort Morgan??

Jennifer, when during the summer are you planning on coming? If it is 4th of July weekend everything everywhere will be busy (but still much less so than Destin). If you are looking more like early August, it will be much less busy.

If you want to have long stretches of beach to yourself -- then I'd say Fort Morgan or the far end of West Beach in Gulf Shores (which might give you the best of both worlds -- walk west along the beach for beautiful sunsets; drive a few miles east and be in the heart of town - the T intersection with shops and many places to eat (and sometimes long lines since reservations aren't generally taken).

Fort Morgan is a broad, catch-all phrase that gets used in several ways. It can refer to the Fort itself, the entire 22 mile long peninsula, or a specific incorporated area that it still might be a bit of a stretch to call a town. If you do choose Fort Morgan, I'd go for the gulf side over the bay side -- better wave action for body surfing and long stretches of beach for walks.

I think if you check older forums there was a discussion of the relative advantages of each of these areas last year about this time -- that might be helpful as well.