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“Been three times- 2 good, one not so much”
Review of Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park
Ranked #1 of 43 things to do in Gulf Shores
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Gulf State Park's two miles of beaches greet you with plenty of white sun-kissed sand, surging surf, seagulls and sea shells, but there is more than sand and surf to sink your toes into. Inside Gulf State Park there is a championship golf course, new beach pavilion, rental cottages, tennis courts, camp sites, hiking trails, Zip Line, and a fishing pier that is 20-feet wide and extends 1,512 feet into the Gulf. This and much more make Gulf State Park the perfect in-state vacation or out-of-state adventure.
Houston, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Been three times- 2 good, one not so much”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

In April 2006, my sister and I brought our 2 year olds, rented a house and loved it. Loved the dolphins every morning. The weather was chilly in the mornings and evenings, and there was rain several days. There were crabs pinching at our feet in the shallow water, so we wore water shoes and caught them in our hats! In May 2009, we brought our now 5 year olds and a 2 year old. Again, some rain, but so much fun, beachfront home. We never drove the whole way. We flew to New Orleans, rented a car and drove the rest, taking the ferry over from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan. Loved the soft white sand, the shells (nothing fancy though) and the dolphins each morning. We found one jellyfish (blue) that had washed up on the shore. No crabs that time, maybe they were gone by May. Outdoor shower is a must, doesn't need to be heated. There is a Walmart at 180/59 in Gulf Shores that you can't see from either road! But it's there. In 2011, with two more babies in tow, we only went to Galveston. It was okay, but not like Gulf Shores. No dolphins, no shells, and seaweed each morning. The house prices were about the same at G.S. for some reason, maybe due to the close drive for Texans. 2012, sister opted out of Galveston again, but we tried it again with now 2 and 8 yr olds. Couldn't even walk down to the water, the seaweed was so high on the beach, you had to CLIMB over it! Totally gross. The first few days weren't that bad, but by day 3 we were DONE with the beach (and we love the beach - lived in Hawaii, so taking a major cutback here). My two year old cried when he had to walk on seaweed and my 8 year old cried that the seaweed engulfed him in the water. Yes there had been a recent storm, but are you willing to take that chance? I'm not, never again. Ok, so now all of us are back to Gulf shores in 2013. June now, because we have school-age kids. We drove and stopped halfway each way. The house on the beach was great. Lulu's in Gulf SHores is awesome and fun for the whole family. The Cold Mil Fleet dolphin cruises are perfect (3 times now!) But there were jellyfish. Not the first day, but I was stung on day2. Day 3 we could see them and the kids were being stung. Day 4 we put our toes in and made sandcastles and were confused about what was happening. Locals said the jellyfish had never really gone away in 2013. Usually they don't see them until August, which is why we had never dealt with them. Something about the currents- one said. Something about the water temp- another said. We are used to them- they said. How do you get used to getting stung? We bought vinegar and learned to scrub our skin with sand if it happened. I got stung several times a day if I attempted boogie boarding. By day 6 we changed tactics. We learned to catch jellyfish in a net and bury them in a sandy grave, lol. The kids made a game of it and learned to spot them well and not get stung. I had been getting stung under the water though, and never saw them. The men never got stung for some reason. There area also some sort of nettles and also some biting fish that cause stinging on a few of us. All we wanted to do was boogie-board. But we made the best of it and made a big "Jellyfish Fort" out of sand- To protect future visitors. One old guy said some days they're there, some days they're not. But it will never be in the news- affects tourism. We had too book our beach house by February to get what we wanted for June! How do you plan for that? Will we go back? I really don't know. Will we just go to Destin? Will it be better? THe traffic was so bad getting into Gulf Shores Saturday early afternoon, we could havce made it to Destin easily in that time from Texas. But 14-15 hour drive to maybe have jellyfish? Will we take the kids out of school and go in May? Will that help? Just don't know yet. Good Luck :) OH and by the way, be careful to check the ferry schedule. One ferry is great- the big one. The little one sucked- no seating, no viewing decks, and no working bathroom. The Estuarium on Dauphin Island is small but a fun morning trip if the ferry doesn't suck, lol.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank bee s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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890 reviews from our community

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English first
Wetumpka, Alabama
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Saved our vacation, seriously greatful”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Upon arrival to Gulf Shores, the campground we had "reserved" was a complete disappointment. It was basically a mobile home park with a misleading website that made it feel laid back and relaxed.. after leaving immediately, we had to find a spot to park for the night, the place we ended up was booked so we could not stay.. the sweet lady at Island retreat called Gulf State Park to see if we could get in, they has 2 open sites and assured us we would be able to get in immediately, she took all of our info on the phone, and we got there with several areas to choose from.. the park is awesome, it is big and if you want to be close to pool, dock, etc.. choose site accordingly but it was no problem to drive to activities. CLEAN AND SAFE, new facilities, pool is Terrific, very family friendly but not annoyingly so. We have no small kids but it was not at all like some parks with kidos running amuck everywhere.. Not much shade but it is the Gulf, it is fine if you have a/c or just don't mind no trees. Bath houses are super nice, clean, cool and convenient. Saved our nightmare trip and we are already planning our next trip. Oh and the boat launch and slips are sooo nice. Brand new, we left our pontoon docked the whole time. Just ride to marina and step right on. The lake is plenty big for pleasure boating or fishing. Alligators spotted as well at an awesome eagles nest right in plain view. Immaculate, friendly, well planned sites, seconds from beach... all around A+++

Visited June 2013
3 Thank WifeMomDaughter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kaplan, Louisiana
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A Must”
Reviewed June 23, 2013

There are several reasons why this state park is so nice.
1st if your camping in the Gulf Shores area, this is the only park you need to book. Great sites for RVs or tent campers alike. The swimming pool is fantastic, and lots of activities scheduled to keep the little one's happy. Laundry mat, clean and well stocked.
2nd Even for those visiting the beach and staying at the hotels, the beach access pavilion is great. Clean showers and restrooms. Rentals for chairs and umbrellas avail.
3rd The rentals for cabins both lakeside and wooded are nice, well maintained at a much better price, basically across the street from the beach without out all the crowding on the main drag.

Last trip we noticed the ziplines, we'll definitely have to make time for that when we return.

Visited June 2013
3 Thank poprouge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natchez, MS
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great Place to Park the RV”
Reviewed June 18, 2013

$32/night with full hookups and plenty of spaces. Lots of restrooms/showers that are kept reasonably clean. You're also a quick drive to beaches, Gulf Shores, or Florida. We also found the staff to be friendly and helpful.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank natchezms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orleans, Indiana
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“A must see”
Reviewed June 18, 2013

This state park has camping, ziplines, bicycle paths, picnic areas and beautiful views. Everything is spread out so there is a lot of driving but it's a very relaxing and pretty drive.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank jenn022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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