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Alabama State Parks

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USA Parks
Gulf Coast Region
Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park Alligator Peaking © Andrew Spenny
Spotted in hidden lake area.
Gulf State Park Little Gator © Donald Smith
Middle Lake at Gulf Shores State Park. Morning fishing trip. About a 7 footer.
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20115 Alabama 135
Gulf Shores, Alabama   36542
(lat:30.2649 lon:-87.6441) map location

Phone: (251) 948-7275 ext. 2128
Toll Free: 800-252-7275
Reservations: 251-948-6353
Located in the city of Gulf Shores on the coast of Alabama, white sun-kissed beaches, a surging surf, seagulls and seashells greet you at Gulf State Park. Consisting of 6,150 acres with two miles of sugar white sand beaches, Gulf State Park has modern and primitive camping, cottages, trails and fishing. There is also tennis, group pavilions, 18-hole golf course, 900 acre lake for fishing, swimming, and water skiing, nature programs and picnic areas.

Gulf State Park offers 20 modern cabins wiithin walking distance of the golf course and two-and-a-half miles from snow-white beaches. Four of these cabins, referred to as (woods) cabins, are surrounded by the beautiful longleaf pine and palmetto forest of coastal Alabama. The remaining (lakeside) cabins are located on the shores of the 900-acre Lake Shelby.

The woods cabins are one room with a separate kitchen and bath and will sleep four. A two-bedroom, one-bath woods cabin is also available that will sleep six. The lakeside cabins have two bedrooms and one bath that will sleep four. A three-bedroom, two-bath lakeside cabin is also available. This cabin will sleep six. All lakeside cabins are elevated 12 feet above the ground. Two of the lakeside cabins are handicapped accessible.

All cabins contain screened porches and have barbecue grills and picnic tables. The lakeside cabins also have fishing piers and fish cleaning stations. Cabins are equipped with a full kitchen including pots, pans, cooking utensils, dishes and flat ware. A microwave, coffee pot and toaster are also provided. Televisions with satellite reception are included. A supply of linens are also provided and towel and face cloths will be changed one time during a weeks stay.


Gulf State Park offers 11 new cottages. These cottages are within walking distance of Gulf State Park Golf Course and two and a half miles from the beautiful snow-white beaches of Alabama. All cottages are along the northern shore of Lake Shelby.

All cottages contain three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two screened porches and a deck that overlooks Lake Shelby. The cottages also have fishing piers available for guest to enjoy. Cottages are equipped with a full kitchen including pots, pans, cooking utensils, dishes and flatware. A microwave, coffee pot, toaster, and dishwasher are also provided. Televisions with combination dvd/vcr and satellite are also included. A supply of linens are also provided and towel and face cloths will be exchanged once during a full weeks stay. All bedrooms are equipped with queen size beds. As with all of our cabins and cottages pets and smoking are not permitted.
Gulf State Park's reopened renovated campsites now number 154. These sites have 50 amp service, water and sewer hook-ups. All camping pads are freshly paved with larger lots for RV's with pullouts.

Please Note: The campground is taking reservations on a limited basis at this time. Major renovations are underway due to flooding caused by Hurricane Ivan and it is not back up to full capacity.
From I-65, take exit to AL-287 (Rabun Rd, CR-47). Turn left onto AL-287 and continue on AL-287 approximately one mile. Continue onto AL-59 S and travel approximately 50 miles. Turn left onto AL-180 E (Fort Morgan Rd) and travel less than a mile. Continue onto AL-135 (Fort Morgan Rd) and travel less than a mile to the park entrance.
We have it all at Alabama State Parks. The fishing enthusiast will find freshwater as well as saltwater fishing at it's finest in Alabama. Our lakes, rivers and streams are home to a variety of bass, bream, crappie, catfish, walleye and rainbow trout to name a few! At our Gulf State Resort, the saltwater angler will find excitement in landing the big one from our own pier or surfishing right from the beach. Everything from king mackerel, amberjack, cobia, flounder, bluefish, tuna and more. Many of our parks offer full marina services, including boat rentals, bait & tackle, snacks and cold drinks. Regardless of the type of fishing you may choose, please be sure to check state licensing regulations and creel limits. For the more competitive anglers, several of our Alabama State Parks play host to a number of tournaments through out the year and we welcome you and your family to join us.

The Gulf State Park picnic area includes the swimming area in Lake Shelby. Pets are not allowed in any day use area of Gulf State Park, including parking areas.

Hurricane Ridge Trail was constructed after Hurricane Frederic hit the Gulf Coast in 1979. The hurricane created this natural ridge by depositing sand, twigs, and vegetation from the force of the tidal surge. The 130 mph winds and the many tornadoes uprooted hundreds of trees. Many of these dead trees can still be seen today. Their gray, rotting trunks are one of the many reminders of the power contained in nature?s storms.

As you enter this trail, take the time to notice some of the interesting plants that grow in this area. Try to find animal tracks in the sand, or look for birds, such as woodpeckers and mocking birds, feasting on insects in the trees.

Hurricane Ridge Trail begins at the camper check-in station and follows a ridge for approximately ? of a mile until it dead ends at Middle Lake Trail. Enjoy the excitement of discovering parts of nature that are common to Gulf State Park on this trail.


One of the major trails in Gulf State Park is Middle Lake Trail. It begins at the Nature Center and follows Middle Lake unit it intersects with Hurricane Ridge Trail. As you walk along the small canal, look for alligators floating along the surface. They are seen in the warm months of summer but are experienced at hiding in the grasses along the edge of the canal. Look for their eyes and nose on the surface of the water.


Bear Creek Trail is a unique trail because it used to be an old paved road heading to Orange Beach. Since it is paved, this trail is the most accessible to the handicapped and campers with small children in strollers. Also, along this trail are several signs that will help you identify many of the local trees and shrubs. As you walk along, look for the trees that have a rough gray bark on their trunks. Notice the shiny, dark green leaves. These small leaves remain on the trees year-round giving the trees the name Live Oak.

Covering many of the trees and shrubs on this trail is a thick, woody vine called Muscadine Grape Vines. These wild vines are abundant throughout Gulf State Park. The fruit matures in late summer and is slightly larger than domestic grapes. Some of the animals that enjoy these wild grapes are the gray fox, black bear, coyote, raccoon, and many different types of birds.

Bear Creek Trail starts at the main campground road and intersects with County Road 2 after strolling about ? of a mile. You can return to the campground by following County Road 2 or by turning onto either Bobcat Branch Trail or Alligator Marsh Trail.


This is a unique trail that winds beside a small canal offering the right environment for small alligators, turtles, frogs, and other small animals. Watch for these animals on logs and along the banks of the canal.

Tall marsh grasses grow along many areas of this trail. Some of this grass is easy to identify by its saw-toothed edges. If you have found some of this grass, you have discovered Saw Grass. Be careful! This grass can easily scratch you finger or leg if you rub against it too hard.

Area Attractions

Gulf State Park has over 3.5 miles of beaches available in both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. The beach area in Gulf Shores (main park area) can be accessed from our beach pavilion area. This area has a charge of $5 per car. For more information on this area, check out our beach pavilion page. All areas in Orange Beach are free of charge to everyone. If you are interested in having a beach wedding you must have a permit from Gulf State Park. For information on weddings or reserving our beach pavilion, call 251-968-7296 or 251-968-7245 Wednesday - Sunday.

Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion

Gulf State Park has a beautiful new beach pavilion that has a large concession stand open on a seasonal basis. Air conditioned bathrooms with showers are open throughout the year for beachgoers and picnic tables are also available for use under the pavilion.

The pavilion is perfect for family and group outings, reunions, beach parties and sunset weddings. Rental is available 7 days a week, except major holiday weekends during the summer. Hours of operation for the beach pavilion and beach are from 7 a.m. - sunset year around. Pets are not allowed in any day use areas of Gulf State park, including the beach and parking areas.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
July 27 Beautiful Park by Andrew_S
park review stars; one to five Enjoyed biking around the park during my stay in the area. Good park to do around 20 miles if you want and enjoy time away from traffic and congestion.Was able to spot an alligator and other wildlife in the morning. Free bikes rentals are a nice option for familes. I primarily used my own bike but did use a park bike when the dog got too hot on a hike.
December 27 Had a wonderful time here. by Wilbert Harrington
park review stars; one to five We stayed here for a week in July of 2013. The park and facilities are very clean and staff are very friendly. Planning on returning in May 2015.
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Alabama State Parks