20 Fun Facts About Gulf Shores and the Gulf Coast of Alabama

Considering a vacation to one of our Gulf Shores rentals? You’ll want to learn a little about the area before you come! Here are 20 of our favorite fun facts about the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. 

  1. Baldwin County is home to Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach. It’s the largest of the 67 counties of Alabama, and it measures at 1,600 square miles, making this county bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island!

2. Gulf Shores was first inhabited by Native American groups like the Seminoles, Alibamas, and Creeks. However, the unique history of Baldwin County dates back much further than you might expect. Some of the Indian Mounds found here are believed to be older than the Pyramids in Egypt!

3. In 1956, the population of Gulf Shores was a whopping 120 people. In these early days, Gulf Shores was quite isolated; the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway didn’t open until 1937. The 1940s saw the emergence of the first beach hotel and post office, and in 1958, the City of Gulf Shores was finally incorporated.

4. One of the major early events in the area was the Hurricane of 1906. This natural disaster actually deposited a ton of minerals into the soil and increased its fertility. After the hurricane, local farmers could grow cabbages around 15-20 pounds each and sweet potatoes the size of water buckets!

5. Fort Morgan was originally built following the War of 1812. It stayed well stocked for years before the Civil War and was used mainly for training in the decades after. The State of Alabama purchased Fort Morgan in 1927 for $8,000. Fort Morgan actually has an incredibly rich history that’s definitely worth looking into!

6. Orange Beach was once an area with tons of citrus and orange groves, mainly in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, all of these groves were wiped out in the 1920s when a salesman introduced orange tree seedlings that were infected with blight.

7. It’s believed that the first Native American village in the United States to have ever been visited by an explorer sat around the present-day location of Shellbanks Baptist Church in Gulf Shores.

8. The famous phrase, “Damn the torpedoes…full speed ahead!” might have been born right here in Fort Morgan! It’s believed that Admiral David Farragut said this phrase near Fort Morgan State Historic Site during the Battle of Mobile Bay.

9. The Alabama Gulf Coast offers more than 32 miles of beaches for visitors to explore. The sand here is made of quartz that came from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago and has since been filtered down to create the gorgeous white beaches we see today!

10. Gulf Shores actually has four incredible ecosystems within one area! You’ll find a small stream swamp forest, a freshwater marsh, a wet longleaf pine savanna, and an ancient maritime live oak forest, all within the Gulf Shores area. It’s no wonder this section of Alabama is popular with nature lovers!

11. On land, you can find tons of unique and rare wildlife and plant species that have made their homes in Gulf Shores. If you go for a hike through a local nature preserve, you might find incredible species like the Alabama beach mouse, the gopher tortoise, the white-topped pitcher plant, and the eastern diamondback rattlesnake!

12. One land creature that you’ll definitely want to keep a lookout for is the monarch butterfly. These butterflies make their migration through the Gulf Shores area in both the spring and the fall when it’s estimated that we see about 3,000 of them or more! You’ll have a good chance of seeing monarchs near Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge and the Fort Morgan Historic Site.

13. When you’re spending time on the water, you can look out for an incredible 20 species of dolphins and whales! You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled for the West Indian Manatee. Any of these creatures can be seen from the shoreline, looking out into the bays, or on an eco-tour of the area.

14. In addition to these marine creatures, Alabama also has more freshwater species on its coastline than anywhere else in America! Look out for an abundance of animals from snails and mussels to turtles, freshwater fish, and more. Head to Lake Shelby within Gulf State Park to try to find some of these freshwater species.

15. To get up close and personal with the aquatic life of the area, there are several facilities you can visit throughout the Gulf Shores area. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) is a local research laboratory that seeks to learn more about the local species, and visitors are welcome to explore the Sea Lab’s Estuarium to get face-to-face with local animals!

16. One of the area’s most popular attractions is the Wharf at Orange Beach. While you can come here for shopping and dining or spend time at the Marina, the biggest attraction is the Amphitheater. It’s hosted tons of famous acts over the years, including Alabama and the Dave Matthews Band! In 2021, acts like Brooks & Dunn, Brantley Gilbert, and Luke Bryan will play here.

17. The Wharf is also home to an incredible Ferris wheel that stands 112 feet tall, making it the highest point in the area and the second tallest Ferris wheel in all of the Southeast! It’s a great spot to get a birds’ eye view of the entire city.

18. When it comes to dining in the Gulf Shores area, don’t miss out on a trip to LuLu’s at Homeport Marina. This location is owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister and is known to serve upwards of 4,000 patrons on a busy day in the summer!

19. If you’re interested in diving or snorkeling, the Alabama Gulf Coast is definitely for you! There are more than 17,000 artificial reefs located off the coastline, which is the most massive artificial reef program in the United States.

20. Visiting in the spring? Don’t miss out on an awesome Mardi Gras celebration! There are multiple parades that celebrate Mardi Gras throughout the Gulf Shores area, and many local schools even dismiss their students for several days so everyone can join in on the festivities!

gulf shores bridge

Book Your Stay in Gulf Shores

nice beach house

Now that you know a bit about Gulf Shores and the surrounding towns, are you convinced that you need to plan a vacation here? Luckily, we make it easy thanks to our Gulf Shores beach rentals! We maintain rentals all throughout Gulf Shores, but if you’re looking for something a bit quieter that still has great proximity to the city, consider one of our luxury Fort Morgan rentals!

Plan Your Next Stay

No matter which of our Gulf Shores vacation rentals you choose, you can rest assured that you’re always in good hands. Our staff can help you decide which rental is right for you and your family, and throughout your stay, we’re always here to address any questions or concerns. There’s never been a better time to plan your Gulf Shores getaway! Contact us today to learn more and to find your perfect vacation rental.


Fort Morgan Property Management
6930 Hwy 180
Gulf Shores, AL 36542, USA
(800) 959-7326