Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gulf State Park - Gulf Shores, Alabama

We've been in Gulf Shores State Park for almost a month now, and have really enjoyed our stay here.  This park is absolutely one of the best state parks that we've ever stayed in.  It has everything - a swimming pool, lakes that we can take the canoe on, miles of great biking trails, a golf course - even tennis courts for those that play, and of course miles of beautiful beaches along the Gulf coast.

We got great campsites for the month that we were here.  You can stay on the same site for only two weeks,  and then after that you have to move to another site.  At least they don't make you leave the park overnight as many state parks do.  You just have to get another site.  You can't reserve any particular site, so if you want a waterfront site you have to request it when you check in.  There are lakefront sites and sites on a canal connecting Middle Lake to Shelby Lake.  The canal sites are perfect for us to launch our canoe, so we took one of these for the first two weeks.  We managed to get out on the boat three times during our stay on the canal, and were really pleased with this site.

Our Canal Site at Gulf State Park

The canal site was perfect for our canoe

Bob and Mirra enjoying our campsite

We spent the second two weeks on a lakefront site, and really enjoyed it as well, although I think we prefer the canal sites, since they seem to be more protected from the wind (and we've had lots of that, almost every day).

Our lakefront campsite at Gulf State Park
The beaches are beautiful here - it's a lot like Topsail Beach.  The water was pretty cold, in the upper 60's when we first got here, but warmed up over the past four weeks.  We only had a couple of really good beach days, and both of them were this week.  We got in the water yesterday and today, and the water temperature was about 72.  The air temperature was around 75, but the breeze off of the Gulf made it feel cooler.

Beach at Gulf State Park
What a great park if you like to bike!  The campground connects to the Backcountry Trail, which is comprised of five different adjoining bike paths.  We took a couple of rides, and each totaled about 10 miles round trip.

Bike trail from the campground that connects to the Backcountry Trail

Taking a break along the Backcountry Trail

We never got to play the Golf Course.  It's very long - 7100 yards from the back tees, with no senior tees, so it's difficult for seniors.  We considered playing one of the other nearby courses, but never got around to it.  Maybe we'll get to play in Chattanooga.

Although the swimming pool was cold, we braved it and went in four times during our stay.  April is Spring Break month, so there were plenty of kids in the pool.

We did a bit of sight seeing while we were here.  Bob wanted to see the USS Alabama, so we drove into Mobile and took the tour.  What a great old ship.

USS Alabama

Another day we went to Fort Morgan, which was built in 1834, and was active during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.  It's most famous for the battle of Mobile Bay, where Admiral David Farragut won the battle, and made the famous quote "Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead".

Inside Fort Morgan
We loved Gulf State Park, and I've already made a reservation for two weeks next year.  We look forward to returning.  It's a great place.

Tomorrow we move on to Vicksburg for more history.  We're staying at Ameristar Casino RV Park, which of course has shuttles to the casino. Maybe we'll get lucky, and win a little money.


  1. Now I remember why Mirra looked so familiar when we saw her at the campground. Too bad I didn't see your post before you guys left; would have stopped by to say hi!

    1. I just checked out your blog, and joined it. It's wonderful! Too bad we didn't get to say hello.

  2. Great Blog. My wife and I are going to this park in June. I read that you didn't have a problem getting a waterfront site. Do you think in June that it will be a problem getting a waterfront site?
    Thanks & liked your photos!

    1. I don't think you'll have any more problem that we did, since their policy is that you can't reserve any particular site, and that people have to move off of their site in two weeks. Good luck, and glad you like the photos.

  3. Are there alligators in any particular area? We have a dog and I was just wondering.....Have never seen one that wasn't at a zoo or something, so would probably freak out, but just wondering :) Looking forward to coming there soon.....

    1. We saw an alligator in Small Lake, but not in Middle Lake where the campsites are. They may be in there, but they weren't a problem for us.