Prepare for a bayside retreat when you stay in Orange Beach, a bustling coastal city in Alabama with a hub of exciting things to do right by the shore. Many Orange Beach vacation rentals lie close to the water and put you at the center of the shopping and entertainment district. The area is built around a thriving small business community offering year-round events and attractions. Make your next trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast a memorable experience with these 15 great activities.

1. Dine Out, See the Sights, and Shop at the Wharf

The Wharf is Orange Beach’s premier district for shopping, dining, and entertainment, and the area is packed with vacation rentals for people who want to be close to the action. Take your pick of coastal cuisine at restaurants such as Villaggio Grille and Ginny Lane, or to take a ride on the towering Ferris wheel for a great view of the area.

2. Enjoy Laser Tag, Paddle Boats, and Mini Golf at Adventure Island

Treat your kids to a few hours of hands-on fun at Adventure Island. A looming volcano display with live eruptions sets the tone for adventure as you battle on the mini golf course, speed down the go-kart track, or blast opponents in the laser tag arena. This kid-friendly attraction also offers bumper boats and paddle boats, a teacup ride, and a climbing wall.

3. Solve a Live-Action Puzzle at Breakout Games

Give your mind a workout at Breakout Games, an escape room attraction at the Wharf. Enter a themed room filled with hidden clues, and complete interactive puzzles to find your way out of danger. With a timer ticking down and a helper offering occasional clues, your group has to work together to escape a hostage situation or solve a crime.

4. Create a Signature Shake at Southern Grind Coffee House

Delicious breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and caffeine beverages are always on the menu at Southern Grind, but locals specifically rave about the charming decor and tasty gelato. Beautifully weathered furnishings and coastal trinkets cover every inch of this inviting space, where you can create an unforgettable shake by combining your favorite pastries with gelati flavors, such as bananas foster and strawberry cheesecake.

5. See the Latest Flicks at AMC Classic Wharf

A few hours at the movie theater is always a great way to kick back after a long day of shopping and sightseeing. See what’s playing on the IMAX screen for an intense dose of movie magic, and order up a wide range of movie snacks and full-service meals to chow down at your seat.

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6. Catch a Live Music Show at the Amphitheater

Find out what musical guests are scheduled to play at the Wharf Amphitheater during your vacation. Popular acts such as Green Day, Taylor Swift, Matchbox Twenty, and Jimmy Buffett have all graced the stage at this massive outdoor arena, and the C Spire concert series brings an entertaining lineup of top country acts every year.

7. Marvel at the Magic and Comedic Skills of Brandon Styles

Whether you’re a child or a child at heart, you’re sure to love the magic, gags, and impressions in Brandon Styles’ family-friendly shows. This versatile performer dishes up everything from ventriloquism to singing. The crowd gets a kick out of his funny transformations into pop culture icons, such as Michael Jackson and Ozzy Osbourne.

8. Test Your Tastebuds at Pepper Palace

Hot sauce connoisseurs must brave a trip to Pepper Palace to try out an incredible selection of spicy concoctions. Explore the showroom to sample chips and sauces, if your mouth can handle one fiery explosion after the next. The store specializes in BBQ sauces, hot sauces, dips, and seasonings, and you can also find novelty snacks and gifts to take home.

9. Cruise the Sea in Search of Dolphins

Book a fun excursion with the Sunny Lady or Cetacean Cruises for an up-close look at the most adorable sea creatures in the Gulf Coast. Dolphin cruises regularly depart from the Wharf and navigate coastal swamps, creeks, and bays, letting you spot birds and marine life in stunning natural habitats. Both companies offer snacks bars onboard and allow small coolers, so you can bring food from your vacation rental.

10. Take a Glass-Blowing Class at Coastal Arts Center

Arts enthusiasts of all ages can express their creativity at Coastal Arts Center, a hub for art camps and classes. If you’ve never tried glassblowing, sign up for a class or two to learn the art of manipulating patterned glass into graceful and elegant shapes. Colorful flowers, ornaments, and paperweights are popular projects for beginner glassblowers.

11. Hike, Swim, and Parasail at Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park is packed with things to do, whether you like relaxing on a white sand beach, geocaching in the grasslands, or flying over crystal waters on a parasail. At Ike’s Beach Service, you can book parasail, kayak, banana boat, and paddleboard rides or rent Segways to explore the 14-mile Backcountry Trail System on wheels. Hiking on foot is just as enjoyable; the area features well-planned pathways and bridges that offer you a glimpse of local wildlife, ranging from alligators and tortoises to foxes and bobcats.

12. Learn to Soar at Hummingbird Ziplines

For an exhilarating experience, take turns zipping between towers and over tree-lined terrain on suspended cables. Friendly tour guides provide ground training to help you feel safe and comfortable riding in a harness. A two-hour adventure lets you get off the ground to feel the rushing air around you as you soar like a bird.

13. Ride the Skycoaster at the Track Family Fun Park

If you’re looking for an alternative to Adventure Land, you can find plenty of things to do at the Track Family Fun Park. Start with a trip to the mini-golf course or arcade, and then boost the thrill level with a race on a 3.5-story elevated go-kart track with exciting twists, turns, and inclines. After your kids get their fill of the carousel, spinning tops, and Rio Grande train, let the older members in your group ride the 110-foot Skycoaster to swing and soar in the open air like a skydiver.

14. Cool Off in the Oasis Pool and Lazy River

When you’re staying in a vacation home at the Wharf, spend an afternoon splashing around in the Oasis wave pool and waterfalls. Restricted to guests, this mini play park offers three swimming pools, a peaceful lagoon, a snack-packed tiki bar, and a whirlpool spa. Relax and read a book in the hammock area, or grab an inner tube for a laid-back ride along the lazy river.

15. Watch the Spectra Light Show on Main Street

Spectra is a dazzling free light show with performances almost every night at the Wharf. Relax under the stars to watch elaborate stories about pirates and sea creatures come to life in choreographed color and sound effects set to popular tunes. Lucky guests may get special tokens to redeem for free or discounted items at Wharf shops.

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