Alabamas Gulf State Park

By: April Boone

At 6,150 acres, Gulf State Park is larger than most people realize. With two miles of sugar white sand beaches, the park land extends north from the beach area and includes LakeShelby, a 750-acre freshwater delight for swimming, fishing and water-skiing.

The beachfront area features a new pavilion that was constructed after Hurricane Ivan’s wrath. The pavilion offers air conditioned bathrooms and showers as well as picnic tables for the use of beachgoers. There is a $5 per car fee to access the area. The pavilion can also be rented for parties, weddings and reunions.

Construction is in the final phases for the new and improved fishing pier. The old one was destroyed during the hurricane. The new pier will be an impressive 1,512 feet, far eclipsing the old one at 825 feet. It will be equipped with a concession area, restrooms, picnic tables and a tackle shop. The end cap of the pier will be 65 feet wide allowing for plenty of room for fishing and sightseeing.

The park features an 18-hole golf course that is open seven days a week. The golf course includes a pro shop and snack bar. The green fees and cart rentals are very affordable and senior discounts are available.

What many people miss as they drive along the beach road are the wonderful trails at GulfState Park. The park features ten different trails of varying length and surface type. The trails give visitors the chance to slow down and get up close to nature to view plants and animals that live in the park. As with any nature trail, visitors are strongly cautioned to avoid contact with the wild animals, especially the alligators. But with a good dose of common sense, the trails can provide hours of outdoor fun.

For those who want to stay a little longer, the park offers affordable lodging in cabins and cottages as well as camping sites. And for visitors who can’t totally unplug from the outside worldArticle Search, there is free wireless internet access at the activity center. The park is open to visitors from 7 a.m. to sunset daily. 

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