I am an equal opportunity outdoor lover. I love the mountains, I love the prairies, I love the forest, and I love the ocean. If I had to pick one, I would unequivocally choose the beach, though.
Like our “estate on wheels,” the beach is one of those places where I always feel at home. There is just something about the rolling waves, the salty air and the sea breeze that makes me feel at peace. Someday, I hope to be able to retire somewhere on a beach, with no cares in the world, but until then I’ll have to make do with a few trips here & there.
With that being said, I am so glad that we live within a 3.5 hour drive to one of our favorite beach campgrounds, Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Gulf State Park is a large, sprawling state park that can be reached via Highway 59 or Beach Highway 182. The park’s campground is large, hosting over 400 campsites. The park also has its own private beach with a large beach pavilion, 11 bathhouses, a large pool, spray area, bike trails, a small wildlife museum, playgrounds, and sometimes even a food truck to grab a snack when you’re playing by the pool. It is within close proximity to all of the major attractions, restaurants, and beaches of the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area and is a great place to stay for a beach vacation.
The campground has several different loops and roads and each area has its own bathhouse. All of the roads are great for camping with kids with the exception of the main road through the campground, Raccoon Road. This one gets a lot of traffic; it is not ideal for small kids to be able to ride their bikes around the campground. Many of the campsites are back in, there are also pull through sites. All of the sites have level concrete pads with full hookups. Sites are roomy as well. Some are shaded but since you are at the beach, the shaded areas are few and far between. The sites are easy to back into and the signage, etc is well marked so it is easy to find your site.
When it comes to amenities, Gulf State Park does not disappoint. Like I previously mentioned, the state park has its own private beach for it’s camping patrons. Other guests can come to the beach as well, but they must pay a fee. The private beach is well maintained, clean, and has access to a large pavilion with showers, restrooms, shade and even a fireplace for winter months! It’s a great place to cool off for a bit if you’ve spent too much time in the sun. If you are tired of having your toes in the sand, you can head over to the large pool at Gulf State Park. This pool is plenty big enough for all of its guests and also includes a spray park area. In that central area, there is also a laundromat, snowball stand, a wildlife museum, tennis courts, and a playground. If you are into geocaching, there are quite a few treasures to be found throughout the park and if you want to take your bike out for a ride, there is an amazing bike trail that rides through the back end of the park and will even take you to the main beach road!
Gulf State Park is well maintained, clean, and organized. There are 11 bathhouses through the campground and they are all clean, well appointed, and have ample space and hot water for your needs while you are visiting. Overall, the park is very clean as well; you are responsible for disposing of your trash, there are dumpsters on the way out of the park. There are many park personnel available for questions, all of them have been incredibly helpful and kind.
Overall, we have loved every minute of our stays at Gulf State Park and have had a hard time coming home. For the rate of $40 per night for a stay, the campground is an incredibly way to experience a beach vacation without breaking the bank. If you are looking for a great place to stay near the beach that is only about a 3-4 hour drive from New Orleans, consider a visit to Gulf State Park!
AMENITIES ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
BATH HOUSES ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
OVERALL CLEANLINESS ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
KID FRIENDLY ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
CAMPSITES ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
PARK STAFF ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
OVERALL RATING ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐