Heading to the beach during off-season? Looking for activities that don’t require a swimsuit? Whether you are traveling as a family, a couple, or a girlfriend’s getaway, the Wharf at Orange Beach is the premiere resort destination on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
The Wharf at Orange Beach
Contrary to popular belief, not all beach vacations are taken during the summer months. My favorite time to go to the beach is during the Fall. The tourists are gone, the temperatures are lower and the sunsets are to-die-for. Some beach destinations “close up shop” after Labor Day without any activities scheduled until Spring. Sa hello to your new favorite beach vacation: The Wharf at Orange Beach.
First of all, Orange Beach, Alabama is a great place to visit year round with the never-ending activities at The Wharf. Located just 5 miles from the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, this entertainment district has something for everyone. Read on for 7 reasons to visit The Wharf at Orange Beach.
1. The Fun at The Wharf
“I’m bored” is not a phrase you will hear when visiting The Wharf. Whether you have children or are simply a kid at heart, you will be thoroughly entertained during your visit. Some of the fun you can experience include:
Ferris Wheel. Experience one of the largest ferris wheels in the Southeast for $5.00 per ride.
Carmike Movie Theater. Enjoy a wide selection of just released films.
Arena, The Next Level. The ultimate laser tag experience! Featuring unlimited lives and ammunition, you can play your heart out in the 4,000 square foot arena.
Breakout Orange Beach. The goal is to escape the room in under an hour.
Wharf Putt Putt. Open 7 days a week from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. Rates are $7.00 per person with children 4 and under free.
2. The Events at The Wharf
Unlike other coastal towns, The Wharf offers hundreds of activities and events throughout the year.
The Wharf Uncorked Food & Wine Festival. This 3-day event is the place to be for live music and food and wine tastings. Sponsored by Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, the event is held to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Girl’s Night Out. This popular event is all about the ladies with shopping deals, food, drinks, prizes, swag bags and more.
World Food Championships. For the first time ever, the World Food Championships were held at The Wharf November 9-13, 2016.
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Kid’s Nights. Every Wednesday evening in the Summer from 5:30 – 8:30 pm, this free event for families is known to draw in a large crowd. Featuring bounce houses, water slides, face painting, live animals, games and more. Children can ride a camel around Palm Plaza for $5.
Spectra Sound & Light Spectacular. The lights in the palm trees along Main Street dance along with popular family-friendly music. Numerous shows are offered throughout the year, with 3 shows offered per night during the summer.
Thursdays on Main. Every Thursday evening in the Summer music fills the streets with live entertainment in Marlin Circle. All restaurants and bars will offer live music and drink specials.
Winter at the Wharf. Activities include ice skating, visits with Santa, shopping and more!
Other popular events include the Top of the Hops Beer Festival and Thunder Run and Poker Showdown, both held in August.
3. The Food at The Wharf
As a local to the area (I live in Fairhope, AL), I am fortunate to be able to dine at The Wharf as often as I like. With selections ranging from family friendly to signature dining experiences, there is something for every budget.
My favorite restaurant at The Wharf is Ginny Lane Bar & Grill. Winner of the 2016 Open Table Diner’s Choice award, this is the place to go for all things seafood and southern. They serve southern dishes such as shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, and cajun crab cakes. Make sure you ask for a side of remoulade.
If you are looking for a truly romantic evening, I recommend Villaggio Grille. This upscale Italian fusion restaurant offers some of the best food in town.
After dinner, make sure to stop by Southern Grind Coffee House for an ice cold gelato. There are so many flavors to choose from you will have to visit more than once to experience them all.
Other great restaurants at The Wharf include, Driftwood Bar & Grill, Ronin Sushi Bar & Restaurant, STKburger, Sol y Mar Mexican Grill & Cantina.
4. The Amphitheater at The Wharf
Some of the hottest names in the music industry perform at the 10,000 seat tiered venue. Schedule your visit around the concert of your choice. Past performances include Twenty One Pilots, Train, Shinedown, Jimmy Buffett, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, and Florida Georgia Line. Miranda Lambert is scheduled to perform September 8th. Visit the online calendar for more concert information. Tickets can be purchased at TicketMaster.com or at The Wharf Box Office.
5. The Marina at The Wharf
You don’t have to be a boat owner to enjoy the amenities at the Marina. If you would like to spend a day on the water, consider booking one of the following excursions.
Dolphin and Sunset Cruises. The”Sunny Lady” offers daily dolphin and sunset cruises.
A-Pair-A-Dice Charters. Catering to families, this cruise offers up-close and personal interactions with dolphins and other marine life. The kids can drag a shrimp net and even help drive the boat.
Orange Beach Boat Rentals. Guests can rent a boat for the day, no boating license necessary.
6. The Shops at The Wharf
The Wharf is your one stop shopping venue with many well known retailers. The kids will love visiting Build-A-Bear Workshop and Light Up the Night. If you are looking for beach-style souvenirs make sure to stop by Fric-n-Frac. The Wharf Marina and Outfitters Store is where you will find popular brands such as Pelagic. Stop by High Cotton Bath Co., the best boutique gift store in town.
7. Accommodations at The Wharf
If you would like to stay in the middle of all the action, The Wharf offers 2 options for on-site accommodations.
Levin’s Bend at the Wharf is a nine story luxury condominium overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and the Marina. You can rent a unit at Levin’s Bend by contacting Wharf Vacation Rentals at (251) 224-1500.
Springhill Suites Orange Beach at the Wharf offers 132 all-suite rooms within walking distance to Main Street. Reservations can be secured by contacting Marriott, or calling (251) 943-6600.
The next time you are planning a vacation to the Alabama Gulf Coast don’t miss a visit to The Wharf at Orange Beach.