The Best Condos and Vacation Rentals to Book in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores is home to consistently great sunsets
Gulf Shores is home to consistently great sunsets | © John D. Ivanko / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kylie Madry
29 October 2021

It’s a family-vacation spot for many, and a rowdy Spring Break stop for many more: Gulf Shores, Alabama, draws millions of tourists from all over the South every year. Come for the sugar-white sand, biking and birding trails, and the waterfront views. Stay for the world-class fishing, grade-A dining (seafood included) and ferris-wheel rides on the wharf. With so many choices, finding the perfect base can be time consuming. Unless that is, you leave it to us. Read on for our top condos and vacation rentals in Gulf Shores, Alabama – all bookable through Culture Trip.

Island House Hotel Orange Beach - a DoubleTree by Hilton, for a prime picturesque setting

Stylish sea-view room at Island House Hotel Orange Beach - a DoubleTree by Hilton
© Island House Hotel Orange Beach - a DoubleTree by Hilton / Expedia

One of the most well-known and picturesque spots in Orange Beach, the Island House Hotel sits right along a major strip off the beach. Rooms are slick, with nods to the prime beach location – we’re talking wooden-slat headboards inspired by the area’s storm shutters – without going overboard. Several also have balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and the turquoise-blue pool below. Across the street, Shrimp Basket Orange Beach serves straight-out-of-the-water seafood and piled-high po’boys.

Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park, for vintage charm

A waterside cottage at Gulf State Park is partly covered by trees, while a jetty stretches into the water.
© Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park / Expedia

These 11 cottages in Gulf State Park, between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, were built with the original 1930s park cottages in mind. Each property, sleeping up to six guests, is filled with vintage touches such as tongue-and-groove wall paneling, wrought-iron bed frames and screened-in porches. You won’t be roughing it, either, with continental breakfast at the Woodside Restaurant, daily housekeeping and a booze and cheese board delivered to your door upon arrival. Getting around couldn’t be easier, with complimentary bicycles to explore the trails, and a tram ride doing the rounds in the park.

The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel, for ecofriendly quirkiness

The pool at dusk at The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel
© The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel / Expedia

The Hilton advertises this shoreside hotel as an ecofriendly solution to nearby mega-resorts – as well it should. It’s also adjacent to the Gulf State Pier and part of the Gulf State Park, which is easy to explore on the hotel rental bikes. Rooms have views of either the gulf or the state park, and flaunt quirky touches including bunk beds and brilliant-blue bathroom walls. Hotel restaurant Foodcraft dishes up hand-cut steaks, fresh-caught oysters and local craft beers, and Anna’s Cafe, the food truck parked across the street in peak season, is cool, serving made-to-order smoothies, iced coffees and frozen cheesecake.

Perdido Beach Resort, for all-encompassing opulence

Swimmers cool off in the freeform swimming pool at Perdido Beach Resort, with the beach in the distance
© Perdido Beach Resort / Expedia

This modern Orange Beach resort is tailor-made for families. With crisp white linens and soft blue-green accents, rooms are soothing, and a good selection of them overlook the gulf and Perdido Pass: the aquatic passage that connects Perdido Bay with the Gulf of Mexico to the south. The resort is full-service, with indoor and outdoor pools, three bars and five restaurants, from a poolside cabana to a piano lounge. Right across the street is the SanRoc Cay Marina – the perfect way to spend your days, between tucking into the dishes at the seafood restaurants next door.

Hotel Indigo Orange Beach - Gulf Shores, for nautical rooms close to the trails

A nautical-themed room at Hotel Indigo Orange Beach
© Hotel Indigo Orange Beach - Gulf Shores / Expedia

Grab your pooch and head to this pet-friendly getaway right between the sea and Gulf State Park. And the rooms are just beachy: nautical stripes, rope decor and lifevest-inspired headboards help create the upbeat look. Spend an afternoon exploring, while you’re at it – the entrance to the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail cuts right past the hotel and connects to the rest of the park. Down the road, Lartigue’s Original Fresh Seafood Market puts out steamed crab and shrimp to-go, with a healthy serving of their in-house seasoning.

Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach/Gulf Front, for delicious eats

Sunbathers from the Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach shelter under beach umbrellas
© Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach/Gulf Front / Expedia

You won’t have to worry about dodging the crowds here – this Hampton Inn-branded property, attractively located on the shorefront, has access to a private beach, along with an indoor-outdoor pool. Rooms are standard hotel by design, some with beachside balconies, and an appetizing hot breakfast is served every morning in the lobby. Across the street, a shopping center is home to hole-in-the-wall snack joints and chain restaurants cooking up pizza pies, to-die-for tacos and homemade ice cream in cones. You won’t want to miss a night (or two) grazing your way around here.

Staybridge Suites Gulf Shores, for pet-friendly rooms near the airport

The pool at Staybridge Suites Gulf Shores glistens in the Alabama sun
© Staybridge Suites Gulf Shores / Expedia

Thinking about sticking around for a while? Book a suite at this (pet-friendly) extended-stay hotel and you can max out on the comfort. Every room includes a full kitchen, so you can stock up on groceries, or take advantage of the complimentary breakfast – and complimentary laundry facilities – downstairs. While farther inland than other hotels, this spot is close to top-notch restaurants, including Island Wing Company, with dozens of dry rubs and sauces to choose from, and the Jack Edwards National Airport.

Comfort Inn & Suites, for elegant rooms close to town

Simple yet elegant room with a sea-view at Comfort Inn & Suites, Gulf Shores, Alabama
© Comfort Inn & Suites / Expedia

On the edge of Gulf State Park, this hotel is perfectly situated between nature, beach, and the diners and grills in town. All are within walking distance, though you may just want to stay bar-side at the heated outdoor hotel pool, margarita in hand. Rooms are a cut above the competition, with expansive balconies, sliding, iron-frame bathroom doors and elegant leather-clad furniture. A few blocks away, beachside bars, surf ‘n’ turf spots and a hugely popular pancake house are our prime sit-down picks.

Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach Beachfront, for colorful rooms neae the beach

A chair on a sea-view balcony at Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach offers the perfect chill-out spot
© Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach Beachfront / Expedia

You’ll find this sunny seaside resort just off Perdido Beach Boulevard. It’s a full-color immersive experience, from the aquamarine waters of the pool to the frondy greenery surrounding it. The interiors are bursting with vibrant tones as well, with brilliant-green walls and black-and-red checker sets both in the lobby and the soothing yellow suites. The Hilton has a boardwalk right to the beach and is across the street from a trailhead that ventures deep into Gulf State Park. Where better to rest and recuperate?

These recommendations were updated on October 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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