Bustling crowds of residents and visitors thronged the beaches and emerald waters at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach this Fourth of July. As temperatures soared up into the 90s all weekend, everyone seemed to be taking advantage of the sunny weather to go swimming, sunbathing, or sailing around Robinson Island and off the coast of Orange Beach. The beachside condos that line the famous white-sand beaches were all full of visitors ready to enjoy a weekend of picnics, fishing, barbecues, swimming, and a number of other Independence Day activities that took place all weekend.
The events started on Saturday in Orange Beach with their Independence Day Street Party at The Wharf. Starting at 5:00 p.m. there were plenty of activities for the whole family to take part in, including face painting, bouncy houses, rock climbing, and even an area to pet llamas and monkeys. At 8:45 p.m. the fireworks started over Main Street and could be seen from all around the Orange Beach area. When the show was over, SPECTRA put on an amazing sound and light show which was every bit as impressive as the fireworks display. Visitors to The Wharf also enjoyed a lot of great sales at many of the area's stores and restaurants throughout the weekend.
On July 4th, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area was the place to be on the Gulf Coast. In addition to the pristine beaches, Gulf State Park was a popular hit with visitors looking for the perfect place to set up a Fourth of July campfire to roast hot dogs and s’mores before heading over to Gulf Shores Public Beach to watch fireworks. Boaters enjoyed spending the weekend out on the water with family and friends, celebrating the holiday and enjoying some of the best fishing along the Coast. Those who stayed on the beach enjoyed the sunny weather, cooling off with a swim in the Gulf before having a picnic right on the beach. Visitors from all over the country filled up the beachside condos, boasting some of the best views of the Gulf of Mexico that you can get anywhere and offering the ideal place to escape the heat and cool off.
Local favorite, Flora Bama Bar & Grill held their annual All American BBQ Celebration. Guests enjoyed some of the best barbecue around in addition to cocktails and craft beer. The Hangout, a Gulf Shores favorite, hosted its popular Pirates and Princesses Breakfast on the morning of the Fourth of July. Fun for the whole family, groups dressed in pirate and princess costumes swung by for a hearty breakfast and entertainment before heading out to celebrate on the beach.
The Fourth of July activities in Gulf Shore started at 5:30 p.m. There were carnival activities for the whole family to enjoy all around Gulf Shores Public Beach, including different food vendors, face painting, and balloon artists. A salute to military service members was also conducted at 5:30 p.m. and was led by Marine Sargent Major Bryan Battaglia. Those in attendance were able to take a moment to show their appreciation for United States veterans and active-duty military before hitting Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for other activities. In addition to the salute to the military, Gulf State Park was accepting $5 parking donations at the Lake Shelby picnic area, the pier, and the pavilion as part of their Support a Veteran program. These donations help visiting veterans get discounted fishing licenses and free admission to sightseeing on the pier in addition to a number of other discounts.
The firework show at Gulf Shores Public Beach was absolutely spectacular! Starting at 9:00 p.m. fireworks were set off of Gulf State Park Pier and wowed audiences on the beach and even from their Gulf-front condos. A live DJ played music throughout the event to help celebrate the Fourth, to the enjoyment of everyone in the area. After the fireworks, many people continued to celebrate in some of the local bars, back in their condos, or on the beach.
Whether it was on the beach or on the water, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores proved to be the perfect areas to hang out and celebrate the Fourth of July. With spectacular fireworks, live music, and activities that were fun for the whole family, Independence Day 2016 proved to be a memorable experience for all those lucky enough to be here.