Boating Robinson Island in Orange Beach AL
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There is no better way to enjoy the sunny weather, deep blue waters, and laidback atmosphere that characterizes the Gulf Coast like an afternoon out boating with family and friends. Locals in waterfront communities like Ono Island typically enjoy having private docks at their houses, some of which have views of Robinson and Bird Islands. If you're just visiting Orange Beach, however, there are also a number of condos that offer private boat slips for those who either bring their own boat or charter one for the trip.
Orange Beach, with its scenic white sand beaches and number of unique and first-rate restaurants lining the marinas and shore, is an amazing area to spend a lazy Saturday out on the water. Visitors and locals alike will tell you that the best place to go boating is just outside of Bayou Saint John, right by Bird Island and Robinson Island.
Located west of Walker Island, both Bird and Robinson Island were bought by the city of Orange Beach to protect them and the wildlife that nests there from being developed. As a sanctuary for both Wading Herons and Terns to nest on as well as sensitive grass beds, humans and their pets are not allowed to venture all over the islands, but there are strips of beach that everyone is welcome to visit and relax on. You can sail around both islands as well as right between them, but be sure to keep an eye out for the “No Motor Zones” signs to ensure none of the sensitive grass beds are damaged by your boat. Before you leave, be sure to make sure all of your garbage has been picked up and taken off the beach with you to help protect these valuable natural habitats and the wildlife that lives there.
Orange Beach offers several great spots to enjoy the fresh seafood that the Gulf Coast is famous for. While you’re boating out by Bird and Robinson Islands, take advantage and dock your boat at one of the marinas to grab lunch at some of the area’s best restaurants. Pirate’s Cover is a local favorite and well-known for their bushwackers. Sitting at the northern tip of Arnica Bay, Pirate’s Cove is an ideal spot for boaters to dock their boats and grab some lunch, with open air seating overlooking the water. Both Pirate's Cove and Tacky Jacks offer these great panoramic views from the bar. If you prefer staying close to Robinson and Bird Islands, Tacky Jack’s is closer and an excellent option for fresh seafood and an unbeatable happy hour menu. Located on the shore just north of Gilchrist Island, Tacky Jack's serves up some of the best fish tacos and Mexican Garbage Nachos around!
As the sun sets over the emerald green Gulf waters, Orange Beach’s famous Flora-Bama Oyster Bar sits right on the shore along the border of Florida and Alabama. The Flora Bama is approximately 5-10 minutes by boat, depending on the wake you leave in route. Enjoy the best oysters around town before heading across the street to Flora Bama Bar & Grill for fruity mojitos, high-quality craft beers, and unbeatable sunset views from the spacious top deck. During the daytime, make sure you check out Flora Bama Marina’s dolphin cruises! Additionally, the nearby Hangout in Gulf Shores is well-known for its live music and annual events.
Although Robinson and Bird Islands are an amazing area to boat around all year long, once a year – usually in late June -- it is also the site of the annual Gumbo Key musical event. Mac McAleer, the mayor of Gumbo Key, sets up his spacious barge, complete with a stage, in the water just south of Bird Island. Southern bands play live music that visitors can enjoy for free while they sunbathe on the islands, hang out on the deck of their boats, or even jump into the water to float around and enjoy the music. If you are in the Orange Beach area in the month of June and are looking for a truly unique experience, remember to look up Gumbo Key and head out to the water to enjoy live music, drinks, and a memorable day at Gumbo Key!
Orange Beach is already widely popular for having some of the best fishing along the Gulf Coast, soft sugar-white beaches, and unbeatable fresh seafood, but even the locals will tell you that it’s hard to top an afternoon out boating around Robinson and Bird Islands. Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to have a family picnic or hoping to spot some of the preserve’s native wildlife, spending time on and around these islands makes for a truly memorable Gulf Coast experience.