Gulf Shores, Alabama, is a perfect place to visit in December, especially if you’re looking for a unique way to spend the holiday season. While many people associate this coastal gem with summer months and white sand beaches, it’s also an excellent time of the year to explore the Gulf Shores area and its surrounding regions. With milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and a variety of holiday events, you’ll find plenty of great things to do during the month of December. In this blog post, we’ll explore what to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama in December.
We will explore a variety of activities and events to help you plan your perfect December beach getaway.
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Where is Gulf Shores?
First, let’s talk about how to get to this amazing beach town in south Alabama. Gulf Shores is a popular beach destination located along the Gulf of Mexico in the southern part of the state. It is situated in Baldwin County and is on the southernmost tip of the state, bordering the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Gulf Shores is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and is a well-loved vacation spot for those seeking a coastal getaway in the southeastern United States. It is approximately 45 miles west of Pensacola, Florida, and about 160 miles south of Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.
What is the weather like in December on the Alabama Gulf Coast?
In December, the weather in Gulf Shores, Alabama, is relatively mild and pleasant compared to many other parts of the United States. However, it’s important to note that weather can vary from year to year, so while the following information provides a general overview, specific conditions may differ.
Check sites like Accuweather as you prepare and plan for your December trip to Gulf Shores.
Here’s what you can generally expect in terms of weather in Gulf Shores during December:
Temperature: Daytime temperatures typically range from the mid-50s to the mid-60s Fahrenheit (12-18°C). While it’s relatively mild during the day, evenings and nights can be cooler, with temperatures dropping into the 40s (4-9°C).
Precipitation: December is one of the wetter months in Gulf Shores. You can expect some rainfall, with an average of about 4 to 5 inches (10-13 cm) of precipitation during the month.
Humidity: Humidity levels are generally lower during the winter months, which can make the weather more comfortable.
Sunshine: While there will be overcast days and occasional rain, you can also expect plenty of sunny days. The Gulf Coast enjoys a good amount of sunshine even during the winter.
Water Temperature: The Gulf of Mexico waters are cooler in December, with water temperatures typically ranging from the mid-50s to the low 60s Fahrenheit (12-17°C). Swimming in the Gulf may be less common during this time.
While December in Gulf Shores is not the peak of the beach season, it’s an excellent time for those who prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds. The holiday spirit is alive and well in the area, and you can still enjoy outdoor activities, explore the natural beauty of the region, and partake in various holiday events. It’s a great escape from the colder weather in other parts of the country.
What are some things to do in Gulf Shores in December?
Embrace the Milder Temperatures
One of the great things about visiting Gulf Shores in December is the comfortable temperatures. While the northern part of the country experiences cold weather, Gulf Shores boasts milder and cooler temperatures, making it the perfect place for a winter vacation. You won’t need to bundle up in layers of clothing; instead, you can enjoy the pleasant weather with your family, lounging in lawn chairs by the Gulf of Mexico.
Explore Gulf State Park and Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
Gulf State Park and the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail offer excellent opportunities for outdoor activities during this time of year. Take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a Segway tour, or even take a sunset cruise to experience the natural habitat and local wildlife that thrive in the coastal area. You can also fish off the Gulf State Park Pier or the freshwater lakes.
Here are some other things you can do at Gulf State Park in December:
- Relaxing on the white sandy beaches.
- Camping in the park’s designated campgrounds.
- Exploring the Butterfly Garden.
- Birdwatching at the park’s various birding locations.
- Kayaking or paddleboarding in Lake Shelby.
- Playing golf at the Gulf State Park Golf Course.
- Picnicking in the designated areas.
- Taking a scenic drive through the park.
- Participating in ranger-led programs and nature walks.
- Geocaching in the park.
- Enjoying the playgrounds and recreational areas.
- Attending events and educational programs at the Nature Center.
Enjoy the Christmas Spirit in Gulf Shores
The Christmas season in Gulf Shores is an excellent time to enjoy beautiful Christmas lights and events. The Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach features impressive Christmas trees and displays that capture the Christmas spirit. The annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade is a popular spot to watch boats adorned with holiday lights glide across the water. Additionally, Gulf Shores offers a free event, the Christmas Eve bonfire on the public beach, a perfect way to celebrate Christmas.
Some popular Christmas activities in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach include:
- Gulf Shores Christmas Parade
- Coastal Christmas Market
- Merry Market at The Wharf
- Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Photos with Santa Claus
- Gulf Shores Holiday Golf Cart Parade
- Christmas at the Beach Concert
- Ice Skating at The Wharf
- Holiday Movie Nights
- Breakfast with Santa
- Christmas Craft Workshops
- Gulf State Park Holiday Events
- Festive 5K Run/Walk
- Gulf Shores Christmas Concert Series
Be sure to check the official Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Holiday Events Calendar for the most up-to-date information about holiday events.
Experience Some Family Fun at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and Alligator Alley
If you’re visiting with your family, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and Alligator Alley are great places to explore. You can marvel at exotic animals and learn about local wildlife, including alligators. These attractions are fantastic for the whole family. There’s also an upscale casual restaurant on site that serves brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks that your family will love.
Visit the Gulf Shores Museum
The Gulf Shores Museum provides insight into the history and culture of Gulf Shores and its surroundings. It’s an interesting place to explore and learn more about the area’s heritage.
Challenge Yourself in an Escape Room
There are a few escape room facilities in the Gulf Shores area that offer challenging and entertaining indoor adventures. They are excellent options for groups and families.
Attend Holiday Events and Live Music
Gulf Shores offers a wide range of holiday events and live music performances during the holiday season. Local artists take the stage at places like LuLu’s Gulf Shores, while Big Beach Brewing Company hosts a variety of events. You can enjoy the Christmas season and the new year with a taste of good food, hot tubs, and excellent live entertainment.
Hang out at The Wharf
The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, is a popular entertainment and shopping complex located a short drive from Gulf Shores in Orange Beach. It’s a vibrant and lively destination that offers a wide range of attractions, dining options, shopping, events, and entertainment. During the holiday season, you’ll likely find The Wharf decorated with beautiful holiday lights, and there’s sure to be a fun event planned Get some of your holiday shopping done at the cute shops and boutiques located at The Wharf.
Play at The Track
This family entertainment center in Gulf Shores offers a variety of indoor activities, including arcade games. If you’d rather be outside, you can choose between bumper cars, mini-golf, go-karts, and more.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities
For those who crave adventure, the Gulf Shores area has plenty to offer. Enjoy the thrills at amusement parks, take a ride on the Ferris wheel, or explore Fort Morgan and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Gulf Shores is an excellent place for vacation rentals, giving you plenty of room to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the coast.
Visit Golf Courses or Enjoy the Beach
Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the region’s golf courses, providing an excellent time on the greens. And when you’re not on the course, you can relax on the beautiful white sand beaches that Alabama’s beaches are known for, even if it’s not a “white Christmas” in the traditional sense.
Explore Surrounding Areas
Don’t forget to explore the surrounding areas like Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, which are both a short drive away. Additionally, you can check out the Flora-Bama Lounge and the beautiful Lake Shelby.
In December, Gulf Shores and the Alabama Gulf Coast offer an excellent time for a winter vacation, free from the cold weather in the northern parts of the country. With comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds, and an abundance of outdoor activities, it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy this beautiful coastal area.
Embrace the Christmas spirit, explore local wildlife, enjoy holiday events, and experience everything Gulf Shores has to offer during this unique and charming season. Whether you’re here for the holidays or to escape the winter chill, Gulf Shores and its surrounding areas have something for everyone. So pack your bags and head to this perfect place for an unforgettable December vacation.