Coastal Playtime: Top 10 Kid-Friendly Activities on the Gulf Coast

Pristine beaches with powdery white sands and clear blue waters might be your ideal setting for a beach holiday. However, children often seek more action-packed adventures during their vacations. While adults might find solace in lounging by a pool or delving into historical sites, kids typically have shorter attention spans and require consistent entertainment.

Traveling with kids demands proactive planning, especially when it comes to curbing their boundless energy. Fortunately, the Gulf Coast is a haven for family entertainment, but with so many options available, finding the best activities can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in.

If you’re wondering about the top kid-friendly activities on the Gulf Coast, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ve curated a list of the Top 10 kid-friendly activities spanning cities like Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, and Pensacola.

Time to make playtime extra fun!

Girl sitting on the beach.

Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Fort Morgan, AL

Take the ferry ride to Dauphin Island and then visit an outstanding aquarium

Considered the most scenic drive on the Gulf Coast, the ferry to Dauphin Island from Fort Morgan is a family-friendly activity kids adore. They enjoy spotting birds and sea life from the boat and watching other ships come and go. Adults will also appreciate the stunning views of the sea and the historic forts, Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines.

Upon reaching Dauphin Island, more excitement awaits. The Alabama Aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a must-visit for all ages. With over thirty aquariums showcasing over a hundred fish species, kids are bound to be captivated by the marine wonders.

The aquarium also highlights four distinct habitats of coastal Alabama, offering both fun and educational insights. Interactive exhibits further enhance the visit.

Extra tip: the ferry service from Fort Morgan accommodates vehicles. If you’re on a road trip, this offers a convenient way to explore more of the Gulf Coast upon reaching Dauphin Island.

Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Gulf Shores, AL

Have a “splash-tastic” time at Waterville USA Waterpark

Inaugurated in 1986, Waterville USA Waterpark & Amusement Park, or simply Waterville USA, in Gulf Shores is a must-visit destination for families seeking unforgettable fun.

The park boasts 17 slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and themed water playgrounds tailored for younger guests. But that’s just the start; Waterville also offers a roller-coaster, go-karts, mini-golf, a large arcade, and even an escape room.

For parents seeking relaxation while their kids play, Cabana Cove provides a private shaded area with loungers and umbrellas. Here, you can unwind and enjoy food and drinks. However, note that reservations are required because of limited availability.

The Dune Racer is a crowd favorite. This thrilling six-lane mat racer slide ignites friendly competition as kids race down the towering 55-foot slides.

The FlowRider offers a unique experience, allowing kids to simulate surfing and bodyboarding. For younger guests and families, Shrimp Boat Village and Wa Wa World are vibrant spots packed with interactive attractions like water cannons, sprays, geysers, and net crawls — a total paradise for playful adventures.

Kids going down a waterslide.

Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Orange Beach, AL

Ride the Ferris Wheel and enjoy other kid-friendly activities at the Wharf

The Wharf, Orange Beach’s entertainment district, is one of the city’s most renowned spots, offering countless activities for families. With its charming boutiques, excellent restaurants and bars, and vibrant atmosphere, it attracts both tourists and locals alike.

For families with kids, the standout attraction is the Wharf Ferris Wheel, an iconic landmark in Orange Beach and the tallest Ferris Wheel on the Gulf Coast. Upon arriving at the Wharf, children are eager to take a ride, excited about its thrilling ascent and the breathtaking views of Orange Beach.

Next, consider visiting Arena the Next Level Arcade with the little ones. This expansive arcade offers fun and interactive games, including Laser Tag and Bazooka Ball.

Kids also enjoy The Wharf Express Train, which runs along Main Street, providing a unique and fun perspective of the lively district. For children aged 7 and up, don’t miss the Outer Limits Virtual Reality arcade, offering fully immersive rides, including multiplayer options that the whole family can enjoy.

Ferris wheel.

Experience the thrill of a volcanic eruption at Adventure Island

For nearly three decades, this family-owned amusement park has provided fantastic opportunities for families to have a great time together with its exceptional indoor and outdoor attractions.

Adventure Island‘s standout feature is its five-story volcano, which erupts several times a day, allowing kids to feel its vibrations, hear its sounds, and see steam and actual fire. (Rest assured, it’s all very safe!)

Young visitors also adore the park’s redemption arcade, packed with top games and opportunities to win exciting prizes. Moreover, attractions like the mini-golf course, Bumper Boats, and Go-karts add to the fun.

Set sail on the Pirate Ship Cruise

Looking to spark your child’s imagination? Embark on the Pirate Ship Cruise aboard the “American Star.” Here, kids can immerse themselves in a pirate’s life: singing sea shanties, listening to captivating pirate tales, and getting their faces adorned with pirate paint.

But the real thrill? Witnessing simulated battles, allowing young buccaneers to defend their ship and master the art of teamwork. And no pirate adventure is complete without a treasure hunt! Watch as your kids eagerly search for the Captain’s coveted gold.

And the cherry on top? The chance encounters with dolphins, adding an enchanting touch to their maritime journey. After this swashbuckling experience, don’t be shocked if your little adventurers keep their pirate personas alive long after they’ve docked.

Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Perdido Key, FL

Enjoy the beach with the kiddos, day and night

On the Gulf Coast, a beach visit is a staple of any vacation, and kids are sure to have a blast on the pristine white sands.

In Perdido Key, families with children like to take part in a unique beach activity: night crabbing! After dark, you’ll spot families with flashlights and kids scouring the sand for sand crabs. Dive into this nocturnal adventure with the little ones, but remind them to release the crabs once caught!

By day, Perdido Key’s sands are perfect for crafting sandcastles, flying kites, or enjoying a family picnic complete with your kids’ favorite treats. For you, it’s all about feeling the ocean breeze and soaking in the breathtaking sea views.


Grab your rental equipment and dive into aquatic adventures

Perdido Key offers several locations where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, boats, and jet skis for a full day of water fun with children.

This is also a fantastic way to explore Perdido Key and its natural beauty. Recommended rental spots include Flora-Bama Marina and Watersports, ideal for jet skis, pontoon rentals, and parasailing, as well as Lost Key Outdoors for kayaks and fishing gear. Once you’ve secured your rental equipment, prepare for a day brimming with splashes, giggles, and nonstop fun!

Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Pensacola Beach, FL

Let your kids fly a wooden plane and enjoy a picnic at Perdido Kids Park

A favorite among locals and visitors alike, the charming Perdido Kids Park boasts many slides, swings, and climbing structures to keep the little ones entertained. 

The rock climbing walls are especially popular, and the wooden race cars and Blue Angel Planes ignite young imaginations — making for the quintessential Pensacola photo opportunity!

There’s a section with drums where children can create playful beats. For toddlers, a separate area offers climbing structures, swings, and toys tailored just for them.

Surrounding the park, picnic tables with umbrellas provide families with the perfect setting to enjoy a delightful meal. It’s a cherished local spot, embodying traditional family fun in Pensacola.

Kids in bouncy house.

Learn about aviation history at the National Naval Aviation Museum

As the birthplace of naval aviation, no visit to Pensacola is complete without exploring the National Naval Aviation Museum. Children are particularly captivated by the museum’s vast collection of over 4,000 artifacts and 150 meticulously restored aircraft.

A standout attraction for kids is the high-definition flight simulators, offering a thrilling glimpse into the sensations of combat and stunt flying.

Also, if you’re in town on a Tuesday or Wednesday from March to November, you might be treated to a spectacle: the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s esteemed flight demonstration squadron, practicing above the Navy base. On certain days, visitors even have the chance to meet the pilots post-practice. For the young ones, it’s akin to meeting their heroes!

Blue Angel Jets.

Infuse education into your vacation at the Pensacola Children’s Museum

Blending cultural enrichment with entertainment, the Pensacola Children’s Museum offers a great experience for families in Pensacola. With thoughtfully curated exhibits, it creates an engaging atmosphere where parents and kids can learn and play side by side.

The museum’s first floor boasts the Discovery Gallery, featuring a detailed replica of Historic Pensacola. There, children embark on a historical adventure, defending the fort and participating in trading endeavors at the Post.

Venturing further, kids step into a recreated classroom, offering a glimpse into schooling methods of yesteryears, and an interactive Publix Super Markets exhibit, simulating a true shopping excursion. Not to be missed is the Kid’s Clinic, where youngsters can engage in medical role-play, donning doctor’s coats and tending to patient dolls. Perhaps a visit here might even inspire your child’s future profession!

Top 10 Activities for Kids in the Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast offers an abundance of superb activities suitable for everyone. And if you have the little ones in tow, you’re guaranteed to give them the time of their lives by exploring all the exciting spots and engaging in the unique experiences we’ve listed above. You too, we bet, will enjoy this holiday trip like a true kid!

Roller coaster.

Wondering where to stay with kids on the Gulf Coast?

Booking your stay at one of our Luxury Coastal Vacations‘ short-term rentals is an experience that will definitely add to your family trip.

We offer the finest selection of luxury vacation homes on the Gulf Coast, spanning Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, and Pensacola.

When you opt for one of our homes or condos, you’ll enjoy a 5-star experience that will leave a lasting impression for years to come. Explore our range of rentals on our website and discover the allure of the beautiful Gulf Coast!

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