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Gulf Shores is a resort city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 9,741.[3]

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Condominiums and hotels on the beach
Condominiums and hotels on the beach
Motto: Small Town, Big Beach
Location of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, Alabama.
Location of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, Alabama.
Coordinates: 30°16′4″N 87°42′5″W / 30.26778°N 87.70139°W / 30.26778; -87.70139
Country United States
State Alabama
County Baldwin
 • Mayor Robert Craft
 • Total 31.26 sq mi (80.96 km2)
 • Land 26.41 sq mi (68.40 km2)
 • Water 4.85 sq mi (12.56 km2)
Elevation 7 ft (2 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 9,741
 • Estimate (2016)[2] 11,689
 • Density 442.58/sq mi (170.88/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36542, 36547
Area code(s) 251
FIPS code 01-32272
GNIS feature ID 0119462



Gulf Shores is located on the Gulf of Mexico at 30°16'4.069" North, 87°42'5.285" West (30.267797, −87.701468).[4] It is the southernmost settlement in the state of Alabama.[5] It is served by Alabama State Route 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway), which leads north to Foley. Route 182 (Beach Boulevard) runs east-west along the shore front, while Route 180 (Fort Morgan Road) runs parallel to it, north of Little Lagoon. Gulf State Park occupies a large eastern part of the city.

Gulf Shores is located 33 miles west of Pensacola, FL, 54 miles south of Mobile, AL, 197 miles east of New Orleans, LA, and 194 miles south of Montgomery, AL.

Gulf Shores is located in Baldwin County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.0 square miles (72.5 km2), of which 23.2 square miles (60.0 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12.5 km2), or 17.24%, is water.[3]


The location of Gulf Shores on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico makes it vulnerable to hurricanes. In September 1979, Hurricane Frederic leveled most of the town. In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan caused extensive wind and flooding damage. In 2005, while the city was still cleaning up from Ivan, Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage and flooding.

With bright sunny summers and warm winters, Alabama Gulf Coast weather offers year round opportunities for beach, fish, golf and enjoying life. Gulf Shores quickly recovered from Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina and has enjoyed many years without major storms. While the area enjoys a strong "snowbird" season from December to April, many locals say that May/June and October/November are the best months.

Winters are generally mild and residents can enjoy outside activities the majority of the time. Summers are hot, which makes for great beach weather, and the sea breeze provides relief from the heat and humidity.

Climate data for Gulf Shores, Alabama
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 60
Average low °F (°C) 40
Average precipitation inches (mm) 6.11
Source: The Weather Channel [6]


Census Pop.
1960 356
1970 909 155.3%
1980 1,349 48.4%
1990 3,261 141.7%
2000 5,044 54.7%
2010 9,741 93.1%
Est. 2016 11,689 [2] 20.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2013 Estimate[8]

As of the census[9] of 2010, there were 9,741 people residing in the city. The population density was 274.3 per square mile (105.9/km2). There were 6,810 housing units at an average density of 370.4 per square mile (143.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.54% White, 0.22% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. 1.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Residential area on canal.

There were 2,344 households out of which 20.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.56.

16.4% of the population was under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 23.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.5 males. The median income for a household in the city was $41,826, and the median income for a family was $51,862. Males had a median income of $40,259 versus $22,467 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,356. About 6.8% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Since the year 2000, Baldwin County as a whole has experienced rapid population growth, second only to Shelby County in Alabama.[10]


Gulf Shores is a part of the Baldwin County Public Schools system. An elementary school, middle school, high school, and a local community college serve the community.


Like many coastal communities, tourism plays a major role in the local economy of Gulf Shores. The 2010 BP oil spill was expected to severely affect both local real estate and beach tourism. However, after a rough year, the tourism economy in Gulf Shores appears to have returned to pre-spill levels.[14] In October 2011, the city began a branding campaign to help it stand out from other coastal destinations in the area.[15]

Ocean fishing, beaches, boating cruises, and especially golf are major draws for the area. Chartered fishing boats and cruise boats for sunsets, dinner cruises, dolphin watching, and watersports embark regularly, and the area is home to two of the top-rated golf resorts in Alabama - Craft Farms[16] and Kiva Dunes.[17] There are a total of nine signature golf clubs,[18] as well as a state-owned 18-hole course.[19] Other popular attractions include the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (as featured in Animal Planet's "The Little Zoo that Could");[20] Pelican Place at Craft Farms, a shopping mall; and Waterville USA, a family amusement/waterpark.[21] The city is home to an annual three-day music festival on the beach each May, the Hangout Music Festival.[22]

The City of Gulf Shores is moving forward with plans to transform Gulf Place, the city’s most iconic stretch of beachfront and main public beach area with a $15 million Gulf Place Revitalization Project. Amenities will include a public boardwalk on the beachside of the parking areas and public green space, walking paths, shade structures, restrooms, and attractive landscaping. Sustainable and low-impact development strategies will be major components of the project, including on-site stormwater management and reuse. Beach dune restoration will be incorporated into the design to provide habitat and protection from storm surge.

Gulf Shores is a family friendly community whose government works to protect and enhance the quality of life for its residents, visitors and retirees, while promoting economic prosperity in a business-friendly atmosphere.

Jack Edwards National Airport is located in Gulf Shores and offers services from Gulf Air Center, Salt Air Aviation Center and Platium Air Center. The airport is located right in town, just two miles from the beach and is extremely convenient. Their FBO Gulf Air Center will gladly provide you with a rental vehicle and have you on your way to the beach or golf course or fishing, while they take care of fueling and storing your aircraft. There is 48 hour and long term parking available. The longest paved runway extends 6,962 feet .The facility is at an elevation of 17 feet. They offer outside tiedown as well as hangar space for your aircraft They can provide space by the night, week or on a monthly basis.


The Hangout owner Shaul Zislin has been criticized for overselling and marketing practices which have attracted undesirable tourists and caused overcrowding, traffic jams and overburdening of the city's police, EMS and waste disposal resources as well as noise pollution on what was once a quiet family oriented beach resort area. The public address system can often be heard over 2 miles away in Gulf State Park.[23]
Many Alabama residents have opposed the building of a new hotel on state property and the use of BP Oil spill funds to finance projects other than environmental repair. In 2016 the State of Alabama elected to close a road on State Park property with out any notice or warning. It is now used as a bicycle and hiking trail.[24]

In popular cultureEdit

Gulf Shores was referenced in the first episode of True Detective.


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Gulf Shores city, Alabama". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "EXTREME SETTLEMENTS: A COMPREHENSIVE LIST". Weekend Roady. 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  6. ^ "Monthly Averages for Gulf Shores, AL". The Weather Channel. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights" (for Gulf Shores, AL), US Census Bureau, 2007, webpage: US-Census-GulfShoresAL.
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  14. ^ 7thSpace (2011-10-01). "Last year's oil spill was predicted to lessen the interest in condos in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  15. ^ Guy Busby Press-Register. "Gulf Shores conducting survey of residents |". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  16. ^ "Craft Farms View Library Document: Awards, Articles & Accolades". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  17. ^ Baldwin, Chris (2008-04-01). "Winds of greatness: Kiva Dunes Golf Course is the best in Alabama". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  18. ^ "Gulf Shores Golf - Gulf Coast Golf Courses - Great Public Golf Courses". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  19. ^ "Alabama State Parks". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  20. ^ "Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo". Encyclopedia of Alabama. 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  21. ^ Name. "Things to do in Gulf Shores: Check out 16 Gulf Shores Attractions". TripAdvisor. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  22. ^ Amy Bickers. "Hangout Music Festival". Southern Living. Time Inc. Lifestyle Group. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  23. ^
  24. ^

External linksEdit