The City of Gulf Shores, Alabama
In the early 1800s a small fishing community resided in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The establishing of the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf State Park in the area during the late 1930s brought in more visitors and residents. Growth started almost immediately and Gulf Shores had cottages, tourist motels, family owned grocery stores and restaurants. At the beginning, the town was basically a summer tourist getaway destination and was almost deserted the rest of the year. A National Shrimp Festival began in 1971 and fishing rodeos were started to encourage business throughout the rest of the year
Gulf Shores was directly in the line of Hurricane Fredric in 1979. Surprisingly, development increased afterward to include new rental outlets, restaurants and condominiums leading to its becoming the City of Gulf Shores. The city lies in Baldwin County on the Gulf of Mexico. The population changes constantly with a large influx of summer tourists which can run in the hundreds of thousands. In the winter months Gulf Shores also welcomes "Snowbirds". They reside there for three to five months as winter turns to spring and then return to their northern homes the rest of the year.
Almost everyone in the area was employed in fishing, shrimping and catching oysters during the early settlement years. As real estate and tourism replaced these industries, the permanent residents of Gulf Shores' lifestyle diversified greatly.
Gulf Shores hosts an Annual Entertainment Series providing various musical groups the opportunity to play at the Erie Meyer Civic Center. Various bands provide shows that range from entertaining musical revues to big band hits, rock and roll classics to doo-wop. Some groups blow traditional jazz and Dixieland including strains of gospel, pop and country with more than one performance offered to include space for visitors as well as residents. For the 25th Anniversary season, Linda Davis performed her show: "Evening in the Round". She shared the stage with other legendary artists including Garth Brooks, George Strait, Kenny Rogers and Reba McEntire. The String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra played a retro 1940s revue with singers and dancers; they included all the big band instrumentals interspersed with romantic ballads. Emmy Award winner Cloris Leachman brought her "One Woman Show" to the Civic Center; her wildly hilarious show has received rave reviews wherever she performs.
Music at Meyer Park provides another musical venue. In October of 2013, "Willie Sugarcapps" will appear. They have appeared almost every weekend for the past two years in lower Alabama for a musical gathering known as The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm. Some of the country's finest songwriters, pickers, troubadours and blues singers join the festival. They enjoy coming to Gulf Shores viewing it as "coming full circle back to the beginning of why (they) do this in the first place and the joy of what happens when you play and sing with people who are alike in spirit and mind". Their collective experiences create a new variety of organic, artistic music. It is rock and roll that comes from classic country-blues.
Between the months of March and September, the City of Gulf Shores provides seasonal lifeguard services at protected public swimming areas. Lifeguard towers serve the following locations: East Gulf Place, Main Gulf Place, West Gulf Place, West 2nd Street, West 6th Street and Lagoon Pass. These and other areas serve as public beaches with nearby paid parking areas.
A Beach Warning Flag System warns swimmers of safety issues. The public should obey the flag warnings and all lifeguard directions. A green flag indicates a low risk: weak rip currents (isolated but potentially dangerous rip currents may still occur). Weak level swimmers should stay in shallow waters; yellow shows moderate risk: rip currents are likely. Tidal conditions could support more frequent and stronger rip currents. Weak swimmers shouldn't enter above their knee; and a red flag demonstrates a high risk of strong to very strong rip currents. Winds, tidal conditions and waves support the development of danger to swimmers' lives. All swimmers should stay out of the water.
Fishing and hunting are popular sports around Gulf Shores. Licenses are required in Alabama and can be purchased online before a vacation in the area. Bag limits and all state regulations are available on the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach host fishing charters and cruises that provide anglers with everything needed to enjoy the fishing experience of their lives. Cruises include entertaining and educational dolphin sightseeing tours that expand to the deep sea fishing trip. Nearby marinas supply docking for the travelers' boats, if they desire to use their own crafts. Alabama Gulf Coast CVB provides information on which fish are biting and how best to catch them. All fishing crafts need to check the Coastal Marine Forecast for the latest weather updates before leaving port.