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Gulf Shores, Alabama facts for kids

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Gulf Shores, Alabama
Condominiums and hotels on the beach
Condominiums and hotels on the beach
Small Town, Big Beach
Location of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, Alabama.
Location of Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, Alabama.
Country United States
State Alabama
County Baldwin
 • Total 33.21 sq mi (86.01 km2)
 • Land 28.36 sq mi (73.46 km2)
 • Water 4.84 sq mi (12.55 km2)
7 ft (2 m)
 • Total 15,014
 • Density 529.35/sq mi (204.38/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
36542, 36547
Area code(s) 251
FIPS code 01-32272
GNIS feature ID 0119462

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


Gulf Shores is located on the Gulf of Mexico at 30°16'4.069" North, 87°42'5.285" West (30.267797, −87.701468). It is the southernmost settlement in the state of Alabama. 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. Bordering Baldwin County are the following counties: Mobile, Washington, Clarke, Monroe and Escambia.

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.


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.

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
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.11
Source: The Weather Channel


Historical population
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%
2020 15,014 54.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Gulf Shores racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 13,062 87.0%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 307 2.04%
Native American 63 0.42%
Asian 161 1.07%
Pacific Islander 6 0.04%
Other/Mixed 793 5.28%
Hispanic or Latino 622 4.14%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 15,014 people, 5,810 households, and 3,347 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 9,741 people living 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. Of the population 1.23% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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. Of all households 26.7% 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.

Of the population 16.4% 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.


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. In October 2011, the city began a branding campaign to help it stand out from other coastal destinations in the area.

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 the Alabama - Craft Farms and Kiva Dunes. There are a total of nine signature golf clubs, as well as a state-owned 18-hole course. Other popular attractions include the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (as featured in Animal Planet's "The Little Zoo that Could"); Pelican Place at Craft Farms, a shopping mall; and Waterville USA, a family amusement/waterpark. The city is home to an annual three-day music festival on the beach each May, the Hangout Music Festival.

Jack Edwards National Airport is located in Gulf Shores.


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 cities 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 the Gulf State Park.
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.

In popular culture

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


On October 9, 2017, the City of Gulf Shores Council passed resolution No. 5876-17 to create the Gulf Shores City School System. This resolution effectively began the process for the City of Gulf Shores to break away from the Baldwin County School System. The resolution also created the first Gulf Shores City School Board of Education. The Board of Education is appointed by the Gulf Shores City Council. The first, and current, Gulf Shores City School Board members are:

  • Kevin S. Corcoran
  • Ralph R. Gold, Jr.
  • Nichole (Nicky) P. Gotschall
  • Dale Kayser Jernigan RN, MSN
  • Kelly L. Walker


  • Gulf Shores High School (grades 9–12)
  • Gulf Shores Middle School (grades 7–8)
  • Gulf Shores Elementary School (grades K–6)

Prior to 2019 it was a of the Baldwin County Public Schools system.

Coastal Alabama Community College is the area community college.

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