Gulf State Park has two miles of beaches, a spacious campground and a brand new Lodge and Conference Center to greet you. Yes, we have gorgeous white sand,surging surf, seagulls and a variety of activities, but there is more than sand and surf to sink your toes into.
There is something for everyone inside Gulf State Park Campground. The beach pavilion provides picnic tables as an escape from the beach, the nature center is a great place for the kids to learn, the swimming pool provides refreshment for our guests and the Lake Shelby day use area offers kayaking and canoeing. For a change of pace while visiting check out the fishing and education pier, miles of biking on the Backcountry trail, beautiful flowers in the butterfly garden, and additional education at the learning campus, interpretive center in the near future.
This place is very cool. I love the raised boardwalk style bike paths all over the place. Our kids rode their bikes all over the place here. You can also take a path to the beach or the pier. Just a nice place. We camped in a tent here… but we were literally the only tent here that week. Everyone was in an RV. We have since purchased a pop up camper so we will return and fit in better lol…
We stayed on the main road of the park and were concerned about a possible noise issue. We were pleased that after hours it was very quiet. Our spot was nice and flat but unfortunately no shade during the hot afternoon hours. We walked the trail system extensively and loved it. Also from our camper door to the beach was only 1.25 miles…..win from my standpoint. Used the laundry facility and was very impressed on the cost and cleanliness. Another win!!
This was one of the best places in the south I’ve camped. Sites were level, the park was beautiful, miles of biking/walking trails, a pool, close to the beach and pier. Full Hookups. Clean restrooms. Laundry. You could spend weeks here and not run out things to do.
Let me start by saying this is a very large park with a variety of campground options so I will do my best to first review the overall park then discuss each of the sites individually. The park sits alongside the gulf coast and has multiple access points to the beach. It also has an extensive paved trail network that is perfect for all kinds of activities including running, walking, and biking. While visiting the park we biked and explored the butterfly garden which I highly recommend. We also had the chance to visit the pier and the education center and everything is so well organized and taken care of. Overall, there is so much to explore you will definitely need multiple days worth of adventure. There are two major campground areas in the park and I will start by discussing the yurt option.
There are several yurts that are set up and organized for camping during certain parts of the year that each have 4 cots and a fire pit. There is also a large pump sink and a wild west looking shower in this area. If this option is available I would highly suggest checking it out. It is perfect for groups and provides a nice private area to spend your night away from the more crowded RV sites. This area is also centrally located and remote from the remainder of the park so you will have an incredible view of the night sky. The site is kept very clean and mostly covered in sand so it was wonderful to walk around barefoot. Finally, although you will have to bike or hike to get to these sites there is already firewood available for purchase so you won’t have to carry that in with you.
The tent/RV area is very large and has a variety of amenities that will make your stay very enjoyable. Overall, it is on the slightly more expensive side for a campground but provides easy access to the beach and is significantly less than many of the nearby hotels. One thing I really liked was that they have created a separate area for tent-only sites from the combined tent/RV spaces. This gives you a slightly more rustic experience if that is what you look for. On top of all the usual features, they have a pool and picnic areas that campground guests can use and don’t forget to stop by the wildlife education center. You can also join in for one of the rangers led educational walks to see wildlife around the park
**Product Review:** As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products. At this campground, I tried out the Morsel Spork XL. After eating several meals using this innovative spork some of my favorite features are:
- Length: I got the long-handled spork to be able to use it both for regular campground meals on plates or bowls and also with backpacking meal bags and eating out of cookware which each has its own needs in terms of reachability. However, until I opened the package I didn’t imagine just how long the XL spork was and this was very exciting to see. I haven’t had a camping tool that provides nearly as much reach as the Morsel Spork. Besides the obvious use of reaching to the bottom of a dehydrated backpacking meal bag, the long spork is also incredibly helpful for not burning yourself while cooking in deep pots or stirring large meals without worrying about getting your hands dirty.
- Multi-edged spoon: The spork spoon end is designed to have both a rounded edge and a sharp-angled edge both with a flexible rubber edging. This makes it even more multifunctional by allowing it to clean any remaining food out of all types of pots and bowls. I found this was helpful to enjoy every last bit of our delicious camping food and made clean up so much easier. Its such a simple design idea but makes such a huge difference in practice.
- Durability: I loved how lightweight the plastic material was but also didn’t ever worry about it snapping or breaking during use or in my backpack. They used a strong but slightly flexible plastic that won’t easily snap in half but also can withstand heavy use in tough foods. We were able to use the spork to cut through hard cheeses and also mix rice dishes. The curved shape of the long handle gives it extra strength and they even designed it to be washed in the dishwasher when you get home. Overall, this is the best spork I have ever used and has even become part of my daily lunchbox. When you use it to eat while camping you can quickly tell the amount of thought that went into engineering each aspect and finding the way to make it not only effective but also last you many years of adventure.
Loved this park. Kids love the splash pad Bigs sites Food trucks Site store Boat ramps Nice pool Access to the beach And between gulf shores and orange beach. Conveniently located to everything
We stayed 4 nights at Gulf State Park, over the 4th of July, 2019. We made the reservations online, and would have done better to have made them a few months earlier, so that we could have insured more shade for our site. But, we could see the lake across the road, and we were really close to the air conditioned bath house/restrooms, and within a short walk from the swimming pool, nature center, lily pond, camp store, air conditioned laundry, tennis courts,swings, etc. It was a pretty good site, if lacking good shade. There was a camp dog show, a poster contest, a bicycle decorating parade/contest, and an ongoing day camp for the kids (seemed to be Christian based, and we didn’t have time to check it out). The beach is not close enough to walk, but you drive to a parking lot and walk out on the boardwalk next to a pavilion which has restrooms, and an outdoor shower to help you get rid of sand. Waves are pretty calm, so older kids a can enjoy it without having to have an adult holding them. Nice afternoon breezes. When we needed medical care for a problem, the staff were very helpful in telling us which place would be best for our needs. Friendly staff all round. We all felt very safe in this campground.
If you like riding your bike, fishing or going to the beach this is a great campground. Typical state park shower houses but clean. We stay here a couple time a year and are never bored.
We spent the weekend at the Lodge (incredible, by the way, and commendable for being so sustainable!) and was so impressed by the entire park. Lots of trails, lakes, and ocean front beaches. In a red state where environmentalist practices can be hard to come by, the park does an excellent job of keeping nature in tact. The lodge is great, but there are water front cabins and cottages, back country platform tents, car-accessible tent spots and RV spots. Definitely bring bikes and kayaks…and bug spray. Pro tip: you don’t have to be a guest of the Lodge to use their pool, beachfront or restaurants!
GSP has become a yearly destination for our family! The park is really nice and plenty to do for all. Pad sites are blacktop, full hookup. Miles and miles of trails to walk or ride, wildlife galore, fresh water lakes within the park to fish, close to great surf fishing and not to mention nice beaches to waste away on! If you can’t find something to your liking at GSP, you aren’t trying very hard!
All modern conveniences. Must book way, way in advance, especially holidays and spring break.