Leave Only Footprints Campaign
Leave Only Footprints - for the Love of our Beach!
We all love our beaches and each of us is responsible for protecting and preserving them. The cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores strive to provide a safe, clean, family-friendly environment for everyone.
For more information on the Leave Only Footprints Campaign, please visit the Leave Only Footprints website for some tips for enjoying our coast responsibly, along with some rules, regulations and resources.
Beach Rules & Regulations
The following are regulated by local, state or federal laws or ordinances that are enforced on our beaches. Enjoying our coastline responsibly ensures a more positive experience for you and helps ensure the safety of all our visitors and the sustainability of our natural resources.
- Any structures or equipment left on the beach an hour after sunset will be removed and disposed of by beach patrol (except for permitted beach services). Individual lodging properties and land owners may allow tents and shelters in designated areas during the day. Learn the rules for your stretch of beach. These items are not allowed on our beaches:
- Fire (including grills, generators, and lanterns)
- Glass containers
- Loud music
- Metal shovels or excessive digging (over twelve inches deep)
- Overnight camping
- Tent/Shelter Rules (PDF):
- A tent, canopy or structure is anything with more than a single point of contact with the ground
- Tents or structures larger than 12 feet by 12 feet are not allowed
- Tents or structures larger than 7 feet wide and/or 4 feet high, must be placed north of Leave Only Footprints marker post/flags
- Designated travel/access corridors must remain clear at all times
- Keep off the dunes. Staying off the dunes will help us to preserve our dune system and the habitat it provides. Use beach walkovers and boardwalks where provided.
- Observe and obey the Beach Warning Flag System. Double red flags mean the waters are closed for your safety.
- Be respectful of private property beyond the bounds of your lodging property.
Effective in 2016, the cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores ask that you please remove all your personal items from the beach one hour after sunset.
Pack up the beach chairs, gather the beach toys, fold and carry out the tent, and recycle or throw away all trash in a designated receptacle. All abandoned items will be removed for the protection of our beaches, local wildlife, and the many visitors who will enjoy our clean coast for generations to come.
Going Green Tips - Take a Stand for Our Sands
Small choices every day make a big difference in reducing personal impacts on the environment. The City of Orange Beach and the Leave Only Footprints Campaign challenges everyone to implement these simple green practices into your life. From grocery shopping to going out to eat, it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive to go green and to take a stand for our sands.
- Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store
- Use reusable water bottles to reduce single-use plastics
- Go with direct-to-cooler options at ice dispensers to reduce ice bags ending up in our waterways and harming marine life
- Turn off the water while brushing teeth. Running water for two minutes can waste up to five gallons of water
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
- Use paperless bill pay
- What do the beach flags mean?
Yellow - Moderate risk surf conditions / current
Purple - Dangerous marine life
- How can I get the beach conditions info?
Text ALBEACHES to 888777 for daily conditions.
- Can I metal detect on the beach?
Yes! You may use a metal detector and small sifting shovel to uncover found items but be sure to fill in any holes.
- Are there sharks in the water?
Yes! The gulf is their natural habitat, we are the visitors! If you see one don't panic, slowly move towards shore without splashing, flailing, or making excessive noise
- Can I fish from the beach?
Yes, but be respectful of others when placing fishing poles. Share the beach!
- Can I feed the birds?
No, you should never feed native wildlife. Feeding wildlife leads to the disruption of their natural behaviors and dependency on humans for food. This in turn becomes a dangerous situation for the animal as it puts them in harm's way (for example, feeding a pelican fish and then it getting entangled in fishing line.) It is better for them to hunt naturally and eat their wild diet.
- Do the beaches have a closing time at night?
The beaches do not close at night but please be mindful of the noise ordinance.
- My items I left on the beach are missing. Can I get them back?
Any beach equipment left unattended on the beach one hour after sunset until sunrise as defined by NOAA for Orange Beach, Alabama, each day will be deemed abandoned, and shall be disposed of accordingly and will not be returned. Any items of value collected will be turned in to the police department.