Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Top choice Nature Reserve

in Gulf Shores
Image by Tom Wyckoff / Getty Images
Image by Tom Wyckoff / Getty Images

Centuries ago, salt-lashed oak forest, inundated coastal prairie and great quilts of sawgrass covered the Gulf Coast. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge preserves this environment, and it is heart-meltingly beautiful. ‘Bon Secour’ means safe harbor in French, a worthy title for this 11-sq-mile refuge. Foxes, ospreys, otters, alligators, blue heron and sea turtles can all be found here, as well as four trails, none of which exceeds 4 miles in length or has appreciable elevation gain.

The beach here is one of the quieter ones in the Gulf Shores region.