The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make kayaking a relaxing recreation on the bays of Orange Beach, Alabama from April through Thanksgiving. The sea life and wildlife in the area are what make the paddles entertaining. Orange Beach is on an island located at the southern most point of Alabama between Perdido Key south of Pensacola, Florida and Mobile Bay to the west. The town touches the Gulf of Mexico's famous "sugar white" beaches on the south side; and north of town there are several large bays, leading to the mainland. Since the intercoastal waterway from Mobile Bay runs east to west through the bays and huge tugs and barges navigate the intercoastal waterway daily, kayakers can enjoy paddling in the swells created by their waves but must keep a look out for the tugs that push through the intercoastal waterway at a deceptive speed for the size of the barges.
Orange Beach has ten designated public canoe trail heads on the bays and coves. Several of the trail heads have community piers for public use. Some are simply sandy launch paths into the water. One particular canoe trail head on Wolf Bay is at the Orange Beach public park, which has a large pier, picnic area, play area for children and the city art gallery and glass blowing studio. There is sufficient parking for cars with kayaks on blocks or for trucks hauling kayaks in beds. At this trail head the water from shore is shallow for about one hundred feet out, but the dolphins usually show up as soon as the kayaks reach the deeper water closer to the intercoastal waterway. Because Orange Beach is a watercraft community the dolphins are friendly and will swim and play near the kayaks. It is not unusual for dolphins to leap from the depths and flap their heart-shaped tails next to paddlers. From the city pier it is an easy paddle north into Wolf Bay with scenic views of eagles and osprey or east toward Bear Point, crossing Bay La Launch to Pirates Cove and Soldiers Creek. There is a small bar and grill on the beach at Pirates Cove. It is just a matter of pulling the kayak up onto the sand for an order of beer and fried onion rings. Because the cove is deep there are many sailboats stored in the water there. Since Hurricane Ivan in November 2004, several sailboats have been abandoned in the deep waters of the cove. It is a haunting sight - the sailboat graveyard in Pirates Cove. Some have foundered near the bank; some are still afloat. Most have tall masts and furled sails as though it is just a matter of pulling anchor and unfurling sails to dance in the waves of the bay and through the pass into the swollen seas of the Gulf of Mexico.
A popular point to put kayaks in the water is Boggy Point boat ramp just north of the pass under the bridge at Alabama Point (take Marina Road from Orange Beach Boulevard). Kayakers can paddle through the pass into the Gulf of Mexico or they can cross the bay to Robinson Island, which is owned by the City of Orange Beach and is a sanctuary for nesting Great Blue Heron. An easy paddle around Robinson Island, Bird Island, and Walker Island provides the opportunity to see dolphins, jumping shrimp, blue crabs and several different kinds of birds. Kayaking at Orange Beach is always surprising; take your camera and water-proof binoculars. Rental kayaks are plentiful in Orange Beach.