Little Lagoon, covering 2,480 acres, is the largest in a series of five coastal lakes in Alabama.
About three quarters of a mile wide and eight miles long, the lagoon is bounded on the east by the City of Gulf Shores main commercial thoroughfare, Highway 59. To the west, the lagoon becomes part of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. The north and south shores are primarily low-density residential developments, with a few condominium structures in the mix.
Tides flow from the Gulf of Mexico through Lagoon Pass, which means the water is brackish and salt water species can be found inside the lagoon. On the shore, raccoon, foxes, and marsh rabbits are among the frequently seen inhabitants.
What Makes It Great
So many choices! On the east end, you can paddle through marsh grass in search of wading birds and wildlife. On the northern and southern shores, you can take a break on sandy beaches. On the west end, the lake is all natural.
If you want to fish, follow the salt water flow along the southern side west of Lagoon pass.
Wherever you are on the lagoon, you may see bald eagles—and you’re almost certain to see herons, egrets, pelicans, and gulls. The west end is perfect for bird watching. A list of 379 bird species spotted in the area is available as a checklist from the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
You can even venture out into the Gulf, though the current through the pass is swift. Check for red small craft advisory pennants at Little Lagoon Park.
Whether your preference is getting close to nature or paddling for exercise, there’s plenty to explore in Little Lagoon.
Who is Going to Love It
When you’re ready for a vacation from the crowds on the beach, enjoy a few hours paddling around Little Lagoon. The protected water is perfect for beginners, but the size of the lake offers a workout challenge for paddlers of any level.
April through October is the best time for paddleboards and kayaks, when the water temperature is averages in the 70s and 80s. The air temperature is usually warm enough for canoeing year round.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
If you have all the gear you need, head straight for Mo's Landing, 18068 Fort Morgan Road; Lagoon Pass Park, 1660 W. Beach Boulevard; or the Jeff Friend kayak launch in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. (Look for brown NWR/Jeff Friend signs on the south side of Fort Morgan Road west of Peninsula Golf Course.)
Parking is free in all three locations; the city parks have public restroom facilities, outdoor showers, and water fountains. West of the Jeff Friend launch, there’s a trailhead with wildlife guides.
If you need to rent a kayak, canoe, or SUP, try one of the lagoon-front outfitters: Down Under Dive Shop, 1129 Gulf Shores Parkway; Kayaks and Stand-Up Board Rentals, 911 Gulf Shores Parkway; or Ike's Beach Services, 800 West Beach Blvd. In addition, a web search will show a range of outfitters with delivery options.