Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Gulf Shores, Alabama
settlement_type = City


imagesize =
image_caption =
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imagesize =
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mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in Baldwin County and the state of Alabama


mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = Alabama
subdivision_name2 = Baldwin
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
established_date =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 59.6
area_total_sq_mi = 23
area_land_km2 = 47.6
area_land_sq_mi = 18.4
area_water_km2 = 12
area_water_sq_mi = 4.6
elevation_ft = 7
elevation_m = 2
population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 5044
population_metro =
population_density_km2 = 84.6
population_density_sq_mi = 219.3
timezone = Central (CST)
utc_offset = -6
latd = 30 |latm = 16 |lats = 4 |latNS = N
longd = 87 |longm = 42 |longs = 5 |longEW = W
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 36542, 36547
area_code = 251
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 01-32272
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0119462
footnotes =
website =

Gulf Shores is a coastal city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 Census, the population was 5,044. However, since the year 2000, Baldwin County, Alabama as a whole, has experienced the fastest rate of population growth in the state, second only to Shelby County, Alabama. "Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights" (for Gulf Shores, AL), US Census Bureau, 2007, webpage: [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=86000US36578&_geoContext=01000US%7C86000US36578&_cityTown=Gulf_Shores&_state=04000US01 US-Census-GulfShoresAL] .]

Overview

Gulf Shores is one of two (Orange Beach being the other one) seaside resorts in the state of Alabama. Most of the city is therefore devoted to beachfront hotels, condominiums, vacation houses and a tourism/real estate based economy. Because the nearby Mississippi Gulf Coast is protected by barrier islands, Gulf Shores is one of only two resort cities with a large beach, fronting the Gulf of Mexico between New Orleans, Louisiana and the well-known resorts of Florida. Gulf Shores is therefore more popular with populations in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana than the Florida resorts, which tend to be dominated by visitors from other regions of the United States. The adjacent resort city of Orange Beach offers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico for vessels, via Perdido Pass. The greater area is home to a very large charter fishing fleet. Gulf Shores is served by Jack Edwards Airport, which is located on the north side of town on Highway 59. To view area info visit: [http://www.gulfcoastfrbo.com/SitePages/BeachGuide.htm Gulf Coast Beach Guide] .

The extensive spring break destinations of Panama City Beach and Destin, Florida on the east side and the casinos of Gulfport and Biloxi to the west give Gulf Shores plenty of competition. During the winter months, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach both host a sizable population of "Snowbirds" primarily from the upper midwestern states. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach bore the brunt of Hurricane Ivan on September 16, 2004. Since Ivan, the beach has been restored and is kept in excellent condition with plenty of sand between the beachfront resorts and the surf. The entire Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area has been designated a "Go Zone" as a result of hurricane Ivan spurring unprecedented development with newly minted, towering structures now bristling along the beachfront as of early 2007. This building boom continues. An average yet well appointed beachfront condominium with two bedrooms and two baths can cost from $250,000 to $2,000,000 dollars depending on square footage and other factors.

Unincorporated Ft. Morgan, the City of Gulf Shores and the City of Orange Beach are contiguous from west to east respectively. The Intracoastal Waterway forms a canal starting at Mobile Bay to the west, and cuts through to the east, into Wolf Bay, forming an island. The combined stretch of beach from Ft. Morgan to Perdido Pass is roughly 30 miles in length and begins at the tip of Ft. Morgan, on the west end of the island. It then continues through the City of Gulf Shores, the City of Orange Beach, terminating at Perdido Pass. From there, a bridge connects Orange Beach to Perdido Key, Alabama which continues to the Florida state line. The Alabama Gulf Coast beach is renowned for its bright, "sugar white" sand. This is because the grains of sand that make up the beach are composed of quartz. This quartz sand although quite abrasive to CDs, sunglasses etc., is also very powdery, soft and comfortable to the feet. The warm Gulf of Mexico waters along the beachfront tend to have an emerald green tint due to the close proximity of the Mobile Bay estuarial system to the west, where the Mobile river delta meets the Gulf of Mexico. The prevailing west to east current along the beach brings suspended silt from the Mobile river delta toward the Florida panhandle thus giving the water its green tint. Gulf Shores is known for an abundance of gulf coast seafood dining, excellent fishing, and recent baseball standout D.J. Jones whom now plays professional baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Geography

Gulf Shores is located at 30°16'4.069" North, 87°42'5.285" West (30.267797, -87.701468).GR|1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.0 square miles (59.6 km²), of which, 18.4 square miles (47.6 km²) of it is land and 4.6 square miles (12.0 km²) of it (20.11%) is water.

Demographics

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 5,044 people, 2,344 households, and 1,544 families residing in the city. The population density was 274.3 people per square mile (105.9/km²). There were 6,810 housing units at an average density of 370.4/sq mi (143.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.54% White, 0.22% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. 1.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,344 households out of which 20.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.56.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.4% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 23.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,826, and the median income for a family was $51,862. Males had a median income of $40,259 versus $22,467 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,356. About 6.8% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Gulf Shores is a part of the Baldwin County Public Schools system.

An elementary school, middle school, high school, and a local community college serve the community.

Colleges

* Faulkner State Community College

Schools

Secondary schools

High schools

* [http://www.gs-hs.com/ Gulf Shores High School] (9-12)

Middle schools

* [http://www.gsmsdolphins.com/ Gulf Shores Middle School] (7-8)

Primary schools

* [http://www.gsesdolphins.com/ Gulf Shores Elementary School] (K-6)

Climate

Gulf Shores enjoys a very mild climate throughout the year. High temperatures in the winter average around 65 degrees; summer-time high temperatures average above 90 degrees. Gulf Shores also averages 61 inches of rainfall per year. The temperature however, can dip significantly at times, during the months of December, January, and February, occasionally as low as the lower 40s.

The location of Gulf Shores on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico makes it especially vulnerable to hurricanes. In September 1979, Gulf Shores received the full brunt of category 3 Hurricane Frederic which leveled most of the town. In September 2004, category 3 Hurricane Ivan made landfall only a few miles from Gulf Shores, causing extensive wind and flooding damage. Gulf Shores has recovered substantially from the results of the storm. Nearby Orange Beach suffered even greater damage from its location east of Ivan's eyewall. Over 800 homes (mainly condominiums) were destroyed by Ivan. Gulf Shores suffered an estimated 1.5 to 2 billion dollars in total damage from the hurricane. As a response to the damage from Hurricane Ivan, Gulf Shores, AL adopted the 2003 edition of the International Building Code in the immediate aftermath of the storm. These codes mandated a higher standard of construction, including the protection of glass openings using impact resistant glazing or hurricane shutters. Newly minted structures now bristle along the beach and throughout the area with a huge development boom currently underway. This boom has slowed substantially due to the general 2006 and 2007 housing market downturn and escalating insurance rates resulting from Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina.

Trivia

* Gulf Shores has a shallow lagoon known as "Little Lagoon" that is located just north of the western beach.
* Legend has it that "Perdido Key" or "Lost Key" got its name from Spanish pirates who moored their vessels in "Pirate's Cove" while waiting to intercept unsuspecting sailing ships in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
* Ft. Morgan while not officially within the city limits of Gulf Shores, is nonetheless considered an important part of the greater area with the fort itself having great historical significance.
* Along Ft. Morgan Road there is a federally protected wildlife reserve known as the "Bon Secour Wildlife Reserve." It is a pristine, popular place for "birding."

References

External links

* [http://www.cityofgulfshores.org/ City of Gulf Shores]
* Live Weather for Gulf Shores/Orange Beach: [http://gswx.net/live.php]


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