- Network with and learn from top media pros
- Access critical conservation and outdoor newsmakers
- Discover new outlets to sell your work
- Sharpen your professional skills at seminars and presentations
- Check out the latest outdoor gear – and the stories behind them
- Meet with editors and industry leaders
- Get inspired and more!
Know a great speaker or workshop instructor? We’d love to hear about them (especially if they’re from underrepresented outdoor communities such as BIPOC peoples, persons with a disability, LGBTQ+ peoples, etc.)! Click on these links to learn more:
- All keynote and breakout sessions, including the always popular ‘Meet the Editors’ panel
- Three meals/day (nine total), including the honorary awards banquet and even more compelling speakers
- Two 3-hour ‘deep dive’ workshops to further your skillset
- All breakout day activities (gear demos and more)
- Hospitality events (which generally include adult beverages and light snacks/appetizers)
- Coffee bar each morning
- Unique events like the fun run, photo scavenger hunt, membership meeting, and storytelling night
- Optional pre- and post-tour options
- The event takes place at The Lodge at Gulf State Park and attendees can reserve rooms between Sept. 5-13 at $164/night (Guests wishing to check availability to extend their stay should edit travel dates at the top of the landing page, then click the UPDATE icon. If the requested dates are not available at the group rate, reach out to Central Reservations at 1-800-618-4350 and mention group code OWA for assistance.)
- There are also three-bedroom cabins available in the park (a short bike ride away)
- A campground is also located nearby (also in the park and also a short bike ride away)
About the Destination
2023 marks the first time OWAA is taking an adventure to Sweet Home Alabama! The coastal towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, located on the northern Gulf of Mexico, may be known for their 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches, but as OWAA members will quickly discover, the beach is truly just the beginning.
Conference attendees will stay at the Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton hotel, acclaimed as an international benchmark in sustainable tourism development that sits on the beach in the 6,150-acre Gulf State Park. In the park itself, explore the nine different ecosystems accessible by the 28-mile Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail (be sure to look for Lefty, the resident alligator, as well as bald eagles, bobcats, gopher tortoise, coyotes, white-tailed deer and more). Birders will “flock” to the Alabama Coastal Birding Trails – including the 7,000-acre Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – as the area is on the migration flyway for more than 300 species of birds as well as monarch butterflies. Add in a “boat load” of water activities – kayaking, standup paddle boarding, deep sea fishing, inshore fishing, pier fishing and more – and you can see why OWAA will be singing along with “Sweet Home Alabama.”
The hosts, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, are eager to showcase their sustainability efforts to OWAA members. From “Leave Only Footprints” to keep their beaches clean and protect nesting sea turtles and shore birds, to the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability offering Jean Michel Cousteau’s “Ambassadors of the Environment” programs, to oyster farming and restaurant oyster shell recycling efforts, OWAA members will find endless stories to tell! The tourism office will also be working with the Alabama Tourism Department and other destinations across the state to curate stellar pre/post trips for media attendees.