If you’re looking for a sunny getaway, go no further than the Alabama Gulf Shores.
It’s a famed tourist getaway because of the fine white sands and near-perfect weather that can be enjoyed for most of the year.
There’s also a family-friendly vibe and plenty of wildlife to admire.
Alabama’s beaches are competitive with those of Florida, a state with which it often competes for tourists.
The sugar-white sand is its main draw.
The sand’s fine granules provide a soothing massage for your feet.
It’s comfortable to take strolls along the shore or lay down a towel to finally finish that novel you’ve been meaning to dive into.
The white sand beaches in the south are popular not just for swimming because of the warm waters but also for a wide range of water sports, from surfing to parasailing.
If you’d like to get up close and personal with nature, you can also go diving and go on jet ski dolphin tours.
There are plenty of things to do while down on the Gulf.Try Out Great Activities
Read on to find out which beach towns are calling your name this summer.
Best Beach Towns in Alabama
Both visitors and long-time residents of Gulf Shores flock to the town’s main public beach to enjoy the water and the lively atmosphere.
I can personally attest to it being one of the best Alabama beaches — and even one of the best I’ve ever visited in the world.
Before the sun worshippers arrive, take a stroll on the soft beach at sunrise to see the fishermen and local wildlife enjoying the ebbing and flowing of the tide.
There are now more ramps, walkways, green areas, wheelchair-accessible mats, changing rooms, and a theater near the beach, all thanks to a massive redevelopment effort.Book One Of These Activities
Don’t forget to walk along the Gulf State Park Pier and keep an eye out for pelicans as they compete with the local fishermen for fish.
If you’re visiting the area for the first time, this area is fantastic, thanks to its convenient location and plenty of guest facilities.
Alabama’s beaches are great for eco-tourists since local communities are dedicated to encouraging responsible tourism and keeping the beaches clean.
The Leave Only Footprints initiative in Gulf Shores prohibits visitors from bringing glass containers to the beaches in an effort to preserve the area’s unique ecosystems that draw people there in the first place.
Rather than staying in a hotel, you could reserve one of the local condo rentals and enjoy the conveniences of a home after a day at the beach.
The best way to find a local rental is to check out VRBO.
They’ll keep you close to the water and a number of popular eateries and attractions.
Related Reading: Fishing Charters In Gulf Shores Alabama – Learn More Here.
Its eight miles of white, sugary shoreline have made Orange Beach a popular vacation spot for families.
Here, visitors of all ages can relax and bask in the sun.
The abundant sea and land-based recreational opportunities, as well as the numerous tourist amenities, are the beach’s primary draws.
Sporting events and activities in Orange Beach include sailing and scuba diving at the first purposely sunk ship wreckage in Alabama.
Recreational fishing is also very popular in these parts.
The waters off Orange Beach are teeming with fish, including marlin, tuna, and red snapper. You could even try surf fishing!
There are plenty of Activities in Orange Beach.
Kids and their parents will love the adjacent Adventure Island Amusement Park and Arcade.
Here, you can make sun-filled memories with those you love.
Dauphin Island’s public beach offers a refreshing change of pace from the liveliness of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
The island stretches for 14 miles into the calm waves of the ocean.
Dauphin Island is actually my favorite beach in the entire Alabama region.
But I like to keep it a secret, well, except for this article, apparently 😂
Family hangouts (with pets!) are welcome on this beach.
The island is home to Fort Gaines, a fort from the nineteenth century that still has its original cannons.
It can be visited in tandem with a swim for the educationally inclined.
Rentals of bikes and kayaks are available, and there are a number of hiking trails in the area.
When traveling from Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, take the Mobile Bay Ferry from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island.
Of course, trip schedules are dependent on the weather.
If you’d rather drive, go south from Mobile to reach the island bridge that will take you to Dauphin Island.
Staying in Mobile or at a Gulf Shores resort will put you in the greatest position to maximize what this area offers.
I think it’s clear why it’s one of the best Alabama beaches.
Check VRBO below for some great beachfront options.
The little, charming Fort Morgan peninsula is home to one of Alabama’s most exceptional beaches.
The historic fort, which served as a military outpost during the Civil War and other conflicts, is surrounded by a sandy beach.
It is about 20 miles from the heart of Gulf Shores, but the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful scenery make the trip worthwhile.
You can visit Fort Morgan Beach if you pay the admission fee to the fort.
It is not technically a public beach.
The tranquil beach is a welcome change from the more crowded public beaches.
Going here can be a fun way to spend a day, with the added bonus of taking in the sights and relaxing by the ocean.
There are many different kinds of birds and other wildlife to see because a large portion of the land is protected as the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
Condo and beach house rentals are available with full kitchens, and two public beach access sites are available for day trips.
Related Reading: Beach Rentals At Fort Morgan – Find Out Here.
Romar Beach is one of the lesser-known but most breathtaking beaches in Gulf State Park.
Just a few miles east of Highway 59, it is a picturesque spot perfect for an active day at the beach or a leisurely picnic.
Some resorts and condos have been built in the area, but it is largely undeveloped, which is why there aren’t many amenities here.
The beach’s modest size is a plus point for many visitors.
Be advised that parking is limited, so plan your trip to this beach accordingly if you don’t have a condo nearby to park in.
Fairhope Beach, situated right off Mobile Bay, is a must-visit for those in search of a bustling beach scene and additional activities beyond lounging by the water’s edge.
As a whole, Fairhope, Alabama, and its beach are quite tranquil places to spend time in.
Fairhope Beach is a great area to go swimming because the waves are exceptionally gentle.
Numerous picnic areas provide welcome relief from the midday sun.
Park visitors who want to access the beach, shops, gardens, and the Fairhope Pier might have to pay an admission fee.
Many of Fairhope’s shops and restaurants are conveniently located on the town’s charming main street, making it ideal for strolling.
Plenty of hiking routes are nearby if you don’t want to spend all day at the beach.
There are plenty of other things to do in Fairhope. My wife and I like to take day trips over from our hometown of Mobile.
Related Reading: Best Restaurants In Fairhope, AL – Read More Here.
Cotton Bayou is a little beach strip sandwiched between two boardwalks, two freeways, and high-rise apartments.
The sand at this secluded spot is as white as it is at more popular public beaches in Orange Beach, but there are far fewer people here.
There are several places to eat close to the shore, and you can also spend time sprawled out on the sand.
There are showers and bathrooms available, making this beach quite practical.
There is a fee for parking here.
Cotton Bayou Beach is a beautiful spot because of its proximity to two historic cities in Alabama.
The magnificent scenery provides ample space for any activity, whether you’d want to surf, fish, or just relax and frolic.
Check Trivago below for some great beach stay options.
Robinson Island is a popular destination for swimmers and boaters in the region.
There are three tiny islands north of the Perdido Pass bridge, and Robinson Island is one of them.
The residents love these islands because they are secluded and can only be reached by boat.
Bird and Walker Islands, and the surrounding area, are important nesting grounds for a variety of shorebirds.
As such, visitors are strongly advised to restrict their activities to the beach areas.
No pets are allowed on the island, which is yet another rule that visitors must abide by.
Robinson Island is a little piece of heaven in the back bays since the ecology around it is protected.
Beautiful natural vegetation and wildlife have been preserved by the city to add to the scenic value of the waterfront.
Take an island boat that stops at Robinson Island for a swim to get there.
Alternatively, you can take a day trip to the islands on a kayak.
Related Reading: Things To Do In Dauphin Island – Click Here To Find Out.
Little Lagoon Pass
The public beach at Little Lagoon Pass is great for families with kids.
It is directly opposite the point where Little Lagoon meets the Gulf of Mexico.
If you’re searching for a spot with easy access to the beach and conveniences like public parking, restrooms, and outdoor showers, this one fits the bill.
Cautious parents will appreciate the calmer, shallower waters.
Little Lagoon Pass also has a tiny public park where you may find a shady place to eat your midday meal.
You can spend the entire day at the beach without having to move from one spot to the next because everything is quite close by.
North Beach Park
Perhaps Orange Beach or Gulf Shores comes to mind when you think of the prettiest beaches in Alabama.
Change things up a bit by checking out North Beach Park!
This area in Fairhope, Alabama, is a bit more of a secret.
You can relax on the beach, use the fitness equipment, stroll the boardwalks, watch the seabirds, let your child play with the sand diggers, or have a picnic in the shade of the beach pavilion.
There is a paved walking track around the park, as well as a duck pond and pier with views of Mobile Bay.
Those who like to keep moving may appreciate the Beach Park Tree Trail.
Nearly 500 different kinds of trees can be found throughout the trail.
The park welcomes leashed canine visitors, attracts photographers with its picturesque setting, and is ideal for families with young children, thanks to its playgrounds.
Many of Alabama’s finest shores can be found on Pineywood Island.
This island can be found in Tallapoosa County’s Lake Martin.
It’s a lake, we know, thanks. 😏
Watercraft are the only means of access to the island.
This area offers several entertaining activities, such as renting a pontoon boat or paddling out to the island.
One of Alabama’s cleanest beaches can be found on this tiny island.
When you get to the island, you can relax on a hammock, set up some chairs, play some outdoor games, have a picnic, and much more.
Consider bringing a barbecue and folding table if you want to spend the whole day at the beach.
Barbecuing and spending the day lounging on Pineywood Island Beach is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
What Makes Alabama’s Gulf Coast So Special
You can adopt a sea turtle nest!
At least 50,000 critically endangered loggerheads, kemps ridley, and green sea turtles have hatched on the Gulf Coast of Alabama since 2003.
Mother turtles typically nest on the same beaches year after year during the summer.
[Witnessing sea turtles hatching is on my personal bucket list!]
From May through October, volunteers in Alabama patrol over 50 miles of nesting habitat to protect sea turtle eggs from natural and human-caused dangers.
Sponsoring a turtle nest is a time-honored practice shared by locals and tourists.
More turtle hatchlings will be able to make it from the dune fields to the Gulf of Mexico thanks to the support of sponsors who assist pay for tracking and monitoring equipment.
You can explore six ecosystems.
Alabama is one of the top five states when it comes to biodiversity, making it a paradise for nature lovers.
Gulf State Park is a fantastic place to take in the park’s wide array of natural attractions.
It spans 27 miles and is made up of 18 paved pathways that run through a variety of habitats.
There are live oak maritime forests, longleaf sand hills, wet pine Flatwoods, coastal dunes and swales, coastal hardwood swamps, and freshwater marshes.
You can even witness gopher tortoises and the legendary one-armed alligator Lefty near Rosemary Dunes.
Keep your eyes out for the elusive armadillos, bobcats, and white-topped pitcher plants.
The long trail has many seats (and swings), perfect for taking in the beauty before continuing on to the butterfly pavilion.
The food is out-of-this-world.
You can get seafood straight off the boat and have it prepared however you like (fried, grilled, blackened, etc.)
The spectacular Southern food is all served with a side of warm Southern hospitality.
Explore the area’s wide assortment of dining alternatives with the help of themed food tours, which range from beach burgers to delicate pastries.
This is a foodie’s haven.
This is the perfect location for those who love to fish.
The Alabama Gulf Coast is home to one of the largest charter fleets in the country, with more than a hundred fishing charter boats operating each day.
Those that venture into the Gulf’s greenish-blue waters do so in the hopes of reeling in a monster catch.
Fortunately, it’s unusual for them to venture out without catching anything.
As part of the first and largest structured artificial reef program in the country, 13 inshore reefs have been built using recycled bridge material.
The aim was to ensure a healthy population of white trout, redfish, flounder, cobia, and mackerel.
Out in deeper water, you can find an abundance of snapper, wahoo, tuna, and grouper.
Charter crews have extensive knowledge of the Gulf waterways and can customize itineraries to suit guests’ preferences.
Once you’re returned to the land, you’re free to savor the fruits of your labor.
It’s time for a seafood feast!
It’s easy to get accommodations with an ocean view.
More than 17,000 lodgings are available on the Alabama Gulf Coast, many of which have a view of the water.
You have over thirty hotels to choose from and many beachfront full-house residences that provide all the conveniences of home.
After a day at the beach, you and your family can have a cup of coffee on your hotel’s balcony while watching the sunset, or you can open the windows to let in some fresh air.
For these types of bookings, we recommend VRBO, as you can find beachfront homes.Check VRBO Beach Listings
It’s a treat for history buffs.
Touring Mobile Bay is a common activity for vacationers staying in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Guests can explore two historic vessels from World War II: the battleship USS Alabama and the submarine USS Drum.
The former led the American forces into Tokyo Bay after Japan’s surrender.
The latter is the oldest US submarine open to the public and is credited with sinking 15 Japanese ships.
Visit the Aircraft Pavilion to see nearly 30 planes from the early 20th century to the Cold War, including a CIA A-12 Black Bird spy plane from 1965.
See famous tanks and other military vehicles, and pay your respects at the park’s monuments to the fallen.
Related Reading: Things To Do In Alabama – Learn More Here.
Final Thoughts – Best Beach Spots in Alabama
Seeing Alabama’s stunning natural beauty for yourself is as easy as visiting any of the state’s many beaches.
You’ll have your work cut out for you if you’re trying to decide which Alabama beaches to visit.
Try to visit a lot of them if the opportunity presents itself.
Alabama is a great travel destination because it offers something for everyone, whether you’re searching for a relaxing weekend by the bay, a remote wilderness experience, or a luxurious vacation.
On a side note, it is almost Mardi Gras season in Alabama, with fun-filled parades happening in many cities, including Mobile, Fairhope, Dauphin Island, etc.
Mardi Gras actually started in my city of Mobile Alabama, not New Orleans — just a little fun fact for ya 😏