Nothing soothes the soul like a day by the ocean, and Alabama beaches deliver just that. The warm waters of the gulf and soft white sand make the beaches of Alabama a prime location for laid-back beach lovers.
Whether traveling with the whole family, just the two of you, or with a group of friends, Alabama offers unforgettable beach memories. Each beach brings something different to the table, so keep reading to determine which one best suits your beach vacation bucket list.
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Best Beaches in Alabama
1. Gulf Shores Main Public Beach
Located where Highway 59 halts to a stop, the Gulf Shores Main Public Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Alabama. Alabama’s iconic seaside location has long stretches of sandy surroundings, a vibrant beach community, abundant amenities, and a soothing coastal horizon.
Beach volleyball and spike ball, among other outdoor games, are ideal for sun-loving families.
Four entrances provide ample beach access. With a small fee, you can park close to the beach for the entire day, which makes unloading your gear convenient. In addition, there are restrooms, showers, open-air pavilions, and picnic areas available on-site.
2. Orange Beach
Orange Beach is the perfect place to experience Mother Nature’s magic. Travelers come to this spot because of its many fun activities and attractions. With over eight miles of white sand beaches, guests can play golf, rent a bicycle, go kayaking, or take a walk if they get too bored lounging on the beach.
The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, over 15 miles long, contains six ecosystems home to birds and other wildlife you don’t come across daily, such as otters, wild boars, and alligators. Take in the scenic beauty of Orange Beach on your next vacation to Alabama.
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3. Romar Beach
Romar Beach is the perfect beach if you want to lay low and escape the crowds. Although this beach is on the smaller side, there is plenty of space for you to unwind and relax along the Gulf of Mexico’s temperate waters.
Sometimes austere locations are the best to enjoy your day, and Romar Beach proves that. Whether you take a dip in the ocean or stay ashore with a book in hand, you will experience nature’s finest. In addition, Gulf State Park, which we will talk about next, is nearby, so you aren’t too far from amenities.
4. Gulf State Park
Guests get the best of both worlds when visiting Gulf State Park. This is the perfect beach to keep you busy but also relaxed, so it’s a popular option for large groups.
There are 28 miles of trails, 2 miles of beaches, and 900 acres within Lake Shelby to paddle or swim in.
Known as the safest beach for kids, Gulf State Park has many amenities to entertain children. During the day, kids can explore the nature center. At night, you can enjoy a picnic at the beach pavilion. A pool is also available if you want to escape from the sand for a bit.
Read More: Best Beaches on the Gulf Coast
5. Dauphin Island Beach
Located on the southernmost point of the state, Dauphin Island Beach is known as the “Sunset Capital of Alabama.” Guests can enjoy a panoramic 14-mile beach that is pet and family-friendly, with a pristine shoreline.
Historical landmarks Fort Gaines, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab are some of the area’s best attractions. Set time aside to visit them while at Dauphin Island Beach, where you can enjoy the views of the gulf or spend the day looking for seashells.
In addition, this location offers camping opportunities for those interested in roughing it.
6. Cotton Bayou Beach
Cotton Bayou Beach is one of the most lovely Alabama beaches. It is on the outskirts of Orange Beach and Gulf State Park. Found where Highway 182 and 161 intersect, this beach offers fun activities in a quaint area.
Indulgent scenery is what makes this beach so unique. You can do anything you want in the majestic landscape, from surfing to fishing to tanning.
There are restrooms, outdoor showers, as well as free parking here. Make sure to arrive early because this beach is quaint but highly visited, so parking and prime beach spots fill up quickly.
7. Fort Morgan Beach
Fort Morgan is a National Historic Landmark that occupies a small area about 20 miles west of Gulf Shores. It was built there in 1834 to guard Mobile Bay.
Fort Morgan Beach offers its visitors a beach experience like no other. This area was named a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. So, if you are a birdwatcher or love animals of any kind, this beach is the spot for you.
In addition to exotic bird viewings, one of Fort Morgan Beach’s most popular attractions is deep-sea fishing. Visitors will love the gulf’s beautiful clear water views and the sounds of crashing waves that this location offers.
8. Fairhope Beach
Among the attractions at Fairhope’s North Beach Park are a paved walking trail, white sand, a 1,448-foot-long pier, and a duck pond. Additionally, Fairhope is known for being the best beach for swimming because of its lack of waves.
The calm waters allow for a day filled with kayaking, speed boating, and snorkeling. Aside from the beach, this artistic city is known for its seafood, shops, and art galleries.
If you can plan to visit in March, you will get to see the town fully immersed in its annual free Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival.
9. Florida Point Beach
Florida Point Beach is in the area that connects Cotton Bayou, Terry’s Cove, and Bayou Saint John to the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors love that this beach offers soft sand along the mile-long peninsula.
If you want to escape the busyness of Gulf Shores but do not want to venture far away, Florida Point Beach is an excellent choice. For those looking to surf, the western side of the beach is where you want to be.
Make sure to pack light because the free parking area is a little ways away. You may also hear Florida Point Beach referred to as Perdido Pass or Alabama Point by locals.
10. Robinson Island
Robinson Island is a perfect day trip destination when you are staying in Orange Beach. This secluded island pairs gorgeous views and serenity, making it a popular destination among its visitors.
Whether you own or rent a boat, jet ski, stand-up paddleboard, or kayak, Robinson Island offers a fun adventure. Unlike the main coast of Alabama, Robinson Island amenities are few and far between. Plan accordingly and bring everything you need if you intend to go.
Robinson Island is a bird sanctuary with many wading herons and terns nesting, so make sure you clean up after yourself to help protect the animals.
Where to Stay Near Alabama Beaches
Paradise Isle Resort
Paradise Isle Resort offers world-class facilities conveniently located right across the street from the beach. On-site amenities include an outdoor pool, hot tub, barbeque grills, and laundry facilities.
In addition, each villa boasts a fully-equipped kitchen and separate living room areas for maximum comfort. The southern hospitality at this Bluegreen Vacations resort is the perfect addition to your Alabama vacation.
Paradise Isle Resort is in Gulf Shores, Alabama so stay here if you want to visit Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, Gulf State Park, and Fort Morgan Beach. In addition, Fairhope Beach is about an hour away if you want to take a day trip there and experience all this artistic city has to offer.
Escapes! To The Shores
Escapes! To The Shores is a Ramada by Wyndham oceanfront resort situated on the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of Orange Beach. In addition to beach access, this resort offers access to an indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs, and a fitness center.
Accommodations include studio and two-bedroom condo-style units, so you can bring the whole family or just the two of you. Not to mention, you might even see a dolphin from your private balcony.
Escapes! To The Shores is in Orange Beach, Alabama. Stay here if you want to visit Orange Beach, Romar Beach, Cotton Bayou Beach, Florida Point Beach, and Robinson Island.
The beaches of Alabama offer everything from seashell finding and sunning to just about any water sport imaginable. Whether you take a day trip to Robinson Island, play volleyball at Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, or enjoy the tranquility of Romar Beach, this is the place to make unforgettable beach vacation memories.
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.