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8 Best Beaches in Alabama

The state of Alabama has a thriving coastal community that draws travelers from all over the nation. With white sand beaches and crystal clear water, Alabama’s beachfront is one of the best places to visit in the state. No matter if you’re looking for a place to camp, a bustling city with a lively beach scene, or a great seafront nature trail, there is a beach on this list to cater to all types of travelers. Embrace the state’s sandy shoreline through these top beaches in Alabama.

Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, Gulf Shores Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, Gulf Shores
Credit: Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, Gulf Shores by © Wirestock | Dreamstime.com

Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, Gulf Shores

This list kicks off with one of the most notable beach destinations in Alabama and one of the best beaches in the U.S. – Gulf Shores. Now, there are a number of beaches within the city of Gulf Shores. However, Gulf Shores Main Public Beach, also referred to as Gulf Place, is a popular destination for out-of-towners. This expansive shoreline has restrooms, showers, and lifeguards on duty. The beach also has active seaside businesses nearby, such as bars, restaurants, and shops. Along with an amphitheater, wheelchair-accessible areas, and sand volleyball pits, you can count on this area of Alabama for a bustling beach scene. Since the main beach at Gulf Shores offers a lively and sometimes crowded shore during the summer, travelers looking to avoid the crowds should consider visiting during the off-season between October and May. 

Fort Morgan Beach, Fort Morgan Fort Morgan Beach, Fort Morgan
Credit: Fort Morgan Beach, Fort Morgan by © George Dodd | Dreamstime.com

Fort Morgan Beach, Fort Morgan

Located west of Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan Peninsula offers a quieter beach experience than the more popular beaches in the area. With much of the peninsula reserved as a protected wildlife area, Fort Morgan retains its natural elements, from its soft, fine sand to the array of bird species found here. Accessing the beach on the peninsula is easier to do when you are staying at one of the area hotels or one of its dreamy beach house rentals. However, the beach is not the main reason travelers head to Fort Morgan. This peninsula is home to a military site that dates back to 1834 and is now known as a National Historic Landmark. 

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores
Credit: Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores by © Mfmegevand | Dreamstime.com

Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores

Families traveling to the Alabama coast should consider vacationing at Gulf State Park. This state park offers more than just a gorgeous sandy shore. Family-friendly attractions are also found within the park, such as a swimming pool, multi-use trails, and Shelby Lake, where you can paddle and kayak. There are actually a number of spectacular beaches found along the miles of shoreline here, including Romar Beach and Cotton Bayou Beach. For easy access to the beaches in the park, consider camping (Gulf State Park is home to some of the most beautiful campgrounds in the state) or staying at a cabin, cottage, or even the beachfront lodge. Along with fishing piers and a nature center, Gulf State Park is an ideal spot for a well-rounded getaway on the Alabama coast.  

North Beach Park, Fairhope North Beach Park, Fairhope
Credit: North Beach Park, Fairhope by Joseph Brooke via Flickr.com

North Beach Park, Fairhope

The calm waters that meet the shore of Fairhope, Alabama are great for swimmers and families with small children. Located off Mobile Bay, the city of Fairhope is a small yet eclectic town full of art galleries, parks, local eateries, and beaches. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful small towns to visit in the U.S. The 1,400-foot fishing pier is a must-visit photo op for tourists to the city. It is also found near North Beach Park (also referred to as Fairhope Beach). This beach park is home to plenty of amenities and attractions. Aside from the beach and the pier, spend some time at the duck pond, rose garden, or the walking trail. 

Dauphin Island Beach, Dauphin Island Dauphin Island Beach, Dauphin Island
Credit: Dauphin Island Beach, Dauphin Island by © Meinzahn | Dreamstime.com

Dauphin Island Beach, Dauphin Island

Known as the “Sunset Capital of Alabama,” Dauphin Island is a 14-mile-long barrier island that caters to beachgoers through its sandy shores and small-town feel. Escape the bustling Gulf Shores or Orange Beach areas by traveling by ferry to Dauphin Island. However, there is an island bridge from Mobile, so the island is accessible by car too. West End Beach and Pelican Peninsula are both notable stretches of sand found on the barrier island. Aside from beach attractions, Dauphin Island is also home to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab aquarium and the historic Fort Gaines.  

Orange Beach, Orange Beach Orange Beach, Orange Beach
Credit: Orange Beach, Orange Beach by © Ed8563 | Dreamstime.com

Orange Beach, Orange Beach

Orange Beach is a top destination for beachgoers in the state and one of the prettiest white sand beaches in the U.S. There are a number of beaches found within Orange Beach city limits. Waterfront Park is one of the most popular beaches in the state. With free parking, plenty of amenities, and a pet-friendly atmosphere, there is no wonder why Orange Beach visitors flock to Waterfront Park. Alternatively, Gulf State Park is nearby, which is a great choice for travelers who want to escape the city’s more popular public beaches. Since Orange Beach is a thriving tourism spot, there is plenty to do here besides the beach, such as dining and shopping at the Wharf and thrilling amusement rides at Adventure Island.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores
Credit: Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores by Melissa McMasters via Flickr.com

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores

This 7,000-acre wildlife refuge on the Fort Morgan peninsula was specifically created for migrating birds and other local plant and animal species. This protected area is the state’s largest undeveloped swath of coastal land, making it ideal for nature lovers hoping to find a bit of solitude and a cheap weekend getaway in the South. Access the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge either by vehicle through the Burgoyne Road beach access point or by hiking along the Pine Beach Trail. Since this refuge is located just west of Gulf Shores, it is an easy drive from the city. Paddling on a kayak or canoe is a popular activity here as well. Explore the area by non-motorized boat or by paddling in Little Lagoon, a man-made inlet partially separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a small sliver of beach.

Point Clear Beach, Point Clear Point Clear Beach, Point Clear
Credit: Point Clear Beach, Point Clear by © George Dodd | Dreamstime.com

Point Clear Beach, Point Clear

This Gulf Coast beach town is often overlooked due to its bigger city neighbors of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. However, Point Clear Beach is a cozy beach oasis with only 2,000 residents. Although it’s a small town, Point Clear has one of the best resorts on the U.S. Gulf Coast – The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, which is home to a golf course and an onsite spa. Since Point Clear is close to Fairhope, visitors staying in Point Clear should take advantage of the attractions in nearby Fairhope as well, such as art galleries and local eateries. 

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