Alabama Beach Guide

Best Beaches in Alabama

Feel the magical sound of gently lapping waves & the typical smell of coconut oil as you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast. The shimmering emerald waters of Alabama beaches bordered by sparkling white sandy shoreline form the perfect backdrop for a beach-front wedding & the best destination for a honeymoon vacation. Most Alabama beaches offer the perfect balance of non-stop activity & laid-back vacationing. Travel back in history with a visit to one of the nearby historical attractions, get going on an exciting charter fishing trip along the Gulf coast or just delight in the luxury of your beachfront hotel. Whatever you choose to do, you are ensured of endless fun all along.

Orange Beach & Gulf Shore

Alabama’s Orange Beach and the Gulf Shore in the Gulf of Mexico are two of the most gorgeous vacation spots in the south. The beaches there is 95% quartz, the waters are clear and blue, and Orange Beach has the largest charter fishing fleet Alabama with 88 listed boats. Saltwater anglers can reel in enormous Marlin and Red Snapper while sailors sail, divers dive and dinner-cruisers cruise.

alabama orange beach
Orange Beach, Alabama; photo by Josh Travis

The beaches in and around Orange Beach and Gulf Shore are fantastic. Roma Beach is easy to access for a short stroll or picnic, and there is limited free parking. Gulf Shore Public Beach is the place for sunbathing, volleyball and beach-bars. Alabama Point is a picture-perfect beach with 6,000 feet of wide, high-dune beach with a 225-ft. boardwalk.

  • Gulf State Park
  • Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
  • Cotton Bayou Beach
  • Florida Point Beach

There are more than 15 marinas in the Orange Beach/Gulf Shore area. They offer a variety of boating services, including Jet Ski and Hobiecat rentals, transients and wet-slips, and more. Bear Point Marina, Orange Beach Marina, Inc. and SanRoc Cay are only a few of the many choices.

There are a number of parks to enjoy in the Orange Beach/Gulf Shore area. Waterfront Park is a modest but pretty family park on Wolf Bay with playgrounds, picnic areas and a 400-ft. fishing pier. Gulf State Park’s 6,000 acres contain 2 ½ miles of beaches, nature trails and 900-acre Shelby Lake, where swimming, boating, and freshwater fishing are the names of the games. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge has 6,200-acres of forest and coastline with beaches, trails and excellent fishing in Gator Lake and the nearby lagoon to offer its visitors, as well as a chance to see large migratory birds from April to October. The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk and admission is free.

Orange Beach Alabama is home to the annual Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship, courtesy of the Orange Beach Fishing Association ((251) 981-2300).

Dauphin Island

Alabama’s Dauphin Island has a long and fascinating history. The French colonized this 14-mile long, semitropical island in 1699, and the town there was built on an ancient burial site that leads to the island originally being called Massacre Island. In 1707 the name was changed to Dauphin Island, a more fitting name for what was at the time the capital for the entire Louisiana Territory. The island went from French to Spanish to British and eventually American control, and Fort Gaines has been in use ever since; today it is a Coast Guard Base. Historical tours are available for curious guests.

Alabama Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island, AL; photo by Jeffrey Reed

Visitors to Dauphine Island can camp in RV’s or tents at any of 150 campsites, most of which have complete utilities. Cadillac Square even has bathhouses among the picnic areas and island spanning bike trails.

There are a number of lakes and fishable beaches on Dauphin Island, but most visitors use the Dauphin Island Pier. This 850-ft. long pier has plenty of parking, is wheelchair accessible and is lit from below for spec fishing as well as above for night fishing. Visitors to Dauphin Island might catch Sheephead, Spanish Mackerel, Black Drum or Flounder, among other fish.

One of the most impressive attractions on Dauphin Island is the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on the eastern end of the island. Over 160 acres of maritime forest, marshes, dunes, lakes, swamps, and beaches are set aside for the large numbers of birds that use this barrier island as a stopover point for their seasonal migrations. Wild Bird Magazine has named Dauphin Island as one of the top 4 places in North America to view spring migrations.

  • West End Public Beach
  • Dauphin Island Public Beach

The Shoals, AL

The area along the Tennessee River in Alabama called The Shoals is actually made up of 4 separate cities: Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia, and Muscle Shoals. The Shoals are primarily known for their rich American music tradition and the water-based activities that abound there, particularly on the Tennessee River, with its 37 miles of Muscle Shoal Rapids, and in fishing spots like Pickwick, Wilson and Wheeler lakes.

alabama the shoalsThe Alabama Music Hall of Fame, whose inductees include producer Sam Phillips, R&B legend Wilson Pickett and New York Metro Opera soprano Rachel Mathis, evidences the former. Other area attractions include the Tennessee Valley Art Center in Tuscumbia, with its permanent aboriginal petroglyph exhibits, and Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller museum, also in Tuscumbia.

  • Sandy Beach

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