Alabama doesn’t have a large coastline, but the 32 miles of white sand and turquoise water south of Mobile are spectacular. They offer fantastic seascapes, rich wildlife in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, a laid-back atmosphere on Dauphin Island, and a lot of action in lively places such as the beaches of Gulf Shores.

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Orange Beach

Orange Beach
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Located on Alabama's Gulf Coast, Orange Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on this stretch of the coast. It has miles of powdered-sugar sand beaches that are not only great for stretching out in the sun, but also offer the opportunity to watch sea turtles lay eggs from May to October. From the beach, there is access to the bayous and bays north of Perdido Pass. Visitors who need a bit more action can join a fishing charter, take a dolphin watching tour, play golf, or enjoy birdwatching on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail.

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2.Cotton Bayou Beach

Cotton Bayou Beach
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This nice small beach area is snuggled among some very popular condominiums, at the intersection of Highways 182 and 161, a perfect place for all sorts of activities or just relaxing and people watching. The beach is close to the parking lot and it has all the essential amenities, such as restrooms and outdoor showers. This beautiful white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico can get crowded at times, so come early to find a nice spot. The shallow water is perfect for the kids, although dogs are not allowed. The beach is a very popular spot for wedding pictures.

26026 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561

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3.Dauphin Island Beach

Dauphin Island Beach
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Dauphin Island is a small barrier island on the Alabama coast on the Gulf of Mexico and is known as a perfect family holiday destination. Quiet and peaceful, the island’s entire west end consists of miles of powder-fine white sand. The long and narrow beaches are perfect for strolling along the surf, making sand castles, or simply cooling down in the water. Along the beaches visitors will find lovely parks shaded with ancient oaks in addition to public golf courses. It is the only pet-friendly beach in the entire area. The off-shore fishing is also great. There is another public beach on the west end of the town of Dauphin Island, known for regular summer live music concerts.

1501 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528

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4.Alabama Beaches: Fairhope

Alabama Beaches: Fairhope
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Fairhope is a small, bohemian town located on the shore of Mobile Bay, on the bank of a large estuary that connects with the Gulf of Mexico. Surprisingly, in spite of its location on the brackish waters of the estuary, the town has a few small yet lovely beaches. One of these is located north of the popular pier and just behind the beach on a high bluff there is a nice grassy area that is perfect for picnics, with wonderful views of the ocean and large trees that provide shade. The area has a lovely breeze that cools hot skin on a summer’s day, but the waves are always moderate and kids love it.

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5.Florida Point Beach

Florida Point Beach
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Located only 3 miles from Perdido Pass Bridge in the town of Orange Beach, Alabama, Florida Point Beach is a lovely 6,000-foot-long stretch of fine white sand that runs along the turquoise waters of Florida Point. There is a popular boardwalk along the beach as well as several picnic areas and a few outdoor showers. The beach is very popular, so if you want to find a more secluded and private spot on the sand, take a little longer stroll among the dunes and you might find a perfect place just for you. Parking at the beach access is free.

Orange Beach, AL 36561

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6.Fort Morgan Beach

Fort Morgan Beach
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The Fort Morgan Peninsula sticks like a finger west from the Alabama Gulf Shores and is perfect for those trying to spend some time on the beach away from the more popular spots full of beach bars and souvenir shops. A large section of the peninsula is located within a protected wildlife refuge, and its beachfront is about an hour’s drive to any store, but the privacy it affords is well worth the isolation. The beaches are pristine, covered with fine white sand, and are free to access. Finding them can be little tricky and most are part of private hotel accommodation. Two public beach access points are within the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 1.5 miles after the visitors center. There is an unnamed public beach access at the end of the peninsula, outside the Fort Morgan State Historic Site.

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7.Gulf Shores Main Beach

Gulf Shores Main Beach
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White sand beaches and clear turquoise waters attract thousands of people to Gulf Shores on the Alabama coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Swimming, sunbathing, boarding, and walking along the surf are just some of the activities you can choose here, and there are 32 miles of breathtakingly beautiful beaches to choose from. The sand on the beaches is made almost completely from quartz that came down from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago. The sand is soft and cool underfoot and it makes funny squeaking sounds when walked on. There is a lot of action on the beach, from volleyball games to nice little beach bars.

W Gulf Pl, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

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8.Best Beaches in Alabama: Gulf State Park

Best Beaches in Alabama: Gulf State Park
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Gulf State Park has over 3 miles of wonderful fine sand beaches, perfect for relaxing in the sun, cooling off in the surf, listening to the sea gulls, or collecting sea shells. Some beaches are located in the town of Gulf Shores, near a charming pavilion. Another beach access point in the park is at Orange Beach. The park’s beaches are popular for surf fishing, kayaking, or just relaxing on the sand, and park staff offer a schedule of fun activities every summer, such as geocaching, guided nature walks, and stargazing. The park has 20 cabins and 11 lakeside cottages next to the golf course, a short drive from the beach.

20115 State Highway 135, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

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9.Alabama Beaches: Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Alabama Beaches: Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
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The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge spreads over 7,157-acre on the scenic Fort Morgan Peninsula west of Alabama Gulf Shores. The refuge provides protected feeding and resting areas for a range of migratory birds and is a sanctuary for diverse local native plants and animals. It is one of the biggest undeveloped stretches of land on the coast of Alabama. The refuge is divided into Perdue, Sand Bayou, Fort Morgan, Little Point Clear, and Little Dauphin Island. The refuge protects a range of habitats, among them beaches, scrub forest, sand dunes, freshwater swamps, salt and freshwater marshes, and uplands. Some of the endangered species that live in the refuge are the Alabama beach mouse and sea turtles – green, loggerhead, and Kemp's ridley.

12295 Alabama 180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

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10.Alabama Coastline : West Beach

Alabama Coastline : West Beach
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Not far from the popular and noisy beaches of Gulf Shores, the beaches in West Beach are less touristy and more quiet and relaxed. On one side they are lined with luxury condos, private homes, hotels, and restaurants, while on the other lie the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Miles of fine white sandy beaches are open to the public. Located on the Fort Morgan Peninsula, which stretches all the way to Mobile Bay, the beach in West Beach is separated from the bay by a small lake named Little Lagoon. The Fort Morgan Peninsula is home to the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, a large habitat that provides a home to endangered sea turtles, the Alabama beach mouse, and migrating birds.

West Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

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10 Best Alabama Beaches

More Ideas in Alabama: Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa

Located on the Gulf Coast in Point Clear, Alabama, Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa is an all-in-one travel destination. The hotel offers a variety of dining options, both indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and a large, recently renovated spa.

The guest rooms and suites at the Grand Hotel feature either a bayside (of Mobile Bay or the marina) or a garden view. They were also designed with the outdoors in mind, with windows that can be opened. Some rooms also offer walk out balconies.

The rooms include a choice of either a king sized bed or two queen sized beds. Additional rollaway beds can be requested for an additional fee. Each bed is outfitted with a pillowtop mattress and a duvet.

Each bathroom offers hotel guests either a shower/tub combination or a walk-in shower, a lighted makeup/shaving mirror, a hair dryer, and robes to wear during the stay.

Multiple suites are also available. These suites include a bedroom and a separate living area separated by a privacy wall. Guests can choose from a king sized bed or two queen sized beds. Most of these suites also include walk out balconies with views of Mobile Bay.

Each room and suite also have either a comfortable chair with ottoman or an oversized chair, a Sony alarm clock, an in-room safe, a writing/working computer desk with an ergonomic desk chair and nearby electrical outlet, and an ironing board and iron.

There is a 32 inch flat screen television with premium cable channels (like HBO, ESPN, and CNN) in each room and suite as well.

Complimentary bottled water is provided for each room, as well as a coffee maker.

All the rooms and suites at the Grand Hotel are non-smoking.


Amenities at the Grand Hotel include complimentary wireless internet access. The hotel staff offer complimentary evening turndown service. Daily newspapers are delivered to each room and suite, on request. There is also a complimentary shuttle both to and from the local airport.


Dining is available poolside at Jubilee Poolside Bar and Grill. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, the casual dress code restaurant features a menu full of fresh, local ingredients. It also has a large menu of drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.

Guests can also dine at Bucky’s Lounge. The lounge serves up handcrafted cocktails and light appetizers, as well as nightly entertainment. It is open for both lunch and dinner and has a casual dress code.

For hotel guests looking for “grab and go” meals, there is the Local Market which is located just off the lobby. Available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the market offers locally sourced pastries and coffee drinks.


Located onsite is the prestigious Robert Trent Jones golf trail. The trail offers a variety of golfing packages. Greens fees do apply. There are two different courses - Azalea and Dogwood. Both are 18 holes. There is also a driving range and putting green. Private lessons are available (in short game, swing, and putting).


Simply called The Spa, the Grand Hotel offers appointment only spa services. There are two treatment rooms as well as a hair salon, all recently remodeled. The Spa offers body scrubs, manicures and pedicures, a steam room, massage, paraffin hand treatments, facials, and waxing. They also offer lessons in massage. Men’s services and couples massages are also available. Separate lounges are provided for men and women. The spa is over 20,000 square feet.


The fitness center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have a selection of cardiovascular equipment like treadmills and Life Cycles, as well as free weights. The staff at The Spa also offer fitness classes and counseling by appointment.


There are multiple pools and swimming areas located on the property.

The Grand Beach, located just outside the hotel, features a children’s area and a large slide. Towels are provided. There is also a nearby outdoor pool, which is heated. Both are only open seasonally. Occasionally the pool will be designated as either adult only or family.

There is also an indoor pool and a whirlpool. This pool is only open certain hours, and towels are also provided.

One Grand Boulevard, PO Box 639, Point Clear, AL, 36564, Phone: 251-928-9201

Back to: Romantic Weekend Getaways in Alabama

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More Ideas in Alabama: Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium provides an educational and exciting aquarium experience for visitors and locals alike. The public aquarium focuses on Alabama's four key coastal ecosystems: the northern Gulf of Mexico, the barrier islands, Mobile Bay, and the Mobile Tensaw River Delta. In addition to its exhibit hall, which spans 10,000 square feet, the aquarium includes the Living Marsh Boardwalk and a stingray touch pool containing 7,000 gallons of water. The Estuarium is part of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's Discovery Hall educational program.

Overall, the Estuarium consists of 31 aquariums with over 100 species on display within more than 30,000 gallons of water. The facility showcases the animals, plants, and other natural resources native to the Estuary and the surrounding marine habitats. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium leaves visitors with a better understanding of the interactions that occur in Mobile Bay, the country's fourth largest estuary system, through interactive exhibits and stunning visual exhibits.

The exhibit at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium focusing on the northern Gulf of Mexico contains a variety of displays of marine communities. These displays feature jellyfish, sharks, red snappers, seahorses, eels, lobsters, and octopus. The Barrier Islands exhibit showcases saltwater species often seen on or around the barrier islands of Alabama, such as hermit crabs, blue crabs, and shrimp. A representation of the Middle Bay Lighthouse's legs is featured in the Mobile Bay exhibit. The replica is home to species native to Mobile Bay's brackish water, including flounder, spadefish, oysters, blue crabs, horseshoe crabs, and stone crabs.

The largest wetland in Alabama is recreated in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta exhibit. The displays feature multiple species in its aquariums, including gar, turtles, and the American alligator. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium's newest exhibit, Rays of the Bay, made its debut in 2013. This 6,400-gallon touch tank features six sets of four different species of skates and rays indigenous to Mobile Bay and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Species found within the giant touch tank include the Atlantic stingray, the cownose ray, and the southern stingray.

A number of public events are also provided by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium. One of the public programs offered at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium is its Boardwalk Talk series. This free program occurs late in the morning on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. These talks include a chat with experts at the Estuarium, including aquarists, researchers, technicians, educators, post docs, and graduate students. The informal chats cover a wide array of science topics, such as sea level change, climate change, hypoxia, oyster reefs, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, salt marshes, sharks, and habitat restoration.

Another program provided by the Estuarium is the Summer Excursion program. This summer experience takes visitors into the habitats at the Estuarium that are the focus of study by the facility's students, researchers, and marine scientists. Each summer excursion investigates a different type of habitat, and they are offered on select dates during the summer months.

101 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, Phone: 251-861-4646

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