Beach Life

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11 Best Beaches in Alabama (Family-Friendly & For Pets!)

Explore the top 11 family & pet-friendly beaches in Alabama! From Gulf Shores to Orange Beach, find perfect spots for sun, fun, and relaxation.

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
11 Best Beaches in Alabama (Family-Friendly & For Pets!)

Who doesn’t love the beach? Imagining yourself on the beach is the epitome of relaxation. Aside from ease, you can engage in fun or adventurous activities. Going to the beach is an ideal vacation spot. When you think of the beach, I bet you think of states surrounded mainly by water. Your first thought is most likely not Alabama. However, Alabama is a hidden gem for beach vacations.

If you’re looking for a vacation for the family, Gulf Beach and Gulf State Park are fantastic spots with activities for all ages. Same with Dauphin and Orange Beach, endless activities from food to shopping to water parks. If you want wildlife, you can find opportunities to connect with nature at Robinson Island, Cotton Bayou Beach. Especially if you’re a bird watcher.

Want to avoid crowds? If you want a quiet beach excursion with shopping, vintage stores, and fantastic restaurants, Fairhope is an ideal spot. With our list, aside from the gorgeous beaches, you can opt for affordable ventures such as fishing, surfing, boating, and biking.

The best part about Alabama beaches? There’s something for everyone. Since all the beaches settle on the Alabama coast, you can venture to several options each day. Since Alabama isn’t a top destination spot, it’s inexpensive with lots to do, and perfect for family vacations.

The Alabama coast comprises many different beaches, but some stand out from the rest. Together, we’ll dive into the best beaches in Alabama. Whether you live in Alabama or just passing through, you can find something for everyone regarding beach options. Here’s our list of the best beaches to appeal to all preferences and personalities.

Soak Up The Sun At These Alabama Beaches

1. Gulf Shores

Credit: Pugalenthi Iniabarathi

You can’t get closer to paradise in Alabama than the favored Gulf Shores. Gulf Shores is a popular vacation destination, thanks to its pristine beaches, water sports, and family-friendly attractions. Home to 32 miles of white sand beaches, Gulf Shores, is one of Alabama's most popular coastal destinations thanks to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and warm climate year round.

The Alabama Gulf Coast is known for its white-sand beaches, emerald waters, and the 20-acre water park. Don't miss your chance to enjoy The Wharf, an area landmark where you can ride the ferris wheel, participate in axe throwing, or sit back and relax to live music. If you enjoy fishing, you can take your catch to a “cook-your-catch” restaurant and have a unique experience.

While in town, indulge in plenty of fresh seafood, especially oysters – the area's specialty. At Gulf Shores, you can expect a fantastic experience with beautiful beaches, fun activities, and delicious food.

2. Gulf State Park

Credit: Roberto Michel

For some of us, beaches mean laying out in the sun and jumping into the waves—some folks like a relaxing mindset to their beach trips. Gulf State Park is perfect if you want a quiet and low-key experience on the beach. The Gulf State Park Beach is a place to go and relax in the sun.

The beach is located on the Gulf of Mexico and has plenty of sand for those who like to build sandcastles. Gulf State Park is the best place to go if you want to enjoy a day at the beach. It is one of the few beaches open to the public in Alabama.

The park offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and interests. You won't get bored here. There are fishing piers, hiking trails, campsites, and more. Tourist destinations such as the USS Alabama and Meaher State Park are all within driving distance and perfect for family fun!

Another activity you don't want to miss is seeing all the wildlife. The park is home to many rare and endangered species, including White-topped pitcher plants, gopher tortoises, and Bald Eagles. If you're looking for something more active, then be sure to check out their surf lessons or kayak rentals. Their onsite restaurant serves delicious seafood dishes and homemade ice cream. The park has endless things to do for people of all ages and interests.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Gulf Shores, AL

3. Romar Beach

Credit: Photoloveland

Alabama has many beautiful beaches, and Romar Beach is one of them. Romar Beach is a small and intimate beach with a lovely private cove. The sand is soft, and the water is clear. Romar Beach is one of Alabama’s most popular beaches because it offers so much for visitors to enjoy. Visitors can sunbathe on the beach or swim in the water, but they can also rent jet skis or go parasailing if they’d like.

Don't want to get too much sun, Romar Beach has plenty of shade, great picnic areas, and grills to use. For those who love outdoor sports activities, you can head over to Sportsplex Trail to toss the ball around. The kids can head over to Meyer Park, where there’s lots of grass to run around and a playground. Romar Beach has plenty of parking spaces, and there are also public restrooms available for use.

Romar Beach is an excellent place to spend your day at the beach, especially if you are looking for peace.

4. West Beach

Credit: Realest Nature

West Beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is one of the most popular beaches in Alabama. It's not hard to see why, either - the beach is stunning, with white sands and crystal-clear water. The water here is so clear that you can see your toes when you walk in the water!

The West Beach area isn't just about the beach, though: there are many other things to do! There are several restaurants and shops nearby that offer an authentic Alabama experience. You can also find some unique art galleries in this area as well. The activities don't end there. West Beach is also great for fishing, boating, hiking, and biking making it a perfect destination for the more “outdoorsy” visitors.

Related Read: 20 Free and Fun Things to Do in Dothan, AL

5. Cotton Bayou Beach

Credit: Beach Images

Cotton Bayou Beach is one of the best beaches for those who want a quiet and low-key option. Located at the intersection of Highway 182 and Highway 161, Cotton Bayou Beach has a secluded, private feel to it. The beach has a few cabanas and picnic tables for those that want to spend the day at the beach. It is comprised of three miles of pristine white sand and crystal clear water.

This makes for a fantastic time for swimmers and sunbathers alike, with plenty of room on the beach for everyone to enjoy themselves without fighting over a spot. The beach has a lot of things to do, such as fishing, kayaking, and swimming. It is also an excellent place for bird watching with numerous species like herons, egrets, pelicans, etc. if you want more wildlife, you can head over to the Alabama Coast Zoo for an afternoon of exploration.

6. Fort Morgan

Credit: George Dodd III

Fort Morgan is a small town on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. The beaches are some of the most beautiful in the state, with white sand and clear water. Fort Morgan is also entrenched in history. It’s known for its historic fort, an active military site during the Civil War.

The Fort Morgan Pier is a great place to spend time with friends or family. The pier has an observation deck that provides a view of the beach and bay. There are also swings for kids, fishing platforms, and benches for adults to enjoy their time at the beach.

This area is also home to Fort Morgan Bay State Park, more than two miles of beachfront property on Mobile Bay. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, picnicking, or camping at this park.

Related Read: 15 Best Hiking Trails in Birmingham

7. Robinson Island

Credit: Prickett Properties

If you are looking for a beach experience different from the ordinary, you should visit Robinson Island in Alabama. Robinson Island has an undeveloped stretch of sand and offers some of the best opportunities for birding in Alabama. It has been designated as an Important Bird Area because of its large congregations of migratory birds, including some endangered species such as Red Knots, Piping Plovers, and Black Skimmers.

Robinson Island was purchased by the city of Orange Beach to help preserve its natural plant and animal life. It is known to be the most popular island for boaters in the area. If you want to avoid crowds, do not plan your visit to the island on Memorial Day or 4th of July.

8. Dauphin Island

Credit: Realest Nature

If you ask about Alabama beaches, there’s no doubt Dauphin Island will be on the list. This area has been coined "The Sunset Capital of Alabama.” Dauphin Island is 14-miles-long and sits at the state's southernmost point. This barrier island has been one of the most popular spots for over 100 years because it offers visitors a great place to swim or fish while enjoying spectacular views of Mobile Bay.

Dauphin Island offers activities for all ages. The Alabama Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions. To experience some of the history of the island, you need to visit the rustic lighthouse called “Sand Island Lighthouse.” Another historical landmark is the Fort Gaines, which dates back to the early 1800s that was later used as a fort during the Civil War.

9. Florida Point Beach

Credit: Shutterstock

If you want a beach off the radar, Florida Point is perfect for you. Alabama has a lot of beaches, but Florida Point Beach is one of the quieter beaches. The beach is located in Fort Morgan, Alabama, and it has a long stretch covered with fine white sand.

The water is usually calm and clear, and there are plenty of places to set up camp for the day and have space from other people. The beach can be accessed by boat or by car, but it's best to come prepared with food, drinks, and sunscreen as there are no amenities on site.

Related Read: 19 Top Treehouse Rentals in Alabama

10. Fairhope Beach

Credit: George Dodd III

The beach towns, such as Fairhope Beach in Alabama, are known to be some of the most charming in Florida. The weather is usually warm and sunny, and there is never a shortage of things to do. The town often has festivals, such as Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival, that’s been around for more than 60 years. The city is considered vibrant with culture and lots of shopping and food options.

This beach is known for its clear water and white sand. It has a great location close to Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile Bay. You can find endless piers amongst the beaches and even a duck pond. Many people try snorkeling since the water is clear and shallow.

Fairhope Beach is known for its stunning views, great food, and relaxing atmosphere. The best time to visit this beach is during the summer months when it’s warm enough to swim and enjoy the sunshine.

11. Orange Beach

Credit: blandas71

Orange Beach is home to some of Alabama’s best beaches. It's not only a popular destination for people looking to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf, but visitors also come to fish, play golf on one of the many courses in town, and shop at the many stores lining Highway 51.

Another spot you don't want to miss when visiting is Orange Beach is the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail. This trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a scenic hike and take in nature's beauty. You will encounter all kinds of wildlife on your journey.

If that's not enough activity for you, you can always rent a boat or jet skis, go parasailing or paddle boarding, or stroll the pier watching the dolphins swim by. Want a date night? Try the Orange Beach Waterfront with entertainment and dining on the water. It's also a perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

An Alabama Beach for Your Next Destination

You might not have considered many beach options in Alabama, but you have plenty to choose from and you can't go wrong. With some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Alabama will not disappoint. Whether you are planning a relaxing family vacation or a romantic getaway, Alabama has something for everyone.

Now you can add Alabama to your list of vacations or road trip spots. What’s fantastic is since many people still haven't discovered the beauty of Alabama's beaches, you can plan an affordable, relaxing beach trip without the worry of being overcrowded. It’s easy to drive from several bordering states, and it’s perfect for a solo trip or for the whole family.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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