10 Best Beaches in Alabama

Updated On October 4, 2023

Alabama is a curious mix of southern charm, history pride, and political firsts.

Sandwiched between Mississippi and Georgia on the North American Gulf Coast, Alabama is home to the Crimson Tide, War Eagles, and one of the world’s largest rocket collections at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

As a southern coastal state, Alabama has 97 beaches stretching along its 53-mile segment of the Gulf of Mexico‘s freshwater coast.

If you include the additional bay and island shorelines, that piece of the coastal pie increases to over 600 miles. 

The best time to visit the sands and parks of the Yellowhammer State is from April to October when cooler waters make temperatures in the 90s bearable.

10 Best Beaches in Alabama

Orange Beach
Orange Beach

1. Orange Beach

A perennial favorite, Alabama’s Orange Beach is a sandy paradise.

The eight-mile-long stretch off Perdido Beach Boulevard (Highway 182) and near the Flori-Bama border is ideal for solo sun enthusiasts and active families.

Sultry winds and white sands make Orange Beach a summertime destination.

With Bear Point Marina at its heart, there are ample gear and tour vendors.

Orange Beach is famed for flyboarding, jet skiing, and body surfing.

For those water enthusiasts who want a boat-centric afternoon, sunset dolphin cruises sail nightly.

Golfers flock to the Orange Beach area with award-winning courses, both public and private, along the sun-baked stretch.

Xome as you are beach bars and cafes are within walking distance.

And shell collecting is the perfect way to complement your leisurely walk along the white sands.

Morgan Fishing Beach
Morgan Fishing Beach

2. Morgan Fishing Beach

Fort Morgan Beach is the best of both worlds.

It is easily accessed on the far eastern tip at the mouth of Bon Secour and Mobile Bays.

The area sports a coastal town vibe with historical monuments and bayside beaches.

But there is a secret to these sandy shores.

The beaches on the Gulf side of the peninsula are less developed and often deserted.

So if you are looking for quieter sand, Morgan Fishing Beach is a novel find.

Fort Morgan Fishing Beach is also the premier spot for dolphin watching.

Nine different dolphin species are known to live in the nearby waters.

For avian fans, pelicans and herons dominate the sandy stretch or vacant pole. 

While Fort Morgan Pier is known for flounder fishing, Morgan Fishing Beach is known for its surf fishing.

Experienced anglers on the Gulf of Mexico cast for Redfish, Kingfish, and Cobia.

And Mahi Mahi and Marlin inhabit the deeper waters further from shore.

Orange Beach Waterfront Park
Orange Beach Waterfront Park

3. Orange Beach Waterfront Park

If the crowds of Orange Beach overwhelm, an easy area option is the nearby Orange Beach Waterfront Park.

It sits on the peninsula’s Wolf Bay. 

Orange Beach Waterfront Park offers water views and peaceful surroundings without all the itchy sand.

This pleasure-filled alternative to its sandy sibling promises a day of activity and fun.

Open year-round, the park is well known for pier fishing.

Ametuer casters and experienced anglers enjoy the challenge of inland fish such as flounder or snapper.

A mile of paved walking trails is also an easy trek for all activity levels.

Picnic shelters with grills and a sandpit playground round out the amenities.

Gulf Shores Beach
Gulf Shores Beach

4. Gulf Shores Beach

Gulf Shores Beach is an elongated stretch of powder-white sand on the Gulf of Mexico.

It is dotted with casual beach grills and come-as-you-are bars.

And whether you are looking for a koozie or diamond flip-flops, there are various upscale and beach gear shops to fit any budget.

Gulf Shores are also the epicenter for area festivals.

The Oyster Cook-Off, Ballyhoo Art Festival, and the Zydeco & Crawfish Festival are social events not to be missed.

Public amenities and gear vendors line the sands, ready to make your visit unforgettable.

Throughout the area, small bungalow-style motels complement resort communities.

Regardless, Gulf Shores are the quintessential spot to relax under the Bama sky or surf the gentle waves. 

Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park

5. Gulf State Park

Directly east of Gulf Shores Beach lies the 6100-acre stretch of Gulf State Park.

It is marked by two miles of baby-soft white sand and graceful sea oats.

Within the park, walk carefully, for you are never alone.

Local residents include white spotted deer, alligators, and tortoises.

Public amenities are available, but the park is so much more.

You can swim, hike, or bike the sandy trails.

And nearby Shelby Lakes is one continuous water system from west to east.

These freshwater lakes include the Middle River and Little Lakes.

The famous Gulf State Park Pier defines the western park boundary.

It is one of the larger fishing piers at 1,240 feet.

And it has 2,448 feet of fishing space for angles of all ages.

If you want heart-pounding fun, area vendors offer zip-lining, kayaking, and SUP paddle boards.

West End Public Beach Dauphin Island
West End Public Beach Dauphin Island

6. West End Public Beach Dauphin Island

Steer towards the Alabama-Mississippi border, and you will run into Pelican Bay.

Just inside the protected waters sits Dauphin Island.

At its westernmost point are the fine eggshell white sands of West End Public Beach.

More isolated than the rest, this expanse of the pristine shore is dotted with colorful cabanas.  

A beach of two faces. Some come for the sun and quiet.

And, like so many of Alabama’s beaches, the SUP paddle boarding and swimming are unparalleled.

But, bring your own gear, because there are no shops or vendors.

Many come to Dauphin Island’s West End Beach to birdwatch.

Anglers know this hidden beach has superb wade-fishing, especially for amberjack, sea mullet, and speckled trout.

And because it is less developed, it is also a premier crabbing site.

Further offshore bluefish are the main catch.

Bayfront Park
Bayfront Park

7. Bayfront Park

Daphne’s Bayfront Park is mesmerizing.

Not for the crystal waters but for its wealth of nature.

A distinct feature on Mobile Bay’s eastern shore.

This urban retreat is also one of many stops along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail.

And at last count, the area hosted over 260 avian species. 

In deference to the noise gulls, reptiles rule with gators and turtles sunning in the bay.

Open from sunrise to sunset.

The park is quiet, perfect for a peaceful snack or family picnic.

It features two piers and a modest copse of golden sand.

Bayfront Park is one of the few Alabama beaches that allow dogs.

Meaher State Park
Meaher State Park

8. Meaher State Park

Meaher State Park, on the shores of Ducker Bay, covers 1,327 acres on Big Island.

Here there are no bleached sands or windswept dunes.

However, Meaher State Park is a lovely water-infused day park.

Also part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, Meaher State Park is a closely guarded secret of area hikers and anglers.

For an overnight respite, rental cabins dot the landscape.

These wooden oases have unparalleled views of Mobile Bay.

A small boat launch opens into Blakely River.

But because it is a state park, there are modest fees associated with entry, camping, and boating.  

Orange Street Pier Beach
Orange Street Pier Beach

9. Orange Street Pier Beach 

Near the tiny town of Fairhope is the non-traditional Orange Street Pier Beach.

This is one of Alabama’s most secluded areas.

The most prominent feature is the 100-yard beige beach.

But there is also a 1320-foot-long pier.

The wooden feature is a premier site for local anglers.

But don’t forget your fishing license.

Alabama officials are sticklers, the little things. 

The .25-mile dock is renowned for birdwatching and offers a stunning view of the bloodred Alabama sunset.

Just offshore, the waters are calm for kayaking, swimming, and SUP.

Up for a hike?

Nearby visitors will find the easy Fairhope Bluff Trail.

One of the surprising perks of this Mobile Bay shoreline?

Fido is welcome as long as he stays on a leash.

Public parking is minimal but available for early risers.

Near the beach area sea to table restaurants and cold-beer bars help round out the day.

Alabama Point East
Alabama Point East

10. Alabama Point East

Alabama Point East, referred to by the locals as Florida Point Beach, is a mile-long stretch of glistening white sand without the crowds.

Technically part of Orange Beach, Alabama, Point Eas sits near the Flora-Bama line east of Perdido Pass.

The beach has the requisite services, including picnic spots and private facilities.

And a boardwalk extends the length of the beach.

Alabama Point East is known for its crystalline water.

Snorkeling and shore diving are common.

Swimmers, however, beware.

The waves and undertow strengthen as the day progresses.

Unsurprisingly, this is when the surfers emerge, riding the waves of the shallow shores.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Orange Beach water green?

Tiny plankton gives green water its hue.

Often microscopic, they produce chlorophyll.

This is the substance that gives plants their green color.

And it does the same for water in direct sunlight.

Other factors that cloud the Gulf Waters are sediment, quartz, and, unfortunately, pollution.

Are all beaches in Alabama public?

Beach ownership in Alabama is a little complicated. Simply put, not all sands are open to the public.

The state of Alabama owns the Gulf bounded by its state borders and the land under the water.

It holds it in trust for the public under the Public Trust Doctrine.

In Alabama, however, beach property can be privately owned.

In that case, the property boundary line extends to the mean high tide line.

What color is the sand in Alabama?

Alabama flour-white beaches are softer and finer than many in the Gulf.

They are comprised of ground white quartz crystal that flowed from the Appalachian Mountains and was deposited in the Gulf of Mexico.

Are dogs allowed on the beaches in Alabama?

Unfortunately, most of the sandy stretches in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach require that your family pup stays home.

However, the Mobile Bayside Beach from the old Fort Morgan Pier is one of several pup-friendly areas.

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