We hear it all the time. “Alabama has beaches?” Why, yes, as a matter of fact. Alabama DOES have beaches—and they are some of the most stunning white-sand beaches in the world.
Our little slice of pure paradise, recognized as one of the best Gulf Coast beaches according to the Travel Channel, stretches east nearly 40 miles from Fort Morgan to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, and to Perdido Key, Florida.
Each beach community has its own distinct personality and is uniquely appealing to vacationers, making the area perfect for a quick weekend getaway, a weeklong vacation or even a month-long (or longer) stay in the wintertime.
Gulf Shores (Search Available Properties)
With its earliest beginnings as a sleepy beach town that was home to local fishermen, Gulf Shores today is a friendly, bustling beach community known for its welcoming locals; family-oriented amusements; variety of on- and off-beach boutiques for shopping; hiking and biking trails; Gulf State Park; and other opportunities for exploration.
One of the most popular areas is the main Gulf Shores Public Beach area, located at the intersection of Ala. Hwy. 59 and Ala. Hwy. 182, also known as the Beach Road.
Nearby, you will find the iconic Hangout Restaurant and entertainment venue, numerous large surf and beach shops, the always fun Pink Pony Pub, and several restaurants.
This main public beach entrance is also where the annual Hangout Music Fest, the National Annual Shrimp Festival, and sporting events, such as NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships, are held. With a pedestrian-friendly boardwalk, plenty of parking and green spaces, visitors are drawn to this area all year long.
Gulf Shores is also home to restaurants to suit every palate and budget, golf courses, Gulf State Park, and fun attractions like Waterville USA and The Track Family Recreation Center, to keep kids of all ages busy.
Fort Morgan (Search Available Properties)
Just west of Gulf Shores is Fort Morgan, an area some like to call “the quiet side of paradise.”
At the end of the Fort Morgan peninsula, where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, is a historic Civil War fort, inviting visitors to walk where soldiers lived and worked. Go at the right time, and you might even get to hear the cannon fired and see living history actors perform the duties of soldiers and those who supported their efforts. It’s a must-see when you visit this area for sure.
Fort Morgan is also home to several laid-back seafood restaurants, beach accesses, charter fishing operations and the 6,000-acre Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, a great spot to experience nature and see coastal wildlife up close and personal.
Orange Beach (Search Available Properties)
With its roots in fishing, Orange Beach is a fisherman’s paradise. The city is home to one of the region’s largest fleets of charter fishing boats, so it’s a breeze to book a fishing trip either on the Gulf of Mexico or in the area’s beautiful back bays.
A favorite activity of locals and visitors is a boating trip out to the “islands” of Robinson Island and Boat Island. Purchased by the city of Orange Beach to protect them and the wildlife that nests there from being developed, the islands are sanctuaries for nesting birds and have sensitive grass beds. While people must avoid certain sensitive areas, there are beach areas where boaters are welcomed to dock, grill and play. On busy days, it is not uncommon to see a line of boats anchored just off the islands.
Orange Beach also features numerous amusements and beach shops for boutique browsers. Perhaps the pinnacle of entertainment is The Wharf, where restaurants, a movie theater, shops and restaurants may be explored. Also on site at The Wharf is a 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, where entertainers ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Alabama perform. See concert schedule here.
Perdido Key (Search Available Properties)
Just east of Orange Beach and across the Florida state line is an area known for its abundant federal and state parklands. The barrier island of Perdido Key is peaceful and consistently ranks among the nation’s top 20 beaches as named by “Dr. Beach.”
A little busier part of the Key is the spot where you’ll find the famous Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar, home of the annual Interstate Mullet Toss, an event that is truly unlike any other! Always held in April, this event draws thousands to the beach in front of the iconic gathering spot to toss a mullet (dead, of course) across the state line. Throw it the farthest in your category, and you win!
Places to explore the bountiful natural beauty of Perdido Key include Lost Key Golf Club, a designated Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary golf course, and Gulf Islands National Seashore, where you’ll find Fort Pickens and Fort McRee, which defended Pensacola Bay during the Civil War.
Whatever type of beach experience you are looking for—quiet, busy, fun-filled, focused on nature—the beaches of the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast will fill the bill.
Read more about Alabama’s Beaches.