7 Alabama Beaches We Can’t Get Enough Of


We hit all of these beaches in Alabama on a road trip along the Gulf and are sharing what we saw to help you plan a visit. We share where each beach is located, the overall vibe, and whether it is dog-friendly.

If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely been let in on one of the South’s best-kept secrets — Alabama’s beaches are incredible. There is a reason the Gulf Coast of Alabama is known, with love, as the “Redneck Riviera.”

Incredible Alabama Beaches To Visit + Where They Are Located

Image Credit: iStock.com/welcome-to-carol-world.

Map of the Beaches

Below is a map to help you see where each of the beaches in this article is located.

Beaches on Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

When most people plan a beach vacation in Alabama, they are thinking about the Gulf Shores area. But have you heard of Dauphin Island?

Dauphin Island is a barrier island south of Mobile. It is accessible via the Gordon Pearsons Bridge or the Mobile Bay Ferry from Fort Morgan.

Dauphin Island boasts 7 miles of sugar-white sand public beaches with minimal crowds. That is right. We visited in May, and there were NO CROWDS.

Dauphin Beach

Great Blue Heron fishing on Dauphin Beach sandbar

Overall Vibe: Here, there are miles of beach and plenty of space for people to spread out.

Sand: White, sugar sand is soft on the feet.

Water: The water is clear, the beach is tucked back into a cove, and there is a sandbar, so the water is calm. The water is excellent for swimming.

Parking: Pay to park. There is a large parking area and a neat boardwalk to access the beach.

Dog friendly: Yes.

If we had to pick one beach from Dauphin Island to visit, we would say not to miss Dauphin Beach. The water is so calm; the area is tranquil and beyond beautiful. The sandbars jetting out from the mainland are fun to walk on and watch for wildlife.

West End Beach

Dauphin Island West End Beach

Overall Vibe: There are miles and miles of beach. There is no development past the parking area.

Sand: There is bright white sugar sand that is soft on the feet.

Water: The water is clear blue; there can be more waves depending on how the wind is blowing.

Parking: Pay to park. There is a large parking area.

Dog friendly: No pets allowed.

Some locals told us that alligators have even been spotted further west down the island because it is so rural. But don’t let that discourage you. We didn’t see one alligator the entire trip.

East End Beach

Dauphin Island East End Beach

Overall Vibe: There are miles of beach. The dunes in this area are protected for nesting sea turtles and shorebirds. In addition, the beach is within walking distance of the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Dauphin Island Campground (we stayed here—it was awesome).

Sand: There is white, sugar sand that is soft on the feet.

Water: The water is not as clear and a little rougher (at least when we visited in May).

Parking: Yes, there is free parking, but there is not a large parking area.

Dog friendly: Yes.

We loved this beach because it was easy to walk to from the campground and was right next to the historic Fort Gains.

Beaches Along Gulf Shores + Orange Beach

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have been called the “Riviera of the South.”

The coast is lined with beautiful beaches. It is also a more touristy destination.

The area has high-rise condos, places to rent, local restaurants, and shopping. The main beach access points are right off Perdido Beach Blvd. So, you don’t have to walk far to get to the beaches or the water.

Gulf State Park manages all of the beach points we recommend below.

Gulf State Park Pavilion Beach

Gulf State Park Pavilion Beach Area

Overall Vibe: The beach is located across from where visitors turn to camp at Gulf State Park. It has more crowds due to the amenities close by, such as the Pavilion and Interpretive Center.

When we visited in May, there were many people here on the weekends, but the crowds died down a bit during the week. The beach goes for miles, so there is lots of room to spread out.

Sand: There is white powdery sand that is soft on the feet.

Water: When calm, the water is emerald green. Depending on the weather and wind, decent-sized waves can form.

Parking: Pay to park. There is a large parking lot.

Dog friendly: No

Romar Beach Access – Gulf State Park

Boardwalk to Romar Beach

Overall Vibe: The beach area is part of Gulf State Park on the southeast side of Perdido Beach Blvd. There were fewer crowds when we visited than at the beach with the Pavilion. However, this beach starts to get closer to the condos, so there is more foot traffic.

Sand: Here, there is beautiful soft white sand up and down the coast.

Water: As we said above, depending on the weather and wind, the water can be calm or have decent-sized waves.

Parking: Pay to park. There is a small parking lot.

Dog friendly: No

Cotton Bayou Beach Access – Gulf State Park

Cotton Bayou Beach area

Overall Vibe: Not too far from Romar Beach, Cotton Bayou Beach Access is part of Gulf State Park.

Sand: The sand is soft, white, and beautiful.

Water: Same as Romar Beach and the Pavilion Beach area.

Parking: Pay to park. There is a smaller parking lot.

Dog friendly: No

Alabama Point East Beach Access – Gulf State Park

Alabama Point East

Overall Vibe: Alabama Point East Beach is also part of Gulf State Park. It is within the Orange Beach and Flora Bama area. There were way fewer people at this location when we visited.

Sand: The sand is amazing, like all the other Gulf State Park access points.

Water: The beach is more protected, so we experienced calmer waves than some of the other access points.

Parking: There is a large pay-to-park parking area. Since there is a large bridge overhead, there is also shaded parking.

Dog friendly: No

Alabama Point East is our top pick for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area.

Best Time To Visit

We think May is a great time to visit Alabama. The temperatures are warm enough to be in shorts and a bathing suit but cool enough that you aren’t dripping in sweat from the humidity. The water is fairly warm, too. There seem to be fewer crowds in May (before summer break).

Summers are popular times for tourists, so the beaches get more crowded from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Safety: Be sure to be riptide aware and know the beach flag warning system while recreating along the coast. There are signs posted everywhere.

More Alabama Beach Guides:

Are you planning a trip to the Gulf? You might find these other guides helpful:

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Pin this guide on Pinterest to help plan your beach trip later.

top photo: Dauphin Beach with Great Blue Heron fishing, middle photo: East End Beach at Dauphin Island Alabama, bottom photo: Gulf Shores beach with emerald green water in Alabama

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.


  1. Lekha C on July 1, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    I have always wanted to explore the southern coast. We recently visited beaches on Western coast of Florida and I couldn’t get enough of them. Great post!

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 1, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Lekha! You would have so much fun. Thank you for reading!

  2. Julia on July 1, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    I’ve heard of some of these but not others. Good to know for my next road trip that direction! I love checking out new beaches. (Particularly if they’re beautiful and not crowded!)

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 1, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Awesome, Julia! Have a great trip next time you visit Alabama.

  3. Ummi | Ummi Goes Where? on July 1, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Based on your pictures and descriptions, I think I’d like the Gulf State Park Pavilion Beach best, because of the powdery sand and emerald green water. I wouldn’t mind the extra crowd. Thank you for this guide!

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 1, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Ummi! Thanks for reading!

  4. Josy A on June 30, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Beeeeautiful! I LOVE the look of all that pretty white sand, it all looks like a tropical island! Dauphin Beach with that view of a heron is just perfect!

    I honestly had no idea that Alabama’s beaches were so flipping pretty!

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 1, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Hi Josy! Alabama is amazing! It was such a treat to visit for us too 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Emma | The Checklist Chic on June 30, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    THese all look like great beaches! And I love the details for parking and dog friendliness!

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 1, 2021 at 8:53 am

      Hi Emma! We love to travel with our dog – and we think lots of other people do too! Glad you found the dog-friendly info helpful. Thanks for reading.

  6. Cristina Sala on June 27, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Me encantaron las playa de Alabama.Y lo bueno que las hayan podido disfrutar ustedes .
    Abrazo enorme desde Pinamar Argentina

    • Ashlee Fechino on July 1, 2021 at 8:56 am

      ¡Hola Cristina! Gracias por leer. ¡Nos encanta ver tus comentarios desde Pinamar! Ja ja. Las playas de Pinamar también son increíbles. ¡Te amamos!