7 Beautiful Alabama Beaches to Visit on Vacation


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

It is true. The Alabama coast and barrier islands are home to some of the most beautiful sugar-white sand beaches in the US. We hit all of these beaches and are sharing what we saw to help you plan an unforgettable vacation or holiday along the Gulf of Mexico. Below are seven Alabama beaches you should check out to plan your next beach getaway!

image credit: iStock.com/welcome-to-carol-world.

7 Incredible Alabama Beaches To Visit + Where They Are Located

If you’re looking for fabulous beach destinations with fewer crowds, you’re in the right place. We are sharing beaches you’ll want to add to your next Gulf Coast vacation or holiday.

We also share where the beach is located, the overall vibe, and if the beach is dog friendly. We hope this helps you plan your next epic beach vacation in Alabama!

Dauphin Island

Best Time To Visit Alabama

In this article, we share our personal experience visiting all of the beaches during May. 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. And, there seem to be fewer crowds in May (before summer break).

Map of Alabama Beaches

7 Best Beaches To Visit in Alabama

Let’s kick off our recommendations for seven Alabama beaches you need to add to your next Alabama road trip, vacation or holiday. There are a few areas we are dying to share, so let’s get to it!

Dauphin Island Beaches

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.

Sound like your kind of place? Then, you don’t want to miss the beaches below.

1. Dauphin Beach

Great Blue Heron fishing on Dauphin Beach sandbar
  • Overall Vibe: Miles of beach, plenty of space for people to spread out.
  • Sand: White, sugar-sand, 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

2. West End Beach

Dauphin Island West End Beach
  • Overall Vibe: Miles and miles of beach. There is no development past the parking area. Some locals said 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.
  • Sand: Bright white sugar-sand, 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 – large parking area.
  • Dog friendly: No pets allowed.

3. East End Beach

Dauphin Island East End Beach
  • Overall Vibe: Miles of beach. The dunes are protected in this area 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: White, sugar-sand, soft on the feet.
  • Water: The water is not as clear and a little rougher (at least when we visited in May).
  • Parking: Yes, free, but there is not a large parking area.
  • Dog friendly: Yes

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area

If you have heard that the beaches in Alabama are awesome, then you’re probably thinking about Gulf Shores and 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 (but not quite the crowds like Destin or other places in Florida).

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. However, there are a few other access points (that we aren’t writing about).

We loved Gulf State Park and spent most of our time at the four beaches below!

4. 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. There are many people here on the weekends in May, but the crowds die down a bit during the week. The beach goes for miles, so there is lots of room to spread out.
  • Sand: White powdery sand, soft on the feet.
  • Water: The water is emerald green, and there are pretty decent-sized waves depending on the weather and wind. The water can be calm or choppy, depending on the weather.
  • Parking: Pay to park, large parking lot.
  • Dog friendly: No

5. 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. When we visited, there were fewer crowds than at the beach with the Pavilion. However, this beach starts to get closer to the condos, so there is more foot traffic.
  • Sand: Beautiful soft white sand up and down the coast of Alabama.
  • Water: As we said above, for the Pavilion beach, the water is emerald green, and there are pretty decent-sized waves depending on the weather and wind. The water can be calm or choppy here (weather dependent).
  • Parking: Pay to park, smaller parking lot.
  • Dog friendly: No

6. Cotton Bayou Beach Access – Gulf State Park

Cotton Bayou Beach area
  • Overall Vibe: Not too far northeast of Romar Beach, Cotton Bayou Beach Access is part of Gulf State Park.
  • Sand: Soft, white, and beautiful!
  • Water: Same as Romar Beach and the Pavilion Beach area.
  • Parking: Pay to park, smaller parking lot.
  • Dog friendly: No

7. 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 further southwest.
  • Parking: Pay to park, large parking area. There is shaded parking as well since there is a large bridge overhead.
  • Dog friendly: No

Our Experience and Favorite Beaches

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 as well.

As for Gulf Shores, when we visited, the waves were pretty large, but Alabama Point East was a relatively protected cove that still allowed for swimming. Alabama Point East is our top pick for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. The water along Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is beautiful emerald green. We can’t wait to go back!

Have Fun Sunbathing on Alabama’s Best Beaches

All of these beaches are incredible, and you’re sure to experience some excellent southern hospitality. We hope they inspire your Alabama beach vacation.

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

Ashlee & Pablo

Where Are You Headed Next?

You might also enjoy our other popular articles about Alabama:

Dauphin Island

Gulf Coast Florida Vacation Guides

We’d Love To Hear From You!

When are you going to Alabama? If you have already been, what were your favorite Alabama beaches?

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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!