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9 Great Beaches near Birmingham, Alabama (2024)

When planning a summer vacation, the beautiful beaches near Birmingham, Alabama, offer some of the best destinations to consider. From the serene sandy shores of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to the vibrant coastal towns in Florida like Pensacola Beach and Santa Rosa Beach, there is a perfect destination for every beach lover.

Explore the rich history, vibrant colors, and abundant activities in these must-visit locations. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly road trip or a peaceful nature retreat, the best beaches near Birmingham promise an unforgettable beach experience.

Alabama's Beaches

Gulf Shores

The beach during sunset at Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores, Alabama, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is renowned for its white sand beaches and warm water, making it a popular year-round destination for swimming, fishing, and sunbathing.

Visitors can enjoy the Waterville USA water park and amusement park, offering 20 acres of fun, or explore the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, a tropical urban oasis just 6 miles from the beach, complete with picnic areas and free parking.

The Track family recreation center features go-karts, bumper boats, and mini-golf. For golf enthusiasts, Gulf Shores offers courses like Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club and Kiva Dunes Resort and Golf.

Gulf State Park Beach, part of Alabama's county parks, is another highlight with its 3.5 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. The area also boasts numerous seafood restaurants to satisfy any craving.

Orange Beach

The shores at Orange Beach

Orange Beach, Alabama, located on Perdido Key in Baldwin County along the Gulf of Mexico, is celebrated for its sandy white beaches, turquoise waters, and Southern hospitality.

This vibrant beach community offers a family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of on-land activities. Adventure Island features indoor and outdoor mini-golf, arcade games, go-karts, bumper boats, and kiddie rides.

The Wharf is a must-visit with its friendly local shops, appetizing bars and restaurants, live music at The Wharf Amphitheater, and a Ferris wheel that provides stunning views. The Gulf - Orange Beach is another popular spot, offering seafood, American fare, and a full bar in an outdoor venue made from old shipping containers.

Dauphin Island

A gorgeous oak tree at Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island, a small town at Alabama's southernmost point, is known as the "Sunset Capital of Alabama" and is a popular vacation destination. This 14-mile-long barrier island offers two distinct areas.

The east end is the widest part, featuring attractions such as Historic Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. It also has several boat launch sites. The west end, which is much narrower, boasts sugar-white sand beaches and various vacation rentals.

Visitors can shop at unique boutiques like The Hippie Fish and Blu Revival Surf Shop or enjoy a meal at restaurants like Island Rainbow for some pizza and ice cream, Lighthouse Bakery for delicious pastries and coffee, and Islanders Restaurant and Bar for Seafood and traditional Southern entrees.

Oak Mountain State Park Beach

A person sitting at King’s Chair at Oak Mountain

Oak Mountain State Park, established in 1927, is located in Pelham, Alabama, and spans 9,940 acres, making it the state's largest state park. A primary feature is Double Oak Lake, which offers a variety of activities such as swimming, cable skiing, fishing, and an inflatable aquapark obstacle course.

The park boasts 100 miles of trails - perfect for hiking and mountain biking, a BMX course, horseback riding, marina rentals, and basketball courts. Visitors can also enjoy nature programs, an 18-hole golf course with a driving range, two beaches, three fishing lakes, picnic areas, playgrounds, a pickleball court, and an archery range.

Barton's Beach on the Cahaba River

A person hiking through Cahaba River

Barton's Beach, located in Perry Lakes Park in Marion, Alabama, is a hidden gem on the banks of the Cahaba River. This serene beach preserve covers 125 acres of Deep South wetland and features a large sandbar surrounded by nature.

Perry Lakes Park, encompassing 600 acres of natural river bottomland with four oxbow lakes, provides a short and easy hike to Barton's Beach. The area is home to sweetgum, sugar maple, willow, and bald cypress trees. Barton's Beach is a unique habitat for nesting turtles and birds, making it the perfect place for a peaceful nature getaway.

Florida's Beaches

Pensacola Beach

White sandy shores of Pensacola Beach with a bridge in the background

Pensacola Beach, Florida, located on the Emerald Coast, is famous for its white sand and clear emerald waters. Recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the top beaches in the U.S. - it is a popular spot for families.

Visitors can enjoy various water sports, such as renting a pontoon boat, fishing from the pier, or paddleboarding. Entertainment options include live music at local restaurants and special events like the U.S. Navy Blue Angels airshow in July and November.

During the summer, a free trolley system helps visitors get around town. Moreover, a visit to Laguna's Beach Bar and Grill is a must for its delicious food and drinks, but the fun does not stop there, they also have a ropes course, go-karts, and splash pad.


Shoreline of Destin, Florida

Destin, situated on the Florida Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico, boasts stunning white sandy beaches and emerald green waters. It has also earned itself the reputation of the "World’s Luckiest Fishing Village."

This beach town offers many activities, from plentiful fishing and challenging golf courses to mouth-watering seafood restaurants and breathtaking Gulf views. Visitors can enjoy parasailing, watersports, dolphin cruises, aquariums, and theme parks.

A must-visit destination in Destin is Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park, the Largest Water Park on the Emerald Coast, featuring over 40 water attractions, tropical landscaping, and adrenaline-pumping thrill rides. 

Santa Rosa Beach

Some birds on the white sandy shores of Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach, the largest beach neighborhood in South Walton, offers numerous opportunities for nature exploration, food adventures, and historic site visits.

Home to Point Washington State Forest, with over 15,100 acres of preserved land, it is perfect for off-road bicycling, hiking, and trail hiking. Eden Gardens State Park features the historic Wesley Mansion, gardens, fishing, and green spaces.

The area also boasts two local breweries, Grayton Beer Company and Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, known for their locally brewed beers and special events. Visitors can enjoy delicious meals at local favorites like Goatfeathers Seafood Restaurant and The Bay while soaking in the vibrant coastal atmosphere.

Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island

Bridge at Fort Walton Beach with a sunset in the background

Fort Walton Beach (FWB) is renowned for its family-friendly resorts and attractions, making it a perfect destination for a summer vacation.

It is home to fascinating museums like the Indian Temple Mound Museum, which features a prehistoric mound and artifacts from indigenous cultures, and the Air Force Armament Museum, showcasing historic aircraft and artifacts from World War I to now.

The area is also a haven for dolphins and four species of sea turtles: loggerhead, green, Kemp's Ridley, and leatherback.

Aerial view of the long pier in Okaloosa Island

Just south of FWB is Okaloosa Island, known for its emerald beaches with white sandy shores, which offer a variety of aquatic activities, including deep-sea fishing, jet skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking. Wild Willie’s Adventure Zone provides family fun with a ropes course, mini-golf, a 4D theater, and go-karts.

Gulfarium Adventure Park features marine-themed attractions, including dolphin shows and interactive exhibits with stingrays, highlighting ocean conservation efforts and the natural habitat.

The Waves are Rolling In!

Aerial view of Orange Beach, Alabama, United States

The beaches near Birmingham offer various activities and breathtaking scenery, from the natural habitat of Barton's Beach on the Cahaba River to the exciting attractions at Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island.

With miles of sugar-white sand, clear water, and vibrant coastal towns, these destinations are perfect for adventure and relaxation. If you are looking for exhilarating water slides, tranquil picnic spots, or top-notch golf courses, Alabama's beaches and their neighboring counterparts in Florida guarantee an unforgettable coastal adventure.

So pack your beach towel, gather your loved ones, and set off on a road trip to explore the best beaches that offer the perfect summer vacation.

Have you ever been to any of these beaches near Birmingham, Alabama? Let me know in the comments below! Share this article with the person or people you want to go on your next adventure with! Also, be sure to SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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