Alabama’s sugar sand Gulf of Mexico beaches are about an hour’s drive south of Mobile. Warm water laps against soft sand, inviting visitors to while away hours swimming or lying in the sun. Golf courses tempt with public play on championship holes, and fresh seafood can be found on almost any corner. Charter boats chug out into the Gulf, carrying anglers hoping to catch the big one. Which beach you choose for your overnighting begins with a decision about what sort of accommodations suit you.
Pitch a Tent or Stay in Your RV
The 6,150-acre Gulf State Park has two miles of sandy beach and the longest fishing pier on the Gulf. An 18-hole golf course with a restaurant and pro shop is open daily. Backcountry trails run through oak forests, over sand dunes and along creeks, and a casual restaurant at the pier serves barbecue. A huge campground with almost 500 full-hookup sites and numerous modern bathhouses is about a mile and a half from the beach. The state park also has lakeside raised cottages and cabins.
Two- and three-bedroom condos at Caribe Resort in Orange Beach have luxury bathrooms, full kitchens and private balconies with ocean views. Huge swimming pools with water slides dot the property, and a marina has boat and jet-ski rentals. Gulf Shores Plantation is a family-friendly resort with beach cabins and condos just a few miles from Fort Morgan, one of the defenses built after the War of 1812. A full-service spa at the Beach Club offers body work, massage and salon services. Beachfront condos have private balconies and one to five bedrooms.
Choose Your Own Vacation Rental
Vacation rentals by owner, many of them beachside, litter the Alabama Gulf coast. They range in size from condos to romantic cottages and huge mansions with enough bedrooms to put up all your friends for a killer beach party. Companies like VRBO host photos and descriptions of the homes on their website, but in many cases visitors deal directly with the owner or their agent. If you prefer not to deal directly with the owner, real estate offices also handle vacation rentals.
Best Western’s mid-rise hotel is directly on the beach in Gulf Shores. The hotel, within walking distance of a water park and a zoo, has free Wi-Fi, an indoor heated pool and outdoor beach pool, a restaurant and standard rooms. Budget- and pet-friendly Beachside Resort Hotel in Gulf Shores has a third-floor outdoor pool with a view of the beach and a restaurant that provides complimentary continental breakfast daily. Rooms have beach views with shared balconies, microwave ovens and dorm fridges.