The warm glistening waters of the Gulf, along with its powdery-soft ivory sands, never fails to impress visitors to the southern state of Alabama. Perfect for families, couples, and solo vacationers in search of a laid-back retreat with idyllic weather, the state has become a celebrated vacation destination amongst both the American and international communities.

Welcoming Alabama offers paradise beaches that can easily compete with those in neighboring Florida, showcasing sugary white shores, fantastic beach activities and water sports, surfing and diving, dolphin tours, parasailing, and plenty of seaside town attractions that all combine to create the most perfect beach vacation. So, pack that beach bag, book that ticket, and prepare for this sweet southern drawl state's offerings: some of the most sun-worthy beaches in Alabama, and even, the entire USA.

8 Gulf State Park

Alabama boasts interesting state parks, but for sand and sea, it's all about Gulf State Park. The park's glorious 28 miles of trails and two miles of beaches combine with the 900-acre Lake Shelby to offer a delightful sunshine paradise involving lots of swimming, paddling and playing. Superb for seaside-goers in need of both fun and relaxation, the park also boasts lovely cottages, cabins, and campsites that are irresistibly affordable.

Campers, in particular, will find that the Alabama Point East Access Point and the Beach Pavilion are ideal for setting up camp, providing convenient facilities such as picnic tables, restrooms, and concession stands. However, those who need a little more luxury will find it at the state park's Lodge, which is affiliated with Hilton.

Related: Rediscovering Alabama: Why This State Should Be On Your Bucket List

7 Gulf Shores

Boasting a lengthy 32 miles of bright white sand beaches bathed by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores grasps the title with two hands as one of Alabama's most desired beach vacation escapades, as well as being an indulgent seafood specialty spot particularly highly rated for its fresh oysters. Visitors can access the beautiful beach from a number of points, though the most favorited is that at Gulf Place due to its abundance of fantastic facilities.

Beach-goers who're bored of sun, sand, and sea will find a boatload of other entertaining activities and places to enjoy nearby too, such as the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the USS Alabama, and the immensely fun Waterville USA - a massive 20-acre water park full of slip and sliding under the sun.

6 West Beach

West Beach is the more tranquil sister of Gulf Shores and is the perfect retreat for beach visitors in need of a bit more peace and quiet away from the crowds. The beach rests on the Fort Morgan peninsula and is complemented by a backdrop of hotels, homes, condos, and restaurants. Despite offering a quieter beach day out and a peaceful atmosphere, West Beach isn't completely off the radar: it's close to brilliant attractions like Adventure Island and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, the latter of which over 360 bird species call home.

5 Fort Morgan

Head about 20 miles west of Gulf Shores, and one will arrive at Fort Morgan - a National Historic Landmark dating back to 1834 that was constructed to protect Mobile Bay. History fanatics will particularly love this seaside spot, however, beach-lovers and wildlife buffs will also find happiness here, especially bird-watchers. Designated a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy, the fort, as well as its crowd-free beaches, serve as a stopping point for migrating birds during spring and fall. Thus, bird-lovers, bring those binoculars and a good camera if a visit to Fort Morgan and the surrounding area is on the cards.

4 Fairhope

Fairhope appeals to folk who're easily charmed by Alabama's southern culture and warmth. Dotted with cafes, gift shops, art galleries, dessert shops (for which Alabama is famed), and seafood restaurants - all of which helped to put Fairhope on the map - the whole area is a picturesque and entertaining coastal escape beaming with fun, food, and charm.

Right next to the beach is a 1,448 foot-long pier overlooking Mobile May, which is definitely a highlight on the to-behold list when visiting this pretty seaside town. And when beach strolling and eating one's way through the seafood joints all gets too much, visitors can check out the town's bright and beaming art scene at the Eastern Shore Art Center. Of particular note for art appreciators is the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, which takes place in March, and best of all, is free of charge.

Related: Florida Vs. Texas: Which Beaches Are Worth Booking A Vacation For?

3 Orange Beach

If outdoor adventures are a priority, then look no further than Orange Beach and its turquoise sea and white sands, where fun and excitement can be had both on land and in the water. Beach guests who're done with sunbathing, beach games, and swimming can further lose themselves in kayaking, biking, golf, or go for a brisk hike on the famous 15 mile-long Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, which is comprised of six ecosystems hosting a rich diversity of wildlife, including birds, wild boar, otters, and even alligators.

2 Robinson Island

Robinson Island is a fabulous day trip option for people seeking peace and quiet and authentic wildlife encounters and is only accessible by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, so getting there is part of the day's adventure. There aren't any amenities on the beach nor many things to do besides lounging, swimming, and taking in the untouched scenery and undeveloped land. However, this is the entire draw and charm of the place, which exudes serenity, tranquillity, and relaxation away from the masses and urbanization. Fascinatingly, the island is also home to a bird sanctuary and serves as a very important nesting area for herons and terns.

1 Dauphin Island

The sublime 14 mile-long Dauphin Island at Alabama's southernmost end delivers some of the most sensational views of the Gulf - the most unbeatable of which can be enjoyed at East End Beach in particular, while West End Beach is more ideal for family activities, like shell hunting. Overall, for good reason, the island's postcard-perfect beaches are famous state-wide and offer tons of family-friendly attractions nearby, such as the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, and the historic Fort Gaines to name but a few. Undeniably, the beaches on this pristine island are representative of Alabama's most scenic, paradisiac, and fun, and when combined with the local seafood restaurants and souvenir shops, the only thing left to enchant visitors here is the southern small-town vibe.

Next: Shake Your Palms: Best Beaches To Visit Around The World