Travelers whose bucket list does not include Alabama are missing a lot. The state was visited by more than 28.2 million people in 2021, and, for sure, they enjoyed its natural spots and man-made attractions. Examples of the former include the Guntersville Lake, Horse Pens 40, and Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, among others, while, for the latter, there’s the Riverchase Galleria, the Alabama Museum of Natural History, Alabama Splash Adventure, and more.

What takes the cake, however, is its top-rated beaches along the Gulf Coast. Its shore can match those in Florida, or maybe even better because they are less crowded. As such, sun-worshippers will have a worthwhile time unwinding. The Heart of Dixie awaits its beachcombers.

10 Orange Beach

Alabama has stunning waterfalls, but it’s most proud of its beaches along the Gulf Coast. Orange Beach is probably one of the most famous because of its proximity to accommodations, mostly condominium units. As such, this subtropical destination is perfect for families who want to island-hop, thanks to the presence of the Islands of Perdido Pass. Its waters are perfect for paddling tours and boating journeys. From frolicking by the beach and sunbathing to dolphin cruises, Orange Beach means business. 80

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9 Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores is another Alabama spot that wants to be outstanding, something it can easily achieve because of its welcoming waters. Aside from watersports and cruises, the area is famous for its fishing charters. Travelers who want to test their angling skills should not miss challenging the waves of this resort city. If they proved to be a worthy friend of Neptune, the dolphins might even guide them to brimming fishing spots. So where to go reeling? Gulf Shores, for sure.

8 Romar Beach

Romar Beach might not ring a bell for most visitors, but it should not be overlooked when beach-hopping in Alabama. It’s easy to reach, and even so, it’s not crowded, perfect for sunbathers who enjoy reading a book. It’s wide and welcoming, much so that it might as well be named Roam. Tourists should imagine this: as they roam the area, they’ll be hugged by the Gulf of Mexico’s salty air. That and the peace make Romar Beach an ideal place to log off.

7 Dauphin Island

The quiet town of Dauphin Island is home to stunning beaches, often overlooked by Alabama travelers. It is located on a barrier island, so, naturally, it has pristine shores. History lovers will enjoy visiting this town because it’s home to Fort Gaines, where they can shout, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Lovers of wildlife are in for a treat, too, because the town has the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. From feathered friends to gilled pals, the island is the place for beachgoers who want to be busy.

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6 Fort Morgan

Just like Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan has something for everyone. This site has a rich history; something travelers can enjoy when visiting. With the sun as their companion, tourists curious enough to drop by this place are in for a treat. Aside from exploring the fort, they can also spend their day boating, birdwatching, strolling along nature spots, picnicking, and, of course, enjoying the beach. The Gulf Coast has endless surprises, some of which are protected by the fort yet within the grasp of eager visitors.

5 West Beach

Considered the quiet section of Gulf Shores, West Beach is perfect for serene moments. It has lots of vacation rentals for families and groups of friends. As such, anyone visiting this part of Alabama is assured of a homey stay even as they are enjoying sunkissed memories. Gulf Shores is already stunning, and West Beach probably adds to the reasons why this subtropical city is the best. It’s sandwiched between the Little Lagoon and the gulf, so travelers just need to choose where they want to make a splash.

4 Fairhope

Picnicking by the shore with the Mobile Bay as a companion. That’s what tourists can experience when visiting the charming town of Fairhope. Thanks to its white-sand beaches, the area is popular for weekend getaways. At the pier, tourists can be amazed by watching how fishers do their magic. After that, they can beachcomb or swim in the shallow and calm waters of the bay. Families with kids are recommended to visit Point Clear, too, because it's perfect for paddling journeys, thanks to the serene waters. That’s Fairhope, the fairest of them all.

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3 Robinson Island

The water is clear, and the shore is pristine. With such a stunning personality, it’s no wonder why Robinson Island is the most popular Orange Beach island. Not only can guests enjoy swimming in its inviting waters and frolicking by the shore, but they can also have a fun time observing its flora and fauna. Together with Bird Island, Robinson makes a trip to Yellowhammer State colorful. It’s enticing to look at the photos, enough reason to visit this pocket of paradise.

2 Cotton Bayou Beach

Cotton Bayou Beach boasts 3.5 miles of white sand and warm waters. Its clean shore makes the area picture-perfect, and it's probably one of the best places along the Gulf Shore to take a profile picture. But then again, this beach is almost paradise that travelers might be so busy enjoying the landscape they might forget to use their phones. That’s fine because, in Cotton Bayou Beach, the best moments are made when offline. A few Instagram shots won’t hurt, though.

1 Little Lagoon Pass

Little Lagoon Pass connects the Little Lagoon to the Gulf of Mexico, basically a place where tourists can play both ways, literally. It’s famous among families and groups of friends because of the calm waters. Kids will enjoy creating sand castles while adults busy themselves reading a book or gulping a drink. The shallow waters of Little Lagoon Pass are always fine, making it a place for tourists to mind their own business or people-watch. Whatever floats their boat.