What are the Best Beaches in Alabama for Families?

Aerial City view of the Gulf Shores, Alabama USA
Aerial City view of the Gulf Shores, Alabama USA

The best beaches for families in Alabama are listed below: 

  1. Gulf Place
  2. Cotton Bayou
  3. Dauphin Island Public Beach
  4. Fairhope Beach
  5. Gulf State Park
  6. Alabama Point Beach
  7. Fort Morgan Beach
  8. Lake Lurleen Beach

While Alabama’s gulf coast is only 32 miles long, it attracts tourists year-round. The rest of this article will tell you everything you need to know about the best Alabama beaches, and provide you with all the information you need to plan your family’s next beach vacation.

1.) Gulf Place

Aerial City view of the Gulf Shores, Alabama USA
Aerial City view of the Gulf Shores, Alabama USA

With wide shores devoid of sharp rocks, this tranquil beach located in Gulf Shores is the ideal vacation for families with small children. Swimming, sunbathing, parasailing, and jet-skiing are just some of the activities available at Gulf Place, and the beach includes restrooms and outdoor showers for after your fun-filled day. 

Known for its clear, gentle waters and soft sands, Gulf Place is a frequent attraction for parties and beach weddings. 

2.) Cotton Bayou

Taken in the early morning hours on Cotton Bayou in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Taken in the early morning hours on Cotton Bayou in Orange Beach, Alabama.

A small beach contained inside Gulf State Park, Cotton Bayou is located along Orange Beach. Like the other entries on this list, Cotton Bayou offers restrooms and outdoor showers, making cleaning off after your day at the beach that much easier. 

Cotton Bayou is a popular place for those seeking vacation rental homes, as plenty of condominiums are available for rent. The beach’s large parking area is a short walk from the pristine white sands. Two large boardwalks make walking from your car to the beach a breeze. 

3.) Dauphin Island Public Beach

Aerial view of Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Coast
Aerial view of Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Coast

Dauphin Island is a barrier island along Alabama’s southern coast that is rich in history and nature, being home to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. The smaller islands alongside Dauphin Island are protected wildlife reserves for the critically endangered Piping plover and other rare, native bird species. 

In order to keep the beach safe and protected, no metal detecting is allowed, and the sand dunes at Sea Oats are federally protected, prohibiting any beachgoers from walking on them. 

Because of its protected status, Dauphin Island’s natural beauty is unparalleled. The small entry fee to the beach goes to maintaining the island’s natural resources. Adults and children alike can learn from and explore all Dauphin Island has to offer. 

Dauphin Island has a number of hotels and other amenities such as shopping and restaurants. 

4.) Fairhope Beach

Fairhope Municipal Pier on Mobile Bay
Fairhope Municipal Pier on Mobile Bay. Editorial credit: George Dodd III / Shutterstock.com

Tranquil gulf waters meet mangroves and salt marshes in the unique town of Fairhope, Alabama. Families with children will enjoy the large playground and covered pavilion, ideal for picnicking. 

Oak and mangrove trees provide natural shade along the shore, which is ideal for those hot Alabama summers. The Beach Park Tree Trail is a walking trail that features more than 500 native tree species, including the hazel alder, pink dogwood, magnolia, and the swamp tupelo. 

Enjoy all Fairhope Beach has to offer, including the small town charm and amenities such as hotels, shopping, restaurants, and more. 

5.) Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park is a 2-mile stretch of beach along Alabama’s coast. With warm sand, clear waters, and natural shade from the numerous native tree species, it’s an ideal destination for vacationers of all ages. 

Lake Shelby is also within the park’s boundaries, and offers fishing, swimming, and more. Hiking and biking trails are sure to please outdoor enthusiasts. The various fish and bird species native to the southern Alabama coast draws avid birdwatchers and fishermen year-round. 

Tent campsites, RV hookups, and rental cabins are available for overnight stays. If you don’t plan on staying in the park, the city of Gulf Shores offers plenty of amenities. 

6.) Alabama Point Beach

Look out over rocks at Alabama Point East in Orange Beach, AL
Look out over rocks at Alabama Point East in Orange Beach, AL

Alabama Point Beach is located in Gulf State Park just along the Alabama-Florida border on Perdido Key. It’s considered the easternmost point of Alabama before reaching the Alabama-Florida border.

Alabama Point Beach goes by many names, including Perdido Pass, Point East, and Florida Point. The beach draws visitors, especially in the summer, where it can be very crowded. The waters are ideal for surfing and watersports, as well as swimming and boating. 

This 6,000-foot stretch of sandy beach includes boardwalks to make walking from the parking lot to the beach more convenient. Public showers are available to make cleaning off after a long day at the beach a breeze. Sunbeds with umbrellas are available to rent. The shallow, clear waters and wide beach make it perfect for children. 

The nearest beaches are Cotton Bayou Beach, just 2 miles away, and Perdido Key Beach, which is 6 miles away. 

Nearby towns include Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, which include accommodations and amenities such as hotels, restaurants, shopping, and more. 

7.) Fort Morgan Beach

Fort Morgan Beach
Fort Morgan Beach

A protected historical site rich in military history, Fort Morgan is located on the western end of Fort Morgan Peninsula along Alabama’s barrier coast. Travel Advisor voted Fort Morgan as one of 2020’s best travel destinations. 

This scenic beach has seen five wars, including the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and both World War I and II. The most notable battle fought at Fort Morgan was the Battle of Mobile Bay fought in 1864. It was finally retired as an active military fort in 1946, when it was turned into a historical site by the state of Alabama.

Fort Morgan Historical Site includes a museum where adults and children alike can learn about Fort Morgan’s rich history through information centers and self-guided tours. The beach is just along the historical site, which has clear coastal waters and warm sands. 

The city of Gulf Shores lies 23 miles east of Fort Morgan, and includes hotels, restaurants, and shopping. 

8.) Lake Lurleen Beach

Lake Lurleen Beach
Lake Lurleen Beach

The only entry on our list that is a lake beach instead of a coastal one, Lake Lurleen State Park is a popular travel destination for those seeking to avoid the crowded beaches of Alabama’s gulf coast.

Fishing, swimming, kayaking, and more are available to do at Lake Lurleen, located 9 miles north of Tuscaloosa and Northport. A nature center offers education about the scenic area for adults and children alike. 

See Also

US Beaches

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!