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Small Beach Towns In Alabama: Top 7 Charming Spots

Key Takeaways

  • Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer miles of white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a variety of family-friendly activities.
  • Fairhope is a charming town with a thriving arts community and delicious dining options, while Dauphin Island provides a laid-back vacation with uncrowded beaches and historic attractions.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Gulf Shores State Park, Fort Morgan, and Graham Creek Nature Preserve, all offering stunning natural beauty and recreational opportunities.
  • Visitors can also enjoy shopping and historical attractions in Foley, including the Tanger Outlet and Holmes Medical Museum.

Alabama’s small beach towns are the epitome of Southern charm and natural beauty. Between Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Dauphin Island, vacationers can find miles of pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a plethora of activities that are sure to delight both young and old. This leads me to wonder, what are the top small beach towns to visit in Alabama for a laid-back, family-friendly vacation?

brown gazebo near body of water, Small Beach Towns In Alabama Top 7 Charming Spots

7 Small Beach Towns in Alabama

So, what are the 7 small beach towns in Alabama for that ideal laid-back vacation? They are Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fairhope, Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores State Park, Fort Morgan and Foley. Gulf Shores is a paradise for beach lovers and offers a range of dining options like The Hangout, known for its fresh seafood and live music.

It’s easy to let your worries slip away when you’re in one of these charming spots. From Gulf Shores to Fairhope, there’s a little piece of paradise waiting for you in Alabama.

I’ll delve deeper into what makes each of these Alabama beach towns so special. From the local marine life at the Estuarium to the historic significance of Fort Morgan, there’s a lot to explore. I’ll also cover the various activities you can indulge in, like fishing at the Gulf State Park Pier or shopping at the Tanger Outlets.

So if you’re in the mood for a beach vacation that offers both relaxation and adventure, stick around. Alabama’s charming beach towns are waiting to steal your heart!

Gulf Shores

If you’re looking for a laid-back beach vacation, Gulf Shores is the perfect spot to soak up the sun and relax. This charming beach town in Alabama offers miles of white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles with the little ones.

But there’s more to Gulf Shores than just the beach. There are plenty of activities to keep families entertained, including fishing charters, dolphin cruises, and water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. You can also explore the Gulf State Park, which offers hiking trails, a fishing pier, and a nature center.

When it comes to dining, Gulf Shores has a variety of options to satisfy any craving. Seafood lovers will want to check out The Hangout, which offers fresh seafood and live music. For a casual lunch or dinner, try LuLu’s Gulf Shores, which has a fun, family-friendly atmosphere and delicious Southern-style food. And if you’re in the mood for something sweet, head over to Matt’s Homemade Alabama Ice Cream for a scoop (or two) of their famous ice cream.

With so much to do and see, Gulf Shores is the perfect destination for a fun and relaxing family vacation.

Orange Beach

You’ll fall in love with Orange Beach’s pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, transporting you to a tropical paradise. This small beach town is a hidden gem on the Gulf Coast, offering a laid-back atmosphere and endless beachfront attractions.

Here are just a few reasons why Orange Beach should be at the top of your list of charming spots to visit in Alabama:

– The Gulf State Park Pier is the perfect spot for fishing or taking a leisurely stroll to enjoy the views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Water sports activities, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding, are plentiful and easily accessible.

– The Wharf at Orange Beach offers a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, including concerts and events at the amphitheater.

Nature enthusiasts will love exploring the nearby Backcountry Trail, a scenic pathway through the woods and wetlands of Gulf State Park.

– The Orange Beach Art Center is a must-visit for art lovers, featuring local artists and offering classes and workshops for all skill levels.

With so much to see and do, Orange Beach is the perfect destination for those seeking a relaxing beach vacation with plenty of opportunities for adventure. Don’t miss out on this charming spot on the Alabama coast.


To fully experience Fairhope, take a stroll down the flower-lined streets and browse the unique shops and boutiques. This charming town is home to a thriving arts community, with local artists showcasing their work in galleries and studios throughout the area.

From paintings and sculptures to handmade jewelry and pottery, there’s no shortage of creativity in Fairhope. When it comes to dining, Fairhope has plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds.

For a casual bite, head to Panini Pete’s or Sunset Pointe at Fly Creek Marina, both offering delicious seafood and waterfront views. Looking for something a bit more upscale? Try the locally sourced menu at The Wash House, or indulge in some Southern comfort food at the charming Camellia Cafe.

Whatever your preference, Fairhope is sure to leave you feeling satisfied and inspired.

Dauphin Island

As you head to Dauphin Island, get ready to immerse yourself in history, nature, and relaxation.

Explore the Historic Fort Gaines, a Civil War-era fort that offers stunning views of the Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay.

Relax on uncrowded beaches and soak up the sun, or head to the Estuarium to see local marine life up close.

With so much to do and see, Dauphin Island is the perfect destination for a laid-back beach vacation.

Explore the Historic Fort Gaines

Located on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, you can explore the historic Fort Gaines and experience a piece of Alabama’s Civil War history.

Learn about Fort Gaines’ role in the Civil War as you tour the site and take in the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. The fort was strategically placed to protect the entrance to Mobile Bay, and it played a key role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

As you walk through the fort, you’ll discover the unique architecture of Fort Gaines, which is a mix of brick, sandstone, and wood. The fort’s design is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, with curved walls and arches that add to its charm.

You can also explore the fort’s museum, which houses artifacts from the Civil War era, including weapons, uniforms, and personal items belonging to soldiers who served at the fort.

Relax on Uncrowded Beaches

You’ll love lounging on the uncrowded sandy shores and soaking up the sun’s rays. Alabama’s small beach towns offer a serene and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of bigger cities. The beaches here are pristine and unspoiled, providing a perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

To help you plan your beach getaway, check out this table showcasing some of the top uncrowded beaches in Alabama’s small beach towns. And when you’re ready to indulge in some local cuisine, the nearby beachfront accommodations offer easy access to delicious seafood options. You won’t regret spending some time soaking up the beauty and tranquility of Alabama’s uncrowded beaches.

Beach NameLocationAmenitiesActivitiesBest For
Gulf State Park BeachGulf ShoresRestrooms, showers, picnic areasSwimming, sunbathing, fishingFamilies with kids
Dauphin Island Public BeachDauphin IslandRestrooms, showers, picnic areas, playgroundSwimming, fishing, kayakingCouples
Cotton Bayou BeachOrange BeachRestrooms, showers, picnic areasSwimming, sunbathing, fishingSolo travelers
West BeachGulf ShoresRestrooms, showers, picnic areasSurfing, fishing, beachcombingOutdoor enthusiasts
Gulf Shores Public BeachGulf ShoresRestrooms, showers, picnic areasVolleyball, swimming, sunbathingGroups of friends

Come and experience the laid-back beach lifestyle in Alabama’s small beach towns. With a variety of uncrowded beaches and beachfront accommodations, you’ll have a truly relaxing vacation. Don’t forget to try some of the local seafood options while you’re here.

See the Local Marine Life at the Estuarium

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Alabama, the Estuarium is a must-visit spot. Here, you can see the local marine life up close and personal. The Estuarium offers a variety of activities that range from educational to interactive.

You can explore the marine life exhibits, watch a movie about the Gulf of Mexico, or even participate in a touch tank experience where you can touch horseshoe crabs, starfish, and other sea creatures. The exhibits showcase a variety of species, including stingrays, sharks, and sea turtles. You’ll also get a chance to learn about the different ecosystems that exist in the Gulf, such as the salt marshes and seagrass beds.

Overall, the Estuarium is a great way to spend a day learning about the local marine life while enjoying the freedom of exploring at your own pace.

Gulf Shores State Park

Explore the natural beauty of Gulf Shores State Park, where sandy beaches and towering trees offer a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or camping options, this park has it all. Take a stroll on the white sand beaches, swim in the clear waters, or hike through the trails that wind through the forest. You can even rent a bike or kayak to explore the park further.

For those looking to spend the night, Gulf Shores State Park has a variety of camping options, from primitive sites to full RV hookups. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing and birds chirping, and spend your day exploring all the park has to offer.

With over 6,000 acres of natural beauty, Gulf Shores State Park is the perfect place to disconnect and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors.

Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan is a historic military fort located at the mouth of Mobile Bay, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and a chance to learn about the important role it played in defending the Gulf Coast. Built in 1819, the fort has been used in various conflicts, including the Civil War and World War II. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, attracting history buffs and beachgoers alike.

Fort Morgan: History and Attractions

The fort offers guided tours, allowing visitors to explore the barracks, artillery batteries, and other historic structures. The museum inside the fort showcases artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the fort’s history. In addition to the historical attractions, Fort Morgan also offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay. Visitors can take a stroll along the fort’s walls and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area.

Best Beach Activities in Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan is also a great spot for beach activities. The area boasts miles of pristine beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. Visitors can also rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore the bay and nearby Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you’re interested in history or just looking for a relaxing day at the beach, Fort Morgan has something for everyone.


If you’re looking for some shopping therapy, head to the Tanger Outlets in Foley. You’ll find a wide range of stores offering everything from clothing and accessories to home decor and electronics.

After you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, make your way to the Holmes Medical Museum to learn about the history of medicine in Baldwin County.

And if you’re in the mood for some outdoor adventure, don’t miss the chance to explore the Graham Creek Nature Preserve, where you can hike, kayak, and spot native wildlife.

Shop at the Tanger Outlets

As you stroll through the Tanger Outlets, the sea breeze whispers to you like a siren’s call, drawing you further into a shopper’s paradise filled with designer finds and irresistible deals.

The Tanger Outlets in Foley, Alabama, is the perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy. Here are some Tanger Outlets shopping tips to make the most out of your experience:

– Start at the Information Center: Get a map of the outlets and ask for any current promotions or discounts.
– Look for the Best Deals: Check out the clearance racks and the stores with the biggest sales.
– Join TangerClub: This rewards program gives you access to exclusive deals and helps you save even more money as you shop.

Whether you’re looking for trendy clothes or unique souvenirs, the Tanger Outlets has something for everyone.

So why resist the urge to shop? Embrace your desire for freedom and treat yourself to a day of retail therapy at the Tanger Outlets.

Visit the Holmes Medical Museum

You simply must visit the Holmes Medical Museum, where you’ll learn about the fascinating history of medicine in Alabama.

The museum boasts exhibits showcasing medical equipment and artifacts from the early days of medicine, which will leave you in awe of the ingenuity of those who came before us.

Enjoy a guided tour of the museum’s exhibits, where you’ll get an up-close and personal look at the medical practices of the past.

From surgical tools to apothecary jars, the Holmes Medical Museum is a treasure trove of historical medical artifacts.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history of medicine in Alabama.

Explore the Graham Creek Nature Preserve

Get ready to explore the natural beauty of Graham Creek Nature Preserve, where you can let your hair down and take a breath of fresh air while enjoying the great outdoors.

With over 500 acres of pristine wilderness to explore, you’ll find endless opportunities for adventure, from hiking trails that wind through the lush forests to bird watching in the wetlands.

The hiking trails at Graham Creek Nature Preserve are some of the best in Alabama, with options for all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging trek, you’ll find a trail that suits your needs.

As you hike, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the preserve home, including deer, otters, and a variety of bird species. And if you’re a bird watcher, you’re in luck – the preserve is home to over 200 species of birds, making it a popular destination for bird enthusiasts.

So pack your hiking boots and your binoculars, and get ready to explore the natural wonders of Graham Creek Nature Preserve.


Well, well, well, it looks like you’ve made it to the end of this article about the charming small beach towns in Alabama. Congratulations!

But before you go, let’s take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned. You now know the top 7 small beach towns in Alabama, from the bustling Gulf Shores to the tranquil Fairhope. You’ve learned about the beautiful Gulf Shores State Park and the historic Fort Morgan. And let’s not forget about Foley, which is apparently a charming spot (though we’re not entirely sure why).

But most importantly, you’ve learned that Alabama has some pretty darn cute beach towns. Who knew? So next time you’re planning a beach vacation, forget about those overrated places like Florida or California. Head on down to Alabama and soak up some Southern charm. We promise you won’t regret it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any pet-friendly beaches in these small beach towns?

Looking for pet friendly accommodations? Beach rules and regulations may vary, but there are plenty of beaches in Alabama that welcome furry friends. Enjoy outdoor activities like dog-friendly hiking trails and beach playtime.

Indulge in seafood specialties and farm-to-table options at the local eateries. Savor every bite of the fresh catch while enjoying the laidback vibe of the small beach towns. Your taste buds will thank you for the experience.

Are there any notable events or festivals that take place in these towns throughout the year?

Looking for the best times to experience local traditions in these small beach towns? You’re in luck! From the Annual Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores to the National Shrimp Festival in Orange Beach, there’s always something exciting happening.

Looking for adventure? Hit the trails at Gulf State Park for breathtaking views and wildlife sightings. Or, take to the water with jet skiing, parasailing, and kayaking. Ready to explore? Let’s go.

Are there any historical landmarks or museums to visit in these towns?

You’ll be pleased to find that there are several sites of historical significance in these towns. From museums showcasing cultural artifacts to landmarks highlighting the area’s rich history, there’s plenty to explore beyond the beach.