Discover the Best Beaches in Muscle Shoals Alabama

Alabama may not be as famous for its coastline as its neighboring state of Florida, but it certainly holds its own when it comes to stunning beaches. While Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the go-to destinations for beach lovers, Alabama has much more to offer. Its coastal communities feature picturesque white sand beaches, abundant wildlife, and significant historical landmarks, making them perfect vacation spots. No matter which beach catches your eye, these favorites are bound to keep drawing you back to “The Cotton State” for years to come.

West Beach – Gulf Shores

Considered by many as Alabama’s top beach, West Beach is a hidden gem located just off highway 182 from the main Gulf Shores area. This beach is quieter and more residential than Gulf Shores, stretching for a solid six miles. As you move further west, the population thins out, offering a serene and peaceful atmosphere. While there are vacation rentals, condos, and restaurants along the road, the entire six-mile beach is open to the public. With its pristine white sands and inviting warm waters, West Beach is a beach lover’s paradise.

Fort Morgan Beach – Gulf Shores

If you’re looking for a dose of history along with your beach experience, Fort Morgan Beach is the place to go. Situated on the Fort Morgan Peninsula, this beach is surrounded by the historic 19th-century military base, Fort Morgan. Besides its fascinating historical significance, the beach itself offers a tranquil escape. While it may be less crowded, be prepared with everything you need for the day, as amenities are sparse. Entry to the fort requires a fee of $5 per adult.

Gulf Shores Main Public Beach (Gulf Place) – Gulf Shores

For the quintessential Alabama beach town experience, head to Gulf Shores Main Public Beach. With its dazzling white sands, a plethora of restaurants, shopping opportunities, and vibrant nightlife, this beach town has everything you could want for a memorable beach vacation. From beach volleyball and pavilion picnics to beach-side bars and lifeguards, this beach has it all. Arriving early is advisable to secure a prime spot, and all-day parking is available for $5.

West End Public Beach – Dauphin Island

Welcome to the enchanting Dauphin Island, where you’ll find the breathtaking West End Public Beach. This clean and inviting beach perfectly complements the relaxed atmosphere of the island. Complete with chair rentals, shower facilities, a picnic area, lifeguards, and even a water-slide for the little ones, this beach has something for everyone. Keep in mind that pets are not allowed, but the spectacular summer sunsets make for an unforgettable experience.

Dauphin Island Public Beach – Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island, located just off the coast of Alabama, boasts unspoiled stretches of white sand beaches. Accessible by bridge or ferry, this island is home to its very own 19th-century military fort, Fort Gaines. The gentle slope of the beach makes it safe for kids, and fishing piers cater to anglers. Additionally, pet-friendly areas provide an added perk for beachgoers seeking a safe, relaxed, and rejuvenating beach experience. Public access fees range from $5 per car to $20 for RVs, buses, and trailers.

Cotton Bayou Beach

If you’re seeking the iconic beach vibe complete with rolling waves, high-rises, and multicolored umbrellas, look no further than Cotton Bayou Beach. Located in the well-developed Orange Beach, this public beach destination offers a wide range of restaurants, shops, and amenities. With lifeguards, showers, restrooms, and free parking, it’s no wonder tourists flock to this accessible and popular beach.

Gulf State Park – Gulf Shores

Gulf State Park is another impressive beach destination on Alabama’s coastline. Covering a vast 6,000 acres between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, this state park offers a multitude of activities to suit every taste. With three freshwater lakes, 3.5 miles of open beach, tent and RV campgrounds, hiking and biking trails, a nature center, a golf club, zip-lines, and excellent fishing opportunities, Gulf State Park truly has something for everyone.

Florida Point Beach – Alabama

A little off the beaten path, Florida Point Beach is an excellent option for those seeking a quieter beach experience. Located just east of Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, this beach stretches for slightly over a mile. Enjoy the amenities of Orange Beach while escaping the larger crowds. Picnic areas, restroom facilities, and a boardwalk enhance the beauty of the dunes. For the best stretches of sand and privacy, head south under the highway and turn east along the Gulf Coast. The best part? Parking at this beach is free!

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – Gulf Shores

Continue your journey west from Gulf Shores, and you’ll stumble upon the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. While the refuge offers public beach access, it is primarily renowned for its abundant wildlife. Covering over 7,000 acres and providing a home for over 350 migratory birds, this refuge is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts exploring Alabama’s coastline. Keep in mind that there are no facilities available, and pets are not allowed.

Fairhope Municipal Pier, North Beach, and Magnolia Beach Park – Fairhope

If you prefer a more low-key and charming beach experience, make your way to the small town of Fairhope. Nestled north of the Gulf Coast and located on the eastern side of Mobile Bay, Fairhope offers a quieter and more conservative beach vacation. The town is a haven for artists, writers, and visitors alike, featuring beautiful tree-lined streets and three distinct sandy beaches. Immerse yourself in the tranquil and picturesque atmosphere of this quaint small town.

Sandy Beach – The Shoals

The Shoals area is a collection of cities in Colbert and Lauderdale counties, including Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Florence, and Muscle Shoals. This region hosts local festivities like the Handy Music Festival and Helen Keller Festival during the summer months. Sandy Beach, located in Muscle Shoals, offers a charming beach experience away from the bustling Gulf Coast and Dauphin Island. Visitors can partake in various water sports, swimming, boating, and jet skiing. After an exciting day at the beach, satisfy your hunger at Rick’s Barbecue for delicious smoked meats or the vegetarian-friendly Garden Gate Café for Southern comfort food favorites.

Lake Martin Beach – Dadeville

Lake Martin is a stunning reservoir spanning approximately 44,000 acres across Coosa, Tallapoosa, and Elmore counties. This picturesque lake offers more than 700 miles of shoreline, featuring natural landmarks, sandy beaches, and quaint islands. Popular beaches at Lake Martin include Wind Creek State Park Beach and D.A.R.E. Park Beach. Wind Creek State Park Beach attracts anglers with its abundance of bluegill, crappie, and striped bass. Visitors can also rent boats for a day on the water. D.A.R.E. Park Beach, developed in the late 1990s, offers fishing piers, a white-sand beach, picnic areas, and an amphitheater.

Beach at Lake Guntersville State Park

Nestled in Guntersville, Lake Guntersville State Park covers approximately 6,000 acres and offers a beach complex, hiking trails, woodlands, horseback riding, fishing, and an 18-hole golf course. The beach complex is a family-friendly spot meticulously maintained for daily visits from sunrise to sunset. Grills, animals, and glassware are not permitted on the beach. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, as the area is known for their nesting grounds.

Lake Lurleen State Park – Coker

Lake Lurleen State Park is a hidden gem located approximately 10 miles northwest of Northport and Tuscaloosa. This picturesque state park features a beach, bathhouses, playgrounds, fishing piers, and boat rentals. Anglers will appreciate the abundance of fish, including catfish, crappie, bream, and largemouth bass. On the beach, visitors can enjoy swimming and paddle boating. The park also offers over 20 miles of multi-use trails for mountain bikers and hikers. Take advantage of the park’s proximity to Tuscaloosa and Northport and explore both the beach and the attractions of these vibrant cities.

Lake Tholocco Beaches – Fort Rucker

Spanning over 600 acres, the Lake Tholocco area offers a myriad of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, hiking, basketball, and volleyball. The most popular beach at Lake Tholocco is West Beach, frequented by visitors looking for a day of fun and relaxation. Engineer Beach is another option, though it is reserved for active and retired military members and their families. Fishing is allowed at the beach areas, provided visitors have a state fishing license and a permit from the city. The beautiful beaches and lake area are closed during major holidays. Otherwise, this serene recreational space is open year-round.

Are you ready to embark on your Alabama beach adventure? Check out these incredible vacation rentals at Ambassadeur Hotel on

This article was written by Maxx Kaplan and edited by Ambassadeur Hotel Content Specialist.