Is it the water or the sand that makes Alabama Gulf Coast beaches so spectacular? Everyone seems to have their own opinion. But with miles of sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand that's so soft it squeaks under your feet, you don't have to choose. Wondering where to plant your beach umbrella? You'll find a variety of public beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama - each special in its own way and each offering a different experience. Try 'em all and see which fits you best.

Florida Point - A Gulf State Park beach area

There must be something magical about this stretch of Gulf and the pass leading into the back bays. The water here always seems to be that glistening turquoise you see in magazines. This is a spot for serious relaxation. Located just .3 miles east of Perdido Pass Bridge, Florida Point offers more than 6,000 feet of wide beach, sand dunes, boardwalks, picnic areas, restrooms, and outdoor showers. Parking is free, and there are two separate parking areas. It`s a bit of a walk out across the dune line, so pack lightly and focus on the simple pleasures. This park offers some of great views of incoming and outgoing charter boats… if you can keep from dozing off.
Location: Orange Beach

Cotton Bayou - A Gulf State Park beach area

This small beach area is found at the intersection of Highway 182 and Highway 161. Nestled between some of the most popular condominiums in the area, there`s always plenty of people-watching and activity. There are restrooms and outdoor showers on site. There is ample free parking and the beach is easily accessible.
Location: Orange Beach

Romar Beach - A Gulf State Park beach area

This beach area - with a limited amount of free parking - is easy to get to. It`s perfect for a quick beach stroll or an impromptu picnic. It`s located 6.8 miles east of Highway 59. Future plans call for restrooms and outdoor showers, but currently there aren`t any.
Location: Orange Beach

Gulf State Park - Pavilion Area

This un-crowded, natural beach is located six miles east of Highway 59, among the sand dunes and sea oats. There`s lots of room to spread out, making it a great place for families with lots of gear. Surf fishing is a popular activity here. A brand new beach pavilion features air-conditioned restrooms, private showers, a snack bar, plenty of shady spots to sit and eat, and even a huge fireplace for chilly days. There is a $6 fee to park all day ($12 for large vans), but there are plenty of spaces, and lots of room for large vehicles and RVs.
Location: Gulf Shores

Gulf State Park - Lake Shelby Recreation Area

If you`re looking for a little lakefront beach activity, try basking by Lake Shelby. This 900-acre freshwater lake is perfect for swimming, water skiing, boating and having a picnic. The recreation area boasts picnic tables and pavilions that are available for rental. You can even purchase a fishing license. A small entry fee is charged, but you can stay all day and get your money`s worth.
Location: Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores Public Beach

If you`re looking for volleyball-playing, beach-bar-hanging good times, this spot - where Highway 59 dead-ends into the Gulf - is for you. For a small fee, you get all-day, up-close parking, making it easy to unload your gear. Beach attendants, three open-air pavilions and a picnic area are available. There are also restrooms and showers on site. This is a popular spot, so you may want to arrive early to get a prime parking spot.
Location: Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores 2nd Street Public Access

Easy access to the beach, just two blocks west of Highway 59. Parking is free and there`s plenty of it. A handicapped-accessible restroom, outdoor shower, and a covered pavilion with picnic tables are on site.
Location: Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores 4th Street Public Access

This is a pedestrian crossing only, which is perfect if you`re staying in a property nearby.
Location: Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores 5th & 6th Street Public Accesses

Located five and six blocks west of Highway 59, you can park and walk the boardwalk to the beach. An outdoor shower makes it handy to spray off before you hop back in your car. The 6th Street access offers a handicapped-accessible restroom.
Location: Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores 13th Street Public Access

Park for free just across the street or walk over if you`re renting nearby. A boardwalk leads to the beach and outdoor shower.
Location: Gulf Shores

Lagoon Park

Lagoon Pass is a shallow waterway connecting Little Lagoon to the Gulf, 2.9 miles west of Highway 59. You`ll find restrooms, an outdoor shower and water fountain on site, with parking on the northeast side of the Lee Callaway Bridge.
Location: Gulf Shores

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Beach

Want to commune with Mother Nature? Then take a hike... down Pine Beach Trail. Put the top down and enjoy the drive about ten miles down Fort Morgan Road (Hwy 180). The trail meanders two miles through an enchanted forest of palmettos, live oaks and Spanish moss - past Gator Lake and Little Lagoon - to a spectacular ridge of dunes and a pristine, all-natural beach. Along the way, you`ll see an astounding variety of birds and other wildlife. Don`t feel like walking? You can park along Mobile Street for easy beach access without the exercise. This is a wildlife refuge, so there are no facilities available. The refuge office is close by if you need park information.
Location: Fort Morgan
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