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4 Top Alabama Beaches for Big Families

    Though its overall coastline may be smaller than some of our previous articles’ featured states, Alabama has no shortage of hidden gems when it comes to family-friendly beaches. The Yellowhammer State has plenty more to it than meets the eye, and its seaside escapes are no exception. Here are our top four picks when it comes to gulf getaways in the heart of dixie.

    Orange Beach

    One of Alabama’s best-kept secrets lies right near the Alabama-Florida border at Orange Beach. Orange Beach has more than enough to offer you and your family in itself. Part of what keeps Orange Beach so pristine is a well-kept motto of Leave Only Footprints, encouraging families and other travelers to be conscious of taking everything with them that they brought.

    Notable Family Attractions:

    • Acting as a central hub for all things entertainment in Orange Beach, The Wharf offers a multitude of locales for whatever you may need. From ziplines and minigolf to shopping and seafood, The Wharf offers a little bit of something for everyone in the family.
    • An extension of some other nearby southern hospitality, the Acme Oyster House brings some not-so-distant Louisiana flavor to Orange Beach. Po-boys, shrimp gumbo, and everything in-between can be found on the delectable menu.

    Orange Beach Hotels for Big Families

    Orange Beach Vacation Rentals for Big Families

    Gulf Shores Beach

    A collection of quintessential Alabama beaches, Gulf Shores offers a myriad of activities, locales, and beachside fun for your family to enjoy. Along the main beach, families have access to picnic pavilions, showers, public restrooms, lifeguards, and perhaps best of all, free parking. Just off the beach, you’ll find an assortment of shops, restaurants, and varying nightlife venues.

    Notable Family Attractions:

    • Ever wanted to walk among the largest reptiles on Earth? Alligator Alley offers an up-close experience for you and your family with perhaps the most exotic of the local wildlife. You can walk amongst the many alligators who call the park home on an elevated walkway, observing both very young and very old gators. For additional fees, you can ever get some gator chow!
    • Looking to also get a bit more of a rural feeling? Oak Hollow Farm has you covered. Horseback riding, skeet shooting, fishing, and more are all available about 40 minutes away from the shore.
    • Fort Morgan offers a look back at a military complex from the 19th century. Open until 5 pm daily, Fort Morgan offers both historical intrigue and outdoor activities such as fishing. You can even take the role of a captured spy in the Civil War as part of an escape room!

    Gulf Shores Big Family Hotels

    Gulf Shores Vacation Rentals

    Fairhope – Beach at Municipal Pier & Park

    An artsy city not too far out from Mobile, Fairhope offers a great mixture of fun both on and off the shore. Swimming, snorkeling, and speed boating are just a small collection of what’s available at the nearby beaches, with a number of public facilities nearby to help traveling families make the most of their outing. Restaurants, rose gardens, picnic tables, and a duck pond all dot the edge of the beaches.

    Notable Family Attractions:

    • Found on the eastern side of Mobile Bay is where you’ll find the Fairhope Pier. Often referred to as a “town square”, Fairhope Pier offers a dedicated picnic area, eateries/cafes, and prime fishing spots (if you have a saltwater fishing license).
    • Shop ‘til you drop and eat a massive variety of foods along Fairhope Avenue! With over 29 different restaurants stretching along the avenue, there’s no shortage of options to keep everyone in the family happy and well-fed.
    • Fairhope is home to not just one, but two lovely museums. The Fairhope Museum of History catalogs the rich, unique history of the area, from its first native peoples to the Civil War and beyond. The Marietta Johnson Museum pays tribute to the world-renowned educator and her accomplishments, though it tends to keep rather short hours from 2-4 pm every weekday.

    Fairhope Alabama Big Family Hotels

    Fairhope Alabama Vacation Rentals

    Gulf State Park Beach

    On the eastern side of Gulf Shores lies Gulf State Park, with 3.5 miles of undeveloped, white-sand beaches. The park sports 28 miles of paved trails for biking and hiking, as well as a 900-acre fishing lake with kayaking, paddle-boarding, and guided nature trails available to visitors. A number of dining options are available from lighter-fare to full-fledged meals. The park features plenty of amenities such as a public pool, tennis courts, and even a golf course. Gulf State Park also hosts plenty of room for camping with full hookups for RVs, making it a great RVing destination for the winter months.

    Notable Family Attractions:

    • The Pier at Gulf State Park offers many services for your adventures both in and out of the park. Featuring an indoor tackle shop, souvenirs, and wheelchair-accessible rail fishing, the pier acts as a one-stop shop for saltwater fishing. The park has varying fees for rentals of equipment and access, but children under the age of 11 fish for free when accompanied by a paying adult. Just make sure to get a saltwater fishing permit!
    • Looking for somewhere to take your four-legged family members? The Dog Pond at Lake Shelby has you covered! From 8 am to sunset, your dogs can enjoy socializing lakeside as well as make use of both agility and play equipment. Just make sure they’re up to date on all their vaccines and keep an eye out for possibly conflicting wildlife.

    Big Family Hotels Near Gulf State Park

    Vacation Rentals Near Gulf State Park


    Ryan Jorgensen

    In addition to travel, Ryan enjoys watching baseball, reading about history, and studying conversational Japanese. His eventual travel goals include Rome, an ancient Shinto temple, and all 30 MLB stadiums.