Travel

6 Irresistible Gulf Coast Beach Destinations To Add On Your Bucket List

Lauren Michelle763 views

This “grab your sunscreen and tanning oil” themed bucket list comes from Danielle Tower, writer and owner of The Taste Team, LLC (she even featured me on her site).These top sandy destinations are no joke as they are coming from a gal who has been all over the U.S.A. Find all of Danielle’s social platforms at the end of the page to get in contact with her!

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Most travelers love to fit in a day at the beach on their itinerary. Some must travel to enjoy beaches, while many of us are blessed to have one almost right outside our front doors. When thinking of the perfect beach destinations, most think of the Caribbean, an exotic island, or even a larger city on the coast. There’s no denying the world of gorgeous beaches is worth exploring. However, there are a few gems you shouldn’t overlook. Though not given as much notoriety, at these beautiful beaches you can have an enjoyable vacation without emptying your wallet. There are plenty of eye-catching beach territories in less chartered areas on the Gulf Coast.  When planning your next beach trip, keep these six destinations in mind.

 

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island is a town outside of Mobile, Alabama on with a small community and nice beach. They have two locations to access the beach with one called West End Beach. The area also has a string of beach house rentals to extend your enjoyment. Though the Southern area is quiet and peaceful with neighborhoods nearby, there are still a few activities to get into. Most of the attractions are on Bienville Blvd.

  • Things to do near Dauphin Island

On Dauphin Island, you can take a tour of Fort Gaines, visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and The Esterium, or take a stroll through Indian Mound Park. If you happen to visit during Mardi Gras, you can catch a parade. The town has been known to kick off Mardi Gras with the first parade each year. Another great thing about the island is the summer entertainment. You can find movie nights in the summer and live music on Sunday.

You’re not limited to the island since it’s so close to other cities.  There are a few places to eat in the area, and you can always take a short drive to The City of Mobile for more local dining options. When you’re ready for more adventure, put your car on the ferry and take a ride to the next beach destination, Gulf Shores.

 

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach

You may already be familiar with Gulf Shores, Alabama as their ever-growing Hangout Fest has caught much attention.  This area isn’t short of resorts and vacation rentals for you to stay as close to the turquoise water as possible.  The town also has plenty of places to enjoy live music and view the beach while dining.

  • Things to do in Orange Beach

Like all the other beaches, you’ll have all the water adventures you can handle.  And if not, you won’t be far from the water park, Waterville U.S.A.  Shopping is about 20 minutes away in neighboring Foley, Alabama at Tanger Outlet Center. Golfing is at every turn. Kids will also enjoy Pirate Islands Adventure Golf, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and The Track Family Recreation Center.

 

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach Boardwalk is where you can find shopping, dining, and entertainment.  Once you pass through the toll, you’re ready for adventures of all sorts. You’ll also find hotels and vacation rentals to stay near the most popular attractions.

  • Things to do near the Pensacola Beach

Pensacola beach is surrounded by a variety of dining options with the best view you can find.  Casual dining at Crabs on the Beach gives you four different seating options.  You can dine in, eat by the bar, on the patio, or order right from your lounge chair on the beach. For high-end casual dining, try The Grand Marlin. This establishment has a delicious menu of daily fresh seasonal favorites.  You can dine inside or on the covered patio with an ocean view.

After you’re done parasailing and have enjoyed the seasonal Dolphin cruise and other beach amusements, you can still enjoy the beach area in the evening.  At night, the area turns into a hangout spot.  Many of the bars and beach-side dining offer live music to enjoy.

 

Panama City Beach

Not to be confused with Capital of Panama in Central America.  Panama City sits directly between Pensacola and Tallahassee. That means if you’re looking for more options besides Pensacola Beach, just keep on driving a little down the road.

  • Things to do in Panama City

This beach destination has attractions and things to do for all ages.  In addition to fishing, boating, and water sports, Panama City also has eco-adventures like St. Andrews State Park.  This park still has the water activities, but you can also take their nature trail to observe the plant and animal life.

Shipwreck Island Water Park and Gulf World Marine Park are adventures the kids will enjoy to the fullest.  You can also join Pirates of the High Seas GeoTour.  The geocaching tour is a pirate themed treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.

 

Destin

As you get closer to the beach, even the drive through Destin, Florida is a lovely site.  Just like Panama City, the Emerald Coast water is kissed with a hint of blue you can’t find anywhere else.  With resorts like Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and beautiful beachfront hotels like Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort, and Spa, you can have the best view of the beach with impeccable service.  Scenic Hwy also has many vacation rental options.

  • Things to do in Destin

After you’ve treated yourself to a spa day, you can do shopping at Silver Sands Premium Outlets or Shops at Destin Commons.  Visit HarborWalk Village for boating, cruises. water sports, and ziplining.  Shopping, gaming, and beachfront dining are easy to find in the village too. Another dining option with a gulf view is 790 on the Gulf. This lavish restaurant inside The Inn at Crystal Beach adds their tasty Cajun flare to seafood favorites.

If the beach isn’t wet enough, you can spend the day at Big Kahuna’s Lost Paradise and try all their water park adventures. For the risk takers, the park even has bungee jumping. The Track is also a good place for some family fun with their popular Go-Kart rides. This place will keep you enthused with mini golf, water bumper rides, skydiving, an arcade, and other amusements.

Biloxi

Biloxi, Mississippi is well known for its casinos, but they have lovely beaches too. This is another trip for a scenic view en route to your destination. When you exit Biloxi Bay Bridge you’ll run directly into the beach and many other attractions.

  • Things to do in Biloxi

Besides casinos, casinos, and more casinos, there are the resorts and dining at the CASINOs. Aside from gaming, you can find shopping, spas, and entertainment. Outside of the casinos, you can take a cruise or do boating and other water sports. If you drive down Beach Blvd, you’ll find a long group of beachfront restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, including Mexican and seafood.

After dinner, you can take a walk on one of their piers near the beach.  Like other Gulf Coast beach destinations, there’s a water park near Biloxi too.  You can find Gulf Island Water Park in the neighboring beach town, Gulfport.  There you’ll also find shopping at Gulfport Premium Outlets.

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Danielle is a freelance writer and owner of The Taste Team, LLC, a platform for travelers and foodies to publish about local dining, travel, and entertainment. She’s a free spirit who’s passionate about being able to do what she loves, which is traveling and writing. When she’s not on the run or stuffing her face, she’s somewhere reading, spending time with loved ones, working out, catching sun at the beach, trying new foods, or walking the aisles of the health food store. Visit The Taste Team’s website and follow us on social media to see all our team’s travel adventures and foodie finds.

24 Comments

  1. This post made me want to go to the beach right now! I love the tropics and it’s always nice to see something new especially if that means enjoying a view like these places!

    1. Alicia,

      Thank you for the compliment! With your husband being from Florida and Family in Texas, you have quite the hook-up for a road trip 😉

  2. This makes me realize that I would love to travel more to beaches and tropical places! I miss the summer and the sun! These are all so nice!

  3. I’ve never been to Destin and Panama and I would sure love to visit those places! Just look at how great they are! I’m sure my kids will have fun here as well.

    1. Sharon,

      I grew up at Siesta Key beach and would rank that one pretty high as well, but seem to find it quite over populated and a bit overrated with the troubles of traffic. Destin is on my list as well!

  4. Pensacola Beach sounds fabulous. I’ve always wanted to do a dolphin cruise. I’ve never heard of there before so thank you for making me aware of it!

  5. Ty for this list ! We recently became a full time traveling RV family and we have seen quite a few beaches in Florida with sanibel island being our fav. I had no idea about Alabama so I will make sure to add this to our list !

    1. Sandra,

      Funny you mention Sanibel Island, because I JUST went there for the first time this past weekend! I completely agree with you and would have to add that one to the top # of beaches!

  6. My cousin lives in Mobil, now I have another great reason to go visit him!

    1. Michelle, you can never have to many reasons to go visit the Gulf Coast beaches 😉

  7. The beach itself stretches for six miles and soft, sugary-white sands carpet the expansive shoreline. This is awesome!

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