With spring break and summer vacations just around the corner, many are itching to start planning their next beach getaway. Boasting the shores of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the Gulf Coast offers loads of incredible beach towns that would make for a wonderful escape. Often coined the Third Coast of the United States, the area is famous for its incredible seafood, beautiful white sand beaches and vibrant local culture. Whether you’re looking as far west as Texas or as far East as Florida, these are the best beach towns on the Gulf Coast.
7 of the Best Beach Towns on the Gulf Coast
1. Destin, Florida
Florida’s northwest corner of Destin is hands-down the most beautiful beach town in the Gulf. Famous for its porcelain coloured sand that contrasts with the emerald waters and some of the best dining in the region, you can’t go wrong. Once a fishing village and now a prime beach goer destination, it’s managed to maintain its original charm and natural beauty. Plus, when you aren’t lounging on the beach, you can go deep sea fishing, explore the Henderson Beach State Park or embark on a romantic sunset cruise.
2. Gulf Shores, Alabama
More than 30 miles of powdery white sand beaches framed by stunningly blue waters might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think Alabama, but Gulf Shores will certainly surprise you. This gorgeous coastal area is known for its gorgeous beaches that rival the Caribbean and stellar resorts that line the bay. Up for fishing? Deep-sea fishing is the activity of choice at Orange Beach. Or how about getting to know the local wildlife at Gulf State Park?
3. Sanibel Island, Florida
For a quiet, relaxing getaway, there’s no better place than Sanibel Island. This Floridian paradise off of Fort Myers is loaded with charm and serenity; such as the 100 year old lighthouse on Lighthouse Beach and ample shelling at Bowman’s Beach. When you aren’t exploring the gorgeous shores, you can get to know the local wildlife at the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, or opt for a spa day at one of the many wellness centres.
4. South Padre Island, Texas
Easily Texas’ most pristine stretch of beaches complete with a vibrant nightlife and loads of recreational activities, South Padre Island is always a good idea. Whether you plan to spend your days lounging on the beach, exploring the incredibly walkable city, or prefer to be hulled up in your resort all afternoon, you’re in luck. Whatever you do, though, don’t miss a trip to Sea Turtle, Inc. to learn about the area’s incredible history of sea turtles.
5. Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Set in Mississippi’s portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ocean Springs is truly unspoilt. The natural areas of this cosy beach town include hiking, kayaking and fishing. While in town you’ll find loads to keep you busy; such as over 200 independents shops and galleries and year round community events. Spend your afternoon lounging on the pristine Front Beach; and then be sure to carve out some time to explore the famous Walter Anderson Museum of Art.
6. Grand Isle, Louisiana
Just a quick hop from the bustling hubs of Baton Rouge and New Orleans you’ll find Grand Isle. Home to the only state park on a Louisiana beach, Grand Isle State Park, you can rest assured that the beauty here truly is untouched. The atmosphere is also just low key enough to make you feel relaxed, but also has a hefty amount of local activities. Head to the pier and spend the afternoon fishing and then cap off your evening at any of the incredible local seafood spots.
7. St. Pete Beach, Florida
Just 30 miles southwest of Tampa – who sees an average of 361 days of sunshine per year – you’ll find the hidden oasis of St. Pete Beach. It’s also famous for its unique accommodations from old school Floridian style inns to swanky sky high resorts. As you can imagine, hospitality is taken next level here. In addition to pristine swaths of sand and crystal clear waters, there are also loads of recreational activities. Fancy see-through kayaking and dolphin watching? Done and done.