Well, if you are looking at beaches near Birmingham and you do not have any idea about which beach you should visit? You have come to the right spot! Because we will cover the best beaches that are available in Birmingham, Alabama.
WWB Writer Andrew will be sharing an in depth guide on all the best beaches to catch sun, sea and sand near Birmingham.
A Quick Summary Of All The Best Beaches Near Birmingham That You Will Need To Visit (USA)
Birmingham, Alabama or ‘The Magic City has so much history attached to it such as the statue of Vulcan which is located at Vulcan Park & Museum which was built by an Italian Artist called Giuseppe Moretti which the statue is built from cast-iron in 1904.
Also, Birmingham is the first city to host Veterans Day in November 1919 which back then, was called Armistice Day but Veterans Day was declared as a national holiday in 1982 which at the time President Regan has honored Veterans Day by putting the 11th of November for Veterans Day as a national holiday.
With all the places and things you can do in Birmingham, you will be very surprised that many beaches are available in Birmingham. I know that the closest beaches to Birmingham are quite a distance to travel but do not fear!
There are beaches near Birmingham, Alabama that will make the distance traveled all worth it with a nice clean sea and beautiful views of the sun and also there are beaches near Birmingham, Al which is not a distance away to travel to.
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Why Do You Visit The Beaches Near Birmingham?
There are so many great facilities that are prepared such as parking spots for you to park your car and there are plenty of accommodation options that you can choose from Beach House to Hotels or even Campgrounds / Recreational Vehicles (RV).
Also, some accommodations do allow pets and also prepare facilities for the handicapped as well. The beaches are not difficult to go to with the various modes of transportation that you can take to go to the beaches.
There Is Something For Everyone To Be Enjoyed
If you want to have time for yourself to just enjoy the views of the beaches and do people watching, no worries! There are beaches close to Birmingham, Al that you can spend your time with yourself or with your family member/friend together.
But if you are a type of person that loves to surround yourself with activities to do or see such as festivals or events, some beaches offer those kinds of activities as well.
Here Are Some Of The Beaches Near Birmingham That You Should Visit As Soon As Possible:
1. Gulf Shores Main Public Beach
One of the best beaches near Birmingham where many events have taken place on this beach such as The Hangout Music Festival for its 12th annual event that will take place in Gulf Shores Main Public Beach and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Volleyball Championship will take place on Gulf Shores Main Public Beach.
Gulf Shores Main Public Beach is a total of 8 miles long (12.8km long) if you like to hang out with all the bars and restaurants surrounding it. This is the beach for you where there are so many restaurants and bars in a 2-mile radius for you to choose to have the best time. Also, you can have a picnic as well because there are open-air pavilions that are prepared for you to have a picnic.
Tip: If you are planning to come to the beach, try to come to the beach before or after the event takes place because the beach is a popular spot to host various types of events.
It is best to come to the beach early and come around four to seven days after the event so that the beach does not become so crowded because it tends to be before and during the event, it best to come after the event has ended.
The distance from Birmingham, Alabama to Gulf Shores Main Public Beach is 282 miles long (453km) journey and there are two ways you can come to the beaches.
If you start your journey in the middle of Birmingham, Alabama which you can identify if you can see McWane Science Center, you can take the route via I-65 S which will take you about six to eight hours with breaks in-between to reach your destination.
You can take a flight from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to Pensacola International Airport which will take you about three hours to reach your destination and afterward, you need to take a drive from the Airport to Gulf Shores Main Public Beach.
2. Dauphin Island East End Public Beach
Dauphin Island East End Beach is the nearest seaside to Birmingham, Alabama which the beach is famous for its gorgeous sunset view in the morning that can make you breathless while looking at the stunning sunset view in the morning.
With not many events happening around the beach, it is perfect for people to have a laid-back and enjoy the slow pace environment as time goes on which helps you to recharge your energy after being in a hectic situation and you want to be somewhere peaceful and enjoy the sunset view.
If you want a beach that has a beautiful sunset view and a slow pace environment, this beach can fulfill the needs that can help you laid-back and to unwind yourself and focus on taking care of yourself.
Tip: While you need to pay to enter into Dauphin Island which is USD6 in total which is $3 for entrance fees to park and another $3 is for the entrance fees to the Island for age 13 and above but during Spring and Summer, they will collect a fee called Beach Environment Fee and you can’t bring any pets, glass items and you are not allowed to start a fire or do overnight camping as well.
The distance from Birmingham to Dauphin Island East Beach is about 272 miles (437km) distance and there are three ways that you can go to Dauphin Island
If you are around Gulf Beach, you can take a ferry from Mobile Bay Ferry to Mobile Bay Ferry at Dauphin Island and the ferry trip will take about 45 to 55 minutes. The fee has two different fee structures which are Summer and Winter Fees.
You can check out their schedule here. But, when you see their schedule has 6.30 pm and 7.15 pm trip, that is only available when Daylight Saving Time which starts on second of each March till November which is the first Sunday
You can take a flight from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to Mobile Regional Airport which will take you about 3 hours and 45 minutes to arrive
But you will need to drive from the Airport to Dauphin Island and the flight will cost from and you will need to take a taxi or rent a car to drive to Dauphin Island which you can find here that cost $10 for a car for a 12-hour rental
You can take the route via AL-5 S and US-43 S which will take about 4 hours and 45 minutes, but it is slightly longer than taking the route via I-65 S which is about 4 hours and 30 minutes, but it is the same route to Gulf Beach.
If you are not careful, you might end up going to Gulf Beach instead of Dauphin Island. Just be aware when you are using the route via I-65 S and identify the route that will lead you to the right beach.
3. Fort Morgan
Fort Morgan is a part of Gulf Shores which is located at Mobile Point and Fort Morgan is a historic area where during the 19th Century, Fort Morgan served as a military base that defended the country from so many wars and it officially became a historic site in 1946 when it was handed into the State of Alabama.
Fort Morgan is one of the sandy beaches near Birmingham with long and fine white sand and if you like a quiet environment around the beach to enjoy together with your friend or family and with a beautiful view of the sea and sky, then this is the perfect beach for you because usually, there are not many people will be around the beach.
Also, Fort Morgan has nine historic sites that were used during the 19th Century such as Battery Duportail, Battery Thomas, and Battery Bowyer and if you like to know where are the rest of the historic sites and services available in Fort Morgan, you can refer to the map here
Tip: If you are going to Fort Morgan, please remember to bring your utensil and things that you need to bring for the beach and also a garbage bag as well because you need to clean it yourself afterward. Also, you need to pay an admission fee to enter into Fort Morgan which you can refer the fee here
The distance to Fort Morgan from Birmingham, Alabama is about 302 miles (486km) and there are two ways of getting to Fort Morgan from Birmingham.
You can take the route via AL-5 S and US-43 S which will lead you to Dauphin Island but this route will have a toll and only take this route if you are planning to go to Dauphin Island first then Fort Morgan or not, you can take the route via I-65 S which has no toll and a direct drive to Gulf Shores
You can take a flight starting from Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport but you will need a stop-over to Atlanta airport which is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and then you will be on your way to Mobile Regional Airport.
Afterward, you will need some sort of transportation to go to Fort Morgan. It is best to rent a car that has multiple kinds of rental car company which is cheaper than calling a taxi or even Uber as well if you have an International Driving Licence.
4. Ten Island Park
Ten Island Park is Birmingham’s nearest Beach which is about 60 miles (96km) away from Birmingham which is a bit far away from the city center of Birmingham, Alabama and it is located in between Ohatchee and Ragland.
If you are looking at a beach that is not too big and a quiet environment to enjoy, this is the beach for you! Also, the Island has a good facility with a swimming area, a picnic area with a table accompanied along with the view of the beach, a parking facility, and as well launch boats to fish around the lake.
With a clean environment and seaside along with a great facility that you can do various activities and with a small and quiet beach as well. What more can be asked for?
Tip: The entrance fee is free to enter and it is open from 5 am until 9 pm but make sure to bring things that you want to bring to the Island
Try to avoid coming to the Island during the weekend because it tends to be crowded during those times
If you want to catch the sunrise, arrive early at the beach where you can catch the sunrise if you reach before 7 am.
The distance from Birmingham, Alabama to Ten Island Park is about 60 miles away and the only way to the Island is a drive to the destination which will take one hour to drive.
You can take the route which is via I-20 E and AL-144 E/State Rte 144 which will make the journey a bit shorter which is a total distance of about 54 miles and it will take you about one hour without any traffic to arrive at the destination.
5. Cotton Bayou Beach
Cotton Bayou Beach is a part of Gulf Shores which is located around Orange Beach which is just beside Gulf Shores that is easily accessed by just walking or even driving towards Orange Beach. Also, it also one of six Gulf State Park Beach Access Point which is
- Gulf Shores State Pier
- Gulf Shores Beach Pavilion
- Romar Beach
- Cotton Bayou
- Alabama Point
- Shell Lot
Also, Cotton Bayou beach is one of two public beaches in Birmingham, and other public beaches are the same coast beach line which is Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and it is an excellent beach to come to relax because not many events will take place around the beach.
Tip: Cotton Bayou Beach is a family-friendly beach, and you can bring your pet along, but you need to keep your pet leashed at all time and if you want to have a spot in the parking lot and the beach, its best to arrive at the beach before noon because after lunch hour, it tends to be very crowded and it can
The distance between Cotton Beach from Birmingham is 283 miles (455km) which will take you about 4 hours and 30 minutes without any traffic or breaks in between the trip to the beach and there are two ways of getting to Cotton Bayou Beach
You can take the route via I-65 S which if you are going to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, is the fastest route to the beach but do remember that this route has tolls and be prepared to pay the toll during the journey to the beach.
You can take a plane from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to Pensacola International Airport which after reaching the Airport, you will need to drive to the beach from the Northeast of Pensacola.
6. Gulf Shores Beach Pavilion
Gulf Shores Beach Pavilion is the perfect beach if you are a type of person that just wants to enjoy your company and the environment itself without too many events that are happening around your surroundings around Gulf Shores which can be hectic sometimes.
To add to it, the beach is equipped with great facilities such as climate-controlled bathrooms with showers together which will control the temperature and the humidity in the bathroom and also it has a concession stand which depends on which season that you visit the beach.
But, remember that you are not allowed to have a fire unless you have rented the fireplace which will cost you about $50 and you must bring your firewood to the fireplace and the staff of the beach will clean up the ashes from the firewood.
If you are planning to have a Barbecue, you are allowed at the approved space at the beach but you are not allowed to fry anything at the beach as well.
Tip: The Peak Season for the beach is around April to October of each year which more people will be around the beach if you want to enjoy the quiet surrounding of the beach. You can come during the Off-Peak season which is around November to March.
The parking fee is $5 for 4 hours and $10 for all day but if you are staying around the area of the beach, you will become a lodging guest which you will not have to pay for.
The distance to Gulf Shores Beach Pavilion from Birmingham is about 284 miles away which is about 457km and there are two ways you can get to the beach.
You can take the route via I-65 S which will take you to Gulf Shores and after you reach Gulf Shores, take the road to your west and drive straight along to Beach Pavillion.
7. West End Public Beach
If you are at Dauphin Island and you want something a bit more lively but wanted events that are best suited for all ages, this beach is suitable for you where people of all ages can participate in the events held.
Dauphin Island will host its annual Sunset Concert and Family Movie Nights which will take place from May until October for Sunset Concert while the Move Night will start from May until the end of August.
The admission for Sunset Concert is $5 per person above age 13 and free for anyone below age 12 and the Movie Night is free to enter.
The beach also has a shorter path to the beach compared to the beach on the East side of Dauphin Island which you can see immediately when you reach the parking lot or even plan to stay at the rental houses around.
Tip: If you want to get a spot in the parking lot, it’s best to come during the morning especially on the weekends because the parking lot can fill up quickly if you are not there early and you are not allowed to do any barbeque at the beach at all.
The distance from Birmingham to the West End of Dauphin Island is about 295 miles (474km) away which if you are going to Gulf Shores or Orange Island, the route you take will be identically but only when you reach Gulf Shores or Orange Island then the route will be different slightly.
You can take the route via I-65 S which will take you about 4 hours and 30 minutes if there is no traffic during the journey but if you want to minimize your distance traveled,
Alternatively, you can take the route via AL-5 S and US-43 S which is 274 miles (440km) which is 21 miles (34km) shorter but it will take you 20 to 25 minutes longer to reach your destination.
8. Romar Beach
If you are feeling just want to have a quick walk around the beach with the sunset, this is the beach to be because there are no facilities available around the beach and it is a good place to have a quick stroll around the beach to enjoy the view.
Also, the surrounding of Romar Beach is just rental houses around which no event has taken place around this beach which is perfect to listen to the sound of the sea with the view of the sea as well that can help you be relaxed and be peaceful with yourself.
Tip: The parking lot is free to park but it’s a first serve first come basics and during the evening, the parking lot tends to be full.
The best time to come down to the beach is around Fall (September to November) or Spring (March to May) which the weather will be a bit cooler than Summer.
The distance between Romar Beach to Birmingham is about 285 miles (458km) away which is the fastest route to Romar Beach but it’s not the shortest distance to the beach.
The shortest route to Romar Beach is using the route via AL-5 S which is 280 miles (450km) but it will take you about 5 hours and 10 minutes without any traffic to reach the beach which you will travel fewer miles to the beach
The fastest route to the beach is the route via I-65 S will only take 4 hours and 30 minutes which you will arrive 40 minutes earlier but you will travel 5 miles more to the beach.
Things To Watch Out For And Should Be Aware Of, When Visiting Beaches In Birmingham
- When you are at one of the beaches in Birmingham, do not attempt to walk on the dunes and avoid the dunes and use the route with boardwalks and walkover that is available at the beach.
- Practice a lifestyle called “Leave Only Footprints” which means that in any vegetation beach area or any nesting area, you must avoid walking on those areas and be mindful of where are you walking at the beach
- If you do see sand tunnels around the sand, it is quite dangerous to be around because it can cause injuries to the wildlife and the people around the beach. There’s a news report from USA Today in 2018 where an individual was seriously injured and was taken to the hospital
- Please do not interrupt the sea turtles or their nesting area because according to the news report on WLOS ABC13 in 2018, the Myrtle Beach Police Department said that do not shine anything to the turtle but just respect the sea turtles and it’s a federal crime to disturb the sea turtles which is protected.
- On the beach, there are four types of flag you should be aware of when you around the beach which you have four types of the flag is
- Yellow Flag (Single Flag) – It is a small danger like small currents or surf which is still available to come to the beach but need to be aware of the surrounding when the flag is shown
- Purple Flag (Single Flag) – It meant that dangerous marine life is around the beach. People should be very aware of dangerous marine life when you are swimming.
- Red Flag (Single Flag) – It will be shown when the danger around the beach is high which can be the sea is currently showing high surf or strong currents which can be very dangerous to be near to the seaside.
- Red Flag (Double Flag) – If this flag is shown, the beach water will be closed until the sea is safe to be open back to the public and able to swim safely and you are not allowed to enter the Gulf Of Mexico when a double red flag is shown.
You can refer to the information here to understand even further what the flag meant and what you need to do when you see those flag on the beach
- If you are entering the Gulf of Mexico or Mexico, you don’t need a Visa to enter if you are staying in Mexico for less than 180 days (3 months). But if you are staying longer, you will need to apply for a permit called ESTA
If you are traveling via the U.S you need to apply for a permit called ESTA which you can find here and you will also need to apply for a tourist card as well which if you don’t apply for it, you are not allowed to travel to the U.S or Mexico.
You need to apply at least 3 days (72 hours) in advance if you are staying in Mexico for more than 180 days (3 months) if you are not traveling via the U.S or you are traveling to Mexico via the U.S. You can refer to more information regarding ESTA here.
Things That You Should Bring Along To The Beach
There are a couple of important things that you should bring to the beach which can make your beach experience much more enjoyable and do not constantly worry about what you did not bring.
This list will help you to know what things you should bring to the beach.
- You should bring Sunscreen that is SPF30 and above which can block most of the harmful UV rays from the sun like this sunscreen that is suitable for children or sunscreen for adults which is not greasy at all. But, remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going to the beach and apply every two hours or if you get wet by swimming or other activities.
- Always bring sun hats and sunglasses all the time when you are doing any outdoor beach activities because according to an article from Stanford Children’s Health where it has mentioned that Kids or Teenagers before the age of 18 have overexposure to sunlight, it can cause so much damage to their skin to compared to young adults.
- If you are traveling alone to the beach, you can bring along a Duffel Bag which can bring all your personal needs into one bag which can help you relieve some of the stress that you need to pack into other bag and it also perfect as well if you someone that on the go and not staying at one place.
- Always bring clothes that are light in color and the fabrics of the clothes are not too thick that you can wear them loosely because according to an article from CNN Health where it will allow better air circulation around the body which our body weight is made up of about 60% of water which varies from person to person. Here are some clothes for men, women or even kids that you can look below
- The clothes material consists mostly made of Rayon and Cotton which is a lightweight material that will not stick to your skin and helps you to feel free and it helps your body to be a bit cooler as well and also it helps for some of the heat to be released from the body which heavy material will absorb the heat and remain around your body which can cause skin irritation.
- You should bring a beach towel where the towel can dry quickly without waiting for ages for it to dry after using it or if there’s any sand on the towel, some particles of the sand will not stick to the towel if you lay the towel on the sand which sometimes, it can be a hassle to try to clean it out completely after using it.
Tips Or Interesting Facts That You Didn’t Know About Birmingham, Alabama
- The oldest Baseball Stadium is Rickwood Field where it is located in Birmingham, Alabama that was built in 1910 on August 18th which the city of Birmingham was closed during the day to witness the opening of the Baseball Stadium and it started by a young man called Rick Woodward started it.
- Some of the biggest stars in Sports such as Charles Barkley that played in the NBA with three different teams or Carl Lewis, a former field and track athlete who have won various awards like the Olympics and the World Championship.
- One of the most historic and successful region magazines in Birmingham, Alabama is Southern Living which was established in 1966 which talks about Food, Festival Season Ideas like Christmas, Home, and Garden Tips and Ideas which included a before and after home as well.
- The Lyric Theatre did go under restoration that cost them about USD11.8millon in 1997 which before the restoration process happened, it was first to open in 1903 on October 12th where it has hosted many famous shows like The Three Musketeers in 1928 which become a movie house in 1934 until it was closed in 1992.
- The Magic City Classic is a showdown between two universities of Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University where it will take place every year during Spring which will hold its 79th showdown in 2021 and started from 1924 until 1932 before it resumed back in 1940.
A Quick List Of Places That You Can Do In Or Around Birmingham.
Birmingham has evolved through the years where Birmingham was famous for its natural resources of iron and steel and its historical buildings and now, Birmingham has to turn into a multicultural city where many historical places are still running to this day.
- Birmingham Zoo – Birmingham Zoo was first to open in 1955 after nine years of planning and discussion and a budget of $250,000 to open it and after the opening of the zoo, Birmingham Zoo has 189 different types of species that consist of Kangaroo, Turtle, Peacock, and many more. The ticket will cost from $12.95 for a child that is age 12 and below and $17.95 for an adult that is age 17 and above
- Sloss Furnaces – It was once the largest manufacturer from 1882 to 1970 where it manufactured pig iron or known as crude iron. Now, Sloss Furnaces is used to host festivals, events, or educational programs, and you can get a Guided Tour or even better a Virtual Tour which will cost us about $7 for the tour itself.
- Southern Museum of Flight – Before the Museum was open to the public in 1983 officially, it was called The Birmingham Museum of Aviation in 1966 where two people have contributed to the establishment which is Mrs. Mary Alice Beatty together with her husband Donald Beatty helped build what it is today.
Now, it has grown to 75 thousand square feet that have over 100 aircraft along with engines, models, photographs, and paintings. With that, it also has the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame as well. The admission to visit range from a student or senior citizen is $6, adult, $7, and current military and family members can enter for free.
- Alabama Theatre – Paramount Studios built it in 1927 to become a showcase film for Paramount, and it was operated from 1927 to where 1987, the owners at the time declared bankruptcy, and was purchased by a non-profit corporation called Birmingham Landmarks.
- Railroad Park – If you feel to have a walk and to calm yourself, this park is perfect because the park is nineteen acres long in downtown Birmingham which the open lawn in the park is made up of nine acres out of nineteen total acres. The park has a mixture of trees such as flowering trees that are planted on the park and have various types of flowers around which is a perfect escape from the city.
- Kelly Ingram Park – One of the historic statuses that shows a small glimpse into what has happened during the 1960s where the struggle of demanding equality and it became a site for civil rights rallies during the time. You can get an audio tour around the site which you can download here.
- Birmingham Museum of Art – If you love art, you should visit the museum which currently has more than 27,000 art collections that are from paintings, drawings, prints, and arts. You can get their smart guide if you want to know each art collection’s information and history.
- Highlands Bar & Grills – In 2018, after ten years of being a finalist in the James Beard Awards for Outstanding Restaurants, The Outstanding Restaurants award goes to Highlands Bar & Grills.
The restaurant is owned by Chef Frank Stitt which also won a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2001 and his wife Pardis Stitt. The restaurant is French Inspired and offers delicious and flavorful food and excellent service which you should try if you are around Birmingham.
Are You Excited To Enjoy The Beaches near Birmingham?
There are so many things you can do in Birmingham, Alabama with its rich history that has happened to Birmingham that shapes the city as it is currently today and you can enjoy activities from arts, historic parks that are full of history. There are countless activities that you can do and we barely scratch the surface.
Don’t forget about the beaches around Birmingham as well. Some of the beaches are full of activities each week which makes the beach experience much memorable or just want a calm and quiet beach to reset yourself and hear the calm waves of the sea.
These are some of my best beaches that are worth the journey to the beach. Some of them are far away from the city of Birmingham and some of them are not too far away from the city but it will be worth the journey to the beach.
Just remember that the route to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and the distance is roughly the same and is just which direction that you are heading will indicate which beach you are heading to.
If you have any other beaches in Birmingham that I have missed out on, please let us know about them? We would like to hear about it in the comments section below.
Good luck with planning your beach trip and enjoy it while you are at the beach!