21 Best Beaches

Get ready to dig your toes in the sand: From white strands to secret coves, we've found the ultimate spots by the shore, plus fabulous lodging so you can stay as long as you like.

West Beach, Gulf Shores, Alabama

West Beach

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Alabama's best beach stretches six miles from Gulf Shores Parkway to the end of Dolphin Drive. The farther west you go the less congested it gets—until there's nothing but sun, sea, and your own footprints. But what sets Gulf Shores apart from other Gulf Coast destinations is the quality of the sand: soft underfoot and ultra-bright white. Summer water temperatures hover at bathtub levels, and gentle waves make the beach safe for even the youngest waders.

Hotel Recommendation: The Kiva Dunes Resort sits minutes from West Beach. Read our review.

More Ways To Get Coastal Living

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100 Comfy Cottage Rooms 

Develop your coastal cottage’s style by following these simple tricks.

Lacy curtains, fresh florals, and plenty of monogrammed pillows are just a few of the feminine touches that give this room its calming and sweet mood. Pieces scored at thrift stores and flea markets were refreshed with paint, then artfully applied to achieve the shabby-chic distressed look.