Some say the best coast is the gulf coast, those people would be right.
The gulf has the most affordable beach towns in the nation and it’s a heck of a ton of fun.
If you’re looking for beach towns, the gulf coast is the best place to find your spot in the sand. With so many areas, you may wonder which is the best gulf coast beach town to choose from. This list has you covered.
Check out these unique Gulf Coast beach towns. FYI, we saved the best for last.
Alabama Gulf Coast: Gulf Shores, AL
Gulf Shores is infamous for its college beach parties, but there’s a lot more there going for them than most people know.
Alabama’s southern coast has four different ecosystems in its area, which means you can count on finding a diverse collection of fish when you’re out in the water.
If you’ve seen Free Willy, you might have grown up with a yearning to see whales in wild. Not many people think of the gulf as a place to see whales, but it is! Gulf Shores has over 25 different species of whale. So, if you’re looking for things to do near the Gulf of Mexico, looking for a whale should be on your list.
Enjoy Alabama’s beach towns along with their southern charm.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast
If you want to stay in the south but not too far down the coast, the Mississippi gulf coast is the perfect area for you.
What makes this place special? A few things
Bay St. Louis has an artistic flair with a southern touch, and it holds a yearly festival for Dolly Parton, where everyone dresses in blonde wigs and comes together over their love of Dolly in a festival they call “Dolly Should”. Grab yourself a Dolly lookalike get up and hunker down to party town.
So maybe you’re not a fan of Dolly, the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is also home to what they call the Mississippi Seafood Trail which is a trail that goes on for 360 miles, with 80 plus restaurants. This Mississippi beach town is a spunky little place to enjoy the beach, become a Dolly fan, or check out their trail of restaurants, think you can visit them all?
Florida Gulf Coast: Sarasota Beach
Sarasota Beach is home to Ringling College and exudes an artistic glow that lights up the town.
Sarasota is where the Ringling brother John and his wife resided; their gorgeous property is representative of their eccentricities and magic. You can visit the now Ringling Museum and admire the details that make this home so special. The house is a Gatsby meets circus and it’s big enough to spend a few hours in so make a day of it!
Aside from historical homes Sarasota also has a big cat sanctuary where fans of the lion king can learn about and admire these powerful creatures.
In today’s world, it’s a circus out there but your beach vacation doesn’t have to be. Hang out in Sarasota and find out what the Ringling brothers found so special about this little beach town, or tame the beast at the Big Cat Sanctuary.
Florida Gulf Coast: Panama City Beach
This beach town tends to get lost in the copious amounts of coastal lands around it, but it shouldn’t, and for food reason.
Sure, you could pay to see a dolphin, but you could also just go to Panama Beach where they have the most concentrated area of bottlenose dolphins and find one! Dolphin activities are some of the best things to do in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s right, this beach town is a hub for dolphins so depending on the time of day you’re bound to see those fins flopping in the wind.
Let’s say you don’t want to be outside while you are there.
Panama has the ONLY museum for deep sea diving in the US. At The History of Diving Museum you can spend a day learning about the wild adventures of the deep sea.
Be it inside or outside, Panama City Beach is a good place to get lost and it certainly makes its mark with uniqueness.
Florida Gulf Coast: Fort Myers
Fort Myers is known for its quaintness but there’s more to say about this area than just that.
The town name itself was an engagement gift, what a way to start a marriage, am I right?
In 1850, a general by the name of David Twiggs was in charge of a small fort on the Caloosahatchee River. David’s daughter fell in love with one of his officers, named Abraham C. Myers. Twiggs ended up liking him so much that he named the town after him.
The history is cool, but what about all of unique things to do?
Fort Myers has more shell varieties on its beaches than anywhere else in North America. Spend a few hours with your bucket in tow and collect all the different shells you can find!
Spend the day on the beach collecting nature’s little treasures.
Florida Gulf Coast: Pensacola
Going further up the coast is Pensacola Beach.
There are many Florida beaches of course but here are a few things that make this one special.
For starters, their sandy beach is quartz from the leftover process of the Appalachian Mountains, it’s soft, it’s white, and has been known to make a unique barking sound when you dig your feet into it.
So that’s cool, but what are some unique things to do there?
Have you ever wanted to be an explorer of the sea? Pensacola Beach has something for you. Within their crystal waters, resides the San Pablo Shipwreck.
This 315-foot ship exploded back in 1944 and now is a popular spot for scuba divers and the new fish that have claimed it as home.
Whether it’s digging your toes in the sand or exploring the deep sea this beach town is a solid place to be.
Florida Gulf Coast: Destin-Fort Walton Beach:
We saved the best for last.
Of all the beaches the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area is definitely at the top of the list.
The area is known for its emerald green water and is what people call the “luckiest fishing spot” where even the worst fisherman can catch a live one! You can make it even easier with a chartered fishing trip!
What makes the area one of the best beach towns to visit is the attractions.
Check out Big Kahunas Water & Adventure Park where you have fun on water slides and rides. Go to the Gulfarium where the beach meets the aquarium, enjoy a day on the sand then check out some sea friends. Spend the day doing water sports over here at Xtreme H20. Fly high in the sky parasailing or ride off into the sunset on a jet ski, you could even rent a boat for the day and lounge around on the water with friends.
This place is for the experiences, and isn’t that what vacation is all about?
From a distance, all beach towns seem to run together, if not eventually along the coastline but once you’re there you get to see what makes each beach unique, much like the shells that cover them. Grab yourself a towel and some sunscreen and come check out what each beach has in store.