When Americans think of beaches, they tend to think of southern California, Florida, Hawaii, or even the Caribbean islands before they think of the Gulf Coast. Yet some of the best beaches in North America are along this stretch of shoreline. Soft white sand, emerald green waters, unobstructed views, and all the leisure and recreation a vacationer needs are stretched out on this curve around the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re looking for a restorative beach vacation, take a look at these four Gulf Coast beaches.
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This island off the coast of Texas features miles and miles of sandy beach, warm weather, and recreation. The beaches are expansive and beautifully developed. The town offers restaurants, museums, historic sites, galleries, nightlife, and boutiques. Moody Gardens is a great spot for soaking up beautiful views, and the Schlitterbahn water park offers excitement. Galveston Island State Park is a great place to hike and explore when you want to be alone with nature. Visit the Seawall Urban Park for roller blading, jogging, or long walks.
Destin is a quiet beach town with white sand beaches and gleaming green water. The coastline around Destin offers a variety of water parks, amusement parks, dolphin cruises, fishing, and other recreation for families. The town has plenty of shopping and dining options, but it’s Henderson Beach State Park that is the biggest draw here. The park offers beautiful dunes and a relaxing beach for swimming and sunning. Henderson Beach also has picnic areas and campsites, but once you check out the assortment of great hotels in Destin, you’ll probably opt to sleep indoors.
Marco Island, Florida
One of Florida’s top beach destinations for luxury travelers, Marco Island offers pristine white sand beaches with warm water throughout the year. This upscale island attracts older travelers and families who are looking for comfort amid stunning views and scenery.
The Tigertail Beach side of the island is the most popular. It’s a fully-equipped beach complete with lifeguards, concessions, restrooms, and equipment rentals. South Marco Beach at the opposite end of the island is smaller, but it’s becoming quite popular. There are also lots of private beaches around the coastline of the island that are attached to vacation rentals.
Orange Beach, Alabama
One of the best Gulf Coast beaches lies just across the border for Florida’s Emerald Coast, on the Alabama side. Orange Beach offers a balance between beautiful beaches and outdoor activities. The Orange Beach Waterfront Park is a popular family spot with public beach access, picnic areas, a playground, and a fishing pier. The park’s Back Country Trail is a good place to hike or run. Orange Beach offers access to both the Gulf and the inland bays and bayous to the north, where locals and vacationers like to kayak, sail, and fish.
The Gulf Coast offers something for everyone, from party beaches to upscale getaways and family adventures. Choose the destination that’s right for you, and start daydreaming about your Gulf Coast vacation.