Although beaches aren’t typically the first thing that spring to mind when people think of Alabama, it’s home to miles of white sand with flecks of quartz making beaches extra bright – and some of the best stretches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s where to stay to experience the best beach hotels in the cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores – all bookable on Culture Trip.
The 500 acres (202ha) of grounds surrounding the Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa is just a five minutes drive from Fairhope. A huge portion of this space is covered by the greens and bunkers of the hotel’s two championship-caliber golf courses. A whole half-acre (o.2ha), meanwhile, is taken over by the on-site spa. Most incredibly, the hotel has its own private beach overlooking the waters of Mobile Bay.
This DoubleTree hotel is set on the beachfront 0.5mi (1km) west of the Perdido Pass – every single room comes with a balcony that looks out over the spruce-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You can see the sea from the hotel’s pool and Beachside Bistro and Bar, where the menu showcases Gulf seafood alongside classic American dishes. If seafood’s not your thing, there are dozens of other eateries nearby to try out.
Both the architecture and interior design of this hotel – near the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail – are a celebration of the Gulf of Mexico. The roofs are shaped to resemble waves – inside, there’s maritime blue everywhere and coastal artwork on the walls. Handily, the hotel offers a shuttle bus to Gulf State Park pier, just 2mi (3.2km) away. The al-fresco lounge with its firepit and rattan sofas, meanwhile, is a great place to unwind after a day of adventure.
Part of the Gulf State Park, the Lodge is fronted by an unspoiled stretch of white sand, backed by the 900ac (364ha) Lake Shelby and across the road from Gulf State Park pier. There’s so much to do in the area, however, if you want a break from exploring, the hotel offers plenty of places to relax. Not least, the sea-view infinity pool and the Perch restaurant terrace, where you can watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand.
This two-tower hotel nuzzles up to the sand on the lower east coast of Orange Beach. Every room here comes with a private balcony that overlooks either the Gulf of Mexico or the multi-blue waters of the Perdido Pass. During the day, the big, freeform swimming pool is the hub of the hotel. Later on, visitors spread out between the hotel’s three evening restaurants, including Voyagers with its seafood and steak menu and 130-bottle wine list.
With pastel wood exteriors, Bahama shutters and white-railed balconies, Carried Away is a classic American beach house. This place is a great choice for families or small groups of friends. There are three bedrooms – each with their own private bathroom – and there’s a big kitchen with a range-sized cooker, marble island and a fridge big enough to stock food for a whole football team. Location-wise, it’s set in the Blue Lagoon area of Gulf Shores, near Gulf Shores Public Beach.
Painted in the colors of a sailor’s shirt, Avocet is fronted by a belt of white sand, a few miles down the coast from Gulf Shores. This beach house was made for group getaways – its five bedrooms can accommodate up to 22 guests and there’s a big living space with multi-seat sofas and banquet-sized dining tables. The place also comes with a beachfront pool and a second-story relaxation deck that’s topped with rocking chairs.
Sidling up to the beach, a five-minute drive from Fort Morgan State Historic Site, Beach Estate earmarks itself as a family reunion favorite. Six bedrooms feature a range of queen beds, bunks and sofa beds to accommodate up to 21 people. There’s a private sea-view pool that’s surrounded by loungers and circular picnic benches. Plus, the house has a big open plan kitchen, living and dining area that was made for group get-togethers.
This six-bedroom beach house is as far east as you can get in Orange Beach. It’s set a short walk from the shore, on the tip of the peninsula that juts out between Bay La Launch and Perdido Bay. The location makes it a peaceful property in comparison to many other Gulf Coast hotels. That doesn’t mean you’re cut off here, though – you can drive to central attractions like Adventure Island and the Wharf in less than 20-minutes.
Looking for more inspiration? We’ve narrowed down the best hotels in Alabama and the best hotels in Birmingham so you can find and book the perfect stay with Culture Trip. On a budget? Check out these cheap hotels in Auburn, Alabama, and book now on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.