Beach Guide: Find the Best Beaches on the Gulf Coast

gulf coast

From Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle, loads of Americans are drawn to the Gulf Coast in hopes of experiencing the quintessential beach vacation. With the sounds of waves lapping on the shore, you and your family will be lured to the turquoise green water, white sand beaches, and cool gulf breezes. Whatever your vacation preference, you’ll find this family-friendly guide to the best beaches on the Gulf Coast will help you create unforgettable memories.

4 Spots for an Unforgettable Family Gulf Coast Vacation

  1. Gulf Shores, Alabama: With summer water temperatures in the 80’s, gentle waves and uber-soft white sand, this an ideal stop for young travelers. This coastal destination is perfect for history buffs seeking a little R&R because of its close vicinity to Fort Morgan.  Some refer to it as the “finest example of military architecture” in the world. And if you’re looking for solitude, the further west you travel, the less congested the beach will get.
  2. Galveston, Texas: As home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Moody Gardens, this fun-filled destination has plenty to offer families. With the bustling Kemah Boardwalk stretching over the water with carnival rides, seafood restaurants and tons of festivals, Galveston allows you to enjoy the beach and all of the surrounding excitement. Also, history fans and pirate aficionados will appreciate touring Campeche, once a settlement inhabited by a French pirate by the name of Jean Lafitte.
  3. Destin and Sandestin, Florida: This Northwestern Florida go-to spot features green water and dreamy white sand beaches to earn its name as the Emerald Coast. In addition to beach time, there are abundant activities to choose from like fishing charters, pristine golf courses, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, outlet shopping and much more. If you’re traveling with a furry friend, be sure to check out Destin Bark Dog Park (next to Destin City Hall) so Fido gets a chance to stretch his legs and paws.
  4. Florida Keys, Florida: Enjoy the sand and surf at this sublime vacation destination. Whether you’re interested in visiting the nature preserve to observe butterflies or experiencing the abundant history and charm of Key West, this is a hands-down favorite. There are so many Keys to visit with fun activities and delightful food to match any family’s interests.

Once you have an idea of where you want to spend your family vacation or weekend getaway enjoying the best beaches on the Gulf Coast, take a minute to think about how you’re getting there. And if you’re heading for a road trip, double check your liability car insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need for your upcoming adventure. If you haven’t checked on your policy lately, now may be a good time to get quotes for car insurance.

Note: Sponsored content was created and provided by Nationwide Insurance.

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Hi! I'm Toni. I am a happily married, christian, momma of 3 living on Florida's sunny Gulf Coast. I am a lifestyle blogger and Seint Arist. I started blogging when my last child was born as a way to share my love of all things travel, cooking, beauty, recipes, and more. Now pull up a chair, grab a glass of sweet tea and let's get to know each other. I truly hope you enjoy getting A Daily Dose of Toni!


  1. 1

    Earlier this year, we stayed at the Watercolor Inn and Resort in Santa Rosa Beach, FL (not too far from Destin). It was an amazing trip. I can’t wait to go back, and I don’t even like the beach that much (I know, I know… who doesn’t like the beach).

  2. 2

    Those are some amazing spots we would love to visit one day.

  3. 3

    I was seriously born to live by the beach! Love the Gulf Coast.

  4. 4

    Love the suggestions. Aside from Destin, I’ve never visited the other areas but now I can add them to my bucket list!

  5. 5

    I’ve actually been to the gulf shores but I was a very long time ago! I would love to check out the other one though.

  6. 6

    I’m going to Gulf Shores at the end of the month. So excited.

  7. 7

    Gulf Shores represent! As a Bama girl I spent many a childhood vacation there.

  8. 8

    All four of these are added to my “life” list…. I’d like to visit each one over the next 4 years! 🙂

  9. 9

    Love the Gulf Coast.

  10. 10

    I love both Gulf Shores and the Florida Keys from your list, but I’m also partial to my local beach– Siesta Key,

  11. 11

    This is a great list. Hoping to visit some of these this summer.

  12. 12

    We’ll have to check these out!

  13. 13

    Why I love living in FL

  14. 14

    we won’t be hitting any beaches this summer.

  15. 15

    Great list! It has been AGES since I’ve been to beach, though. Hopefully, someday soon that will change! 🙂

  16. 16

    I hate to say it, but the Florida Keys are NOT nice. LOL The sand is harsh and the water is not clear and pretty…best to head farther up north to Naples, etc.

  17. 17

    How I adore the ocean! These are super selections! I\’ve been to all but one!

  18. 18

    There are so many amazing beaches in on the gulf!

  19. 19

    The florida keys are so amazing! That picture makes me want to hit the beach asap! Such soft sand!

  20. 20

    We went to the beach last week on our vacation but were in California so definitely not the Gulf Coast! I’d love to visit the beaches you mentioned someday!

  21. 21

    None of these beaches is near me , but I do hope to get the family out to Myrtle Beach for a weekend.

  22. 22

    I haven’t set foot on the East or Gulf Coasts. The sand looks a lot lighter and finer than what we have in Oregon.

  23. 23

    I’ve never been to the Gulf Coast, but we live about a mile from the Pacific Coast and love it!

  24. 24

    Living in Las Vegas we are much closer to West Coast beaches but I would love to keep this list handy for when we finally make the plunge and take a family trip to the Gulf Coast area.

  25. 25

    I’ve been to FL beaches, but not Texas or Alabama – they look so nice. I love your photo, it is so inviting, esp while looking out the window at a gray and rainy day !