Explore Four Alabama Beaches

Live like a local for the day at four of our Alabama beaches.

Portraits by Chad Riley

Summer is here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, but you only think you know our beaches inside and out. Let these four coastal locals share the inside scoop on their slice of paradise. Pack your shades and take to the water with this ultimate beach guide in tow!

Island Time:


For Paige, island life is about casual, family fun in the beautiful outdoors! With four kids, things at home in Mobile can be non-stop, but she says that’s just the way she likes it. When the family escapes their day-to-day and heads to Dauphin Island, they get a complete refresh. As it is for the migratory birds on the island, Paige’s home off the coast of Mobile is her sanctuary. Long walks on the beach, fresh air and seafood are the cure!

Seaside Shopping
We’re thankful to have JG Ship & Shore around the corner for when we need to grab a few groceries or some fishing supplies. The Happy Octopus has the cutest clothes and jewelry, and visitors love to check out local art and beachwear at The Hippie Fish.

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Dauphin Dishes
We always have to get either the crab claws or the gumbo at  Islander’s Restaurant & Bar. The food is delicious, but you can’t beat the view!

Island Images
The deck at Pirate’s Bar & Grill is the best place to grab some sunset pictures.

Coastal Cocktail 
You can’t go wrong with a classic margarita at the beach.

Seaside Sipping 
Carriage Wine & Market is our favorite bar for a night out on the town. They have a great selection of wines and draft beer, but their original cocktails are fantastic!

Local Leads 
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is always fun, and we love taking the ferry over to Gulf Shores and going to Waterville!

Saltwater Sweets
Island Rainbow Pizza has the best ice cream and snow cones around!

Outdoor Ardor 
Walking along the gulf-side beaches is just good for the soul. I also adore sitting at the end of my dock with my fabulous neighbors and their families!

Gulf Gear
A foam lily pad mat is a must for swimming, and BOTE rafts and floating chairs make lounging in the water feel luxurious.

Birds of a Feather
Hiking in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary makes me feel one with nature.

Fishing for Fort:


Adventure is Christi’s middle name. When she’s not swimming with sharks, meeting iguanas and traveling to exotic destinations, she’s exploring her beloved Fort Morgan. She and her family never get tired of cruising on the boat, fishing for amberjack or looking for new places to eat along the coast. She’s an expert on life at the Gulf, but there’s always more to discover in her own backyard.

Hanging Out
There’s no better way to spend a day on the coast than to take my family out for a boat ride. It’s just us, waves, sun and the occasional seagull.

Summer Sip
The Rosemary Martini with at Jesse’s on the Bay is a must-try cocktail that’ll knock your socks off!

Photos at the Fort
Of course, the best place to pose for pics is at Fort Morgan. It’s our claim to fame! 

Getting Around
You can drive, walk or bike almost anywhere. It’s not everywhere you’ll find an opportunity to ride on a ferry. It’s my favorite way to travel!

Sweet Snack 
I love to get ice cream from The Village at The Beach Club. Moose Tracks is my favorite! 

Seafood Supper
Fresh Market Seafood in Gulf Shores has the best and freshest shrimp around. The #5 meal with medium seasoning can’t be beat! 

Beachfront Boost 
Beach Bums Coffee and Deli is great for when you need a little pick-me-up. My go-to is a hot matcha with vanilla.

Setting Sail
We always launch our boats from either Moe’s Landing, a spot by the Fort Morgan Ferry, or at the Bon Secour National Refuge.

Gear Up
I own Hooked Up Bait & Tackle, and the Engel cooler with an aerator is the best piece of equipment I use for my business. It’s perfect for live shrimp.

Go Play Outside
I pretty much live on the boat. Sometimes we’ll fish, other times we’ll just sunbathe and ride around. You can make a day on the boat whatever you want it to be.

Coastal Cooking
I cook fried royal red shrimp the way a local lady told me to, and they are the bomb. Ketchup gives the salty shrimp a little bit
of sweetness.

Living Al Fresco:


Originally from Brazil, Antoni has found a welcoming home beside the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. A realtor by trade, he loves sharing the beauty and adventure of his adopted hometown with his clients and friends. Always embracing the laid-back coastal lifestyle of Gulf Shores, Antoni enjoys leisurely dining al fresco and playing on the beach with his wife and four young children. 

Get Dressed
I like to keep up with fashion trends, and Archipelago at the Wharf lets me do that. They have a fantastic selection of stylish beach gear. Their Vuori athletic wear is my personal favorite.

Back to Nature
The best place to take a walk in nature is the Jeff Friend Trail beach. It winds through scrub trees and marsh, and ends up on the north shore of Little Lagoon. 

Marine Beans
We love Foam Coffee. An iced Americano is my go-to drink.

From the Sandbar
My drink of choice is just a neat whiskey, but having one at 8 Reale makes drinking it feel a little more special. It’s an upscale speakeasy that elevates a night on the town.

There’s nothing like the rush you get from surfing. I have several boards I love, but my favorite at the moment is my JS with 31 liters. It works for every type of wave.

Hooked Up
We go fishing any chance we get. I listen to the waves while I wait for a hit on the line. I love catching all kinds of fish— if it’s legal, we keep it!

Ok to be Crabby
We love cooking crabs. Doesn’t matter if you’re a local or tourist. Everybody loves a basket of good fried crab claws! 

Surf n’ Snacks
When we want a pick-me-up, we head to Chocolate Corner. I always get the mango strawberry smoothie. 

Dinner Out
Our family loves to eat at  GTs on the Bay. The kids can run and play while my wife and I dine on the GTs grouper. Of course, the view of the Bay is always spectacular.

The Locals Know
For gourmet and international food, we shop Gourmet World Market at Craft Farms. It’s the place to go for great food, wine and gifts!

Salt Air Family Affair:


Leslie has known her whole life that she was meant to be in Orange Beach. She spent every summer on Ono Island at the vacation home her family purchased in 1992. Today, she is living the dream on that same island, just down the street from her parents and her sister’s family, too. When she’s not deep sea fishing with the cousins, she, her husband and their two daughters can be found floating at the island or hosting friends on the pier. No matter what she’s doing, Leslie has passion for her island community! 


Seaside Snaps  
In Orange Beach, Coast-AL Restaurant is always a favorite spot for our crew. It’s a beautiful new beachfront eatery with an open-air bar, and it’s the perfect place to grab an Instagram-worthy sunset picture!

Bikini Bottoms Up
The Painkiller at The Tiki at Safe Harbor Sportsman is fantastic. Having one of those is a great way to beat the summer heat.  

Seaside Shopping 
Seaside Shoes & Swim has a wonderful selection of bathing suits, beach coverups, shoes and jewelry. They are so welcoming and inviting there. High Cotton Bath Co. has the best bath and body products anywhere. Maho Shades are locally owned and operated and they are my “go to” for all my sunglass needs.

We often grab a few crab traps and bait them with some chicken. When they’re full, we invite a bunch of friends over for a crab boil on the pier. 

AND more crabs
We also love an old-fashioned catch-and-release hermit crab hunt on the beach. The best part is releasing them back to the beach and watching a bucket full of crabs scurry away.

Fish Food 
My all-time favorite place to eat is Big Fish Restaurant. I almost always get the Golden Tile prepared Big-Fish style with a wedge salad, but I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu.

Sandbar Snacks
Deep South Cake Company has delicious homemade cakes and cupcakes made fresh daily. The caramel cake is always a great choice. 

Beachy Beans 
Our family enjoys sportfishing together and no weekend is ever complete without tubing kids behind the boat. 

Coastline Cuisine
We love to cook whatever fish we catch. My favorite thing is to make fresh fish tacos with homemade slaw and sauce. You can add in some amazing steamed shrimp or West Indies Salad from Blaylock Seafood, too!

Hit the Pass
We love packing up the boat and meeting with friends and family on an island for a potluck picnic. 

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