Gulf Shores

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The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Alabama is probably not the beach. But the state’s 60-mile coastline along the Gulf of Mexico is a paradise of white sand, much of it protected, providing an ecosystem for wildlife including nesting sea turtles. The twin cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are its main draws – ripe with beach vacation staples, from fudge shops to waterfront bars to airbrush T-shirt shops. The nearby communities of Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, on the west side of the city, are part of the area’s vacation fun too – a little less crowded, but just a seashell's throw from the heart of action. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.