Where to Watch the Sunrise on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

April 21, 2023

With 30 miles of coastline overlooking the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and bays, bayous, and state parks dotting the northern stretches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, watching the sunrise any time of year is an essential vacation activity. There’s nothing like starting your day gazing at the many colors of the sky as the first light arrives, and that experience is made even more spectacular by the Alabama Gulf Coasts’ unique surroundings.

If you’re wondering where to watch the sunrise on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, look no further. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of our favorite spots to watch the sunrise in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and beyond. 

When to Watch the Sunrise

While sunrises are beautiful along the Gulf Coast at any time of the year, they are easier to catch in the winter when the sun comes above the horizon later in the morning. Fall and winter skies typically produce the best sunrises because humidity tends to be lower in these colder months. No matter when you visit, set your alarm to see daybreak at least one morning of your trip. If you stay in one of our beachfront homes, it’s as easy as rolling out of bed and walking to the deck or balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It’s hard to beat starting the day with a stunning sunrise while still in the comfort of your pajamas.

With south-facing beaches, there’s no bad place on the sand to be to watch the sunrise in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and beyond. Read on to discover which beaches have the best views and where to see the sunrise off the shore.

Where to Watch the Sunrise in Gulf Shores

Catching the sunrise in Gulf Shores is easy, with many scenic spots to take in daybreak. One of our favorites is Gulf State Park, which encompasses over 6,000 acres and offers over 28 miles of trail systems. Walk out onto the pier—jutting over 1,500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico—to take in the sunrise with local fishermen, head to Branyon Beach with a beach towel and sit on the sand, or walk along Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail for views over Lake Shelby. With miles and miles of paved walkways, Gulf State Park is an excellent location to take in the sunrise and explore the area’s natural beauty with a morning stroll.  

The Gulf Shores coastline is speckled with low-rise properties, primarily vacation homes, offering uniquely unobstructed coastline views. We love taking in the sunrise at West Beach, the stretch of land nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Little Lagoon. Or, simply head to the nearest beach access for unparalleled views of the coastline and the sunrise reflecting off the water. 

Where to Watch the Sunrise in Orange Beach

Curious where to watch the sunrise in Orange Beach? Head to the sands of Alabama Point East, overlooking Perdido Pass, for a great location to see daybreak light up the sky in every direction. The peninsula faces east over the Pass and the Gulf of Mexico, so anywhere you go will guarantee great views of daybreak. For another place to catch the sunrise in Orange Beach, drive to Orange Beach Waterfront Park, where you’ll overlook Wolf Bay. Walk onto the pier and gaze on the right side – you’ll see the waters of Bay La Launch.  

Another off-beach spot to see the sunrise in Orange Beach is Bear Point Marina. You can see Ono Island and across the state line into Florida from the east-facing docks. It’s the perfect backdrop for dawn breaking over the horizon. Plus, with boats docked at the marina, you can snap plenty of photos to capture memories.

Other Sunrise Spots on the Alabama Gulf Coast

Beyond Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, there are many places to enjoy the break of day along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Take the trip to Dauphin Island, west of Gulf Shores, where the views are so spectacular it’s been called the “sunset capital of Alabama,” but sunrises are also hard to beat. The drive from Gulf Shores is just over 30 miles, so give yourself plenty of time to find a spot to see the sunrise. Make the most of your drive and spend the morning on the island. We have six recommendations of things to do while you’re there.

For an adventure where seeing the sunrise is just a bonus of a fun day, book a deep-sea fishing charter. Leaving early morning means you can take in the sunrise from the boat on your way offshore. 

The last location on our list to check out the sunrise? Fort Morgan, lying on the eastern side of Mobile Bay, offers panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. On a clear day, you can even see Sand Island Lighthouse once the sun is over the horizon. Make a day trip out of it with our top 5 things to do in Fort Morgan

Whether you choose to take in the sunrise on the beach directly behind your vacation home or make a short drive to another scenic locale, it’s always worth the early wake-up to watch the sunrise on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Book your Gulf Shores vacation home or Orange Beach getaway today, and start planning your days around the best spots to watch the sunrise.

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