Everything you need to know about Nashville’s closest beach

Ever get that landlocked feeling living in Tennessee?

Does your hair crave the ocean sea breeze? Do your hands ache to ditch the office keyboard for a million grains of sand?

Mine do.

There's no need to break out the Googler and search: closest beaches to Nashville, because we’re here for you.

 
Those Crazy Nelsons tell you all about the closest beach to Nashville, TN

Those Crazy Nelsons tell you all about the closest beach to Nashville, TN

 

Go grab your bathing suit and sunscreen. 

We’re talking about EVERYTHING you need to know to plan a beach getaway to one of Nashville’s closest beaches. And listen, my Nashville friend. You don’t need to wait for May...in fact, we’re going to tell you why a fall beach getaway may be even better!!! 

Sure, in Tennessee... 

...we’re fortunate to have many options for lake fun! And we have quite a variety of man-made beach areas around town, like this one. But, it’s not the same, right?

So, here’s my advice: pin this article so that when you have that hankering for a beach getaway, EVERYTHING you need to make your plan is right here.

This article is going to:

-Spill the beans on the closest beach to Nashville

-Discuss the best route to get there

-Highlight the destinations to stop at along the way

-Tell you exactly what to do once you’re there

-Explain the best time of year to go

 
So, here’s my advice:  pin this article  so that when you have that hankering for a beach getaway from Nashville, EVERYTHING you need to make your plans is right here.

So, here’s my advice: pin this article so that when you have that hankering for a beach getaway from Nashville, EVERYTHING you need to make your plans is right here.

 

Drive time to the closest ocean beach to Nashville

Officially, like if I had to testify in court, the closest beach to Nashville is Pensacola at 6 hours and 48 minutes, but few actually STOP here, as neighboring area beaches make a more appealing destination. Most charming beaches on the gulf are a seven to nine-hour drive from Nashville.

One of our favorite beaches is Gulf Shores, Alabama.

From your driveway in Nashville to the emerald waters of Gulf Shores, the drive time should be 7 hours. The trip down South to Alabama’s white sandy beach is a straight shot on I-65 south AND you get to pass some GREAT sights along the way.

The journey south to the Gulf

If you have an extra day or two, I’d suggest making the most of your getaway by adding a stop. All of these suggested stops are easily accessed from your beach route, and so not too much of a detour!

Because if you're going to do a road trip, you might as well pack it ALL in!!

Huntsville, AL

Tour the U.S Space and Rocket Center

Visit the city’s Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment Center.

Want an educational stop? Try Burritt on the Mountain Museum (open air history museum).

Birmingham, AL

Don’t miss the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Take a walk through the Birmingham Zoo.

Want an educational stop? Try McWane Science Center.

Fairhope, AL

The kids will love Gator Alley Boardwalk.

Have lunch on the water at Shux Pier.

Stroll through the Fairhope shopping and arts area downtown.

Continuing to Gulf Shores beach in Alabama

 
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Wild, wild beach parties?

Nope, not here.

If you want a party beach, Gulf Shores is not your spot. Don’t get me wrong. Gulf Shores knows how to have fun with big festivals like this or unique events like this one that that you won't find anywhere else in the world! 

I mean, when can you see bull riding ON THE BEACH!?

In Gulf Shores, you can. 

While there's no lack of entertainment, the Gulf Shores community is proud of the efforts to keep their beaches family-friendly. One of the ways they do that is to ban alcohol on the beaches during spring break season. 

 
Bulls on the Beach, an annual event at the Florabama that happens only in Gulf Shores!

Bulls on the Beach, an annual event at the Florabama that happens only in Gulf Shores!

 

Too ritzy for my taste?

It’s not a fancy beach; you won’t have to sell a kidney to vacation here.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t exclusive spots in Gulf Shores, take this full-service resort or these condos with grills and jacuzzis on every balcony! But on the pretentiousness meter, Gulf Shores flatlines, and that’s a GOOD thing. It’s no wonder that they were voted by USA Today as one of the Best Southern Beaches a few years ago. It's a well-rounded location with options for everyone.

 
Those Crazy Nelsons enjoying a beautiful beachfront meal at the highly-rated  Voyagers  at the Perdido Key Resort.

Those Crazy Nelsons enjoying a beautiful beachfront meal at the highly-rated Voyagers at the Perdido Key Resort.

 

Gulf Shores -- captures the magic of your childhood beach vacations

What we love about this city is its coastal charm, with its family-owned stores and restaurants, and its controlled development. When you drive along the sea, your view of the ocean is not completely blocked by a million skyscrapers, as it is in other popular beach towns.

 
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So, what to do once you get to Gulf Shores?

 
The answer to that depends solely on this: why are you going? Is this a family vacation? Is this a girls’ weekend? Guys’ weekend? Couple’s getaway?
 
 
Weekend Trips From Nashville is a local travel tribe hosted by Those Crazy Nelsons.  For all the best weekend trips, request to join our FB group!

Weekend Trips From Nashville is a local travel tribe hosted by Those Crazy Nelsons. For all the best weekend trips, request to join our FB group!

 

Our friends at Gulf Shores have recommendations for each type of trip! For details on where to eat and what to do, click on the type of getaway you’re planning. 

Family Vacation

It's you and the kids! What should you do as a family? The adventures are almost too many to list. Here's the tip of the iceberg here

Girlfriend Getaway

Get away from it all with your besties!! All the fun is listed here.

Couple’s Escape

Reconnect and discover what it's like to be friends again. Your romantic details are here.

Guys’ Weekend

Let the bromance begin! View all the manly details here.

 
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Why fall may be a better time to go.

We tend to think of the beach only during the summer months. But one of the tricks of the travel trade is finding those "off season" trips! They are less busy, less expensive, and more bang for your buck.

Take a look at the video below and imagine doing all of this for half the price -- in October! 

The best thing about our gulf coast beaches is this: summer goes WAYYYY past August each year. 

How much does a beach trip cost during off-season?

We're glad you asked. Check out this itemized beach budget. Is it as expensive as you thought?

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