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Winter Beaches to Visit - Gulf Coast

Our winter beach vacation suggestions move on to the gulf coast. From gulf breezes and smooth water, our southern beach vacation ideas will give you many things to enjoy.

South Padre Island, Texas

Winter temperatures in South Padre Island are in the high 60s with sunshine. While it may be too cool to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches are still a great way to relax during the winter. Shelling and strolling or just sitting in the sand and listening to the waves are great ways to enjoy a beautiful day.

Looking to get out on the water, a fishing charter is a perfect way to spend half a day or the whole thing.

Looking for more of a natural escape, birding, nature walks and cruises are a great way to take in the different animals and plants around South Padre Island. For an up close look at some of the animals, you can also visit South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sea life Nature Center.

A great way to enjoy the beach is on horseback. Island Adventure Park takes you on a ride to remote areas of South Padre, giving you the chance to see parts of the island others may miss. From ziplining to a fun park, you can spend a day enjoying this attraction.

St. Simons Island, Georgia

Part of the barrier islands of the Golden Isles, St. Simons Island is a beautiful destination. Temperatures stay around the mid 60s in the winter allowing you an escape from the cold.

Winter actually offers some great experiences you cannot enjoy other times of the year. The North Atlantic whales and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and many birds migrate to the area in winter due to the warmer air and water temperature.

Take in a bit of history at the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation or visit a colonial fort at Fort Frederica National Monument.

Because of the close proximity to the other Golden Isles, St Simons is just a day trip away from many other activities.

Sanibel Island, Florida

A popular location for shell searching, Sanibel Island has been a destination year round for years. Temperatures are moderate, staying in the low 70s most of the winter months.

If scuba diving is something you enjoy, take a dive to view the USCGC Mohawk wreck site. Created as a US veterans memorial, the ship was purposely sunk a short distance off the shore of Sanibel. As the years pass sea life and coral have made their way among the ship and are a site to see.

Not sure a dive is for you? You can still enjoy the water by kayak, canoe or boat rental. Enjoy the mangroves, open water and see nature at its finest. Sunset cruises are also a great way to enjoy the beauty of the island from the water.

A nature trek through JN Darling National Wildlife Refuge allows for a nice hike through the natural beauty of the island. The nature center is packed full of great information for all ages.

Orange Beach, Alabama

Due to less crowds and beautiful (cool) weather, Orange Beach is a great beach to relax on during the winter. With temperatures in the low 60s the feel of spring is abundant.

Cooler weather means swimming may be out of the picture, but you can still enjoy exploring the pristine beaches, playing in the sand and taking in the beautiful sunset.

As with much of the Gulf Shore, history is a big part of the area. Visit Fort Morgan Historic Site or take in the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park for a quick dive into the history of the area.

Nature lovers will enjoy the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge where a nice walk will allow you to see many of the natural beauties of the area. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and Gulf State Park are also great ways to get out and enjoy the gorgeous days.

If golf is an interest, the many golf courses in the area offer a great way to enjoy the day.

Looking to get up-close and personal with alligators? Alligator Alley is an experience you won’t want to miss.

And as with most beach towns, you can always get out on the water. Fishing charters and boat rides are year-round and offer a great opportunity to see the beach from a different perspective.

Galveston, Texas

With temperatures between 40 and 60 each winter, it’s a bit cooler than the other beaches we’ve highlighted, but that’s not enough to keep it off our list of winter beach vacation areas.

History and museums are abundant in the area. From the Galveston Railroad Museum to the Moody Mansion, there is a little bit of something for everyone.

Take some time to enjoy the aquarium and rainforest in Moody Gardens or visit the Pleasure Pier amusement park.

Want to explore the natural world? Galveston has that, as well. Take a stroll on the beach. Charter a boat for fishing, Or rent a kayak and explore the water up close.

The southern United States offers many opportunities for beach vacations. While the water may be too cool for swimming all of our vacations offer activities for any vacation type. All with a beach included.

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