For some people, living along the Gulf Coast and enjoying a coastal life is a dream. The Gulf Coast consists of the coastlines of West Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. There are significant differences between each of the locations along this expansive stretch of coastline, and some areas are considered better places to live than others. If you are thinking of moving to the Gulf Coast, here are the 20 best places to live along the Gulf Coast to help you decide where to live.
20. Gulf Shores, Alabama
If affordability is one of your primary concerns when choosing where to live along the Gulf Coast, then Thrillist recommends Gulf Shores. It is also a great choice for those who intend to spend a lot of their time outdoors, as not only are there wonderful beaches, but there are also miles of hiking and biking trails. Another positive feature of Gulf Shores is its up-and-coming food scene.
19. Galveston, Texas
Galveston is an island city just south of Houston in Texas. It is one of Texas’ most popular tourist destinations, and it is a fantastic option for coastal living. Many parts of Galveston have the feel of a traditional seaside town, and there are the typical attractions you would expect to find in a seaside resort. There are also more than 32 miles of beautiful beaches to enjoy. Furthermore, Galveston is one of the most affordable places to live along the Gulf Coast.
18. Orange Beach, Alabama
Of all the states that line the Gulf Coast, Alabama has the shortest coastline. However, that does not mean that there are not options in this state for coastal living. According to Home Snacks, Orange Beach is the eighth-best place to live in Alabama, and the second-best place to live along Alabama’s section of the Gulf Coast. Orange Beach is a popular resort town, and it is easy to see why people want to visit the area. Not only is there a gorgeous beach, but there is also plenty of activities to keep both visitors and residents entertained. There are varied job opportunities in Orange Beach, so the unemployment rate is low.
17. Fairhope, Alabama
The best place to live on the Gulf Coast if Alabama is your state of choice is Fairhope, which is a coastal town with a population of just 21,083. The unemployment rate is exceptionally low, which indicates that the town has many employment opportunities. Its other positive features are low crime rates, excellent schools, and a lovely beach. The only downside to Fairhope is that the property prices are high.
16. Corpus Christi, Texas
There are many positive features of Corpus Christi that make it a good option for those who want to live along the Gulf Coast and prefer an urban lifestyle. Corpus Christi is a large city with 452,295 residents, and there are multiple employment opportunities in a wide range of industries in this city. Hospitality and tourism are two of the biggest sectors, as Corpus Christi is a popular vacation destination. In part, this is because there are so many leisure and entertainment options in the city. However, it is also because there is easy access from the beaches to Padre and the Mustang Islands.
15. Fort Myers Beach, Florida
Fort Myers Beach is a resort town along Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is situated on Estero Island, and it is approximately 40 minutes by car from the inland city of Fort Myers. Those who live in Fort Myers Beach enjoy a typical coastal lifestyle while benefiting from their proximity to all the amenities and entertainment options of the metro area.
14. Tampa, Florida
Not only are Tampa and Tampa Bay popular vacation destinations, but they are also great places to live. Tampa is home to more than three million people who enjoy the combination of urban living with the benefits of a coastal lifestyle. Employment opportunities are good in this city, with jobs available in many sectors, including hospitality, tourism, retail, and education. There are also endless ways that people can enjoy their leisure time, so most people living in this city consider themselves as having a good standard of life.
13. Naples, Florida
US News ranks Naples, Florida, as one of the best places to live on the Gulf Coast. For those who prefer living in a city to a quiet seaside town, Naples is a good option as it has many positive features. It has a population of 363,922 people, and there is ongoing population growth due to the lifestyle on offer in this city. Naples ranks highly on the well-being index, as those who live there are generally happy, enjoy their lifestyle, and take pride in their community.
12. Freeport, Texas
Freeport in Texas is a fantastic place to live for those who want to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. It is home to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, which has more than 40,000 acres of wetlands and multiple hiking trails to explore. The town is also a great place to live for people who enjoy fishing, and there are many charter and tour companies. People who live in Freeport enjoy a simple lifestyle, although the town is only 50 miles south of Houston and everything the city offers.
11. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay St. Louis is a quaint seaside town that has lots of nautical character, with lots of 19th-century properties and Creole cottages. There are beautiful beaches with warm waters, and many people enjoy fishing. The town is also known for its art galleries. Not only is Bay St. Louis a pretty location in which to live, but it is also one of the most affordable towns along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
10. Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Ocean Springs is a town along the Mississippi coast that has a population of 17,809 people. It has a pretty main street lined with oak trees, and the town oozes small-town charm. The town attracts an artistic community, as it hosts many exciting events and festivals throughout the year, including the Petr Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival. Ocean Springs is one of Mississippi’s most affordable locations, as the median home price is $163,623, which is low compared to other coastal locations in this state.
9. Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Those who enjoy living in quiet locations with a natural environment should consider living in Fort Walton Beach in Florida, which has a population of 22,284 residents. The area is known for its unspoiled beauty, including white sandy beaches and emerald green waters. It is close to Okaloosa Island, and the town boasts attractions such as the Indian Temple Mound Museum and the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. At the latter, visitors can swim amongst a vast array of marine creatures.
8. Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi is a coastal city in Mississippi that offers the best of both worlds, as there are plenty of activities for people who want a busy lifestyle to enjoy, but it also has quieter areas for those who want a simple and peaceful lifestyle. For the latter, there are white sand beaches and beautiful waters. For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, there is a championship golf course and two entertainment districts that boast multiple casinos. It is also worth noting that this city was once known as the seafood capital of the world, and many local restaurants have seafood-centric menus.
7. Pensacola, Florida
Known for its warm waters and white sandy beaches, Pensacola is a popular vacation destination that is home to 52,713 people. It is a city with a fascinating history, as it was originally a Spanish settlement, and it has strong links to the history of aviation. It is currently a base for Navy pilot training, and one of the most popular attractions in Pensacola is the National Naval Aviation Museum. Despite its many positive features, Pensacola is one of the most affordable coastal locations on Florida’s panhandle.
6. Port Arthur, Texas
Port Arthur is one of the best places to live in Texas for those who want an active coastal lifestyle. There are activities for everyone to enjoy in this city, regardless of whether you are interested in history, culture, or nature. It is home to Pleasure Island, which is a manmade island and entertainment hub. Port Arthur is also home to Sea Rim State Park, Lake Sabine, and the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Many people who live in this city enjoy water-based activities, such as boating, fishing, and windsurfing. Port Arthur is also an affordable place to live, and the median home price is $64,457.
5. Gulfport, Mississippi
Apartment Therapy says that one of the best places to live on the Gulf Coast is Gulfport in Mississippi. Gulfport is Mississippi’s second-largest city, and it is home to 71,870 residents. Most of the action takes place along the city’s waterfront entertainment district, which has bars, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. The city also has a picturesque harbor, and a popular activity is sailing to the scenic Ship Island just off the coast.
4. St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg sits along Tampa Bay, and it offers a combination of coastal living and urban life. The city is lined with stunning beaches that offer ample opportunities for spending time by the water or enjoying water-based activities. It is a city with lots of small, historic neighborhoods that have a small-town feel, or there is the option to live at the center of all the city’s activity. There are plenty of attractions to enjoy, not least the Dali Museum that stands proud on St. Petersburg’s waterfront. It also has a fantastic arts and culture scene in the downtown district. In addition to the great lifestyle on offer, there are also many employment opportunities in this city.
3. Sarasota, Florida
There is something for everyone in Sarasota, and it offers various lifestyle options. On the one hand, it has beautiful beaches that will suit those who dream of the perfect coastal life. On the other hand, it is a busy city that will suit those who enjoy the urban vibe. Sarasota also has an excellent arts and culture scene, and many of the attractions will appeal to those who are interested in culture and the arts. There is also something on the housing market to suit all budgets, from modern apartments to historic properties and from mid-century homes to houses with water views.
2. Gasparilla Island, Florida
Gasparilla Island is a thin island just off the Gulf Coast of Florida that sits between Sarasota and Fort Myers. It boasts seven miles of sugar sand beaches, and the island has a lot of visual appeal, with pastel colored cottages and streets lined with palm trees. Fishing is a popular activity on the island, and it becomes a popular tourist area during the summer months when wealthy people visit the island for fishing vacations. Boca Grande is a small fishing village, and it is the epicenter of the community and island life. Residents of Gasparilla Island enjoy a typically quiet island lifestyle.
1. Alys Beach, South Walton, Florida
According to Southern Living, the best place to live on the Gulf Coast is Alys Beach in South Walton, Florida. It is a relatively new town that has been developed along the Gulf Coast, with white buildings constructed around courtyards and narrow streets. It looks like one of the affluent areas of Marrakesh, and the Moroccan style is reflected in the design of the community’s outdoor swimming pool. Alys Beach’s design is based around a green lifestyle, with streets designed to reduce stormwater runoff and dotted with drought-resistant plants. There is also a lot going on in Alys Beach, as it hosts many arts and food festivals.