Orange Beach Alabama

Cotton Bayou Beach

Public Beach Access in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Picture pretty white sands, rolling waves, high-rises, multi-colored umbrellas, and lots of sun-kissed tourists: that’s the image of Cotton Bayou Beach.

Cotton Bayou Public Beach is one of three public beach destinations in Orange Beach, Alabama, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and amenities available to meet your needs.

Since this easy-access beach comes with lifeguards, showers, restrooms, and free parking, it’s no wonder it’s particularly popular among tourists.

Cotton Bayou Public Beach Access, Orange Beach, Alabama

Cotton Bayou Public Beach Access, Orange Beach, Alabama

If you look to the right, you can see the beach for miles and miles if you look to the left you see the pier attached to the Four Seasons of Romar Beach.  One of the perks of staying at the hotel is having access to the pier for an even better view of the gulf wildlife that flies by or swims in water.

Past the pier, you can continue walking until you reach the west jetty at Perdido Pass.  Along the way, you will see the beautiful Turquoise Place Resort. This is a 370′ tall condo with sparkling, turquoise windows all the way around the building.

They advertise as having luxury 5 star rental services, but I haven’t been able to afford the 5 star prices myself.  It is a unique place to see even from the beach, and they had an impressive 4th of July fireworks show this year.

This beautiful stretch of beach isn’t overly crowded and a great walk if you are looking to shed a few pounds from all that seafood you’ve ate.  It’s about 3 miles down to the jetty and back to the public beach area.

Note a couple years ago, spring breakers were banned from having alcohol on Gulf Shores public beaches so they all flocked to Orange Beach area instead.

The location is still family friendly year-round, but I would not take a leisurely stroll outside the main public area due to the influx of spring breakers in March and April.

Having Fun on Cotton Bayou Beach

The great thing about this beach access is that the entrance is at a red light with a crosswalk that is manageable to cross over in the middle of the day despite all the traffic.

This allows you to get safely to the Rite Aid drug store where 161 and 182 meet (approximately ___ yards down the road) if you have forgotten anything for your day at the beach.

If you are looking for a grocery store, there is a Publix Super Market at The Shoppes at Palm Pointe shopping center that is approximately ____ miles down the road to the west right across from the drug store.

Restaurants nearby include Cotton’s (but they typically don’t open until 4pm), Gilbey’s Seafood &Steak, and Rotolo’s Pizzeria. There is also a Starbucks and Dairy Queen nearby if you are looking for something a little quicker.


There is one wooden boardwalk that is approximately ____ feet long and ____ to the shoreline.

Cotton Bayou, Orange Beach Alabama, Boardwalk

Cotton Bayou, Orange Beach Alabama, Boardwalk

When you reach the end of the boardwalk, you are greeted by a large wooden turtle with a large wooden toy box.

Here the turtle reads got a toy, leave a toy, need a toy, take a toy. So, if you forget sand pails, shovels, and other basic equipment for occupying the kids this is there so they can create sand castle cities and majestic forts with moats.

Orange Beach turtle toy boxes encourage sharing, wildlife education and recycling.

Orange Beach turtle toy boxes encourage sharing, wildlife education and recycling.

The key is adding the right amount of water to the sand for it to take shape and stay. I’m amazed at the talent both adults and children have with just sand and water.

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There is a nice free paved parking lot, be sure to get there well before 10:00 am or you will not find a parking spot. The beach here is a beautiful area to setup, but there are no chairs or umbrellas to rent at this location.

Amenities here include one shower a few feet in on the boardwalk and one outside the building with separate male and female bathrooms.  There are ___ lifeguard stands there from ____ to _____.  Water fountains?

There are tent restrictions on this beach and the larger 10 x 10 tents are required to be setup behind the white post that are approximately ____ feet from the shoreline.  Larger than 10×10 tents are not allowed on the beach at all.

How to Find It

This is an easy location to get to.  Just drive south on Highway 161 and turned left on Perdido Beach Blvd, Highway 182.  The beach access is about a block down on the right.

Cotton Bayou

Found at the intersection of Highways 161 and 182 in well-developed Orange Beach (east of Gulf Shores)