While not as heavily promoted, Alabama boasts beaches that rival those of Florida. Residents of the Southeast have been flocking to Alabama's Gulf Coast for generations to enjoy its pristine sugar white sands. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the main beach towns in the area, and the majority of visitors arrive by personal auto. However, for those opting to fly, there are several convenient airports nearby.
Pensacola International Airport (PNS)
The closest commercial airport to Orange Beach is Pensacola International Airport (flypensacola.com), located in Pensacola, Florida. With airline options such as AirTran, American Eagle, Delta, United, and US Airways Express, Pensacola International Airport is the primary choice for travelers heading to Orange Beach. It is situated approximately 30 miles away, and the drive takes around an hour.
Navigating through Pensacola on the way to Orange Beach can be a bit challenging, with multiple routes to choose from. One of the quicker and easier options is to take 12th Avenue south from Airport Boulevard. As you continue, 12th Avenue becomes Fairfield Drive, also known as Highway 295. Follow Highway 295 until it splits off to the right, but make sure to stay on 295 heading south until you reach Highway 292 west, also called Gulf Beach Highway. Stay on Gulf Beach Highway, passing through Perdido Key, until you reach Orange Beach.
During peak periods, such as spring break and holiday weekends in spring and summer, traffic along Gulf Coast Highway can become heavy, resulting in slower travel times. Since this area attracts a significant amount of drive-in traffic and has only one main beach road, be prepared for potential delays. If you encounter heavy traffic on your way to Orange Beach, you may consider making a stop at the legendary Flora-Bama Lounge (florabama.com), situated on the Florida/Alabama line. This roadhouse bar on the beach, made famous by Jimmy Buffett's song "Bama Breeze" and mentioned in John Grisham's novel "The Pelican Brief," is worth a visit.
The Next Closest Airport
If Pensacola International Airport doesn't meet your needs, the next closest option is Mobile Regional Airport (MOB) in Mobile, Alabama (mobairport.com). Airlines such as American, Delta, United, and US Airways serve this airport. While it is located approximately 69 miles from Orange Beach, the drive takes about an hour and 40 minutes. For those traveling in private aircraft, Foley Municipal Airport (JKA) in Foley, Alabama (cityoffoley.org), is the nearest general aviation airport, situated 15 miles inland.
Other Major Airports in the Region
For travelers seeking additional options, there are major airports within a reasonable distance. Biloxi International Airport in Biloxi, Mississippi, offers non-stop flights to various destinations and is within proximity to Orange Beach. Additionally, Atlanta, Fort Walton Beach, and Houston are major airports with convenient flight connections to consider when planning your trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast. Another option is New Orleans, which provides a range of flight choices and is within a manageable distance from Orange Beach.
Once you arrive at the airport, various transportation services are available to take you to Orange Beach. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft operate in the area, offering convenient and reliable transportation. Additionally, major airlines like American Airlines provide direct flights to nearby airports, ensuring a hassle-free travel experience.
Whether you choose to fly into Pensacola International Airport, Mobile Regional Airport, or explore other airport options in the region, reaching Orange Beach is within a reasonable distance. Enjoy your flight and the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast, known for its breathtaking beaches and warm hospitality.