Last Updated on March 31, 2024

Are you struggling to decide between Destin vs Gulf Shores for your next vacation?  If so, this post has all the information you need to make the best possible choice.

The Gulf Coast is my favorite place to visit and both of these amazing cities are located along the Gulf!

We’re going to cover key details about each city ranging from budgetary considerations to the quality of the beaches, range of recreation options, and natural beauty.

If you’re wondering which destination is better for couples or families, we’ll cover that too.

Let’s dive in!



Destin and Gulf Shores aerial shot



Photo credit – Unsplash by Zach Vessels

Aerial view of the beach and houses from Destin Florida



Drone shot of Gulf Shores in Alabama





Photo credit – Unsplash by Gary Runn

Beach chairs in Destin FL beach



A tray of seafoods with shrimp, crabs and fish





Photo credit – Unsplash by Nick Agee

Beach scene in Destin Florida





2 people going for a surf in Gulf Shores Alabama



Nearby things to do in Destin is visiting the Grayton Beach





view of the pier at Gulf Shores State Park







Gulf Shores tends to be less busy. It has a more laid-back small-town vibe.     Destin is the place to visit for nightlife.  There are more beaches, more entertainment options, and more lodging choices. There are also bigger crowds and more traffic.

Final Thoughts: Destin vs Gulf Shores 

Hopefully, this post has helped you decide which destination wins out in the Destin vs Gulf Shores battle.

To summarize, both of these resort cities make excellent destinations and offer many of the same amenities and activities.

However, Gulf Shores tends to be less busy. It has a more laid-back small-town vibe.

Destin is one the best places to visit for nightlife.  There are more pristine beaches, more entertainment options, and more lodging choices.  There are also bigger crowds and more traffic.

Which destination sounds best to you?



Additional Destin Travel Posts

My son and I enjoying the beach near Crab Island!

My son and I hanging out at the beach on one of my recent trips to Destin!

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Booking a last-minute trip to Destin or Gulf Shores?  

If so, we have you covered.  Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!

Top Tours in Destin

Crab Island Sandbar Adventure (Crab Island has been my favorite experience in Destin!)

Crab Island 12 Passenger Pontoon Boat Rentals (Half or full-day rentals)

Sunset Dolphin Watching Cruise (one of the most beautiful cities to catch a sunset)

Top Tours in Gulf Shores

Dolphin & Wildlife Experience from Gulf Shores  (See Dolphins And Manatees!)

Mobile Area Multi-Attraction Pass (Experience a Selection Of Best Attractions In Alabama)

Top Hotels In Destin

Hotel Effie Sandestin (Top Rated Hotel With Lots Of Activity Options)

The Grand Sandestin – (Best Rated Hotel In Destin)

Top Hotels In Gulf Shores

Hilton Garden Inn Orange Beach(Top Rated Hotel In Perdido Beach Boulevard)

Comfort Inn & Suites Gulf Shores – (Gulf Shores Hotel Near Gulf State Park)

 Looking To Get Around In Destin or Gulf Shores

Check out rental car rates here! 🚗



Travel Resources


Book Your Next Trip!  For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.

To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!

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