Closest Airport to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama | Plus, How to Get Around
Looking for the closest airport to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach Alabama?
In this post, we’ll talk about the closest and best airports to fly into for your trip to the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast.
Plus, we will discuss the best ways to get around once you get here!
NOTE: I live approximately 45 minutes from these two beautiful beach towns, so I have a lot of experience flying to and from the following airports.
Airports Near Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama
You have a few options to choose from when traveling to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, Alabama.
The closest airport to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama is located in Gulf Shores but it only accommodates private flights.
There are a few other airports however near Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that are excellent options for commercial flights.
Below, you’ll find the closest airports to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.
Gulf Shores International Airport- Jack Edward’s Field (JKA)
Gulf Shores International Airport-Jack Edward’s Field (JKA) is the closest airport to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.
It is located in Gulf Shores but unfortunately, it serves only private flights.
However, there are plans in the future to build a new terminal that will offer commercial flights.
So, if you happen to be flying by private plane, Jack Edward’s Field is your best and closest option to the Alabama Gulf Coast beaches.
Pensacola International Airport (PNS)
Pensacola International Airport (PNS) is my number one airport recommendation for flying to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, Alabama…..that is if you’re not flying on a private plane.
This is the closest, major airport to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. It is located approximately 40 miles from Gulf Shores, Alabama, and about a 1-hour 10-minute drive.
Mobile Regional Airport (MOB)
Mobile Regional Airport (MOB) is the “other” nearby airport near Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.
It is located approximately 65 miles from Gulf Shores, Alabama, and about a 1 hr 34-minute drive. So, it’s a slightly longer drive than from Pensacola, but still a great option for visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast.
EXPERT, LOCAL’S OPINION:
The Pensacola airport, in my opinion, is a much nicer airport than Mobile Regional Airport.
I have also found the flight times and connections to be better than Mobile’s airport.
These 2 airports are both equally a 45-50 minute drive from me, but I always choose to use Pensacola International Airport over Mobile Regional Airport.
Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY)
Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) is the furthest airport listed here from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama.
It’s located in New Orleans, Louisiana which is approximately 197 miles and about a 3 hr 14-minute drive to Gulf Shores.
The reason I’m including this airport is because of “cost” and “non-stop flights.”
Most of the time you’ll find a MUCH better price to fly into Louis Armstrong International Airport versus Pensacola International Airport or Mobile Regional Airport.
So, if you’re on a tight budget, you should definitely look into flying into this New Orleans Airport. The cost of flying can be very costly if you have a larger family and every amount of savings helps!
EXPERT TIP: I recommend using Skyscanner.com for searching for the best price flights.
Plus, if you’re one of those that does not like connecting flights, you’ll find a lot more cities fly non-stop to New Orleans, versus Pensacola or Mobile.
Also, if you’ve never been to New Orleans before, this would be a great chance to see this amazing city too!
➡️ If you happen to be traveling to New Orleans with kids, make sure to read 25 Fun Things to Do in New Orleans with Kids.
How to Get Around These Beach Towns
Once you arrive at your chosen airport, you can make your way to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach by rental car, Uber, or Lyft.
Depending on how you want to spend your time on the Alabama Gulf Coast will determine the method you want to use to get around these beach towns.
Unless you plan on staying at your hotel, vacation rental, or beach house the entire time, I recommend renting a car while on your Gulf Shores or Orange Beach vacation; especially if traveling with kids.
A car just makes it easier for families to get around. And you’ll want to do lots of exploring at and away from the beach.
There are MANY great family-friendly attractions you’ll want to drive to on a Gulf Shores vacation or an Orange Beach vacation. Some of these include The WHARF (a great entertainment, shopping, and dining complex), Tropic Falls at OWA (theme park and indoor waterpark, shopping, and dining area), The Track (go-carts, kiddie-rides, and arcade), and the Tanger Outlets.
Best Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Rental Cars
For the best prices on rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars. It’s so easy to see which car rental company has the best price. Just put in your pick-up location and it searches all the major car rental brands such as Enterprise, Avis, Dollar, Alamo, and Budget.
🚘 Search for your rental car now on Discover Cars.
Ride Share- Uber or Lyft
If you are traveling solo or with your significant other or a friend, using Uber or Lyft might be the preferable option for you.
It’s easy to request an Uber or Lyft from the airport to get to your hotel or vacation rental. It’s also convenient to request an Uber or Lyft to get from one location to the next while in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach.
Rent a Golf Cart or Polaris Slingshot
Hit the streets of Gulf Shores or Orange Beach in style and rent a golf cart or Polaris Slingshot.
Seriously, how fun would these be?
A golf cart would be great for cruising the area around the beach and driving to dinner or getting ice cream. They can hold up to 6 passengers.
➡️ Click here to check prices and book your Golf Cart Rental!
Imagine renting a Polaris Slingshot on your Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation. This racecar like/3 wheeled motorcycle is an open-air vehicle that holds up to 2 passengers. Your friends back home will all be jealous if they see you’re cruising around the beach in one of these!
➡️ Click here to check prices and book your Polaris Slingshot!
FAQs – About Closest Airport to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama
How Do You Fly into Gulf Shores Alabama?
There are no commercial flights that fly directly into Gulf Shores, Alabama.
If you are taking a private plane you can fly directly into Gulf Shores by way of Gulf Shores International Airport- Jack Edward’s Field.
What is the closest major airport to Orange Beach Alabama?
The closest major airport to Orange Beach, Alabama is Pensacola International Airport. It is located approximately 30 miles from Orange Beach and is a 54-minute drive.
What is the best month to visit Gulf Shores?
As a local to this area, the best time to visit Gulf Shores is during the spring and fall. This is the time of the year with the most comfortable weather.
It gets VERY hot and humid on the Alabama Gulf Coast during the summer. 🥵 You will rarely see me at the beach or outside for that matter during the summer.🤣
So, the best months to visit Gulf Shores are March through May and late September through early November. Because of this, Gulf Shores would be the perfect spring break or fall break destination!
Which beach is prettier Gulf Shores or Orange Beach?
First, let me give you a little background on Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. These beach towns are located directly next to each other, but they do have a little different feel.
Gulf Shores is the more “older” and “busier” beach neighborhood of the two. And I would say Orange Beach has a more “upscale” feel.
Orange Beach is the closest beach to Florida. In fact, it is located right at the Alabama/Florida line. If you’re looking for clear water as you’ll find in Florida, you’ll have a better chance with clear water in Orange Beach. This is because the closer you get to Florida the clearer the water will be.
So, I definitely think Orange Beach is the prettier of these two beach towns.
The Wrap-Up: Closest Airport to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Alabama
The closest airport to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama is Gulf Shores International Airport- Jack Edward’s Field; a terminal only for private planes.
Your closest airport and best choice for commercial flights are the Pensacola International Airport. Mobile Regional Airport is your next nearest airport to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
For budget travelers, you might want to look into flying into Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.
No matter what airport you choose to fly into, have a wonderful time on the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast!
Do You Need a Rental Car in New Orleans? – 2023