Gulf Shores Alabama

Driving Directions to Gulf Shores Alabama

We will start with driving directions from Memphis to Gulf Shores, since I know that path well !

If you use Google MapsMapQuest, MapBlast, YahooMap etc..they are going to tell you that the fastest way to get from Memphis to Gulf Shores is down I-55 and thru Jackson..thru Hattiesburg--they are wrong. (They are also wrong about best way to get to Orange Beach. )

After many, many trips from Memphis to Gulf Shores (and back), I am convinced that the fastest way, by far, is take Hwy 78 (Lamar Ave) out of Memphis to Tupelo, MS.
At Tupelo, get on Hwy 45 South to Meridian, MS and stay on it all the way into Mobile at I-65. Be sure to choose the 45 Alt, when given the choice to avoid going thru the middle of Columbus, MS. 

At Mobile, get on I-65 South to I-10 East and exit at Loxley, AL, Hwy 59 South--stay on it till it dead-ends at the beach. Double lane almost all the way, not many places to stop (there is a fabulous Hudson's Treasure Hunt Store in Meridian, MS, (click for map to it) but you will have to exit at Meridian and drive off your path a couple miles). Lock your doors as you come into Mobile, as Hwy 45 enters in a rather dangerous area, but it is short and you hit I-65 pretty quickly. The only part of this route that is not 4-lane is the stretch of pretty, rolling rural Alabama from about the MS line to near Mobile. In fact, most of it is rather flat, vacant cow land, kinda like Kansas and designated as the 'future U.S. I-22'. There is a really long stretch in south MS w/ no gas or restrooms, so think ahead. The best restrooms near that vacant part are the Chevron in Buckatunna, MS logo_chevron.gif (1485 bytes) Right before the Alabama line. Print a coupon for free coffee or fountain drink. 

I USED to go the following way:

From Memphis it will take you about 7 1/2 to 8 hrs. if you speed a bit and don't go to sit-down restaurants on the way.

  • Take I-55 South to Jackson, MS.,on the south side of Jackson, stay in right lane, and follow signs to Hattiesburg--you'll have to veer off right twice.
  • Take Hwy 49 S from
    Jackson to Hattiesburg.
  • Take Hwy 98 E (it is really S-E) from south side of Hattiesburg to Mobile and get on I-65 S.
    Take I-65 S. to I-10 E (sign says Pensacola).
  • Take I-10 East to the Loxley/Gulf Shores Exit Hwy 59 South. You are almost there !
  • Hwy 59 S dead-ends into the beach at
    Gulf Shores.

OR--if you want to do it with NO two-lane roads.... even it takes longer:

  • Take I-55 South to Jackson, MS.,
    on the south side of Jackson, stay in right lane, and follow signs to Hattiesburg--you'll have to veer off right twice.
  • Take Hwy 49 S from Jackson to Hattiesburg
  • Take Hwy 98 E (it is really S-E) from south side of Hattiesburg to Hwy 63 S.
  • Taking Hwy 63 S. to I-10 will keep you from having any 2 lane highway and avoid an unpleasant side of Mobile.
  • Take I-10 East to the Loxley/Gulf Shores Exit--Hwy 59 South
  • You are almost there!
  • Hwy 59 S dead-ends into the beach at Gulf Shores, or if you are going t the Orange Beach area, you can veer off Hwy 59 S on the new so-called by-pass, which is a toll road to Orange Beach. Or just hang a left at the end of Hwy 59 to take Beach Blvd. to nearby Orange Beach.


Now here is the fun stuff to do on the way from Memphis to Gulf Shores if you go thru Hattiesburg and Jackson:

Do You Love Bargains of the Highest Order? If so, stop in Hattiesburg right on Hwy 49 at the Cloverleaf Mall at Hudson's Salvage--now called Hudson's Treasure Hunt.(click for map to it) It is on the south side of Hattiesburg in a mall where there was once a McRea's Dept Store. Look for a Wendy's Hamburger place across the street and Popeye's Chicken on mall side, close to the street. The mall now has 'Steinmart' and 'Trees & Trends' on the street side. Hudson's is toward the back of the 'seen better days' mall. Hudson's calls itself an 'extreme value' store. It is certainly hit or miss, but I do not think I have ever left empty handed and have spend as long as 6 hrs in there!! That'll sure add a few hours to the Memphis-Gulf Shores run !! But, I have seen Vera Wang wedding gowns, motorcycles, needlepoint rugs, mink coats, my favorite perfume, an entire military PX stock at 70% off, an entire Pier One store contents for 70% off.--computers, clothes by Paris designers, Faragamo shoes for $19.99,  hunting everything from men's popular hunting catalogs,--you name it and they have sold it and for dirt cheap!! I got some of my favorite shoes there for $2.50. One of my buddies has a bumper sticker on her car that says "I got this bumper sticker at Hudson's for 90 % off". When my boys were smaller, we would make sure everyone had a watch and agree to meet at checkout at a given time--30 min. or one hour...whatever. It is a pretty big place and we all had different interests.

If you like Hudson's, in Hattiesburg, there are actually Hudson's stores located all over Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, you can zig-zag all the way from Memphis to Gulf Shores visiting Hudson's stores on the way. I keep maps and Hudson's phone numbers and closing times in my car door pocket. The one in north Jackson (Ridgeland) on Hwy 51 is usually a good stop and McGhee, MS has one right on the drive down--but it is usually not as full of 'the best'. The McGhee Hudson's closes at 7 p.m.but the Hattiesburg one stays open till 9 p.m..

On the South side of the Cloverleaf Mall is a great outlet store called Burke's Outlet. On Mondays' everyone over 50 yrs old gets a great discount and they punch a card at each sale, so when it is full you can use it on a Monday for a double discount--there Burke's in Mobile & Foley as well as other cities. Burke's is kinda like TJ Max.

Driving Directions from Birmingham & Atlanta to Gulf Shores

Take the Interstate south to Montgomery (I-85 from Atlanta, I-65 from Birmingham). From Montgomery take I-65 south toward Mobile. From I-65:   Take exit 37 - Gulf Shores Pkwy/Hwy 59 South, approximately 53 miles to Gulf Shores.  Total driving time (depending on driving habits and traffic): Atlanta 5.5 to 6 hours, Birmingham 4.5 to 5 hours, Montgomery 3 to 3.5 hours.

Driving Directions from Pensacola to Gulf Shores

Take I-10 West to exit 44 - Hwy 59 South;
OR Take Hwy 292 West to Hwy 182 to Orange Beach;
OR Take Hwy 98 West to Hwy 59 to Foley, then Hwy 59 S.                                to Gul;f Shores

If you are in downtown Pensacola and want to take the beach road, just go as far south as you can and follow the beach highway west to Gulf Shores or

If you are in Pensacola, you can go due east on Hwy 98 to Foley and south on Hwy 59 to Gulf Shores. Or once you get across the big bridge at Perdido Bay, you can wander the county roads south and east to Gulf Shores. Sometimes I prefer this method since there is very little traffic on the nice straight county roads that do seem to run either north-south or east-west and not in curves or circles !

Driving directions from New Orleans to Gulf Shores

This is really easy...Take I-10 east to Exit 44 in Alabama, the Loxley exit. Go south on Hwy 59 to Gulf Shores. Total driving time, 3 to 3.5 hours (depending on driving habits and traffic).

Driving Directions to by-pass Foley and Gulf Shores to Orange Beach

Take the Foley Beach Express (toll road) off Hwy 59 in Summerdale, cross toll bridge into Orange Beach--currently $3

Mileage chart from many major cities:

Atlanta, GA 365 transdot.gif (807 bytes) Little Rock, AR 696
Baton Rouge, LA 247 Louisville, KY 629
Birmingham, AL 269 Memphis, TN 475
Chicago, IL 923 Meridian, MS 145
Dallas, TX 704 Montgomery, AL 186
Houston, TX 521 Nashville, TN 445
Huntsville, AL 365 New Orleans, LA 209
Indianapolis, IN 747 St. Louis, MO 627
Jackson, MS 240 Tallahassee, FL 247

Driving to Gulf Shores with children can be made more fun by printing our some of our car travel games...

gulf-shores driving distance chart



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Wednesday July 20, 2016

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