6 beaches near Nashville: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Beaches near Nashville

There are so many things to do in Nashville. From visiting the Grand Ole Opry to learning about country music history to eating out and shopping, you can spend days having fun right in downtown Nashville. However, something that Nashville residents could tell you is that you should also check out the beaches near Nashville while you are in town. There are lots of lovely beaches near Nashville that you can visit during your trip to have a day of fun, eat at local restaurants, and enjoy the Gulf Coast.

While you are picking out the best beach for your trip, make sure to consider what you are going to do with your luggage while you are enjoying some fun in the sun. Let Bounce store your bags securely so that you can have the peace of mind you need to enjoy sandy beaches and get a tan. No matter if you are planning to visit amusement parks or just hang out in the sun on the Gulf Shore, you need your hands free to have a good time. Here are some ideas to get your beach planning started:

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Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach

While you might have just gotten off the plane at Nashville Airport, you might want to consider renting a car and heading down to one of the best beaches along the Gulf Coast before you spend time in Nashville. This is one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches near Nashville that you could ask for, although "near" is a bit of a stretch. Heading here for a beach getaway is a great plan if you have the time to commit to a few days on the white sandy beaches near Panama City.

Panama City Beach travel distance from Nashville

You can drive to this beach area if you have eight hours to spend in the car. It is also possible to get to Panama city beach if you grab a train and ride overnight to this lovely sandy beach location.

Activity recommendations

This is one of the most amazing beach locations near Nashville, and you can head here to lounge on the soft, white sands, play in the water, or enjoy water sports of various kinds. Plan to rent an umbrella and some chairs and just lay in the sun, or consider heading here to go shopping and eat at some of the fine dining restaurants right by the beach.

The drive here is long enough that you'll need to save this beach visit for a beach getaway that is longer than a day trip. You will not regret spending time in this lovely location, and you will struggle to find a better beach anywhere in the area.

Myrtle Beach near Nashville

Myrtle Beach

This beach is the center of the Grand Strand, which is a well-known stretch of linked beaches along the Gulf Shores in this region. You will be gaining access to everything from lovely white sand to amusement parks to boardwalks and shopping when you come to Myrtle Beach. This South Carolina beach area is a central hub of fun attractions and amazing shopping and dining that beach lovers will not want to miss out on.

Myrtle Beach travel distance from Nashville

Rather like the trip to Panam City Beach, this beach location is about an eight-hour drive from Nashville. You can ride the train but expect to be busy traveling for most of a day if you choose this option.

Activity recommendations

While not the closest beach to Nashville, this is one of the most beautiful beaches around. Many people head to this beach area each summer to enjoy fresh seafood, lounging in the sun, and playing in the water. You can ride a Ferris wheel, play amusement park games along the boardwalk, or shop and dine in some lovely little local communities that line the beaches here.

There is so much to love about this spot, even if it is not the closest beach to Nashville itself. If the charms of Broadway Street in Nashville have made you fall in love with retail therapy, the shopping here at Myrtle Beach will be your second favorite experience of your whole trip.

Orange Beach near Nashville

Orange Beach

This is a prime tourist location, but many people head here to enjoy dolphin sightings, boat trips, and time laying out in the sun getting a tan. The food at Orange Beach is excellent, and there are lots of great places to shop near the water as well. The Gulf Shores area here is offset by other amusement opportunities that are great for kids, like the zoo and the local aerial adventure park.

Orange Beach travel distance from Nashville

The only way to get to Orange Beach is to drive for about seven or eight hours depending on your route and traffic conditions.

Activity recommendations

This is by far one of the best beach areas to head to if you are going to be in Nashville and have a couple of days to spare. Heading here with kids is ideal because there are things to do and see, like the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, hiking and biking on wilderness trails, or visits to ziplining parks.

You can shop and dine all along the coast here, or you could simply rent a hotel room near the beach and lay out on the sand each day. There is no wrong way to enjoy such a lovely beach area, and the fact that there are so many other really cool things to do here is just an added bonus to making the trip to this beach.

Tybee Island near Nashville

Tybee Island

Although Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island are a seven-hour drive from Nashville, if you love emerald waters and are really into things like fishing and water sports, these are the right beach areas for you! Many Nashville residents head here each year for a weekend at the beach, and there is something special about spending time in these island areas. Tybee Island alone boasts miles of beaches, and there are unique things to do at each beach location.

Tybee Island travel distance from Nashville

As mentioned, Tybee Island is a seven-hour drive from Nashville. Driving is the only way to make the trip.

Activity recommendations

Tybee Island has been a classic beach getaway since the 1800s. You will see why as soon as you arrive and be charmed by the older and historic sites as well as the gorgeous beaches and the shopping and dining options that are offered all around the island. Consider exploring the many islands in the area for even more beach time. But, if you only have limited time, stick to Tybee - it's famous for a reason.

Lounging in the sun is easy to do, and kids will love building sandcastles and playing in the surf here. Enjoy jet skiing, boating, or beach volleyball at all of these famous beach locations. You can also head over to nearby Hilton Head Beach to check another common beach getaway off of your list.

Santa Rosa Beach near Nashville

Santa Rosa Beach

There are few beaches near Nashville that can offer you access not only to white sands and surf but also to mountain trails and other outdoor adventures. There is a piney coastal forest here to visit, and many people come here to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can spend part of your time in this beach area hiking and biking in the shaded woods and the rest of the time laying out on the sand and playing with your kids in the surf.

There are actually 16 little beach towns that line the coast here, and you can choose to head up and down the waterfront to see what they are all about. This is part of the famed Emerald Coastline, and for lovers of history, there are tons of historical sites to see along the water in this region. People have been coming to this part of the coast for generations to make the most of the beautiful weather and the soft sandy beaches, which means that historical and cultural sites abound.

Santa Rosa Beach travel distance from Nashville

This lovely beach area is just a day's drive from Nashville. You can expect to get here in about seven hours by car.

Activity recommendations

While the beaches might be a big draw to this area, there are many other cool things to do and see here in the Santa Rosa Beach area. You should make sure to save time for shopping and dining, and then rent mountain bikes and head up the trail in the nearby forested preserve. This city is less touristy than some of the others on this list, which means that even at the peak of the summer months, it will not be as busy or as expensive.

You can easily rent an umbrella and some chairs to enjoy the beautiful weather here, or you might want to just walk along the shoreline, taking in the beauty of the sights and sounds around you. There are lots of places to stay near the water here, and you could walk right out of your front door onto the soft sand each morning if you choose to splurge and stay for a few days. This is one of the prettiest and most varied kinds of beach areas on this list, and you might want to choose this option due to its proximity to Nashville and the wide array of activities that are possible here.

Best beaches near Nashville

Anderson Beach

Although Nashville is nowhere near the coast, you can still find some lovely beaches closer to the city, and Anderson Beach is one of the best. This lakeside beach is just outside the city and offers excellent swimming opportunities, picturesque views, warm water, and much more.

Anderson Beach travel distance from Nashville

As one of the closest beaches to Nashville, it only takes about half an hour to drive the 17 miles from downtown Nashville to Anderson Beach. There is no public transportation available, so you'll need a car to get here.

Activity recommendations

One of the best things to do here is swim. The shallow waters are ideal for the whole family, and there are sandy shores to hang out on. Plan to have a picnic here as there are limited services available, and the grills and picnic tables provide the perfect spots.

If you've already had too much sun, the lake is surrounded by trees that offer ample shade and opportunities for relaxation. Bring a book, and you'll be happy to spend the day here.


If you are traveling in Nashville on a budget, these beaches can be great ways to spend a few days. Other than the cost of renting a car and fuel, these places are quite affordable. Once you've exhausted everything the city has to offer (and there is a lot), these beaches are fantastic weekend trip ideas from Nashville.

There is no wrong way to decide to enjoy all that the Gulf Shores and Tennessee lakes have to offer. You will not regret being inventive while planning your trip to this part of the US, and creating memories will be a snap with these beaches on your itinerary.

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