17 Best Beaches Close to Nashville

Does the thought of warmer weather have you eager to visit a nearby beach?

The downtown Nashville area is full of so many popular attractions and fun things to do. But, sometimes you just want to get away to soak up the sun on a sandy beach.

Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, or at a local state park, our post on the best beaches close to Nashville has you covered!

In this article, we break down the top closest beaches near Nashville, TN, including the estimated driving times to each one. So, continue reading below for the best Nashville beaches to add to your beach vacation planning list!

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Does Nashville have beaches?

Before we jump into all the tropical beach spots close to Nashville, let’s discuss some of the best places you can visit locally. Tennessee is home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the Southeast. 

And many of these offer sandy beaches, picnic areas, and water sports for the whole family to enjoy. While the beaches may not look like the photo below, these Tennessee lakes provide plenty of fun in the sun.

beach with clear water

So, don’t feel like you have to travel across the country when you can visit miles of shoreline at one of Nashville’s nearby lakes and rivers.

Some of the most popular spots in Nashville to enjoy a day on the sand (or in the water) are the following:

  • Douglas Lake
  • Norris Lake
  • Kentucky Lake
  • Old Hickory Lake
  • Tims Ford State Park
  • Center Hill Lake

With available activities like beach volleyball, water skiing, horseback riding, and more, the lakes above offer easy access to beaches close to Nashville.

For more information on the family friendly lakes in the area, we highly recommend checking out our post on the Best Lakes in Tennessee for Kids!

Best Beaches Near Nashville

If a day at a local Nashville beach isn’t going to cut it, you have plenty of options for “real” beaches near Nashville. The list below provides an overview of the most popular beaches in the Southeast that are just a short drive away from Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville TN from above

So, if you’re looking for the closest beaches to Nashville, we’ve come up with a selection of the most beautiful beaches near the Music City and the surrounding area. 

Check out our list of the best beaches near Nashville below, including the approximate driving time to each great destination!

Pensacola Beach, Florida

With a short drive time of 6 hours 43 minutes, Pensacola wins the medal for the closest beach to Nashville. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pensacola Beach is a great place to visit for those wanting a nice beach near Nashville.

sandy beach with tall grass in Pensacola Beach FL

With white sand beaches and lots of local dining options, Pensacola Beach is both a convenient vacation destination and a fun beach getaway for the whole family.

Find Pensacola Beach rentals here!

Perdido Key, FL

Located just west of Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key is another great spot for those looking for beaches near Nashville with short driving times. Since it’s only 7 hours away, you can enjoy a beach day in paradise in the early afternoon hours after a morning drive from Nashville.

Perdido Key FL sky line

Perdido Key sits super close to the Alabama border and offers convenient access to the nearby beach communities of Pensacola Beach and Orange Beach.

Find Perdido Key rentals here!

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida sits in the Florida panhandle just east of Sandestin. With an estimated drive time of 7 hours 5 minutes from Nashville, Santa Rosa Beach is the perfect place to book a beach vacation.

beach with seagulls

One of the best things about Santa Rosa Beach is it’s less touristy than the neighboring Sandestin area. However, you can easily access the fun attractions and great dining spots in the nearby community.

For some ideas on ways to spend a fun day in Santa Rosa Beach, we recommend checking out our post on the Best Things to Do in Santa Rosa Beach with Kids.

Watercolor, Florida

If you’re interested in splurging on a luxurious beach vacation near Nashville, we highly recommend checking out WaterColor, Florida. At just over a 7 hour drive from Nashville, WaterColor gets my family’s vote for the best beach near Nashville for kids!

The beach community of Watercolor offers guests exclusive access to the Watercolor Beach Club and Camp Watercolor. Watercolor Beach Club features multiple pools and dining options that are located right on the beach.

30A Beach
WaterColor Beach

Camp Watercolor is a great place for families traveling with kids as it features pools with water slides, dining options, and a playground.

The town of Watercolor is also a short walk away from Seaside, giving guests access to even more shopping venues and restaurants.

Find Watercolor vacation rentals here!

Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida is probably one of the most popular beaches close to Nashville. With a drive time of 7 hours 6 minutes, Destin is easily accessible to residents of the Music City. 

It also offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! If you’re looking for white sand and crystal clear water, Destin is the perfect spot for you.

white sand beach in destin fl

With plenty of dining options and kid-friendly attractions, Destin is a great spot for families looking for a beach getaway close to Nashville.

For a list of our favorite spots in the area, you can check out our post on the Best Beaches in Destin, Florida.

Miramar Beach, FL

Miramar Beach, Florida is a short 7 hours 6 minutes from Nashville, and it offers an ideal vacation spot. Sitting between Destin and Sandestin, Miramar Beach allows easy access to all the nearby fun and restaurants.

Visitors to Miramar Beach also love hitting up the nearby outlet mall for some of the best shopping in the Destin area!

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, AL is just 7 hours 10 minutes from Nashville, Tennessee, and it features a more laid-back vibe than the Destin area beaches. With lots of great spots to enjoy fresh seafood and plenty of space to lay out on the beach, Orange Beach is quickly becoming a family favorite.

sand and grass at ocean in orange beach alabama

Find Orange Beach vacation rentals here!

Seaside, Florida

The town of Seaside, FL is located just 7 hours 10 minutes away from Nashville, TN. This quaint beach community features picture perfect beaches and lots of local fun for the whole family.

dunes in Seaside fl

Visitors to Seaside love visiting the Central Square where you can find restaurants, shops, and live entertainment. This bustling area features lots of food trucks and seasonal activities for families.

If you don’t want to miss out on any of the fun Seaside has to offer, you can check out our post on the Best Things to Do in Seaside, Florida!

Sandestin, FL

Located between Pensacola Beach and Panama City Beach, the town of Sandestin boasts picturesque beaches and lots of fun attractions. Since the drive from Nashville is only 7 hours 11 minutes, Sandestin sits in a prime spot for those looking for beaches close to Nashville.

Sandestin beach with chair overlooking water

With plenty of dining and shopping options at Grand Boulevard Town Center, Sandestin offers great spots for any type of visitor. Families also enjoy spending time at The Village of Baytowne Wharf where you’ll find all sorts of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment.

Kids especially love The Village for its carousel, playground, ropes course, arcade, and other activities.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama is located just 7 hours 13 minutes from the Nashville area. While the water isn’t quite as clear as that in Sandestin and 30A, Gulf Shores features beautiful beaches and a convenient location to Nashville.

Visitors especially enjoy spending time at The Wharf in Gulf Shores where you’ll find lots of shopping and dining options. And kids love riding the massive Ferris wheel at the entrance to The Wharf!

Find Gulf Shores vacation rentals here!

Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach is located along 30A on the gulf coast of Florida. With an estimated drive time of 7 hours 17 minutes, Rosemary Beach offers a quaint beach community with beautiful water and white sand.

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beach travel planner

Visitors to Rosemary Beach love to stroll along the cobblestone streets of this adorable town while enjoying the local dining options and boutique shops nearby.

Panama City Beach, FL

Panama City Beach is a popular spot for spring breakers, but families also flock to this area each year. If you’re looking for beaches near Nashville, Panama City Beach is only a 7 hour 35 minute drive from the Music City.

condo from the water in Panama City Beach

With plenty of attractions, restaurants, and shopping options, Panama City Beach is a great beach getaway for those wanting to stay in the action.

Find Panama City Beach rentals here!

Tybee Island, Georgia

Sitting on the Atlantic Ocean, Tybee Island is a great option for Nashville residents looking for a beach that’s not on the Gulf of Mexico. With an estimated drive time of 8 hours 16 minutes, Tybee Island is still close enough to Nashville for an easy day’s drive.

dock and beach in Tybee Island Georgia

This beautiful coastal community offers wide beaches, amazing restaurants, and fun activities. It’s also located just a short 20 minute drive from downtown Savannah, Georgia.

Find Tybee Island vacation rentals here!

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Located just north of Tybee Island and 45 minutes from Savannah, Hilton Head Island is a popular tourist spot for families in the Nashville area. With an estimated drive time of 8 hours 22 minutes from the Music City, Hilton Head is still easily accessible for Nashville residents.

lighthouse and boats in Hilton Head

Hilton Head is a great spot for a beach getaway since it offers beautiful beaches and nearby activities. From live music to sports to local restaurants, Hilton Head Island features plenty of things to do for the whole family.

Find Hilton Head vacation rentals here!

Cape San Blas, Florida

Located east of Panama City Beach, Cape San Blas features a completely different vibe. This beach community sits roughly 8.5 hours from Nashville, Tennessee.

coastline in Cape San Blas FL

Cape San Blas is the perfect spot for those looking for a laid back beach vacation without the crowds and tourist attractions you’ll find in some of the other towns on our list. 

Find Cape San Blas rentals here!

Folly Beach, SC

Sitting just 20 minutes south of Charleston, Folly Beach is a great beach location for those looking to enjoy the sand and the city. Although it’s an 8 hour 46 minute drive from Nashville, we are including Folly Beach in our list of best beaches close to Nashville.

dock at sunset in Folly Beach

The city of Charleston offers so many landmarks and attractions that Nashville residents are eager to visit this beautiful southern town. Folly Beach is a nearby beach community favored by locals looking for a beach getaway.

With amazing beaches and numerous restaurants, Folly Beach offers the perfect place for a beach vacation from Nashville.

Find Folly Beach rentals here!

Myrtle Beach, SC

While Myrtle Beach, South Carolina clocks in at roughly 9 hours 21 minutes away from Nashville, I still felt the need to include it on our list. Myrtle Beach is a super popular tourist destination for families in the summer.

Ferris wheel and condos at Myrtle Beach

With amusement parks, water parks, restaurants, and more, Myrtle Beach is the perfect spot for those looking for lots of action while on vacation. This beach community on the Atlantic features lots of family friendly resorts with water slides and playgrounds.

Find Myrtle Beach vacation rentals here!

Final Thoughts on Beaches near Nashville

Overall, Nashville sits in a prime spot for access to beaches in the Southeast. Whether you’re looking to travel to South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, or Florida, the coast lines in these neighboring states offer plenty of beach getaways.

beaches and coastlines with text 17 Best Beaches near Nashville

If you plan to depart Nashville during the morning hours, you can easily find yourself stretched out on a lounge chair on the beach by midafternoon. With drive times starting at just under 7 hours, the beaches on our list all provide enticing amenities for guests.

No matter what type of coastal vacation you’re searching for, our list of the closest beaches to Nashville has something for everyone.

For a more extensive list of top beaches, we recommend checking out our post on the Best Beaches in the South USA.

So, what do you think?

Which of the closest beaches to Nashville would you choose?

Comment below to share with us!

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