The sand is as fine as powdered sugar
There is not -- and I will take a hard, fast, definitive stance on this issue -- a single place in these blessed United States that has better sand than the Emerald Coast. Not a one. It is paper white, fine, and as soft as the day is long. People who pay many millions for a house in the Hamptons are nuts, because the sand out there is crap: coarse, dark brown, and loaded with rocks and shells. Panhandle sand wins EVERY TIME.
It’s an easy drive from pretty much anywhere in the South
If you hail from somewhere below the Mason-Dixon line between Beaumont, Texas and Pensacola, Florida, “going to the beach” implies that you’re headed to the Gulf Coast. The only question is where you’re staying, and if you’d be so kind as to bring me back some tomatoes. New Orleans is a wonderful place, but a mere three-hour drive east will get you to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, a trifle when it comes to travel time, and quick enough for a weekend getaway without having to buy plane fare or spend half of your vacation in traffic.