The Beach Express is a four lane road from Interstate 10 leading to a grossly overpriced $3.50 toll bridge to the island. Generally speaking, the Beach Express runs north and south, parallel to Alabama Highway 59, about two to three miles east of Highway 59.
Don't worry about the toll bridge - we'll tell you how to avoid it too!
Alabama Highway 59 has 35 traffic lights between Interstate 10 and the Inter-coastal bridge leading into Gulf Shores. The Beach Express has five.
Alabama Highway 59 goes right smack through the middle of Loxley, Robersdale, and Foley. The Beach Express goes around all of them.
It is extremely helpful if you know how to navigate your way to and from the Beach Express. Traffic on Highway 59 is always bad and on Saturday it is especially horrible.
How to Get to Gulf Shores
Avoid the $3.50 toll bridge! If you are going to Gulf Shores the toll bridge will usually save you only one or two minutes. Maneuvering from the Foley Beach Express onto Cotton Creek Drive is not hard, but there are no signs to help you. As you are traveling south on the Beach Express just before the toll booths for the bridge, you will see an Orange Beach sign. Slow down quickly when you first see the Orange Beach sign. Turn right (west) on Bradford Road. Go one block and turn left (south) on Roscoe Road. Go two blocks and turn right (east) on Cotton Creek Drive. This will take you to Alabama 59 where you turn left (south) to go over the inter-coastal bridge into Gulf Shores.
Here is a detail map showing how to do it.
Avoid Traffic! Do not torture yourself on Alabama 59.
Beach Express Exit 49 on Interstate 10 is now open!
Gulf Shores, Alabama is literally the finest family beach in the country. It has great beaches, great VRBO vacation rental condos, amusement parks, and great restaurants. Once folks get there, they absolutely love it. The problem is, getting there. The recent completion of the Beach Express makes it both quicker and easier. It is by far the best route to Gulf Shores.
USE THE BALDWIN BEACH EXPRESS TO AVOID TRAFFIC!
Traditionally, the best way to get to Gulf Shores has been to take Alabama Highway 59 south from I-10 and just grind it out through the bottlenecks in Loxley, Robertsdale and Foley. In fact it was the only way. No more. Thanks to the construction of the Beach Express, it is now the best route to Gulf Shores.
The traffic bottlenecks in Robertsdale and Foley can and should be avoided to preserve your sanity if nothing else. All three towns are nice places but they are in the way! Driving through these towns will make you so dern mad it will take you some time to cool down when you finally do get to your vacation condo.
From Interstate 10:
1. Take Exit 49 for the Baldwin Beach Express. Do not take Exit 44 to Alabama Highway 59/Loxley. There is a sign there for Gulf Shores. Highway 59 does lead to Gulf Shores but very slowly. Do not take Exit 44. It leads to traffic jams.
2. Go south on Baldwin Beach Express 13 miles through US 90 and to the intersection of Baldwin Beach Express and Foley Beach Express. This will be the second traffic light you will come to. Turn left on Baldwin Beach Express.
3. Go east on Foley Beach Express and it will quickly curve right to the south. Follow Foley Beach Express 12 miles to the intersection of Bradford Road. When you see the Orange Beach sign on the right, slow down quickly and take the next right. You will see toll booths for the $3.50 toll bridge coming up. Turn right before the toll booths.
[note: 99% of the time, it is not worth the whopping $3.50 toll to go across the toll bridge. It normally saves you one to two minutes. Major exception: If you happen to be arriving at this point between 3pm and 6pm on Saturday afternoon in the summer, it saves more like 20 minutes because of the backup you will find going south on Highway 59 in Gulf Shores. Everybody and their brother is headed to the condos at once. Go ahead and pony up the stupid $3.50 and go across the bridge. Then turn right and follow Canal road east. It will dead end and turn to the left to the south. Then it will bend west to the right and become Fort Morgan road. Two blocks and it will intersect Alabama Highway 59. Turn left on 59 and proceed south.]
4. Go one block west on Bradford Road. Then turn left on Roscoe Road.
5. Go two blocks south on Roscoe Road. Turn right on Cotton Creek Drive.
6. Go 2.6 miles west on Cotton Creek Drive. Turn left on Alabama Highway 59 and proceed south to your relaxing vacation rental condo in Gulf Shores! Enjoy the Gulf Shores restaurants. Enjoy the Gulf Shores beach!