The area of saline soils accounts for 8% of the earth's surface, making these soils an important terrestrial carbon sink. Soil organic carbon (SOC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), soil enzyme activity, and soil bacterial abundance and biodiversity were measured in four successive coastal tidal flat ecosystems representing: bare saline soil (BS), Suaeda glauca land (SL), Imperata cylindrica grassland (IG), and Jerusalem artichoke field (JF). A decrease in soil salt content resulted in increased SOC content. With vegetation succession, MBC and DOC concentrations showed a positive trend, and activities of soil urease, catalase, invertase and alkaline phosphatase increased. A next-generation, Illumina-based sequencing approach showed that Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes, Actinobacteria, Nitrospirae and Planctomycetes were the dominant bacterial communities (a total of 597 taxa were detected, and 27 genera showed significant differences among the vegetation communities). Bacterial diversity at two soil depths was enhanced with the succession of vegetation ecosystems, with the increases in operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and the Shannon and Chao1 indices ranked in the order: JF > IG > SL > BS. The SOC and C/N were the most determinant factors influencing diversity of bacterial communities in the succession ecosystems.