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Aerial view of Orange Beach in Alabama

17 Best Things To Do In Alabama: The Ultimate AL Bucket List

August 19, 2022 //  by  Southern Trippers

Are you on the search for fun things to do in Alabama? We’ve got you covered!

Alabama may be infamous for its dedicated college football fans (it’s the state’s most beloved spectator sport) and the delectable Southern comfort cooking (if it’s not fried, do you really want to eat it?), but don’t let their Southern hospitality keep you in a food coma for too long.

From spots where some of the most pivotal moments of Civil Rights history went down to stunning geological formations, this list includes plenty of cool places in Alabama just waiting for you to explore them.

As the 22nd state to join the union, this state has plenty of surprises as well as history, culture, and nature to explore. You won’t run out of fun things to do in Alabama.

If you think Alabama doesn’t have the type of adventure you’re looking for, let us prove you wrong.

Here are the best places to visit in Alabama!

An aerial photograph of the beautiful Orange Beach

17 Best Things To Do In Alabama: The Ultimate AL Bucket List

Honor civil rights history in birmingham.

One of the best things to do in Alabama is to take the time to step back in time and go where history actually happened.

In 2017, officials designated the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument to honor the lives of Black women, men, and children who stood up for their Civil Rights in the 1960s.

There is too much history to cover here so we recommend taking the time to learn about it on a walk-through. Stroll through Kelly Ingram Park where history was made, stop by the A.G. Gaston Motel, and honor the lives lost at the 16th Street Baptiste Church (these sites are only a few steps away from each other).

You can also visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. With so much to see, touring the Civil Rights history sites is one of the best things to do in Birmingham .

A monument in a park depicting a police officer and dog attacking a man.

Visit the Little River Canyon National Preserve

If anywhere you go nature always seems to beckon, then adventuring through the Southern Appalachians is one of the most fun things to do in Alabama.

Established in 1922, Little River Canyon National Preserve offers explorers over 26 miles of hiking trails in Alabama! Enjoy a serene walk through the forest or by the river. For a little added fun download their bird sighting guide to see how many friends of a feather you can spot.

Take the time to visit the state’s deepest canyon, Little River Canyon, and if you’re there at the right time you can also admire Alabama’s highest seasonal waterfall, Graces’ High Falls, which drops 133ft directly into the canyon!

Wondering when you can visit? Great news, the park is open from sunrise to sunset and operational every day including holidays! This is one of the best national parks in Alabama !

Photo of a waterfall at Little River Canyon National Preserve one of the fun things to do in Alabama

Learn at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Taking the day to explore a little-known slice of WWII history at the USS Alabama Battleship Park is one of the best things to do in Mobile .

Have you ever stepped foot on a decommissioned WWII battleship? Now’s your chance! Walk through a self-guided tour of the ship’s facilities and don’t forget to take a look through the USS Drum submarine too!

If you thought a submarine and a battleship were enough to entice a visit, you should also know the Memorial Park houses an aircraft collection, tanks and artillery, and a lovely picnic area. It might be hard not to spend the whole day there!

Aerial view of the USS Alabama Battleship and Memorial Park.

Explore Bankhead National Forest

There is plenty to do and lots to admire in the 181,230 acres of mixed woodland that make up this national forest known locally as “the Land of a Thousand Waterfalls.”

With hiking, horseback riding, hunting, swimming, canoeing, bird watching, waterfalls, the Sipsey Wilderness, petroglyphs, prehistoric drawings, and a Native American site thousands of years old, you might have to come back to try and explore as much as you can.

Even better stay the night at one of the campgrounds! Stargazing here is one of the best things to do in Alabama at night.

All but one of these Alabama waterfalls are active year-round and fairly easy to access. First-time visitors should try heading to Kinlock Falls, Caney Creek Falls, Turkey Foot, and Mize Mill Falls (these last two are very close to each other).

Bankhead National Forest is truly one of the most adventurous attractions in Alabama.

A photo of Lower Caney Creek Falls in Bankhead National  Forest one of the best things to do in Alabama

Take a Dolphin Cruise at Orange Beach

If you’re tired of going to Gulf Coast beaches to suntan, try taking a dolphin cruise instead! It’s one of the best things to do in Orange Beach .

Before heading to the Wharf to ride the vintage Ferris wheel or stopping at Adventure Island for some retro go-kart action, take the day to go enjoy the sun and all the beauty of the shining sea on a family-friendly dolphin cruise!

There are plenty of boat tours you can enjoy but if you’re looking for a special adventure we recommend trying a Glass Bottom Dolphin Tour! We’d never miss out on the chance to watch dolphins swim beneath the beautiful turquoise waters.

While you’re out trying to spot these friendly creatures why not multi-task and take a snorkeling adventure too? You never know what the sea has in store for you with these Alabama activities!

Trio of dolphins jump out of the ocean near Orange Beach.

Enjoy Nature and a Fine Meal at Cheaha State Park

There are plenty of hiking trails to explore around the state, but you can’t miss out on the stunning view atop Cheaha Mountain, which is accessible all year long. Taking the time to reach the mountaintop and enjoy the surrounding Talladega National Forest is one of the best things to do in Alabama.

As the highest point in the state, the mountain’s peak is at an elevation of just a little over 2,400 feet so don’t forget to pack a snack and some water! It’s a long way up!

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, we recommend taking a detour to the nearby Vista Cliffside Bistro (open Thursdays through Mondays), which is actually within the park’s bounds so you can keep enjoying the mountain view but with a full stomach this time.

This state park has been open since 1933 and has been welcoming visitors ever since. Don’t miss out on one of the prettiest places to go in Alabama!

The view from the top of Cheaha Mountain at Cheaha State Park

Celebrate a Legacy at the Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Step into the shoes of one of the heroes of the Civil Rights movement. Honoring Rosa Parks’ bravery is one of the best things to do in Montgomery .

As part of the United States Civil Rights Trail, the Rosa Parks Museum is a must-see for anyone stopping in the city. Visitors can see the very spot where she refused to give up her seat and instead got arrested for standing up for her rights.

Along with other artifacts, the museum offers patrons the chance to experience “The Cleveland Avenue Time Machine,” a permanent exhibit featuring a restored bus made to look like the ones in 1955 when the Montgomery Bus Boycott would have happened.

Stop by the museum, take a seat, and learn about one of the women who changed this country’s history forever.

Make sure to check out our list of the best cities and small towns in Alabama for inspiration on where to visit next!

Exterior of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.

Wonder at the McWane Science Center

Do you love dinosaurs? Who doesn’t?! If you do, then you definitely need to visit the McWane Science Center! It’s one of the best things to do in Birmingham!

If you thought dinosaurs didn’t make it all the way to Alabama, you were dead wrong (no extinction pun intended)! There’s a whole exhibit about these extinct creatures found all around the state.

The Center is open Wednesday through Sunday. With three different floors to explore you’re sure to spend a good afternoon full of learning! From their Weather Lab to their Shark and Ray Touch Tank, everyone is sure to have all their senses engaged.

And don’t worry– touching is encouraged! Let your kid’s (and your own) curiosity go wild. There is no need to worry about ruining the valuable art at this museum. This is one of the cool things to do in Alabama.

T-Rex skeleton in the McWane Science Center.

Take a Walk Around the University of Alabama

The University of Alabama campus ranks among one of the most beautiful in the country so why not stop by and check out one of the best things to do in Tuscaloosa ?

The charms of the south are undeniable at the University of Alabama’s campus. If you’re visiting in the spring you’ll be greeted by white tulips while the Alabama fall will paint the campus in deep oranges and yellows.

While you’re there why not stop at some of the museums on campus? At the Alabama Museum of Natural History, visitors can learn about the flora and fauna of the state.

The University offers visitors the chance to walk around campus and see what a student’s life looks like. You can find a campus map available on their website.

Historic Nott Hall, a brick and columned building on the UA campus.

Marvel at the Weirdness of Bamahenge

If what you’re looking for is a weird roadside attraction, Alabama has that too. There really is no shortage of what to do in Alabama. The exhibit was built by Virginia artist, Mark Cline, at the request of Alabama billionaire, George Barber.

Although this version wasn’t built by Druids, and it’s made out of fiberglass instead of stone, the sight is no less impressive to behold. It is also a few thousand years younger than its inspiration.

He also commissioned the artist to build a brontosaurus, a T. rex, a stegosaurus, and a triceratops near Bamahenge so when you’re done admiring the work of non-druids you can go on a little car hunt to find the four giant fiberglass creatures!

Since there is no admission to see the dinos and wacky fiberglass recreation this is one of the best free things to do in Alabama! Just make sure to follow your GPS to Barber Marina and when you see the sign head in and stop when you see the giant stones!

The fiberglass small scale recreation of Stonehenge known as Bamahenge is one of the fun things to do in Alabama.

Camp at Monte Sano State Park

You won’t run out of gorgeous scenery and sublime nature to enjoy while visiting Alabama. In addition to the other parks we’ve mentioned, we’d recommend staying the night at Monte Sano State Park! It’s one of the best things to do in Huntsville .

The park has 21 primitive camping (aka just a tent) campgrounds, 59 water and electric sites, and 15 full-hook-up sites so no matter what kind of camping you’re looking to do, you can do it here.

If you’re staying the night you won’t have to rush through exploring Monte Sano’s 340 acres, 14 rustic cottages, hiking areas, planetarium, and an outdoor amphitheater.

For an entrance fee, you can feel like you’ve visited Japan when you step into the park’s hidden Japanese Garden!

A waterfall at Monte Sano State Park.

Tour the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Dexter Parsonage Museum

As another stop on the US Civil Rights Trail, you really shouldn’t miss out on taking on more chances to see some of this country’s past. Seeing the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and the Dexter Parsonage Museum are some of the best things to do in Montgomery.

The church was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974 because of its importance in the Civil Rights Movement. It was here that Martin Luther King Jr. has his pastorage during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

The Dexter Parsonage Museum, now holding a permanent exhibit so visitors can see where Dr. King and his family lived between 1954-1960, is just a few blocks away.

The home has been renovated after it was bombed on January 30 in 1956 while his family was still inside. Luckily no one was harmed in the attack, and visitors can experience its original charm.

Exterior of the brick Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.

Check Out the Moundville Archaeological Park

People have lived in Alabama for much longer than you might think! Learning about the prehistoric Mississippian people who lived in the ancient site of the Moundville Archaeological Park is one of the best things to do in Alabama.

The site is a little bit of a mystery! Scholars don’t know how to explain the rise and fall of this small town or how the population interacted with Native American tribes.

The park is made up of 326 acres and 29 flat top mounds where the ancient Mississippian people would hold civic and ceremonial occasions.

Make sure to visit the museum after exploring the ancient monuments that have stood there for over 800 years. This is one of the best things to do in Alabama for adults interested in history.

Photo of one of the mounds at the Moundville Archaeological Park.

Visit the Mobile Carnival Museum

For a quirky and unexpected experience, make sure to stop by the quaint Mobile Carnival Museum. It’s one of the best things to do in Mobile!

You may assume Mardi Gras is only celebrated in New Orleans, but Alabama also has a rich history of celebrating this ostentatious holiday, and they have the museum to prove it.

The beautiful southern mansion displays the opulent jewelry, costumes, and even parts of floats that have been part of the Mobile Mardi Gras celebrations of the past.

Don’t let them hear you say that New Orleans was the birthplace of Mardi Gras or you might get a history lecture you didn’t expect!

Exterior of the Mobile Carnival Museum with colorful jesters on the sign.

Enjoy a Beach Day at the Gulf Shores

Alabama does not have a long coastline, but there is still a great beach opportunity at Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is one of the best beach towns in the South and holds so much fun for the family!

One of the best things to do in Gulf Shores is a relaxing trip to the Gulf Shores Public Beach. You will be mesmerized by the white sand and pretty, blue water. This is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach volleyball. You’ll find this is one of the best beaches in Alabama .

For more beach and nature fun, visit Gulf State Park. This is one of the best Alabama state parks for a family beach vacation. There are two miles of sandy beaches. Spend time swimming, parasailing, kayaking, and surfing. Hiking and camping are popular activities here too.

Boardwalk leading to a sandy beach on the Gulf Shores.

Learn at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville is one of the best Alabama attractions for anyone interested in NASA and space exploration.

A visit to this amazing place will make you feel like an astronaut! Head into the sky with the Flight Simulator Experience, feel the power of gravity with the G-Force Accelerator, or walk in space with Apollo 11 Virtual Reality. This place is one of the fun things to do in Alabama with kids!

There is also a state-of-the-art Planetarium with shows that will leave you awed! A ride on the Moon Soot will lift you 140 feet up in the air in just 2.5 seconds!

Grab a bite to eat at the Mars Grill. The center also hosts launch parties and other cool events throughout the year. There is so much to see and do here, so make sure to add it to your Alabama bucket list!

Shuttle display at outside of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Go Underground at Cathedral Caverns State Park

There are many cool caves in Alabama and one of the best is found at Cathedral Caverns State Park in Woodville. This cave system is 1.3 miles. The impressive entrance is 126 feet wide and 25 feet high, one of the largest in the world

Take a guided tour to experience the beauty of this cave. You will be able to see a 45-foot stalagmite known as Goliath. With a circumference of 243 feet, it is one of the largest rock formations of its kind in the world.

Gemstone mining and hiking can also be enjoyed at this state park. It is one of the most interesting places in Alabama.

Inside the Cathedral Caverns lit with blue and red lights.

Hopefully, you found some of the best activities in Alabama for your next trip! Alabama has so much to offer visitors from historic locations to beautiful nature. It is time to plan a fun weekend getaway in Alabama !

sand dunes and beach one of the best emerald isle NC attractions

The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » United States » Alabama (AL) » 30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Alabama

30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Alabama

Dubbed as the Yellowhammer State after the state bird, Alabama is located in the south-eastern part of the United States of America. While Montgomery stands as the state capital, Mobile is the oldest city in Alabama, which as per records was founded in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana by French colonists.

With approximately 1,500 miles of inland waterways, which is 3.2% of the total state area, Alabama has the second-largest inland waterway system in the country. It is also the 24th most populous state and the 30th largest by area in the United States.

Named after the Native American Alabama Tribe, the state is famous for its picturesque landscapes and brilliant outdoors. Alabama is divided into four sections – the metropolitan centers, the mountains, the inland waterways, and the Gulf Coast.

Neighbored by Tennessee to its north, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to its south, Georgia to its east, and Mississippi to its west, the state is famous for its southern hospitality. Along with hospitality and genial behavior, Alabama is also home to several secret treasures that are longing to be discovered.

Let us discover the many hidden gems in Alabama and indulge into the many wonders of the Cotton State.

1. Spectre Set Ruins, Millbrook

Spectre Set Ruins, Millbrook

Outside Millbrook, Alabama, Jackson Lake Island on Alabama River stands the dilapidated remnants of Spectre, a fictional town which was built as a set for Tim Burton’s fantasy movie, Big Fish (2003).

Edward Bloom, the lead character in the movie, visits Spectre a few times in his life – once as a kid and the second time when the town is almost in ruins. Bloom visits the town one final time to find it restored.

When the shooting of the film ended, Spectre was left abandoned with the movie set and Styrofoam trees. Unfortunately, after a few years from when the filming wrapped, some of the structures collapsed.

As of present, Spectre has left six homes, a church, two trees from the forest, and the columns from Jenny, the mayor’s daughter’s home. Add your shoes to the collection of several others hanging in line.

2. Alabama’s Natural Bridge, Natural Bridge

Alabama's Natural Bridge

Outside the William Bankhead national Forest lays the 148-feet-long and 60-feet-high curved rock formation that stands as one of the most exquisite forms of natural geological formation in the state – the Natural Bridge.

The area was listed as a National Park in 1954, however, history shows that the bridge and the surrounding area has been used by the Native Americans for hundreds of years. A few steps ahead from the Natural Bridge is a strange, inexplicable carving of an Indian Head that looks almost similar to that of a buffalo nickel.

Claims have been made that the carving depicts a chief from the Native American tribes that resided here but no proofs have been found, yet.

Unfortunately, to safeguard the safety of visitors (you can’t really trust a 200-million-year old bridge to withstand hundreds of visitors) and the ancient natural asset, walking on the bridge is prohibited. However, you can stroll around the bridge and the park as much as you want.

3. The Museum of Wonder, Seale

Museum of Wonder

A ten-year-old boy’s obsession with collecting junk and other discarded items turned into a full-fledged hobby when he accidentally sold a painting of a turnip.

Butch Anthony, an Alabama artist and a former taxidermist, realized the potential of revenue generation from his scrap collection that he has been compiling as a young boy.

To materialize on the thought, he transformed his taxidermy store into an exhibition of strange objects – animal bones, jars full of dead critters, weird paintings, lost-and-found objects, and just about any piece of rubbish you could imagine.

In almost no time, Anthony’s 500-square-foot cabin in the rural town of Seale turned into an extraordinary collection and gave rise to the Museum of Wonder.

Among many other items on display are a few signature-style creations of the artist – impressionistic skeletons traced over vintage portraits with added illustrations.

4. The Grave of Miss Baker, Huntsville

Grave of Miss Baker, Huntsville

Among the many “test subjects” that America tossed into space since first starting experimenting with space travel in 1948 is Miss Baker – the first primate that made it back safely after a sub-orbital space flight.

The space program had some success with fruit flies, but, the higher the primates the tougher it became for the Americans to ensure their safe return. Most fell prey to exploding rockets while others lost their lives in violent impacts or got lost in space along with their capsule.

Miss Baker and Miss Able, the only two squirrel monkeys who had survived the initial screenings were sent to space in a Jupiter Rock. While Miss Able passed away four days after their arrival, Miss Baker lived until the age of 27, married Big George, breathed an illustrious life, and died of kidney failure in 1984.

Her remains are buried at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama, next to her beloved husband, and has a nice headstone.

5. Dismals Canyon, Phil Campbell

Dismals Canyon, Alabama

This Alabama Canyon located in Phil Campbell comes alive every day at dark as thousands of miniature bio-luminescent creatures taxonomically called the “North American Orfelia Fultoni,” and popularly known as “Dismalities,” come alive with their natural glow.

A type of gnat larva, the Dismalities are extremely rare, so much so that they are only found in the Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Plateau. The bright bluish-green light that they emit is their way of attracting insects so they can feed on them for survival.

Dismals Canyon, as they are called after the habitat living in them, provide the specific ambiance that these larvae need to survive in their larval stage – humidity to build web so they can trap insects for food, enough insects, darkness to allow them to glow, and a still atmosphere that would prevent their webs from tangling.

The Canyon is home to two more significant features – one of the surviving twin Canadian Hemlocks, which at 138 feet tall, is considered to be the largest of its kind in the state, and the world’s largest Deumaria vine.

Best way to spot the mesmerizing phenomenon is at night.

6. Neversink Pit, Fackler

Neversink Pit, Fackler

A sinkhole? A cave? Though the geological name of the structure isn’t certain, the Neversink Pit in Fackler, Alabama is a dramatic 162-feet deep sinkhole with a 40-feet wide opening. It is among the most photographed sinkholes in the United States of America, if not the world.

The interiors inside the pit, as viewed by abseilers, change dramatically with season – ferns in the summer, ribbony waterfalls in the spring, and ice sheets in the winter.

Belonging to the Southeastern Cave Conservancy since 1995, entry into the pit and rappelling below to the floor is only allowed for expert climbers and requires a permit.

7. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, Montgomery

Fitzgerald Museum, Montgomery

Plenty of museums and other attractions have been erected all over the world to honor F. Scott Fitzgerald, the renowned novelist and author, but, here in Montgomery, Alabama is the only museum in the world that is dedicated to the story writer and his wife, Zelda.

The Fitzgerald’s, along with their daughter Scottie, moved into the then-house-now museum in 1931. Unfortunately, however, Zelda had a mental collapse and was moved to a clinic in Baltimore. The father and daughter duo continued to stay at the house until April that year.

In 1986, Julie and Leslie McPhillips saved the iconic structure from being torn down and transformed it into the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum instead.

8. Cheaha Mountain, Delta

Cheaha Mountain

The highest point in the state of Alabama, Cheaha Mountain rises above Talladega National Forest and is 2,407 feet above sea level. Regarded as one of the most picturesque spots in the state, the Mountain was once almost deforested until President Roosevelt crafted the National Forest in 1936!

Befittingly named after a Creek Indian word which means “high place”, Cheaha was once extremely rugged. The logged and vacated farmland around the tall peak was anything but attractive.

However, the expansive regrowth, thanks to the park system, covered the area with greenery and a gorgeous view.

Bunker Tower, constructed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps sits on the mountaintop and acts as a visitor center with the most spectacular view of the mountains.

9. Alabama Booksmith, Homewood

Alabama Booksmith, Homewood

Originally a tiny shop in the lanes of Homewood, Alabama, that sold used and rare books, the Alabama Booksmith may be the only of its kind that exist in the world today.

Located behind a vet clinic, the one-of-a-kind bookstore is owned and managed by Jacob Reiss, who only houses books that are signed copies! Yes, you read it right. Every single book in his collection is signed by the author.

While operating his former old books’ store, Reiss realized that the dough lays in selling signed books rather than the usual ones as not only did they sell faster but they also generated a better member loyalty. All the books at the store (except for a few rare ones) are sold at the cover price!

10. Dead Children’s Playground, Huntsville

Dead Children's Playground, Huntsville

Burial grounds, death, and any such negativities are kept far away from children. But, that’s not the case at the oldest and the largest cemetery in Alabama. Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville has a small playground on the same grounds as that of the century-old burial ground.

Though it sees more ghost chasers and teenagers than children (for obvious reasons), the simple playground has a few swings and a modern-day jungle gym. Named aptly as the Dead Children’s Playground, the small site for children was once almost lost when the city officials decided that there isn’t enough room for graves.

Of course, there is barely a graveyard that is not associated with (alleged) ghost sightings. Rumors of swings swaying by themselves and floating ghost lights have been reported quite a few times.

Care to take your toddler for a day out in the sun here?

11. Goldie 1971 – The Fallen Robot, Tuscaloosa

Goldie 1971

Sloss Blast Furnaces was one of the leading manufacturers of Pig Iron during Birmingham’s industrial era. When the business closed in 1971, a former graduate of the University of Alabama, Joe McCreary, used the celebrated past of the company as an inspiration to create “Goldie 1971.”

Today, Goldie rests peacefully at the sculpture garden at the University which bought the rusting giant in 2010 and installed it as a permanent collection.

While Sloss Blast Furnaces opened as a museum and was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1981, Goldie remains at the Woods Quad Sculpture Garden serving as a reminder to the hundreds of students that art can be used to express all their stories.

12. Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman

Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman, Alabama

A hunchbacked, poor man, Brother Joseph Zoettl lived a hard life – due to his living conditions and of course, his physical limitations. At the age of 14, he signed up with St. Bernard Abbey in the hopes of escaping his tough life.

Nothing much changed for Brother Joseph. He spent 17 hours everyday for almost 30 years working at Abbey’s pump house. Consequently, the same routine became boring but he didn’t have a choice so he started his own private amusement project – he began constructing miniature grottoes. Soon, tens became hundreds and hundreds became thousands.

Brother Joseph kept the larger models at the Abbey and sold the miniature ones to others. And, soon, it became the Ave Maria Grotto aka Jerusalem in Miniature – a four-acre mini-town that was filled with almost 125 famous and religious locations.

His last creation, Basilica in Lourdes, was built in 1958 when Brother Joseph was 80.

13. Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House, Florence

Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House, Florence

Frank Lloyd Wright has been mentioned in the American architectural history several times for his flawless designs and striking creations. However, the Rosenbaum House in Florence, Alabama, as architect critic Peter Blake mentioned, is by far considered one of the most stunning constructions to date.

Constructed in 1940 for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, the structure was donated in 1990 to the City of Florence. Often regarded to depict the purest version of Wright’s Usonian style, the home was not just functional but in sync with the natural surroundings.

Plenty of glass windows, cantilevered roofs, and a carport are some of the significant characteristics of Wright’s Usonian masterpiece.

14. Tinglewood Carvings, Montevallo

Tinglewood Carvings, Montevallo

Orr Park in Montevallo, Alabama is an amazing place for a family picnic. Everything about the park calls for a day out in the sun, amidst nature – six baseball-come-softball fields, a soccer field, a football field, a walking trail, two playgrounds, and a creek apt enough for wading.

However, the most attractive feature on the park grounds is a bunch of dead trees that were destroyed in a storm in 1993. What’s so amazing about dead trees, you ask?

Mr. Tingle, a resident in the area, in an attempt to save the dead but old trees, started carving them.

As a result, today, over 30 carved alligators, squirrels, men, and even an alligator not only coexist peacefully with the visitors at the park but they also add an air of mystique around the area.

15. Africatown, Mobile

Africatown, Mobile

The slave trade in America was legally prohibited by 1808, however, Timothy Meaher, a wealthy businessman, challenged the law in his own way and set out to bring a “shipment” of 32 African slaves in the country in 1860.

His attempts were put to an end by the authorities who caught wind of Meaher’s illicit attempts and the group of slaves were given a small piece of his land to live at in the town. This is how the little village of Africatown came about in the history of Alabama.

The African community built houses in the area and appointed a chief and a medicine man, when former slaves were added to the new community.

With time, the first settlers of the town died off and their successors implanted themselves in the American culture, leaving Africatown abandoned.

A small history museum at Mobile’s Count Training School still exists.

16. The Drive-Thru Museum, Seale

Drive-Thru Museum, Seale

The world’s first drive-thru museum is in Seale, Alabama, and it is the creation of the same ten-year-old boy, Butch Anthony, who grew up to be an artist, a taxidermist, a collector and creator (of the weirdest things in the world), and the founder of Museum of Wonder.

Created as a relief to the overflow of tourists at his other museum, the Drive-Thru Museum is constructed out of old shipping containers. Windows have been cut off from the container walls to allow insights into the strange collection of items either collected or crafted by Anthony.

Among other things is a large gallstone attached to poems, the two-headed ducklings, and Anthony’s signature style – skeletons imposed on old portraits.

17. Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham

Sloss Furnaces Historic Landmark

As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes another door opens”, Sloss Furnaces, a pig-iron producing giant that served the country for nine decades and was shut down for business in 1971, was listed a National Historic Landmark in the city of Birmingham, Alabama in 1981 – after a decade of it closing down.

Today, the blast furnace site functions as an interpretive museum and conducts several metal arts courses that are acknowledged universally. Additionally, it is perhaps one of the most unusual locations where festivals and concert venues are hosted.

Coined after one of the founding fathers of Birmingham, Colonel James Withers Sloss, the two furnaces were constructed on 50 acres of land and stand 60 feet tall. Known as one of the largest in the world at the time, the Sloss Furnaces are still being preserved to date.

18. Hank Williams’ Death Car, Montgomery

Hank Williams' Death Car, Montgomery

Hiram “Hank” Williams, more popularly known as Hank Williams, was among the most substantial and effective American songwriter and singers of the 20th century. The musician recorded 35 singles, of which 5 were released after he passed away. What’s most intriguing about his life though is how it ended.

Williams, along with Charles Carr, a college freshman he hired to drive him around in his 1952 Cadillac, was on a tour through Ohio and West Virginia. Soon after the car passed the West Virginia State Line, Carr stopped at a gas station for refilling when he noticed that Williams laid unconscious in the back seat. When he checked up on him, Williams seemed unresponsive and his body was becoming rigid.

As his doctor reported, Williams drank often and had just asked him to give him a Morphine shot to get rid of the back pain. Though a lot has been blamed on his habits, what killed the musical superstar at a tender age of 29 still remains a mystery.

Even though the true cause of Hank Williams’ death remains unknown, the Cadillac, where he apparently breathed the last time, remains the centerpiece at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

19. Bamahenge, Elberta

Bamahenge, Elberta

America certainly has a weird obsession with Stonehenge, but, one person in particular, Mark Cline, of the Enchanted Castle Studios, is the man behind creating two of the existing Stonehenge replicas in the country – the Foamhenge in Virginia (2004) and the Bamahenge in Elberta, Alabama (sometime in the spring of 2013).

Cline, a brilliant architect, is known for his larger-than-life creations, and so, when George Barber, an Alabama millionaire, wanted a few dinosaurs to be built for himself, he hired Cline to do the job. The result – a T-Rex, a triceratops, a brontosaurus, and a stegosaurus stand at the edge of Barber Marina.

Extremely impressed with the installations, Barber commissioned Cline to build him a fiberglass replica of Stonehenge.

Though Bamahenge stands tall and proud at the Marina, Foamhenge may be in danger as the land it stands on is reportedly going to be a part of the Virginia State Park. Maybe, Foamhenge can join his cousins over at the Marine, eh?

20. Moundville Archaeological Site, Moundville

Moundville Archaeological Site

Not so distant from Tuscaloosa, in the town of Moundville, Alabama, are massive earthworks that transport you to another time – to the pre-Columbian culture!

Known as the Moundville Archaeological Site, the area comprises 29 mounds that were created over a thousand years ago by the Mississippian culture, a Native American Society at the time. The culture was divided into several chiefdoms, each of which functioned as per their own religious beliefs.

These chiefdoms were each headed by an appointed figure who was of religious and political significance to the community they represented. Supervised by these ruling members, these mounds were created to serve as foundations of housing properties, temples, and council buildings.

The second largest of its type, the mounds were abandoned by 1500 B.C. and proper excavation began in the early 20th century.

21. Berman Museum of World History, Anniston

Berman Museum, Anniston

What happens when an American GI weds a French Spy? Simple. It gives birth to one of the most thought-provoking museums in the world!

Farley Berman and his wife established the Berman Museum of World History while they were stationed in North Africa. The husband-wife duo traveled all over the world for 40 years and collected as many oddities, antiques, and weapons as one possibly could.

Berman never confirmed how they managed to get hold of some of the more intriguing items in the collection but he joked that they may have accidentally come with their bedroll after World War II; the rest, he unapologetically claimed, appeared out of magic.

Well, magic or not, someone please tell us exactly how did the couple manage to get Hitler’s tea service?

22. Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery

Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery

The American Civil Rights movement from 1954 to 1968 included several social movements and strategies that were being pushed forward to end racial discrimination against African-Americans in the country. However, it wasn’t just strategies and movements. For a “movement” that went on for 15 years, many lost their lives fighting for equal rights along with Martin Luther King, Jr. – one of the most significant personalities of the Civil Rights Movement and a Nobel Peace Prize awardee!

A proud commemoration of the lives lost and wars won, Civil Rights Memorial, standing across the Southern Poverty Law Center, is a dedication to the 40 people who sacrificed their lives so the rest of country could live in harmony.

A hub for hundreds of civil right workers around the globe, the Law Centre sponsored the memorial and Maya Lin designed and created it. A guard stands alert by the architecture to prevent any vandalism.

The memorial is visited by several tourists every day, yet not enough as compared to the history it holds.

23. Holmes Medical Museum, Foley

Holmes Medical Museum, Foley

Holmes Medical Museum may not be the most intriguing medical museum in the world (and, it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with Sherlock Holmes), but, it is a celebration of the sterile, vaguely terrifying past of the obsolete tools that have been used in the history of medical science.

Situated within the walls of Foley’s first hospital, which treated patients from 1936 to 1958, the Medical Museum allows you to walk through the old operating theatre of this tiny, four-bed former hospital. You could also stroll through some of the patient rooms and observe the strange, almost-brutal looking tools kept in the glass cases around the museum.

Apart from the frightening display of tools that looked more torturous than healing, you could also see the birth certificates of some of the children born here along with information on the hospital’s past.

24. African Village in America, Birmingham

African Village In America, Birmingham

Not the same as Africatown (which was actually built by Africans and later abandoned by their descendants), African Village was established by Joe Minter, who draws inspiration from his love for God, and believes that God wouldn’t want anything to be thrown away to waste; instead He would rather that his humans created something out of all that is thrown away or discarded.

As if to reflect his ideas and theme, African Village has been created using all types of junk and scrap material – toys, utensils, lawn decorations, old sporting gears, satellite dishes! Five of these huge dishes adorn the back of his property and spell J-E-S-U-S in big, bold letters. African masks and feathered headdresses can also be found lying around in the village.

Minter has an open-gate policy and you are welcome to come in free and stroll around whenever you want. You could also buy DVDs or other such items at the village.

As Minter still continues to build, he has earned himself the title of “African Warrior” for his thoughtful creation.

25. Anniston Museum, Anniston

Anniston Museum of Natural History

Also known as Anniston Museum of Natural History, the museum was founded in 1930 and houses seven permanent displays – the Dynamic Earth, the Alabama Sand to Cedars, the Attack and Defense, the Environments of Africa, the Ancient Egypt, the Nature Discovery Room, and the Bird of the Americas – the last being the base for Anniston Museum’s original collection.

Home to one of the oldest taxidermy collections in the country, the Bird of the Americas was collected and established by William H. Werner in the 19th century, but, the compilation was purchased and brought to Anniston upon Werner’s death by H. Severn Regan. The display contains over 1,000 dioramas of birds, eggs, and bird nests.

Over 400 species of birds can be found at the display including the passenger pigeons, who were once commonly found around North America but are now extinct due to hunting and deforestation. It is believed that these migratory birds gathered in flocks of billions and covered the sky a mile wide and about 300 miles long, resulting in dark skies for days at a time!

26. Tolstoy Park, the Unusual Home of Henry Stuart, Fairhope

Tolstoy Park, Fairhope, Alabama

In 1923, Henry Stuart, a resident of Idaho, was diagnosed with tuberculosis aka “consumption”. The typical medical advice to the illness was a change of weather. With only a few months to live (as confirmed by the doctors), Stuart bought an unseen ten-acres of land in Alabama and moved 2,500 miles at the age of 65.

To spend his “remaining days” in peace, he built himself a circular, hurricane-resistant little hut which was only 14 feet in diameter. Within a couple of years, Stuart named his little abode “Tolstoy Park” after Leo Tolstoy and went on to live another 22 years.

Though Stuart lived mostly in isolation, visitors started frequenting the unusual house (1,200 as per his visitor’s log).

The “home” is now listed on the National Register for Historic Places and the owner of this strange residence has been immortalized in Sonny Brewer’s “The Poet of Tolstoy Park.”

27. Henry Wells’ Lightning Portrait, Carrollton


Established in 1820, the Pickens County Courthouse, named after General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina, has been burnt down twice – once in April 1865 by troops of Union General John T. Croxton, and the second time (presumably) by Henry Wells, a former slave who was apprehended and locked inside the courthouse garrett.

As the story goes, Wells was kept there to be protected from citizens who could have hurt him. However, it didn’t stop the residents forming a mob and protesting outside the Courthouse for days.

Apparently, one of those days, a terrified Wells stood by the courthouse window as the mob screamed and chanted when a sudden bolt of lightning struck the same window, and indelibly etched his face on the glass!

Astonishingly, it is the only glass that has never been destroyed in the last century or so that the courthouse has been in existence.

28. The Hodges Meteorite, Tuscaloosa


The Hodges Meteorite isn’t remarkably big or beautiful or exquisite, but, it is one of the only fragments of a meteorite that has made its way to earth “alive”, and, also one of the very few that has hit a human!

Named after the woman it bruised, the Meteorite made its way to Ann Hodges rental home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on the afternoon of November 30th, 1954, when Ann laid on her couch, taking a short nap.

The meteorite first crashed into her radio cabinet, and then bounced to her side, bruising her a little in the process. But, it was the least of her concern.

As the rule goes, considered pretty much space gold, the ownership of an object, such as a meteorite, rests on the person who finds it. However, since it was a rental house, the owner felt otherwise since it was his property and filed a legal battle.

Of course, Hodges won it, but, in order to avoid the unwanted limelight, she decided to donate the piece to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

29. Peanuts on Parade, Dothan

Peanuts On Parade, Dothan

Dothan, with a 100-mile radius of peanut farming, is not only where half of America’s peanuts are grown but it is also regarded as the “Peanut Capital of the World.”

Each Fall, the community comes together to celebrate the National Peanut Festival, dedicated to the town’s history with peanuts, the harvest season, and the farmers. The two-week carnival hosts a Peanut Parade and offers livestock shows, rides, agricultural exhibitions, and of course, a lot of peanut-this and peanut-that to munch on.

Don’t worry even if you missed the festival, for Dothan pretty much celebrates its peanut-rich history throughout the year. Originally a public art project to beautify the town and attract tourists, “Peanut Around Town” has peppered the city streets with various painted peanut statues – fireman peanut, doctor peanut, military peanut, a boiled-peanut selling peanut, a breast cancer awareness peanut, and even a Dalmatian cuddling with his favorite fire hydrant peanut!

Now known as “Peanut on Parade”, the public art project has resulted in over 60 painted peanut statues around Dothan.

Take a brochure from the Visitor Center for the exact locations of all the sites and have a nutty day ahead!

30. Little Nadine Earles Doll House Grave, Lanett


Nadine Earles, the beloved daughter of Julian and Alma, was not even 4 when she passed away in 1933. It was the month of December and the little girl’s only wish was a dollhouse. Before her father could build the dream dollhouse, she was taken away from them, but, that didn’t stop Julian and Alma to continue working on the project.

The Doll House was completed and kept next to little Nadine’s grave at the Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett, Alabama. A replica of an actual house, Nadine’s dollhouse was equipped with a front porch, a mailbox, striped awnings, flower boxes during the summer, and Christmas Lights and an evergreen wreath in the winter.

The parents further decorated the house with toys, dolls, a high chair, a baby buggy, and a little bed – all kept ready for Nadine’s playtime in her afterlife.

Now, managed by the city of Lanett, the Doll House is still maintained and kept ready-to-play for “Little Nadine.”

30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Alabama:

  • Spectre Set Ruins, Millbrook
  • Alabama's Natural Bridge, Natural Bridge
  • The Museum of Wonder, Seale
  • The Grave of Miss Baker, Huntsville
  • Dismals Canyon, Phil Campbell
  • Neversink Pit, Fackler
  • F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, Montgomery
  • Cheaha Mountain, Delta
  • Alabama Booksmith, Homewood
  • Dead Children's Playground, Huntsville
  • Goldie 1971 - The Fallen Robot, Tuscaloosa
  • Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman
  • Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House, Florence
  • Tinglewood Carvings, Montevallo
  • Africatown, Mobile
  • The Drive-Thru Museum, Seale
  • Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham
  • Hank Williams' Death Car, Montgomery
  • Bamahenge, Elberta
  • Moundville Archaeological Site, Moundville
  • Berman Museum of World History, Anniston
  • Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery
  • Holmes Medical Museum, Foley
  • African Village in America, Birmingham
  • Anniston Museum, Anniston
  • Tolstoy Park, the Unusual Home of Henry Stuart, Fairhope
  • Henry Wells' Lightning Portrait, Carrollton
  • The Hodges Meteorite, Tuscaloosa
  • Peanuts on Parade, Dothan
  • Little Nadine Earles Doll House Grave, Lanett

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10 Best Places to Visit in Alabama

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Alabama is a state of many names: Yellowhammer State after the state bird, the Cotton State and the Heart of Dixie. Though Spanish explorers passed through the state in 1540, it was the French who settled the area, founding Mobile in 1702. Because it’s located on the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama is a good place to indulge in water activities.

The 22nd state also enjoys a vibrant arts, culture and entertainment scene. You may want to consult the weatherman before visiting, however, since the state is vulnerable to hurricanes.

Map of Places to Visit in Alabama

Map of Places to Visit in Alabama

Hurricanes aside, Alabama is a wonderful place where you can kayak a wild river or learn more about our nation’s space program. It’s no wonder this southern state is a popular tourist destination. Here’s an overview of the best places to visit in Alabama:

10. Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island, off the coast of Mobile, is a rest stop on the way from South America if you’re a migratory bird. The island is often the first land birds see as they journey north. There are several bird sanctuaries on the island, but the main one is Audubon Bird Sanctuary.

Named for the Dauphin of France, great-grandson of Louis XIV, island beaches feature spectacular sunsets. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” it originated here with Admiral Farragut during the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay. The historic walled Fort Gaines once stood guard per the bay’s entrance.

9. Noccalula Falls Park

Noccalula Falls Park

Romantic tragedy lurks beneath the waters of Noccalula Falls Park. According to legend, rather than marry the rich chief her father wanted her, Noccalula chose to jump over the 90-foot falls on her wedding day. You’ll see a nine-foot tall statue of her at the falls that drop into the Black Creek ravine.

But where there is sadness, there is also beauty, the 25,000 azalea plants in this Gadsden park. While camping here, you can stroll the park’s paved hiking trail, let your kids play at the petting zoo and visit Pioneer Village to learn about the past.

8. Montgomery


Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, has a notable history, but it was Rosa Parks who really made it famous. The African-American woman name civil rights history in 1965 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. In an ironic twist of history, Montgomery was where the Confederacy was formed in 1861.

Today, this city on the Alabama River is noted for its numerous arks, skyscrapers and one of the best art scenes for cities its size in the United States. Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents the Bard’s work throughout the year at its Blount Park theatre.

7. Cheaha State Park

Cheaha State Park

Cheaha Mountain is the highest point in Alabama. The 2,413-foot (735-meter) high mountain can be found in the state park named for a Cree Indian word. Located inside Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park has good hiking with access to the Appalachian Trail as well as other trails.

There’s even a trail for ATV riders if you’d rather ride than hike through nature. Accommodations range from camping to a luxury lodge. If a pretty outdoor setting in your venue of choice, park staff can help you arrange your wedding. The park also is popular with day users.


Mobile, located at the head of Mobile Bay, is Alabama’s only saltwater port. Alabama’s third largest city is also the largest on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and St. Petersburg in Florida . It is a cultural center on the sea, with museums, art galleries, and professional symphony, ballet and opera.

In early spring the city is ablaze with azaleas, while in February it hosts the oldest organized Carnival in the United States; their carnival dates back to the early 1700s when it was organized by French Catholic settlers. Mobile is famous for its antebellum architecture, a blend of several styles found throughout nine major historic districts.

5. Orange Beach

Orange Beach

Orange Beach is a resort city of 5,500 residents on Alabama’s Gulf Coast border with Florida. It’s one of the best places to visit in Alabama if you want to chill out, perhaps staying in beachfront housing and playing a little basketball or tennis at a rec center if you get tired of water activities.

Orange Beach also is a good place to do dolphin spotting, or you can do what the locals do for entertainment: visit the Orange Beach Islands. The four islands are located in Perdido Pass and are accessible by watercraft. The islands are popular with water sports enthusiasts and also are a good place to see seabirds and marine mammals.

4. Little River Canyon National Preserve

Little River Canyon National Preserve

The Little River Canyon is a special place, frequently described with superlatives, such as the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi River. The Little River, which starts in northwest Georgia, is believed to be the longest river in the United States that runs atop a mountain, in this case, Little Top Mountain.

Though it’s only about 600 feet at its deepest, it’s considered a spectacular landform in the southern Appalachian Mountains. The Little River is a Wild and Scenic River. The nature preserve that surrounds it is home to many protected species of plants and animals.

3. Huntsville


Huntsville is known as Rocket City because of its association with the U.S. space program. Chemical munitions facilities built during World War II were converted to space exploration use following the war; the United States launched its first satellite here in 1958. Today, NASA’s Manned Space Flight Center is located in Huntsville.

The city has a number of historic homes, some constructed in the early 1800s. Museums include Space Camp, Alabama Constitution Village with its reconstructed Federal style buildings, Clay House with its collection of Noritake porcelain and Veterans Memorial Museum with its collection of military vehicles.

2. Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores is a popular tourist destination on the Gulf of Mexico. Just 54 miles (87 km) from Mobile, it’s a good place to go ocean fishing, play golf at two top courses or go dolphin watching. Besides the usual beach activities, you can also take a sunset cruise on the Gulf or take the whole family to a water/amusement park.

If you’re a party animal, then late April is the time to visit. That’s when what’s billed as the world’s greatest beach party takes place. Join in the fun as you toss a dead mullet over the state line with Florida.

1. Birmingham


The city named after Birmingham, England, was founded during Civil War Reconstruction. Today, it is Alabama’s largest city. Because it was once the south’s main industrial area, it was given the nickname of “the Pittsburgh of the South.” Birmingham is the cultural capital of Alabama, with the largest art museum (Birmingham Museum of Art) in the southeastern United States.

You’ll also find ballet, symphony and opera companies here as well as several theaters for the performing arts. Birmingham is host to several music and film festivals, including the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival that draws filmmakers from around the world.

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June 22, 2020 at 1:09 pm

Gotta love the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida! Having been born in Mobile, Alabama makes me love the Coast. I love the smell of the ocean and when I get near its a real pleasure to smell the salty ocean on the breeze of the Gulf Coast! Such a welcome! I love watching the sea birds, dolphins, sailboats, shrimp boats and people enjoying the beaches! Gotta get some Gumbo!

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January 11, 2019 at 10:00 am

The Southeastern United States has more to offer than any other part of the country.

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Must-see attractions in Alabama

Sloss Furnaces is a National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. It operated as a pig iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971. After closing it became one of the first industrial sites (and the only blast furnace) in the U.S. to be preserved and restored for public use. In 1981 the furnaces were designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior

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Exterior of 19th century plantation house at Oak Alley Plantation.

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a kayak in the Gulf State Park in Alabama

Biking, hiking, and kayaking are just a small sampling of the activities you can take on in the Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

The Ultimate Southern Adventure: Alabama

Explore your favorite food, music, parks, and more in Alabama.

Experience the Culture

Alabama Scenic Byways lead to famous landmarks and off-the-beaten-path places worth seeing. On the Black Belt Nature and Heritage Trail , visit the Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center in Camden to shop for original works—such as quilts, pine-needle baskets, and pottery—handmade by artisans in the 19-county Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area . Follow the Coastal Connection Scenic Byway to see what’s blooming at 65-acre (26-hectare) Bellingrath Gardens and Home and to tour Civil War sites like Fort Morgan .

a map of Alabama

Best Bets: November 5-19, Bellingrath hosts the 53rd Annual Fall Outdoor Cascading Chrysanthemums . From Bellingrath, it’s about a 30-minute drive to downtown Mobile, where you can connect to the Historic House Museums of Mobile Alabama Road Trip . Tour stops include Historic Oakleigh and the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion , an elegant antebellum home set amid live oaks.

Insider Tip: From Camden, take the ferry to Gee’s Bend, home of the celebrated Gee’s Bend quilters. Plan ahead to visit the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective (where you can buy quilts and other folk art) and to watch quilters at work at the Boykin Nutrition Center.

Don’t Miss: Visit Northport’s Kentuck Art Center and the 45th Annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts , October 15-16.

See The Cities

the skyline in Birmingham, Alabama

The city skyline reflects on the water in Birmingham, Alabama.

Follow I-65 through the heart of Alabama to explore the state’s three biggest cities: Birmingham , Montgomery , and Mobile . Birmingham’s former Dr. Pepper Syrup Plant and Bottling Company is reborn as Pepper Place , an industrial-chic entertainment and design hot spot. In downtown Montgomery, stroll the Alley, the state’s first entertainment district. From here it’s a short walk to Riverwalk Stadium , the historic train depot turned ballpark home of the Montgomery Biscuits Double-A baseball team. Mobile’s Lower Dauphin Street Commercial District , or LoDa, is the place to party, shop, and people-watch.

Best Bets: Saturdays April to early December, the Market at Pepper Place hosts a Rooted in Alabama Farmers Market featuring local products and live music. The Fitzgerald Museum is housed in the Montgomery home where F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife, Zelda, and their daughter lived briefly in the early 1930s. Take a tour to see family artifacts, such as paintings by Zelda.

Insider Tips: Ribs and white bread get all the love at Dreamland Bar-B-Que in The Alley, but the single-serving banana pudding could be the best two bucks you’ve ever spent.

Don’t Miss: Birmingham’s twin trendsetter neighborhoods— Forest Park and South Avondale —border the southern edge of the city’s renovated urban oasis, Avondale Park.

Fort Morgan in Alabama

Fort Morgan is a U.S. National Historic Landmark in Mobile Bay, Alabama. The star fort was completed in 1834.

Explore the Parks

Follow the footsteps of freedom fighters on the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail , one of seven Alabama national parks . The signposted trail (on Route 80) covers the 54-mile (87-kilometer) route taken in the 1965 Voting Rights March, and its National Park Service interpretive centers in White Hall and Selma capture the story of the seminal civil rights march. The Selma Interpretive Center sits at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police clashed with unarmed civil rights demonstrators on “Bloody Sunday,” on March 7, 1965. At the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site , learn about the famous World War II-era, all-black squadron of pilots.

Best Bet: Inside the Selma Interpretive Center, kids can collect some of the free trading cards the National Park Service created to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the 1960s civil rights movement.

Insider Tip: In northern Alabama, Little River Canyon National Preserve runs mostly on top of Lookout Mountain, where you can find scenic waterfalls, cliffs, and canyon rims. Mountain bike in the backcountry on 23 miles (37 kilometers) of dirt and chert (fine-grained rock) roads.

Don’t Miss: Horseshoe Bend National Military Park is home to 354 wildlife species and 901 plant species with a tour road loop bordering the edge of the battlefield.

Hear the Music

The Shoals are alive with the sounds of homegrown Alabama music. Located in the northwestern part of the state, the Shoals—including Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Sheffield, and Florence—boast numerous music pilgrimage sites. Record your own single at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia. Handwritten music and a trumpet belonging to the “Father of the Blues” are part of the collection at the W.C. Handy Home, Museum & Library in Florence. In Muscle Shoals, tour FAME Studios where the artist list includes Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, and other legends, as well as up-and-comers like Jason Isbell and Dylan LeBlanc. The Rolling Stones recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield in 1969. The Sound Studio is closed for restoration, but you can pose for a selfie outside.

Best Bet: In Birmingham’s Civil Rights District, tour the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (closed Sundays and Mondays), located inside the historic Carver Theatre.

the historic Alabama Theater in Birmingham, Alabama

The historic Alabama Theater glows at night in Birmingham, Alabama.

Insider Tip: Fort Payne in northeast Alabama is home to the band Alabama and its Fan Club Museum and gift shop .

Don’t Miss: See the Mobile Symphony Orchestra or another live performance at Mobile’s historic Saenger Theatre , lauded as “Alabama’s Greatest Showplace” when it opened in 1927.

Along Alabama’s 53 miles (85 kilometers) of coastline, seafood restaurants advertise, “You hook ’em, we’ll cook ’em.” Shipp’s Harbour Grill in Orange Beach has a $15 and up catch-and-cook menu (plus a regular one), and Mikee’s in Gulf Shores fries, broils, blackens, pan grills, or sautés your catch—or you can order off the menu. Sample some southern-style potato salad—different for its spicy-sweet taste from creole or Dijon mustard and added sweet pickles or pickle relish—at Homewood Gourmet , in Homewood near Birmingham . In Montgomery , Mrs. B’s Home Cooking serves southern comfort foods like oxtails, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and corn bread.

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Best Bets: Celebrate berry season at the Cullman StrawberryFest in May in Cullman or the Alabama Blueberry Festival in June in Brewton .

Insider Tip: Taste true soul food at Birmingham’s Eagle’s Restaurant (closed Saturdays), which holds only about 30 people. Get there before noon for lunch plates that feature fried chicken, steamed cabbage, and candied yams.

Don’t Miss: In Millbrook, Barber Berry Farm grows over two acres (0.8 hectares) of pick-your-own, pesticide-free blackberries, blueberries, and grapes. Days and hours it’s open vary; check the website in advance or order online .

Get Outside

Go where the wild things (and wild places) are by following an Alabama outdoor adventure trail. The Alabama Scenic River Trail covers about 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) from the Georgia border to the Gulf of Mexico, and is one of the longest river trails in a single state. To get the most out of your trip, book a guided tour with a local outfitter . The North Alabama Birding Trail is a collection of 50 sites where you are most likely to see part of the state’s collection of shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds, birds of prey, and waterfowl. Current North Alabama bird sightings are reported through eBird . The Alabama Garden Trail covers seven beautiful botanical spots throughout the state, such as the Huntsville Botanical Garden , the Birmingham Botanical Gardens , and the Mobile Botanical Gardens .

Best Bet: In central Alabama, Horse Pens 40 is a 115-acre (47-hectare) private park and home to one of the most dense climbable bouldering fields in the world. Horse Pen 40 hosts the CukoRakko Music and Arts Festival in the spring and fall.

the Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, Alabama.

Insider Tip: On the coast, explore the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail through Gulf State Park . Hike it on foot or go on wheels with such providers as Coastal Segway Adventures (reservations required).

Don’t Miss: True Adventure Sports in Northeast Alabama offers the Sky Swing, cave rappelling, bouldering, and other adrenaline-pumping activities.

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Southern alabama, al.

Photo provided by Alabama Tourism Department

Visit Southern Alabama

Where to stay in southern alabama.

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Surf Side Shores

While Surf Side Shores isn't home to many top sights, Kiva Dunes Golf Course and Fort Morgan Beach are some notable places to visit nearby.

While Morgantown might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Kiva Dunes Golf Course and Fort Morgan Beach.

Mobile which includes heritage architecture

Mobile Central Business District

If you're spending some time in Mobile Central Business District, Saenger Theatre Mobile and Mobile Civic Center are top sights worth seeing.

Cabana Beach

When in Cabana Beach, you can plan a visit to Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and Kiva Dunes Golf Course, some noteworthy sights in the nearby area.

Brigadoon Trail

While Brigadoon Trail isn't home to many top sights, West Beach and Gulf Shores Beach are some notable places to visit nearby.

Battleship Memorial Park

Riverfront Industrial Area

If you're spending some time in Riverfront Industrial Area, Mobile Cruise Terminal and USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park are top sights worth seeing.

  • Southern Alabama Hotel Deals
  • Vacation Rentals in Southern Alabama

Beachside Resort Hotel

Reviewed on Apr 7, 2024

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gulf Shores

Reviewed on Apr 8, 2024

Waterfront home with WiFi, sun deck, screened porch & private beach access

Reviewed on Dec 16, 2023

stayAPT Suites Dothan

Reviewed on Apr 1, 2024

Phoenix All Suites

Reviewed on Apr 4, 2024

Phoenix All Suites West Hotel

Reviewed on Apr 5, 2024

Check Southern Alabama hotel availability

Popular places to visit.

  • Gulf Shores Beach

For the complete beach experience, visit this well-groomed swath of sand on the Gulf Coast, with thoughtful amenities and a convenient and central location.

  • Fort Morgan

Experience southern United States military history, lounge on soft white-sand beaches and explore quiet natural parks in this beautiful Mobile Bay destination.

  • The Park at OWA

Bring the family to The Park at OWA and have a fun-filled day at this amusement park in Foley. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in this family-friendly area.

Perdido Key Beach

Why not spend a lazy afternoon at Perdido Key Beach during your trip to Pensacola? Experience the area's great live music and acclaimed theater scene.

  • Gulf State Park

Stretch out on long white-sand beaches at this oceanfront state park. Drive up your heart rate with extreme activities, such as zip lining and parasailing.

Auburn University

Enjoy the collegiate vibe around Auburn University, a top college in Auburn - Opelika. You can attend a sporting event while in the area.

Things to do

Experience birmingham - the historic highlights, ghosts and graveyards driving tour.

  • Cities near Southern Alabama

Photo by Kayla Boone

  • Places of interest
  • Mobile Cruise Terminal
  • University of South Alabama
  • USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
  • EastChase Shopping Mall
  • Wind Creek Casino
  • Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex
  • Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka
  • Hangout Music Fest
  • Fort Morgan Beach
  • Alabama State University
  • The Legacy Museum
  • Mobile Civic Center
  • Troy University
  • Foley Sportsplex
  • Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center
  • Alabama Safari Park
  • Riverfront Park
  • Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
  • Adventure Island
  • Creek Casino Montgomery
  • Civil Rights Memorial
  • Alabama State Capitol
  • Waterville USA
  • Dauphin Street


  • United States

25 Best Places to Visit in Alabama

Last Edited on March 18, 2024

Alabama Places to Visit

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

One of the best ways to explore Dauphin Island is on two wheels – you can rent a bike from Dauphin Island Bike and Kayak Rentals – and set off to admire historic Fort Gaines, pristine beaches and panoramic island landscapes. There are plenty of accommodation options on the island and you will easily find the ideal base for your vacation.

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

However, Birmingham is by no means all about history – the city offers excellent shopping, dining, golf and nightlife as well as great activities for younger visitors including the Alabama Splash Adventure water park.


Nature lovers will enjoy visiting Weeks Bay Reserve while beer lovers should not miss a tasting at the Fairhope Brewing Company.

Florence, Alabama

Florence, Alabama

For family fun you can head to the Children’s Museum, the Sky Zone Trampoline Park and the Killen Time Mini Golf and Adventure Park.

Gadsden, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Art lovers will enjoy a visit to the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts – the center is home to the Etowah Youth Orchestra, the Downtown Dance Conservatory and Imagination Place Children’s Museum. Things to Do in Gadsden

Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores

Back on land you can explore various hiking and biking trails, or re-live history by following the Mobile Bay Civil War Trail to see Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines and much more. Things to Do in Gulf Shores


In addition, there are no less than eight beautiful Historic Districts to explore. The city’s coastal location means that there is a plethora of maritime activities available as well as easy access to some of the best beaches on the Gulf .


There is also a treat in store for foodies who can visit several farmer’s markets, wineries, berry farms and tempting farm-to-fork restaurants. Things to Do in Auburn

Cheaha State Park, Alabama

Cheaha State Park, Alabama

Cheaha State Park, 19644 Hwy 281, Delta, AL 36258, Phone: 800-610-5801 , ( website link )


Take the family to Cook’s Natural Science Museum. Art lovers can feast their eyes at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center or catch a show at the Princess Theatre for the Performing Arts. Things to Do in Decatur


Families visiting Dothan will enjoy stepping back in time at Landmark Park (a “living” farming museum), having outdoor fun at Advertureland Theme Park or making a splash at Water World. Things to Do in Dothan


Shopaholics will enjoy exploring the Bargain Hunter’s Thrift Trail and Tanger Outlets while foodies head to the Coastal Alabama Farmer’s and Fishermen’s Market. Things to Do in Foley

Gulf State Park, Alabama

Gulf State Park, Alabama

Gulf State Park, 20115 State Highway 135, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Guntersville, Alabama

Guntersville, Alabama

You can spend your time playing golf, hiking, biking, bird watching or fishing. For a change of pace you can visit the near-by Cathedral Caverns to see an astonishing frozen waterfall, a stalagmite forest and many other breathtaking cave formations. Things to Do in Guntersville


Some of the most popular near-by family attractions include the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum and the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum. Things to Do in Hoover


For a complete change of pace you can visit the Huntsville Botanical Garden (young visitors love the night firefly hikes) or spend a few hours at the Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment center to see local artists in action. Things to Do in Huntsville

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain

Do not miss the chance to take a scenic drive through three states along the 93mile Lookout Mountain Parkway. Cultural activities include a variety of hands-on classes and workshops and visits to the many galleries and craft shops dotted around Lookout Mountain. Explore weekend getaways in Alabama for more travel ideas.

Monte Sano State Park

Monte Sano State Park

When you need a brief break from nature you can visit some of the interesting museums in Huntsville. Browse our things to do in Alabama guide for more ideas.

Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Art enthusiasts can feast their eyes on the collections at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts before catching a show at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center. Children will love the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum and the Montgomery Zoo. Things to Do in Montgomery

Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Muscle Shoals, Alabama

More ideas: Day Trips in Alabama


Other city highlights include the Ancient Africa, Enslavement and Civil War Museum and the National Voting Rights Museum, Historic Water Avenue, the Jackson Home Historic Site and the Old Depot Museum. Things to Do in Selma


There are also many historic sites to admire including the Silk Stocking District where you will find 113 acres showcasing various historic architectural styles. Things to Do in Talladega


There are many historic sites to visit including several interesting museums, the Black Warrior Model Railroad, the Battle-Friedman historic house and the Tuscaloosa Veterans Memorial Park. In addition you can take a (free) tour of the Mercedes Benz Visitor’s Center, take the kids to the Children’s Hands-On Museum. Things to Do in Tuscaloosa

Orange Beach

Orange Beach

Save some time for family fun at Adventure Island and shopping at The Wharf. Things to Do in Orange Beach


More ideas: Mobile beaches

  • 1. Dauphin Island
  • 2. Birmingham, Alabama
  • 3. Fairhope
  • 4. Florence, Alabama
  • 5. Gadsden, Alabama
  • 6. Gulf Shores
  • 9. Cheaha State Park, Alabama
  • 10. Decatur
  • 13. Gulf State Park, Alabama
  • 14. Guntersville, Alabama
  • 16. Huntsville
  • 17. Lookout Mountain
  • 18. Monte Sano State Park
  • 19. Montgomery, Alabama
  • 20. Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • 22. Talladega
  • 23. Tuscaloosa
  • 24. Orange Beach
  • 25. Scottsboro

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42 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Alabama

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: November 20, 2020  - Last updated: October 15, 2023

best things to do in Alabama

Alabama, known also as The Cotton State and the Heart of Dixie, is a beautiful place with delicious food, delightful natural landscapes, deep historic roots, and of course, football galore!

It’s packed with lots of options for what to see, no matter what you’re interested in, so there is a lot to add to your vacation ideas.

How can you decide what tourist hotspots you’ll want to check out when you arrive?

To help you out, here is our travel guide for 42 things to do and places to visit in Alabama that you should add to your bucket list.

Table of Contents

1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center

U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Michael Gordon / Shutterstock

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a unique museum that should be among any space-lovers’ list of where to visit in the state of Alabama.

Located in Huntsville , this museum showcases the history of the space program of the United States through information and artifacts.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is both a Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA and a Smithsonian Affiliate, and it’s also considered one of the largest space museums on the planet.

More than 1,500 different artifacts are on display and it boasts one of the biggest collections of its kind.

Among the most exhibits at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are memorabilia and items from Army rocketry and aircraft, the Apollo program, the International Space Station, and the Space Shuttle program.

It can tell you all about the Space Race and the evolution of space exploration.

Some of the best things you need to check out are the genuine Apollo 16 capsule, a Skylab solar array, capsule trainers, and space travel simulators.

A number of traveling exhibits occasionally stop by here, and two camp programs are held at the museum.

There are also movies shown every day at the National Geographic Theater and the IMAX Theater, and you can tour the grounds with a bus tour.

All in all, this is one of the most fun things to do in Alabama.

Address: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States

2. Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum

Tim Daugherty / Shutterstock

The Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum is one of the key architectural points of interest in Alabama.

It’s one of the most beautiful buildings that the great Frank Llyod Wright created in America and the only one by him at all in the state.

In 1940, the Rosenbaum house was created for one family: Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum.

Until 1999. Mildred would continue to live here, and then the house was entirely donated to the city of Florence.

It stands now as a prime example of the Usonian style of Wright, an aesthetic that only arose following the Great Depression.

“Usonian” is a bit of an acronym, basically meaning “United States of North American”, and the buildings in this style were designed to be affordable, functional, and well-blended with the world around them.

This meant natural materials with lots of horizontal lines, glass windows, and cantilevered roofs.

Wright had this down to a T, with a large open living space, cozy appearance, and even an added extension that fit perfectly when the Rosenbaum family grew to include four sons.

In 1948, more sleeping room was added as well as a Japanese garden, and Wright was extremely happy with this – it was a sign of practicality that the building could be so easily changed and extended.

While not the most fun design of Wright’s homes, a trip here will give you a new appreciation for the architect’s genius.

It definitely should be on your list of places to go!

Address: 601 Riverview Dr, Florence, AL 35630, United States

3. Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores

Jim Vallee / Shutterstock

Gulf Shores is a beautiful destination to head to this weekend as one of the best beach locations in Alabama.

It’s packed with different options for what to do, no matter what kind of trip you’re seeking.

32 miles of white-sand beaches cover the area.

Local attractions cover things like museums, shopping, art, and golf.

Naturally, there are also plenty of water activities to enjoy, like parasailing, boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, fishing, paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and cruises.

You can also simply lounge on the beach and relax, or work on a tan!

4. Huntsville Botanical Garden

Huntsville Botanical Garden

Steven L. Gordon / Shutterstock

Termed as one of the most popular vacation spots , the Huntsville Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Alabama and also one of its top attractions, welcoming about 308,000 visitors on an annual basis.

It’s open all throughout the year, no matter the season, so it’s a great, reliable option.

One of the most loved spots within the Huntsville Botanical Garden is the Nature Center and Children’s Garden, which is the home of the biggest seasonal butterfly house in America.

It’s also specially designed just for kids, with themed spaces like a space garden, dinosaur garden, and storybook garden.

There are also many other gardens for people of all ages, such as the biblical garden, fern glade, daylily garden, and herb garden, and there’s also a cool nature trail to check out.

Seasonal events are often held during the year, such as the Scarecrow Trail, Huntsville Blooms, Galaxy of Lights, and Beaks and Barks.

Check the Huntsville Botanical Garden calendar to see if you’ll be in town at the right time to catch something exciting!

Address: 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States


Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for places to vacation by the sea, or just want a place with a lot of historical activities, you’ll do well with Mobile , a port city with a rich past.

It sits on Alabama Gulf Coast, providing visitors with southern hospitality, fun attractions, and lots of historic districts to take a look at.

In Mobile, you’ll have your fill of art museums, performance art, and coastal wonder.

Check out the 1850 Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, wander the beaches for some relaxation, or check out the carnival.

There’s enough to do to keep you busy this weekend!

6. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Allard One / Shutterstock

The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is where you’ll find the USS Alabama, a ship that began construction on the 1st of February in 1940.

It was completed two years later and showed off in an elaborate ceremony.

Captain George B. Wilson became its commander that year on the 16th of August, and about a year later, it would have its first military engagement.

In 1962, the ship was ordered to be scrapped, and it remained unused for the most part until the Battleship Memorial Park was set up in 1977.

Today, the battleship holds status as a national historic landmark and stands alongside many other historic vessels, including fellow national historic landmark USS Drum, which is a submarine.

Both of the aforementioned ships are vessels from World War II.

The Battleship Memorial Park also has some other interesting features, like a patrol boat used during the Vietnam War, military equipment, fighter and bomber planes, and Vietnam War and Korean War Memorials.

It’s no surprise that this location is one of the most rewarding spots for history buffs, and it’s certainly among the state’s top 10 attractions!

Address: 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36603, United States

7. McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

The McWane Science Center is a fun and exciting spot that is one of the main places to see in the state for families with children.

It opened its doors in 1998 and has been thrilling children with informational but entertaining science ever since.

Measuring over 9,000 square feet in total, it is packed with interactive exhibits, a Challenger Learning Center, and an IMAX Dome theater.

Over 500,000 different artifacts are on display here, covering a wide range of different scientific topics.

This includes precious minerals, Native American artifacts, and fossils, like an 80-foot whale fossil that is the official state fossil.

Permanent exhibits are diverse, with favorites like the World of Water Aquarium, Explore! Collections Center, the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, Alabama Dinosaurs, Itty Bitty Magic City, Sea Monsters, the Fox 6 Weather Lab, Science on a Sphere, NatureScope, and High Cycle.

Each one is full of interactive activities that make for a fantastic learning experience.

Address: 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

8. Cheaha State Park

Cheaha State Park

Steve Bower / Shutterstock

The Cheaha State Park is the oldest state park in Alabama, opened in 1933 and boasting about 2,800 acres of land in Northern Clay and Cleburne.

It’s one of the best places to spend time in for all the park activities you can think of: sightseeing, hiking, camping, water sports – you name it!

At the Cheaha State Park, you can head to the camp sites, outfitted with modern amenities, or go to the Cheaha Lodge that boasts a swimming pool and 30 hotel rooms.

If you’re not looking to stay long, head to bodies of water for fishing, swimming, or boat launches.

You can also just go hiking to all the different scenic spots with gorgeous views, following loved paths like the Chinnabee Silent Trail, the Pinhoti Trail, and the Odum Scout Trail.

Aside from the usual park amenities, the Cheaha State Park also has a restaurant and general store.

In other words, this is one of the most well-outfitted Alabama attractions for visitors who want a lot of options!

Address: 19644 AL-281, Delta, AL 36258, United States

9. Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

travelview / Shutterstock

The Bellingrath Gardens and Home are truly historic and worth the trip for sightseeing purposes alone.

The grounds cover 900 beautiful acres with the Gardens being the main attraction in this large space in Theodore.

With numerous fun features that make this one of the state’s most delightful tourist attractions, the Bellingrath Gardens and Home provides plenty to do and enjoy.

The great lawn, bridal garden, and conservatory are among top picks on this garden property.

You can also enter the home, which measures 10,500 square feet and dates back to 1935.

It was built by Mobile native and architect George B. Rogers with handmade brick.

Ironwork comes from the Southern Hotel and the entire building gives off a vibe that can only be likened to the Gulf Coast.

It’s also an interesting way of looking at the architectural history of the general area.

The Bellingrath Gardens and Home have 65 acres dedicated to non-stop color through flowers, no matter what time of year it is.

Azaleas brighten the spring.

Tropical plants, roses, and hydrangeas bloom in the summer.

Chrysanthemums take over in the fall.

And, finally, camellias – 400 kinds of them! – cover the grounds in winter.

Take a self-guided tour through the stunning land and feast your eyes on the flora!

Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore, AL 36582, United States

10. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Brett Welcher / Shutterstock

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute should be on the bucket list of any American history buff.

Civil rights activists were highly active in Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, and as such, it makes sense that Birmingham in the state is the site of one of the best places to learn about this powerful movement.

In 1992, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute opened its doors for the first time, welcoming 25,000 guests in its first week alone.

It tells the story of the development of civil rights, the actions of those who fought for it, and the struggle that still continues to this day for equal treatment.

The things to see within the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute are explorable independently through self-guided walks.

As you pass through the exhibits, you’ll follow the journey of the movement and end on a positive note, as the institute hopes to light a spark of hope for the future through its message.

Address: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

11. Florence


Ace Eaton / Shutterstock

Florence is one of the most famous Alabama vacation spots, home to a wide range of scenic, educational, and fun attractions.

Located in Alabama’s northwestern side, it is full of outdoor activities, historical locations, and kid-friendly spots for the whole family.

Only 40,000 people live in Florence, and as a small town, it’s a pretty famous tourist location.

It hosts quaint and delightful events, like the W C Handy Music Festival, and provides vibrancy and life to an already bright state.

12. Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

George Dodd III / Shutterstock

Dauphin Island is set within the Gulf of Mexico’s lush waters.

It is a barrier island, across Alabama Port, and accessible through a bridge spanning three miles from the mainland.

As a getaway, it is nothing short of serene – trails for walking are teeming with greenery, beaches glisten with white sand and blue surf, and rare birds fly about, waiting for bird-watchers to spot them.

If you’re keen to explore Dauphin Island, then renting a bike is a must do.

With a bike, you’ll be able to more easily visit the many unique spots on the island, including historic parks, lovely parks, and tropical delights.

It’s known as the Sunset Capital of Alabama for its gorgeous vistas of the horizon, too.

No wonder it’s one of the best things to do in Alabama and one of the most beautiful places to go in the US !

13. Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Mccallk69 / Shutterstock

You’re likely familiar with the inspiring but harrowing story of Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who, in 1955, refused to give her seat to a white man on the bus.

Her brave action sparked the beginning of an uptick in civil rights activism and led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In the Rosa Parks Library and Museum , her legacy is honored today.

You’ll find the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery , where its doors are open five days a week.

The museum has an online virtual tour but is certainly worth an in-person trip.

Housed in the former Empire Theatre building, it is split into six different areas that each tell a unique part of Rosa Parks’ story.

Popular exhibits here include a replica of the bus where the inciting incident occurred, a station wagon restored from 1955, and some original documents relating to this historic event.

Other features include an auditorium, “time machine”, conference room, classrooms, and archives.

A children’s wing is available onsite to allow children to learn about Rosa Parks in age-friendly and educational ways.

History buffs should definitely have this museum on their list of what to do in Alabama.

Address: 251 Montgomery Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, United States

14. Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley

Fsendek / Shutterstock

No trip to Alabama is complete without a stop at Alligator Alley .

Located in Summerdale, this alligator farm is a haven for lovers of the reptile and for anyone who is interested in learning more about them.

It’s one of the state’s cool things to do, packed with fun, excitement, and plenty of activities.

Alligator Alley was set up in 2004 in Alabama as a farm with a natural environment for these many-toothed reptiles.

The alligators here have come from all sorts of bad situations, rescued from dangerous environments, and brought here to live a healthier life in a better home.

There are also some other animals that have been taken in, either – you can find bullfrogs, owls, ospreys, and turkeys in different areas of the grounds.

A guided adventure takes you through Alligator Alley, beginning at the impressive viewing platform elevated above the ground.

Through it, you can see more than a whopping 450 alligators of all different ages engaging in their daily lives: sunbathing, nesting, courting, and relaxing!

Once the tour is done, you’ll get to head to the gator station, where you’ll be able to hold an adorable baby alligator.

Don’t forget to stick around for the feedings, which happen three times daily; you might even get to participate!

Address: 19950 Co Rd 71, Summerdale, AL 36580, United States

15. Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines

Joseph Creamer / Shutterstock

Fort Gaines is an excellent option among Alabama destinations for a sightseeing stop.

Located on Dauphin Island, it provides all-around views of the beautiful sand and surf, and its wealth of history makes it one of the best places to stop by when you’re on the Gulf Coast this weekend.

The Fort has been around for over 150 years and has been kept surprisingly well-preserved, remaining on the “entrance” to the stunning Mobile Bay.

It boasts its original canons and kitchen to this very day, as well as a blacksmith’s shop.

There is also a museum and gift shop on the premises, and guided tours are conducted by staff in period costumes who take you through the many interesting tunnels.

You’ll get to watch the art of smithing and even see a cannon fire!

Fort Gaines is considered one of America’s most endangered historic locations, which makes it a rare find in Alabama but also one of the most melancholy.

It was once a key factor in the Battle of Mobile Bay and is the site of the famous “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” order from Admiral Farragut.

If you do plan to go to this location, be aware of the erosion on the shoreline.

Address: 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

16. Birmingham Zoo

Birmingham Zoo

Deborah Ferrin / Shutterstock

The Birmingham Zoo is a zoological part that covers 122 acres of its titular town.

More than 470,000 visitors head here on a yearly basis, and there are lots of activities held throughout the year that make it worth a trip while you’re in Alabama.

It opened in 1955 with only a handful of animals in a firehouse and has since grown to accommodate over 800 individual animals from 200 different species.

Some of the most fun attractions around the Birmingham Zoo are the Kangaroo Kountry, Predator Building, Flamingo Lagoon, Primate Building, and Alligator Swamp.

If you’re looking for more stuff to do, keep an eye out for camel rides, available seasonally, and the Sea Lions Splash Show.

There is also the delightful Schaeffer Eye Center Lorikeet Aviary, which charges a small fee to let you interact with and feed birds!

Address: 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, United States

17. Ave Maria Grotto

Ave Maria Grotto

Larry Porges / Shutterstock

The Ave Maria Grotto in Benedictine Abbey is an impressive work of art that makes it one of the best places to visit of religious and general artistic significance.

It comprises more than 125 different little miniature reproductions of buildings, shrines, and churches across the planet.

The Ave Maria Grotto was built by Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Brother of the Order who resided in St. Bernard Abbey.

He was born in Bavaria but arrived here in 1892.

In his time here, he began work on the Grotto, which was actually just a project he did as a hobby.

He used recycled materials and the Grotto soon grew into a famous feature of the Abbey.

For three acres, the grotto will transport you away from Alabama and onto the streets of many beautiful locations in different parts of the world.

It is even commonly called “Jerusalem in Miniature”, and it’s an apt name for such a masterpiece.

Address: 1600 St Bernard Dr, Cullman, AL 35055, United States

18. Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the must do Alabama attractions for art aficionados.

It is considered among the finest art collections in Alabama, and perhaps even in the Southeast of the country.

It opened its doors in 1951, has the support of an education program, and is home to more than 25,000 exhibits.

Multiple cultures are well-represented at the Birmingham Museum of Art through decorative works, paintings, and sculptures.

You’ll find work from Africa, Asia, America, and Europe, and from Native American and Pre-Columbian cultures.

The museum also has amazing Renaissance, Wedgwood, and Baroque art collections, and the Vietnamese ceramics collection is to die for!

Noted artists with works here are Carrie Hill, a landscape artist, and Hannah Elliot, a miniaturist.

Address: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

19. Cathedral Caverns State Park

Cathedral Caverns State Park

Diegoandrade , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Cathedral Caverns State Park can be found in Marshall County, just southeast of Alabama’s Woodville.

The state park is named after a stunning cavern within it that is known as one of the best tourist attractions in the area.

The magnificent Cathedral Caverns were once simply known as the Bat Cave, but it completely naturally looks like a cathedral, earning in its current title.

The Cathedral Caverns are always 60 degrees in temperature, and they greet you with a giant entrance measuring 25 feet in height and 126 feet in width.

11,000 feet have been traversed, but 2,700 feet more of the Caverns are still closed as they have not yet been surveyed.

Gem mining, cave tours, camping, and picnics can all be done here.

The most stunning of the Cathedral Caverns’ sights is Goliath, which might be the largest natural column in the world.

The stalagmite has a 3-inch diameter, a 243-foot circumference, and a height of 45 feet.

It reaches the ceiling, 25 feet above, at an angle that makes room for it.

It’s the centerpiece of the state park and a masterwork of nature!

Address: 637 Cave Rd, Woodville, AL 35776, United States

20. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is situated on 740 acres of ground in Birmingham.

It is the home of the world’s most comprehensive and fine collections of vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

It was created by George Barber, who has a private collection of vintage motorcycles thanks to his interest in them.

He used his collection to open the museum in 1988.

Barber was more than just a collector, though.

He had 63 first-place wins from racing Porches and was advised by his friend, Dave Hooper, to focus on motorcycles due to the common collections of cars already existing.

Barber listened and began gathering what is now the biggest collection of motorcycles in the world.

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum now has more than 1,450 motorcycles that span over a century of production from 20 different countries.

Famous bikes onsite include everything from common brands like Honda and Harley-Davidson to rarer ones like Cagiva and DSK.

Aside from motorcycles, the museum is also home to a fun collection of Lotus racecars – the biggest of its kind worldwide!

There’s no denying that the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is one of the state’s things to see that shouldn’t be missed for motorcycle enthusiasts!

Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094, United States

21. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

Heather Cowper / flickr

The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is situated in Montgomery, and as the sole museum exclusive to its subject, is one of the top points of interest for renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the world.

The Fitzgeralds came to live in the house in 1931, at the same time that the writer was working on screenwriting Red-Headed Woman and authoring the novel Tender Is The Night.

Only a year later, a mental breakdown would see his wife, Zelda, admitted to a clinic in Baltimore.

That April, Fitzgerald would vacate the home with his child.

The house was set up to be knocked down in 1986, but two people rallied to save it: Julian and Leslie McPhillips.

They also set up the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Association and the house was officially opened as a museum the following year.

It is now the last house ever lived in by either Fitzgerald or his wife that remains standing now in Montgomery.

The house itself is interesting to explore.

Its foyer leads to a number of different directions, with the museum being situated on the first floor and apartments located above.

The apartments are now actually used as the Zelda and Scott Suites, which are an AirBnB location.

If you book a room for the night, museum entry is complimentary, so it could be among the free things to do if you decide to stay here!

A tour of the museum starts with a video that dates back to the 1980s.

It is 30 minutes long and tells the tale of the Fitzgeralds and their home.

The rest of the museum is backed with personal items, photos, letters, and books relating to the author and his family.

Address: 919 Felder Ave # 919, Montgomery, AL 36106, United States

22. Unclaimed Baggage Center

Unclaimed Baggage Center

Unclaimed Baggage Center

The Unclaimed Baggage Center is one of the best cool places that you can check out in Alabama.

It is in Scottsboro and is one of the many places that unclaimed baggage may end up in order to find new homes somewhere.

Many airlines provide reimbursements to customers whose luggage or cargo is lost, and then the eventually located luggage may then be sold.

The Unclaimed Baggage Center, which opened in 1970, is one of the businesses that purchase such lost items.

They first opened as a part-time business in 1970 before a full expansion in 1995 that led to it reaching the size of a city block!

Over 7,000 new items are brought in daily, so the selection is wide-ranging and interesting.

At the Unclaimed Baggage Center, you’ll find a large amount of clothing predominantly, but there are many other items as well.

Electronics, books, jewelry, sporting goods, cameras, and actual luggage are also common finds.

There are also rarer and more unique items occasionally; some that have been reported over the years are a parachute, a suit of armor, a fighter jet system, gemstones, and a whole live rattlesnake!

The rarest items can be viewed in the museum on site.

This includes artifacts from Egypt, Hoggle from Labyrinth by Jim Hensen, and even a 1700s violin.

There’s a reason over a million people come to check this place out annually – it’s just cool!

Address: 509 W Willow St, Scottsboro, AL 35768, United States

23. Little River Canyon

Little River Canyon

Julie rubacha / Shutterstock

The Little River Canyon is a national reserve that can be found close to Fort Payne, on Alabama’s Lookout Mountain.

It is the site of America’s longest mountaintop river, and it’s truly one of the most beautiful places to go in the state.

The canyon is often considered the deepest of its kind east of the Mississippi River and was originally called May’s Gulf.

There are a number of fun ways to keep yourself occupied if you visit Little River Canyon.

Backcountry camping is possible in Hartline’s Ford, Billy’s Ford, and Slant Rock.

Fishing and hunting can be performed with a license, too.

If you prefer, you can also just drive along the edge of the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway to get a 23-mile gorgeous view around the rim of the canyon.

Address: 4322 Little River Trail #100, Fort Payne, AL 35967, United States

24. Fairhope


N.A. Qurashi / Shutterstock

Fairhope is a lovely, picturesque location that has a small-town vibe, which makes it one of many more laid-back vacation ideas in Alabama.

Perfect for exploring the shores and cliffs of Mobile Bay this weekend through the delightful, whimsical locations it has to offer.

Among Fairhope’s most famed places to visit is Fairhope Avenue, which has plenty of unique and interesting shops, eateries, and galleries, as well as storybook-like lights at night.

There is also the Fairhope Pier, the rose garden, tours through horseback and boat, and more.

25. Mobile Carnival Museum

Mobile Carnival Museum

EQRoy / Shutterstock

The Mobile Carnival Museum is the best way to get a glimpse into Mardi Gras history in Alabama.

This is because Mobile was the location of the very first Mardi Gras (or Carnival) in the New World of French Louisiana in 1703.

The Mobile Carnival Museum tells its tales through photographs, costumes, floats, gowns, jewels, and posters, all dating as far back as 1886 and as current as the modern day.

As one of the most fun things to do in Alabama, it showcases all the unique and fascinating parts of Mardi Gras and Carnival evolution over the decades.

Address: 355 Government St, Mobile, AL 36602, United States

26. Bryant Denny Stadium

Bryant Denny Stadium

Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

The Bryant Denny Stadium rests on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

It’s one of the key places of interest for sports fans and was set up in 1929.

At first, it only has 18,000 or so seats, but it has since grown to be capable of accommodating more than 100,000 people!

Over the years, the Bryant Denny Stadium has become one of the country’s main venues for college football.

If you love sports as entertainment, you’ll likely be able to watch a game if you catch tickets on time.

If not, book a tour of the stadium in advance in order to go on one of the daily tours, which caps at 25 people.

If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you’ll also probably want to catch the Iron Bowl, which takes place here in even-numbered years!

It’s a fun mashup between the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, which are the state’s two biggest rivals in the sport of college football.

Address: 920 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, United States

27. Dismals Canyon

Dismals Canyon

JMcQ / Shutterstock

The Dismals Canyon comes alive when night falls.


Dismalites are a kind of gnat larvae, commonly called “glowworms”, which doesn’t sound very appealing, but they’re a must see if you’re in Alabama thanks to their rarity alone.

Dismalites, officially called the North American Orfelia fultoni, can only survive in specific habitats when they are still larvae, so they can only be found in very few locations.

They need hanging surfaces to build webs on, humidity to keep them moist, darkness so its lights can show, and still air in order to keep web lines steady.

Alongside Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains, Dismals Canyon is one of the places to see that has this habitat!

The canyons, covered in moss, are often so full of them that it’s tough to differentiate between them and the sky above!

The Dismals Canyon is also home to one of the world’s biggest Canadian Hemlock trees, known also as Tsuga canadensis.

It towers at 138 feet in height and nearly 9 inches around.

Its crown spreads across 50 feet and it has an impressive age of 360 years.

Address: 901 County Rd 8, Phil Campbell, AL 35581, United States

28. Moundville Archaeological Park

Moundville Archaeological Site

Donn-beckh / Shutterstock

Travel back in time to a pre-Columbian world at the Moundville Archaeological Park near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

For more than a millennium, these earthworks have gazed over the Black Warrior River on a bluff, boasting 29 mounts built by the Mississippians, a Native American society.

The civilization of Mississippians was made up of chiefdoms that lived in a long rush of land from the coast of the Atlantic to the western Plains.

Chiefdoms were autonomous but connected by conflicts, trades, or other arrangements.

The culture also discovered techniques for sustainable agriculture, unlike many hunter-gatherer societies, which is why permanent settlements were possible for them.

Ruling religious and political figures were the head of their complex civilizations, and these elites were responsible for the supervision of the construction of the mounds you see now.

These mounds were the basis for houses, temples, and buildings of council and required heavy labor.

The ones at the Moundville Archaeological Park were built between 1000 and 1450 CE and had more than one thousand residents.

The larger the mound, the more elite the individual residing within it.

The largest one at the Moundville Archaeological Park measures 60 feet in height.

This place was abandoned around 1500 CE and it wasn’t excavated properly until the 20th century as part of New Deal job creation.

It spans 185 acres and is one of the best Alabama attractions you can find, as well as one of the most unique.

Address: 634 Mound State Parkway, Moundville, AL 35474, United States

29. Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway

Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for fun tourist attractions, the Talladega Superspeedway is an amazing way to get your taste of races and entertainment in Alabama.

Measuring 2.66 miles, it is the fastest and longest of NASCAR’s tracks.

It originally opened as the Alabama International Motor Speedway in 1969 and it earned a reputation for being cursed due to its location atop burial grounds of ancient communities.

The Talladega Superspeedway is unique because it offers a fascinating way to spend weekends when races are scheduled: with the option for free camping on the grounds.

You can avail of infield RV tent camping, RV camping, and outdoor camping as well.

There is also the new addition of the Party Patio, which lets you take a look at the whole track as you rest and await races.

Address: 3366 Speedway Blvd, Lincoln, AL 35096, United States

30. Tinglewood Carvings

Tinglewood Carvings

Angie Flowers / flickr

The Tinglewood Carvings can be found in Orr Park of Montevallo, Alabama.

The park itself is lovely, with eight sports fields, two playgrounds, a walking trail, a creek, and several picnic shelters.

But the best things to see at Orr Park aren’t these facilities, but the carvings made in many of its trees.

When a storm swept the area in 1993, many of the older trees wound up being destroyed.

They were originally meant to be simply chopped down, but one Mr. Tingle decided not to allow that!

He arrived and began carving into them, a mix of whimsical and comedic that add to Orr Park’s beauty.

Living trees are left untouched, but dead ones are game for whatever carvings he wants to add!

Alligators, squirrels, men, silly faces, and a dragon are among the different designs of the Tinglewood Carvings.

They’ve become so famous that the Montevallo City Hall has a book that details all of them!

Address: Park Dr, Montevallo, AL 35115, United States

31. Alabama Wildlife Center

Alabama Wildlife Center

Ralph Daily / flickr

The Alabama Wildlife Center is the biggest facility for wildlife rehabilitation.

Created in 1977, it’s also the oldest, beginning as a small volunteer organization.

For the most part, the wildlife center focuses on being a rehabilitation clinic for native wild birds, providing a wildlife helpline, and offering fun educational programs.

More than 50,000 wild animals have been helped by the wildlife center, the facility continues to provide medical and rehabilitative aid to the animals that they can help.

More than 100 species of wild birds are cared for here annually – over 2,000 individual animals!

Address: 100 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124, United States

32. Alabama Theater

Alabama Theater

In 1927, the Alabama Theater was opened in Birmingham to be a premier movie theater for America’s southeast.

It was among the very first buildings to boast air-conditioning and, in the 1930s, was home to the activities of the Mickey Mouse Club.

In the beginning, the theater could only play silent films with the aid of a Mighty Wurlitzer organ.

It is this organ that eventually saved the theater from its eventual slating for demolition.

Now, the Alabama Theater is a nonprofit that still offers frequent entertainment.

Seating 2,500 people, it has come a long way since it was a mere vessel for vaudeville and performance arts.

As the only district theater in the state still operating, it’s certainly one of the best things to do in Alabama.

Address: 1817 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

33. Town of Spectre

Town of Spectre

Jason Biro / flickr

The Town of Spectre is a fictional town that you may recognize from Big Fish, a film from 2003.

In the movie, the main character visits Spectre multiple times, going as a child to find it beautiful and bright, and arriving later to find it dilapidated.

The lead then works to fix it and, the final time he visits it, it’s all fixed up and good as new.

It’s whimsical and melancholy – even more so when you consider the current state of the set of Spectre.

Spectre was built along the Alabama River, on a private island.

Its facades were left to stand there when filming was over, along with all the other dressings of the set.

The reason it looks so run-down is because that version of Spectre was the last to be filmed, so it already looked intentionally bad when filming wrapped.

Some of the buildings have begun to collapse over time, and one of them led to a fire when debris collapsed and the owners attempted to save it.

Sparks burned and most of the commercial part of Spectre was destroyed.

A river house was also demolished due to flooding that damaged it.

Spectre is still a fun option for what to do, but much smaller now.

Only six homes, two trees, a church, and columns from an important building remain.

If you loved the film, you can leave your shoes at the long line already existing here, left behind by visitors.

Address: Dirt road near, Cypress Ln, Millbrook, AL 36054, United States

34. Civil Rights Memorial

Civil Rights Memorial

Danny E Hooks / Shutterstock

The Civil Rights Memorial of Alabama is located across the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Despite being harrowing in nature, it is one of the best places to visit to feel the symbolic gravity of the movement for civil rights.

It bears the names of 40 individuals who died between the years 1954 and 1968 in their fight for equality.

The years were chosen because the former is when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against racial segregation in schools and the latter is when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The memorial is always watched by a guard in order to prevent vandalism.

It was designed by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin and was dedicated in the year 1989.

The design of the memorial is water-themed and is meant to appear healing and relaxing.

It is a nod to King’s own words from his famous speech: “…we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”.

Address: 400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104, United States

35. Orange Beach

Orange Beach

Sara Louise Singer / Shutterstock

Orange Beach is one of the famous places in Alabama because it’s one of the few beach getaways that offers sand and surf fun.

It rests along the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline and spans 32 miles.

Orange Beach has golf courses, fishing events, nature preserves, and plenty of white sand to enjoy.

You can rent a boat, bask in the sun, go for a cruise, partake in fishing, or even look for dolphins!

36. GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

Stephanie A Sellers / Shutterstock

The GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the best ways to get a true look into the Gulf of Mexico.

As the only maritime museum dedicated to its subject on the planet, it’s paramount of the list of where to go for education about this gulf at the end of Alabama.

Situated on the Mobile River, the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is an interactive location, making it one of the only interactive museums of this theme in the United States.

It is built inside the container ship of the SS McLean as a symbol of the 1950s concept of containerization.

Address: 155 S Water St, Mobile, AL 36602, United States


Auburn is a college town, through and through.

You won’t find another place that is more quintessential to the concept of Alabama colleges.

It’s home to the famous football team, the Auburn Tigers, and the school pride is evident virtually in all the places to visit you’ll encounter.

There are plenty of fun spots throughout Auburn worth visiting.

Whether you’re looking for art, good food, nature, shopping, or sports, you’re sure to find something here that will entice you.

Experience a slice of the world of university life and feel young again – or feel like you’re all grown up!

38. Hank Williams’s Gravesite

Hank Williams's Gravesite

More than 25,000 individuals take a trip to Hank Williams’s Gravesite annually, which makes it a surprising addition to the top list of Alabama attractions.

It is located in Montgomery, Alabama in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex.

Williams’ enjoyed a short career in music, but it was nothing if not memorable.

Superfans of Williams have plucked the grass from around his grave so much that it was eventually replaced completely with Astroturf, which makes the grave – and the grave of Williams’ wife, Audrey, stand out significantly.

The artificial bright green contrasts with the natural hues of every place around it.

Address: 1269-1399 Upper Wetumpka Rd, Montgomery, AL, United States

39. Neversink Pit

Neversink Pit

Jimmy Emerson, DVM / flickr

The Neversink Pit is one of Alabama’s more unique tourist attractions.

It is located in the north of the state and is a bit of a cross between a cave and a sinkhole.

It’s a majestic sight to behold, which is probably why it’s not just a hotspot for climbers, but for photographers as well.

The Neversink Pit is a magnificent geological marvel.

It measures 40 feet in width at its peak entrance and drops by a whopping 162 feet to a floor nearly 80 feet in width.

Many people aim to climb it, and they’re greeted by different vistas each season.

In the spring, ribbons of water fall after the rain.

In the summer, rare species of ferns drape over the sides.

In the winter, ice sheets make things extra chilly. It’s equal parts fun, intimidating, and breathtaking.

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy spent years trying to keep the Neversink Pit pristine before purchasing the property entirely with donations in 1995.

The organization now maintains watch over the pit’s ecology and overseas guest activity.

This is especially important because of the endangered plants growing in the Neversink Pit and the vulnerable “community” of bats that calls this cave home.

Address: Unnamed Road, Fackler, AL 35746, United States

40. Sloss Furnaces

Sloss Furnaces

IA Fillm Group / Shutterstock

The Sloss Furnaces is an incredibly national historic landmark and one of the most unique things to do in Birmingham, Alabama .

In 1882, the furnaces began their function as a blast furnace for pig-iron.

In 1971, the Sloss Furnaces site was shut down, and it was then preserved as one of the things to see for the public.

The fascinating structures were named after Colonel James Withers Sloss, one of Birmingham’s founders who promoted the development of railroads.

He built this company on land spanning 50 acres, which was donated for the purposes of industrial growth.

Only two furnaces could be built even on that huge amount of space.

Each furnace is 60 feet in height and 18 feet in width, and they are surrounded by the items, machines, and tools used in the pig-iron production process.

Sloss eventually sold his company when he wanted to retire.

The park then expanded, accommodating new boilers, and they soon grew to be one of the world’s biggest industry players.

Cottages were set up for workers to live in and improvements were made repeatedly throughout the years.

They were shut down after the passing of the US Clean Air Act.

The Alabama State Fair Authority then received them as a donation and preservationists made sure the site was saved instead of demolished.

The Sloss Furnaces now function as an industrial museum, providing a globally renowned metal arts program and teaching visitors an interpretive history of the industry.

It is also often used as a venue for concerts and festivals, and there’s no entry fee, so it’s one of the few free things to do in the state.

Address: 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222, United States

41. Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock

The Natural Bridge is one of the must see points of interest in Alabama.

It is surrounded by unbelievably lush foliage as well as delightful and awe-inspiring rock formations, but the uniqueness of this bridge, made of iron ore and sandstone, outshines them all.

Over 200 million years ago, this bridge was slowly being formed outside what is now known as the William Bankhead National Forest.

It spans the area of a cave and measures 148 feet in length and 50 feet in height.

Native Americans have lived here for centuries, and it became a national park in 1954.

You cannot walk over the bridge now due to safety, but it’s amazing enough to walk through and take photos.

If you walk a little farther, you’ll find a mysterious Native American head carving believed to depict a former chief.

Address: County RD 314, Natural Bridge, AL 35577, United States

42. Southeastern Raptor Center

Southeastern Raptor Center

Josh Hallett / flickr

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Alabama, you can’t go wrong with the Southeastern Raptor Center .

Founded in the mid-1970s, it was created after Dr. Milton received requests to help injured birds that had been taken to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Auburn University.

Eventually, donations and volunteer work allowed for the creation of the raptor barn, followed by a housing area.

The Southeastern Raptor Center has since helped thousands of birds of prey, treating them and releasing them into the wild as one of the top specialists for this field in Alabama.

As such, the center is an amazing option among places to visit in the state, especially for bird enthusiasts.

Address: 1350 Pratt-Carden Dr, Auburn, AL 36849, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Alabama

Alabama’s places to visit are fun, exciting, and unique.

Whether you’ve got a huge budget or want something free, there are sure to be Alabama vacation spots that fit your idea of the perfect holiday.

Hopefully, this travel guide has helped you determine your own picks for the top things to do in Alabama!

What to do In Southern Alabama, AL

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Recommended activities in Southern Alabama

Tours & day trips.

Orange Beach Dolphin Eco Boat Tour

Orange Beach Dolphin Eco Boat Tour

Orange Beach Islands 3-Hour Excursion

Orange Beach Islands 3-Hour Excursion

Selma Civil Rights Walk of Freedom Self Guided GPS APP Audio Tour

Selma Civil Rights Walk of Freedom Self Guided GPS APP Audio Tour

Orange Beach 1.5-Hour Bay Cruise

Orange Beach 1.5-Hour Bay Cruise

Historic Alabama Coast Private Tour from Biloxi

Historic Alabama Coast Private Tour from Biloxi

Downtown Mobile Food Tour

Downtown Mobile Food Tour

Montgomery Civil Rights Walk of Freedom Self Guided (GPS) Walking Tour

Montgomery Civil Rights Walk of Freedom Self Guided (GPS) Walking Tour

Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Mobile by Zombie Scavengers

Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Mobile by Zombie Scavengers

Walking Food Tour of Downtown Fairhope

Walking Food Tour of Downtown Fairhope

Orange Beach Tower Paddle Board Rental with Delivery and Pickup

Orange Beach Tower Paddle Board Rental with Delivery and Pickup

Wildlife & nature.

Alabama Gulf Coast Dolphin Cruise

Alabama Gulf Coast Dolphin Cruise

Big Fun Dolphin Cruise & Sealife Experience ORANGE BEACH ALABAMA

Big Fun Dolphin Cruise & Sealife Experience ORANGE BEACH ALABAMA

Dolphins and Wildlife Kayak Experience from Gulf Shores

Dolphins and Wildlife Kayak Experience from Gulf Shores

Orange Beach: Sunset Sailing Cruise

Orange Beach: Sunset Sailing Cruise

Dolphin and Nature Sunset Cruise from Orange Beach

Dolphin and Nature Sunset Cruise from Orange Beach

90 Minutes Dolphin Cruise from Orange Beach

90 Minutes Dolphin Cruise from Orange Beach

2-Hour Dolphin and Nature Eco Tour from Orange Beach

2-Hour Dolphin and Nature Eco Tour from Orange Beach

Orange Beach: Dolphin-Watching Eco-Boat Tour

Orange Beach: Dolphin-Watching Eco-Boat Tour

Water activities.

Delta Wildlife Kayak Tour

Delta Wildlife Kayak Tour

Places to go in southern alabama.

Welcome, traveler, to Southern Alabama. Your journey has landed you here, and new adventures are calling your name. Now that you’ve arrived, you can stay in the safety and comfort of your hotel and watch the world spin past…or you can embrace this new place you’ve come to. Learn its streets. Meet its people. Learn its history. Your hand is already on the doorknob, isn’t it?

Things to Do in Southern Alabama

You’ll not be wanting for things to do in Southern Alabama. Explore the downtown area in search of museums and boutiques…or that next delicious meal. What tickles your fancy? A delectable five-course supper at the restaurant you’ve been hearing about? Or perhaps you’d rather read the paper while sipping hot coffee at one of the cafes scattered throughout town. Take in a show at the theatre, or just walk along down the main thoroughfare, watching people wander past.

Why spend hours ruminating over what to do in Southern Alabama? Let the possibilities wash over you as you explore this new region. Move out on foot and get to know the area on a more personal level. Find that perfect souvenir at one of the smaller shops, or reinvent your entire artistic aesthetic at your new favorite gallery.

Is the wind whispering suggestions in your mind? Rent a car and take it out beyond city limits and into the wild blue yonder. Explore the smaller cities and towns past the border, and get to know the stories behind them. Visit a county fair and let childhood memories wash over you as cotton candy melts in your mouth. Sample hand-made jam at a stop on a forgotten highway, or let the hustle and bustle of modern life sweep you away as you lose yourself in the organized chaos of a modern metropolis. Your choices are endless—and so are the adventures to come.

When you book your journey with Travelocity, you’re never far from Southern Alabama attractions. After all, the money you save when you plan a trip with us is best spent along the way. Whether it’s the roar of the city you crave, or the quiet solitude that comes with a simpler getaway, everything you need to get started is right here.

Popular places to visit

Fort morgan.

Learn about the local history of Fort Morgan with a stop at Fort Morgan. Wander the beautiful beaches in this family-friendly area.

The Park at OWA

Bring the family to The Park at OWA and have a fun-filled day at this amusement park in Foley. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in this family-friendly area.

Perdido Key Beach

Why not spend a lazy afternoon at Perdido Key Beach during your trip to Pensacola? Experience the area's great live music and acclaimed theater scene.

Gulf State Park

Stretch out on long white-sand beaches at this oceanfront state park. Drive up your heart rate with extreme activities, such as zip lining and parasailing.

Auburn University

Enjoy the collegiate vibe around Auburn University, a top college in Auburn - Opelika. You can attend a sporting event while in the area.

Explore the waterfront in Orange Beach with a trip to The Wharf. Amble around this family-friendly area's beautiful beaches or attend a sporting event.

Places to visit

  • Gulf Shores Beach Vacations
  • Fort Morgan Vacations
  • Mobile Cruise Terminal Vacations
  • Gulf State Park Vacations
  • The Wharf Vacations
  • USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park Vacations
  • Wind Creek Casino Vacations
  • Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex Vacations
  • Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka Vacations
  • Alabama State University Vacations
  • Troy University Vacations
  • Alabama Safari Park Vacations
  • Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Vacations
  • Adventure Island Vacations
  • Creek Casino Montgomery Vacations
  • Civil Rights Memorial Vacations
  • Waterville USA Vacations
  • Wiregrass Commons Mall Vacations
  • Montgomery Zoo Vacations

Things do in destinations worldwide

  • Things To Do In Cancun
  • Things To Do In Las Vegas
  • Things To Do In Nassau
  • Things To Do In Myrtle Beach
  • Things To Do In Miami
  • Things To Do In Punta Cana
  • Things To Do In Orlando
  • Things To Do In Puerto Rico
  • Things To Do In Florida Keys
  • Things To Do In Gulf Shores
  • Things To Do In Chicago
  • Things To Do In Panama City
  • Things To Do In Maui
  • Things To Do In Bermuda
  • Things To Do In New York
  • Things To Do In Pensacola
  • Things To Do In San Diego
  • Things To Do In Nashville
  • Things To Do In Atlantic City

More ways to wander Southern Alabama

Most popular.

  • Anniston/Gadsden

Eclipse 2024: Time, best places to watch, latest weather forecast, ZIP code tool, what will you see?

  • Updated: Apr. 08, 2024, 3:05 p.m. |
  • Published: Apr. 07, 2024, 9:16 a.m.

eclipse 2024

FILE - This combination of photos shows the path of the sun during a total eclipse by the moon Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore. AP

The Great North American eclipse is Monday, April 8 and skywatchers – with proper glasses, of course – are ready to see the moon blocking out the sun during a solar eclipse.

What you will see, how long it will last and when it will take place will depend on where you live. While all states in the contiguous U.S. will experience some level of the eclipse, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as small parts of Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee are along the path of totality and will experience the greatest periods of darkness.

In the U.S., the path of totality will start in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CT and will end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. ET (2:25 CT.) In those states, the periods of greatest darkness will reach up to 4 minutes, 27 seconds.

Here’s everything you need to know about the total solar eclipse 2024:

2024 eclipse primer

Total solar eclipse on April 8: Why this eclipse will be much different than the 2017 version

Scientists say the sun is approaching its maximum activity of its cycle this year, meaning it will be sending off more solar flares and eruptions from its surface — potentially making this year’s total solar eclipse much more dynamic.

Best places to watch the eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse April 8: Map shows 15 best states to see April’s total solar eclipse

The path of totality will start in Mexico and move across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine before heading out over the North Atlantic. Small portions of Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee will also experience almost the entirety of the eclipse. The eclipse will enter Canada in Southern Ontario, and continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. The eclipse will exit continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NDT.

Where to see solar eclipse 2024: NASA eclipse map shows best places along path of totality

During the eclipse, the sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, people in the path of totality will be able to see the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the bright face of the sun, NASA explains. Outside the path of totality, viewers will see a partial eclipse with the moon covering varying degrees of the sun.

How much will you see where you live?

April 8 eclipse in Alabama: How much coverage you’ll see in your city and when

Although Alabama is not in the path of “totality” during the April 8 eclipse – meaning we won’t see total darkness when the moon covers the sun – residents will see from 78 to 92 percent coverage, depending on location.

Total solar eclipse path 2024: Search your city, ZIP code for best viewing times

People viewing the eclipse from the path of totality will be treated to the ghostly-white outer atmosphere of the sun, known as the corona, when the moon completely blocks out the sun’s disk during the total eclipse, NASA explained. Along the path, the sun will be blocked out for about 4-and-a-half minutes.

April 8 solar eclipse path of totality: What time does the eclipse start?

Wondering how much of the eclipse you will see? NASA has a tool that lets you search by city or ZIP code to see complete eclipse details. You can use this tool to see when the eclipse will start and end in every state.

Eclipse weather

Alabama solar eclipse weather: Will skies be cloudy or clear?

A big question, for a lot of the nation, is how clear the skies will be for prime eclipse viewing. An updated forecast from the National Weather Service looks like a mixed bag.

Solar eclipse weather forecast from Accuweather for Monday

The solar eclipse forecast for Monday from AccuWeather shows a mix of low to high amounts of cloud cover across the United States. Viewers in New Jersey can expect some increasing clouds, according to the latest forecast. AccuWeather.com

Eclipse education

Solar eclipse 2024 for kids: How to enjoy the event safely at home and in class

From building your own safety glasses to taking scientific data, researchers say there are plenty of ways to make the upcoming solar eclipse a fun learning experience for children.

Why are some schools closing for the solar eclipse?

The April 8 total solar eclipse will have millions of people gazing toward the sky as the moon tracks its way in front of the sun. And while some schools have special events planned, others – especially along the 15-state path of totality – are closing their doors that day.

NASA has a game to help kids learn about the solar eclipse: Play now

To help kids learn about solar eclipses, NASA is launching Snap It! An Eclipse Photo Adventure.

Eclipse safety

Solar eclipse 2024: Where to get free glasses to watch April 8 total solar eclipse

Skygazers planning to look at the eclipse through a camera lens or binoculars still need adequate eye protection. Without proper precaution, the sun’s rays can burn your retinas and cause severe eye injury.

Solar eclipse is Monday: 7 things to do if you’re driving that day

Crowds eager to see the eclipse are expected to be huge. According to AAA, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio are the most popular cities for eclipse viewers, followed by Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo. In Dallas alone, Hertz rental car company said it is seeing six times more reservations than last year at this same time.

Solar eclipse on April 8 prompts cell phone warning

In addition to warnings about transportation systems, impacts on emergency service responses and fuel issues brought about increased demand, law enforcement said people should expect the cellular network to be strained.

How to spot fake solar eclipse glasses

Despite the ease of getting glasses, skygazers should be on the lookout for fake eclipse glasses. Real eclipse glasses are often designed with polyester film coated and coated in aluminum. Certified eclipse eyewear is designed to block all visible, and infrared light. Solar eclipse glasses must be from a vendor approved by the American Astronomical Society.

FAA issues warning ahead of April 8 total solar eclipse

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a warning about possible travel disruptions related to the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Cell phone warning for April 8 solar eclipse: Will you be able to use your phone?

Warnings about traffic, flight congestion and emergency services are circulating ahead of the April 8 Great American Eclipse. Of particular note are concerns over cell phones and whether they will work during the eclipse.

April 8 total solar eclipse: Texas officials warn people to stock up on food ahead of solar eclipse

Mike Jones, Hays County, Texas’s direct of the Office of Emergency Services, said the area is expecting thousands of visitors to arrive to see the eclipse. To prepare for the crowds, Jones advised residents to stock up on groceries and fill up on gas. If they are out on the day of the eclipse, he recommends residents “pack your patience.”

National Guard will be deployed for total solar eclipse on April 8

At the request of local emergency management officials, the Oklahoma National Guard will have members of the 63rd Civil Support Team available to assist local governments during the eclipse, including working with first responders with additional HAZMAT responses if needed.

Total solar eclipse on April 8: How to safely look at an eclipse

Except during the brief total phase of the eclipse when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face, it’s not safe to look at the eclipse without specialized eye protection for solar viewing, NASA said on its eclipse information page. If you’re watching the eclipse directly, you will need solar viewing glasses – also known as eclipse glasses – or a handheld solar viewer.

Eclipse fun

Krispy Kreme is releasing a new doughnut in celebration of the solar eclipse

The doughnut chain has announced its limited-time “Total Solar Eclipse Doughnut” – an original Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut dipped in black chocolate icing and topped with silver sprinkles, piped with a buttercream made with Oreo pieces and a whole Oreo cookie in the center.

April 8 total solar eclipse: Why you should wear red or green on eclipse day

Experts have another recommendation if you’re planning on watching the eclipse in a group or public place: Skip the neutrals and wear red and green.

Sun Chips eclipse flavors: You will have less than 5 minutes to score limited-edition chips

The chip brand is releasing Pineapple Habanero and Black Bean Spicy Gouda, a blend of ingredients with a nod to " sunny skies and bright days ahead while nodding to the moon with a cheesy touch.”

Sonic has new black drink for April 8 total solar eclipse and you get free eclipse glasses, too

The drive-through chain is launching a limited-edition drink called “Blackout Slush Float” to give fans an “out-of-this world experience.”

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Watch CBS News

Solar eclipse maps show 2024 totality path, peak times and how much of the eclipse people could see across the U.S.

By Aliza Chasan

Updated on: April 9, 2024 / 5:00 AM EDT / CBS News

A total solar eclipse  crossed North America Monday with parts of 15 U.S. states within the path of totality. Maps show  where and when astronomy fans could see the big event  as skies darkened in the middle of the day Monday, April 8.

The total eclipse first appeared along Mexico's Pacific Coast at around 11:07 a.m. PDT, then traveled across a swath of the U.S., from Texas to Maine, and into Canada.

About 31.6 million people live in the path of totality , the area where the moon fully blocked out the sun , according to NASA. The path ranged between 108 and 122 miles wide. An additional 150 million people live within 200 miles of the path of totality.

Solar eclipse path of totality map for 2024

United states map showing the path of the 2024 solar eclipse and specific regions of what the eclipse duration will be.

The total solar eclipse started over the Pacific Ocean, and the first location in continental North America that experienced totality was Mexico's Pacific Coast, around 11:07 a.m. PDT, according to NASA. From there, the path continued into Texas, crossing more than a dozen states before the eclipse enters Canada in southern Ontario. The eclipse exited continental North America at around 5:16 p.m. NDT from Newfoundland, Canada.

The path of totality included portions of the following states:

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Hampshire

Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan also experienced the total solar eclipse.

Several major cities across the U.S. were included in the eclipse's path of totality, while many others saw a partial eclipse. These were some of the best major cities for eclipse viewing — though the weather was a factor :

  • San Antonio, Texas (partially under the path)
  • Austin, Texas
  • Waco, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Rochester, New York
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Burlington, Vermont

Map of when the solar eclipse reached totality across its path

The eclipse began in the U.S. as a partial eclipse beginning at 12:06 p.m. CDT near Eagle Pass, Texas, before progressing to totality by about 1:27 p.m. CDT and then moving along its path to the northeast over the following few hours.

Eclipse map of totality

NASA shared times for several cities in the path of totality across the U.S. People could have also  checked their ZIP code on NASA's map  to see when the eclipse was to reach them if they were on, or near, the path of totality — or if they saw a partial eclipse instead.

How much of the eclipse did people see if they live outside the totality path?

While the April 8 eclipse covered a wide swath of the U.S., outside the path of totality observers may have spotted a partial eclipse, where the moon covers some, but not all, of the sun, according to NASA. The closer they were to the path of totality, the larger the portion of the sun that was hidden.

NASA allowed viewers to input a ZIP code and see how much of the sun was to be covered in their locations.

Could there be cloud cover be during the solar eclipse?

Some areas along the path of totality had a higher likelihood of cloud cover that could interfere with viewing the eclipse. Here is a map showing the historical trends in cloud cover this time of year. 

You could have checked the latest forecast for your location with our partners at The Weather Channel .

United States map showing the percent of cloud cover in various regions of the eclipse path on April 8. The lakeshore region will be primarily affected.

Where did the solar eclipse reach totality for the longest?

Eclipse viewers near Torreón, Mexico, got to experience totality for the longest. Totality there lasted 4 minutes, 28 seconds, according to NASA. 

Most places along the centerline of the path of totality saw a totality duration of between 3.5 and 4 minutes, according to NASA. Some places in the U.S. came close to the maximum; Kerrville, Texas, had a totality duration of 4 minutes, 24 seconds.

What is the path of totality for the 2044 solar eclipse?

The next total solar eclipse that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. will be on Aug. 23, 2044.

Astronomy fans in the U.S. will have far fewer opportunities to see the 2044 eclipse they had on April 8. NASA has not yet made maps available for the 2044 eclipse but, according to The Planetary Society , the path of totality will only touch three states.

The 2024 eclipse will start in Greenland, pass over Canada and end as the sun sets in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the Planetary Society.

Map showing the path of the 2044 total solar eclipse from Greenland, Canada and parts of the United States.

Aliza Chasan is a digital producer at 60 Minutes and CBSNews.com. She has previously written for outlets including PIX11 News, The New York Daily News, Inside Edition and DNAinfo. Aliza covers trending news, often focusing on crime and politics.

More from CBS News

When the 2024 eclipse starts, peaks and ends in the Sacramento area

Is it safe to take pictures of the solar eclipse with your phone?

Woman shoots drivers, says God told her to because of eclipse

Why do you need special glasses to watch a solar eclipse? Doctors explain.

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southern alabama places to visit

Solar eclipse 2024: Follow the path of totality

Solar eclipse, here's what time the eclipse will be visible in your region.

Emily Alfin Johnson

southern alabama places to visit

Visitors look through a pair of oversized eclipse glasses set up in the town square on Sunday in Houlton, Maine. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

Visitors look through a pair of oversized eclipse glasses set up in the town square on Sunday in Houlton, Maine.

On Monday, a solar eclipse will cross from Texas to Maine, putting over 30 million people in the path of totality , with a partial eclipse visible briefly for millions more.

Monday's weather forecast for the path of totality

Totality in the U.S. starts around 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 ET and continues until 2:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. ET, lasting for a few minutes in each location.

The folks at NASA have a detailed breakdown for anyone in the U.S. Just pop in your ZIP code .

If you're lucky enough to find yourself in the path of totality, you can also find a minute-by-minute breakdown of when totality begins in your area, here.

More resources to enjoy the eclipse

  • Sharing the eclipse with tiny humans?  Check out these  kid-friendly total solar eclipse learning guides  from Vermont Public's  But Why,  and this great explainer from KERA Kids on  the difference between a solar and a lunar eclipse .
  • Feeling whimsical?  Here are three ways to  sprinkle a little magic into your eclipse experience .
  • Plan to wander into the wild for the best view?   Here are some tips from outdoor experts.
  • Tips from Bill Nye  on the best ways to enjoy the eclipse.

NPR will be sharing highlights here from across the NPR Network throughout the day Monday if you're unable to get out and see it in real time.

Your last-minute guide to Monday's total solar eclipse

Photo Illustration: The phases of a total solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse will cross North America on Monday , offering millions a rare opportunity to see afternoon skies temporarily darken as the moon blocks the face of the sun.

Tune into NBC News NOW as Lester Holt hosts a two-hour special at 2 p.m. ET Monday from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The eclipse's path fortuitously cuts across Mexico, 15 U.S. states and a small part of eastern Canada. In all other states in the continental U.S., viewers will be treated to a partial solar eclipse, with the moon appearing to take a bite out of the sun and obscuring part of its light.

Here’s everything you need to know about the rare celestial event.

What is a solar eclipse?

Solar eclipses occur when the sun, moon and Earth align. The moon passes between Earth and sun, temporarily blocking the sun’s light and casting a shadow on Earth.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon fully obscures the sun, whereas a partial solar eclipse means it blocks just a portion of the sun’s face.

Solar eclipses occur only with the new moon. Because the moon’s orbit around Earth is tilted, the three bodies don’t always line up in a way that creates an eclipse.

“Imagine if the moon’s orbit were in the plane of Earth’s orbit around the sun — if that were the case, then every new moon, you’d have a total solar eclipse and every full moon, you’d have a lunar eclipse,” Neil DeGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, told NBC News. “So, because things don’t always align, it lends to the rarity of the event and the specialness of the event.”

Where and when will the eclipse be visible?

This year’s eclipse will follow a slightly wider path over more populated areas of the continental U.S. than other total solar eclipses have in the recent past.

NASA estimates that 31.6 million people live within what’s known as the path of totality, where the total solar eclipse will be visible. An additional 150 million people live within 200 miles of the path, according to the agency.

The path travels through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Tiny parts of Michigan and Tennessee will also be able to witness totality if conditions are clear.

After the eclipse crosses into Canada, it will pass over southern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, at the eastern end of Nova Scotia.

Those outside the path of totality can still take part in the astronomical event by viewing a partial solar eclipse — visible throughout all 48 states of the contiguous U.S. — or a NASA livestream.

The timing, including how long totality lasts, depends on the location, but some spots will see the moon fully cover the sun for up to 4 minutes and 28 seconds.

Below is a list of timings for some cities along the path of totality, as  provided by NASA . A number of other resources, including NationalEclipse.com  and  TimeandDate.com , can also help people plan.

  • Dallas: Partial eclipse begins at 12:23 p.m. CT and totality at 1:40 p.m.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: Partial eclipse begins at 12:33 p.m. CT and totality at 1:51 p.m.
  • Cleveland: Partial eclipse begins at 1:59 p.m. ET and totality at 3:13 p.m.
  • Buffalo, New York: Partial eclipse begins at 2:04 p.m. ET and totality at 3:18 p.m.
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: Partial eclipse begins at 2:16 p.m. ET and totality at 3:27 p.m.

This composite image of thirteen photographs shows the progression of a total solar eclipse

How to safely view a solar eclipse

It is never safe to gaze directly at the sun, even when it is partly or mostly covered by the moon. Special eclipse glasses or  pinhole projectors  are required to safely view solar eclipses and prevent eye damage. Failing to take the proper precautions can result in severe eye injury,  according to NASA .

Eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than normal sunglasses and specially made to enable wearers to look at the sun during these kinds of celestial events.

Sky-watchers should also never view any part of the sun through binoculars, telescopes or camera lenses unless they have specific solar filters attached. Eclipse glasses should not be used with these devices, as they will not provide adequate protection.

However, during the few minutes of totality, when the moon is fully blocking the sun, it is safe to look with the naked eye.

Image: Tyler Hanson

Beware of fake eclipse glasses. On legitimate pairs, the lenses should have a silver appearance on the front and be black on the inside. The manufacturer’s name and address should be clearly labeled, and they should not be torn or punctured. Check, as well, for the ISO logo and the code “IS 12312-2” printed on the inside.

If you don’t have eclipse glasses, you can make a homemade pinhole projector, which lets sunlight in through a small hole, focuses it and projects it onto a piece of paper, wall or other surface to create an image of the sun that is safe to look at. 

All you need is two pieces of white cardboard or plain white paper, aluminum foil and a pin or thumbtack. Cut a 1- to 2-inch square or rectangle out of the center of a piece of white paper or cardboard. Tape aluminum foil over that cut-out shape, then use a pin or thumbtack to poke a tiny hole in the foil.

During the eclipse, place a second piece of white paper or cardboard on the ground as a screen and hold the projector with the foil facing up and your back to the sun. Adjusting how far you hold the projector from the second piece of paper will alter the size of the image on the makeshift screen.

What to look for while viewing the total solar eclipse

For people along the path of totality, there are some fun milestones to keep track of as the total solar eclipse unfolds.

As the eclipse progresses and the sun gets thinner in the sky, it will start to get eerily dark, according to Tyson.

The "diamond ring effect" is shown following totality of the solar eclipse at Palm Cove in Australia's Tropical North Queensland in 2012.

When the last beams of sunlight are about to become obscured, look out for the “diamond ring effect”: The sun’s atmosphere will appear as an illuminated halo, and the last light still visible will look like the diamond of a giant ring.

As the sunlight decreases even further, an effect known as Baily’s beads will be created by the moon’s rugged terrain. Tiny “beads” of light will be visible for only a few seconds around the dark moon, as the last bits of sunlight peer through the moon’s mountains and valleys.

When the moon is fully blocking the sun, it is safe to remove eclipse glasses and look at the total solar eclipse with the naked eye.

The Bailey's Beads effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon.

Some lucky sky-watchers may even catch a glimpse of a comet .

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks — nicknamed the “ devil comet ” because an eruption last year left it with two distinct trails of gas and ice in the shape of devil horns — is currently visible from the Northern Hemisphere as it swings through the inner solar system.

The comet can be seen in the early evenings by gazing toward the west-northwest horizon. During the eclipse, when skies darken during totality, it may be possible to see the comet near Jupiter, but its visibility will depend on whether it’s in the middle of an outburst and thus brighter than normal.

Most likely, all eyes will be on the alignment of the moon and sun.

“Most people won’t even notice,” Tyson said. “But if you know to look, it’s there.”

When is the next solar eclipse?

The next total solar eclipse will be in 2026, but it will mostly pass over the Arctic Ocean, with some visibility in Greenland, Iceland, Portugal and northern Spain. In 2027, a total solar eclipse will be visible in Spain and a swath of northern Africa.

The next total solar eclipse visible from North America will be in 2033, but only over Alaska. Then in 2044, a total solar eclipse will cross Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, parts of Canada and Greenland.

The next total solar eclipse to cross the continental U.S. coast-to-coast in will occur in 2045. The path of totality for that eclipse will cut through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

southern alabama places to visit

Denise Chow is a reporter for NBC News Science focused on general science and climate change.

Lucas Thompson is a content producer for the NBC News Climate Unit.

Total solar eclipse 2024: Where, when, and how to watch

People in North America will be able to witness a total solar eclipse on April 8 as the moon completely blocks the sun.

total eclipse in a dark cloudy sky

Millions of people across North America will get the chance to experience a very special natural event on Monday when a total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada.

The total eclipse – which occurs when the moon completely blocks out the sun – will darken skies for a few minutes “as if it were dawn or dusk”, the US’s NASA space agency explains.

Keep reading

What to know about this week’s rare hybrid eclipse, solar eclipse wows stargazers in indonesia, australia, in pictures: solar eclipse sweeps across chile and argentina.

It will be visible from a 185km-wide (115 mile-wide) band that stretches from the western coast of Mexico, through the US, and up to Canada’s easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador – what’s known as the “path of totality”.

“Weather permitting, people along the path of totality will see the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the bright face of the sun,” NASA says on its website.

The path of totality is really “where it’s at” on Monday, said Anthony Aveni, professor emeritus at Colgate University in New York and author of the book, In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses.

“It’s that precious three minutes or so … of totality when you see a whole range of phenomena that you just don’t see in everyday life,” he told Al Jazeera. “It takes your breath away and you stop what you’re doing and gawk at nature.”

So how often do total solar eclipses occur? How long does it typically last? Where and how can you watch safely? Here’s everything you need to know.

A man looks up to observe a solar eclipse in Argentina

Where will the total eclipse be visible from, and at what time?

Monday’s total eclipse will be visible from parts of Mexico, the US and Canada.

It will enter continental North America in Mazatlan, in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, at 11:07am local time (18:07 GMT). It will exit the continent on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16pm local time (19:46 GMT).

In the US, the eclipse will enter the state of Texas at 1:27pm local time (18:27 GMT) and exit in Maine at 3:35pm local time (19:35 GMT).

It will last only a few minutes, and the exact time it will be visible depends on where you are within the path of totality.

For example, in Erie, Pennsylvania, totality starts at 3:16pm local time (19:16 GMT) and ends at 3:20pm (19:20 GMT).

It will reach Buffalo, New York, a few minutes later: there, totality starts at 3:18pm local time (19:18 GMT) and ends at 3:22pm (19:22 GMT).

A partial eclipse also will be visible for about two hours on Monday, before and after totality.


What happens during a total solar eclipse?

While the Earth and moon both orbit the sun, the moon also circles the Earth each month.

During a total solar eclipse, the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth, completely blocking the sun’s light on one side, and casting a shadow on a small area of Earth on its other side.

The dark inner part – the “umbra” – of this shadow creates a narrow track or “path” as the moon orbits the Earth. Areas on this path, and especially on its centreline, which fall directly under the shadow, are the ones from where the total eclipse will be visible.

This track is about 160km (100 miles) wide and 16,000km (10,000 miles) long.

“If it was a lunar eclipse, it would last for a few hours and people around the world could see it. But the difference is that total eclipses only happen over a specific path of that new moon,” said Khady Adama Ndao, a NASA eclipse ambassador.

This eclipse only occurs during a new moon. And the moon’s position in its orbit, relative to the sun and Earth, as well as the angles of all three at a specific time, are what create a total eclipse.

While the moon will be close enough to Earth so as to look as though it entirely covers the sun during an eclipse, in reality the moon is 400 times smaller than the sun. It’s the increased distance between the moon and the sun at the time of a total eclipse that makes the moon look like it is big enough to cover the sun.

Meanwhile, people who are close to the path of totality, but not directly in it, may see what’s known as a partial eclipse on Monday. That’s when only a part of the sun is obscured by the moon.

Areas from which a partial eclipse will be visible fall under faint parts of the moon’s wider shadow, called the “penumbra”.


What does a total eclipse look like?

As the moon moves past the sun during an eclipse, it will slowly obscure the sun – creating a dark sky – before reaching the moment of “totality”. That’s when almost the entirety of the sun will be covered, leaving only a faint circle of the sun’s light or the corona.

After a few minutes, people in the path of totality will see a partial eclipse again as the moon moves away. The sun will become fully visible again.

What else happens during the moment of totality?

There is a drop in temperature and animals also start to behave as if it’s nighttime.

The chirping patterns of birds may change, while nocturnal animals such as bats and owls may start to wake up and look for prey.

Stars and celestial objects hanging in the dark sky may also become more visible.

If a person were to stand on the moon or a space station orbiting Earth, they would also be able to see a dark shadow passing over the Earth.

total eclipse stages

How long will the total solar eclipse last on April 8?

A total solar eclipse can last between two to three hours, from the moment the moon first begins to cover the sun, until the time the moon crosses past the sun and stops obscuring it.

However, the period of totality in most places this year will last only between three and a half to four minutes.

Areas on and very close to the centreline will experience the longest period of totality while totality will last for shorter periods of time in areas farther from the centreline.

The longest period of totality on Monday – 4 minutes and 28 seconds – will occur near Torreon, Mexico. That’s because the area is closest to the point at which the shadow’s path is perpendicular to the Earth’s surface and near the central line of the umbral shadow.

In the past, totality in some places has lasted for as little as a few seconds, and as long as seven and a half minutes.

The durations of the eclipse and the period of totality differ due to a combination of factors, such as the curvature of the Earth and angle at which the moon’s shadow strikes.

Mobile applications such as “Totality” track eclipse start and end times, as well as totality durations for different cities on the total eclipse’s path.

What are some of the cultural and historical beliefs around total solar eclipses?

Total solar eclipses have captivated people for thousands of years. But in ancient civilisations, the phenomenon was often viewed as a bad omen.

In ancient China, for example, people believed that solar eclipses happened because “a celestial dragon” was eating the sun, according to NASA . As a result, people made loud noises during eclipses “to frighten the dragon away”.

The Inca people of South America believed solar eclipses were a sign of the sun god Inti’s anger.

And in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), a solar eclipse was thought to signal that the ruler was in grave danger – leading decision-makers to put a system in place known as the “substitute king”.

In order to prevent the real Assyrian king, for example, from being harmed, a substitute would be dressed up and ultimately offered as a sacrifice “for the evil fate that was destined for the true king”, explained Sarah Graff , a curator in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

According to Aveni at Colgate University, there is a tendency to view people in the past as being less intelligent or more superstitious about eclipses than people today. “But in every case, it’s an occasion to have a conversation,” he told Al Jazeera.

For instance, people made noise in the ancient Andean world during an eclipse “to alert the sun not to believe what the moon is whispering in his ear, which is that we people that live down here on Earth do bad things at night”, Aveni said. “This becomes an occasion to have a discussion about lying – that’s really what it’s about.”

A woman views a solar eclipse at Times Square in New York City

Can you watch a total solar eclipse without glasses?

Experts stress that safety is critical.

During the brief time in which the moon completely blocks out the sun, people can view the total eclipse with their naked eye.

But during the partial eclipse before and after totality, you should use specially designed, protective solar glasses or a handheld solar viewing device.

“If people look without the proper protection, they run the risk of injuring their eyes,” said B Ralph Chou , president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

“And if they get an injury, depending on how often and how long they look at the sun without the protection, they do have a substantial risk of developing a permanent loss of vision.”

This risk is due to a number of factors such as the intensity and radiation of the sun’s light, as well as the absence of pain receptors in the eye, which makes it easier to stare for too long.

Compared with a regular day, pupils may also be less dilated during an eclipse, making the bright light that enters more dangerous. “It’s like being in the dark, when all of a sudden, someone just flashes a flashlight in front of your eyes”, Ndao, the NASA eclipse ambassador, said.

How are people preparing?

Cities and towns across the path of totality have been distributing eclipse glasses to residents in the weeks leading up to Monday’s event. Museums, science centres and other institutions are holding viewing parties.

Schools in the US and Canada have announced closures on Monday to allow students to participate in eclipse-watching events. The closures also aim to avoid safety issues, as schools have raised concerns that the total eclipse coincides with school dismissal times.

Groups of people are also flying in private planes to watch the totality, said Barbara Gruber, assistant director of education and public outreach at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in the US.

While this is permitted, the US Federal Aviation Authority has put out safety advisories about flying during totality.

People watch a solar eclipse from New York City

Are you guaranteed to see the total eclipse if you’re in the path of totality?

Unfortunately not. Weather conditions will play an important factor in what hopeful eclipse-watchers will be able to see on Monday.

In other words, if it’s cloudy, that could ruin the visibility.

If you’re not in North America, several institutions will be hosting live coverage of the total eclipse, including NASA .

How often does a total solar eclipse happen?

While Monday may be the last time the US sees an eclipse for at least another nine years, a total solar eclipse generally occurs every 18 months.

Many total eclipses are only visible at sea and may not be seen by anyone at all, according to Ndao.

Additionally, once a particular area experiences a total eclipse, it may not see the return of the phenomenon for hundreds of years.

“On average a single location will experience a total solar eclipse about every 350 years, but averages can be misleading and some lucky places will get an eclipse in just a few years”, Gruber told Al Jazeera.

When is the next total solar eclipse?

The next total solar eclipse will take place on August 12, 2026, over Greenland, Iceland, and Spain. Almost exactly a year later, on August 2, 2027, one will be visible from northern Africa, Gibraltar, and the Saudi peninsula.

In the US, the next total eclipse will occur in 2033 but will only be visible from Alaska.

Western Canada, Montana and North Dakota will witness a total eclipse in 2044 and, the following year, people in the US will be able to see a total eclipse from coast to coast, according to NRAO.

Experts say a day will come, however, when total eclipses will stop occurring altogether – but not for quite a while.

As the universe expands with the moon moving further away from the Earth each year, and the sun gets bigger, the moon will eventually become too small in the sky to block the whole sun.

That day is still a distant reality though. A NASA study in 2017 estimated that total eclipses would end in 563 million years.


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I’ve Lived In The South All My Life—And These Are The 10 Most Underrated Destinations

southern alabama places to visit

Brown W. Cannon III

There are some Southern places that everyone knows: Charleston , New Orleans , Savannah . We know them. We love them. We’ve either been before or have added them to our travel bucket lists. But outside of those heavy hitters, the South is home to thousands of destinations that get far less attention but are worthy of our time all the same. From lesser-known national parks to small towns with surprisingly impressive attractions, these hidden gem destinations run the gamut, offering something to pique the interest of all kinds of travelers. If you’re a seasoned Southern traveler looking for somewhere new to explore, these underrated destinations are a great place to find inspiration for your next trip. Check out these 10 spots and let us know your favorite undiscovered places in the South .

Mammoth Cave National Park

Between Yellowstone and Yosemite (and dozens of other parks in between), the West is known for being home to the country’s most mind-blowing national parks. And while the South gets credit for having the most-visited park in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, many people overlook our region’s other parks. Located in south-central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park’s limestone formations and underground passageways make up a 400-mile-long system that showcase Earth's evolutionary stages and is the longest known cave system on the planet. Explore its mysterious tunnels on one of the park’s many guided cave tours that range from a wheelchair accessible tour to one that requires crawling. You can even see the cave by lantern.

Crystal River, Florida

For anyone who’s ever dreamt of swimming with dolphins only to be disappointed by a commercialized experience at a theme park or zoo, Crystal River is a must visit. The small town on the western coast of Florida (located 80 miles north of Tampa) is one of the only places in the U.S. where you can swim with manatees in the wild. Every winter, around 800 manatees seek refuge in the warm waters of Crystal River’s Kings Bay and its 70 natural springs. From November to March, visitors and locals suit up and take the chilly plunge to spend face-to-face time with these gentle giants. Dozens of outfitters are on standby to help you have this once-in-a-lifetime, talk-about-forever experience.

Coastal Mississippi

If Florida’s coast is the height of desire for beach vacations (with coastal destinations in the Carolinas, Alabama, and Georgia following somewhere behind), then Mississippi’s coast might be even more of a distant thought. But for those in on the secret, places like Ocean Springs, Gulfport, and Bay St. Louis are hardly second fiddles. With 62 miles of scenic coastline, there’s plenty of room to spread out in the sand. But that’s far from all Coastal Mississippi has to offer. Each of its town offers its own distinctive personality, from artsy, eclectic Ocean Springs to buzzy Gulfport .

Hot Springs National Park

Robbie Caponetto

Another under-the-radar national park, Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas is one of those places you have to see (and feel) to believe. Nestled in the gorgeous Ouachita Mountains, the park is comprised of 47 natural springs, where steam rises from the earth as if by magic. Explore the park (and its historic bath houses), then stick around to see what else the town has to offer, from the 210-acre botanical paradise Garvan Woodland Gardens to three major lakes where you can enjoy watersports.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

This tiny town, national park, and historic site on the West Virginia-Maryland state line is a three-in-one combo that delivers on all fronts. You can get gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a scenic hike to the precipice of the Maryland Heights Overlook Trail. You can walk through the historic streets of Lower Town to see 19 th century architecture by way of Victorian homes and 150-year-old row buildings. Some are filled with new boutiques and restaurants, while others are living history museums that demonstrate what life was like in the 1800s. And you can do it all with a charming bed and breakfast as a cozy home base.

Fort Payne, Alabama

This small North Alabama town may not seem like much, but when you consider its incredibly high concentration of stunning natural attractions all located within one easy-to-navigate area, it’s a bit of a wonder more people haven’t caught on to its charms. DeSoto State Park , Little River Canyon National Preserve , and Little River Falls are just a few of its many outdoor-focused points of interest. In fact, Little River Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the East. We admit it’s not quite as magnificent as the one out west, but it sure is a lot easier to get to—and you won’t have to battle crowds to get the perfect picture.   

Virginia Wine Country

When people think of American wine country, a few places immediately come to mind: Napa Valley, Sonoma County, maybe even Willamette Valley in Oregon. The South probably isn’t a first thought, but Virginia’s wine country absolutely should be. Virginia is recognized as the birthplace of American wine, since colonists attempted the craft in the early 17 th century. Today the state is home to more than 300 wineries spread largely across northern and central Virginia. The rolling hills and lush vineyards create a stunning backdrop for a tasting, and the wines more than hold their own. In 2023, Wine Enthusiast even named the Charlottesville area the Wine Region of the Year.

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Charming Blue Ridge Mountain towns are a dime a dozen in North Carolina. From Brevard to Boone to Blowing Rock, each community brings its own flair. And of course they all have gorgeous views and great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Probably the area's most popular destination, Asheville gets thousands of visitors each year, but if you want to escape the crowds, head 20 minutes east to Black Mountain. This quaint town has all the makings of a great vacation destination—excellent local shopping, a diverse and delicious dining scene, a quaint downtown, affordable lodging, and easy access to hiking trails where you can bask in the glory of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Between big, flashy Broadway and a steady stream of country music star sightings, it’s no surprise that Nashville tends to steal the spotlight in Tennessee. But if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle (and ever-increasing prices) of Nashville, consider heading east to check out Knoxville. With a population of just around 200,000, this college town strikes the perfect balance of having plenty to do while remaining manageable enough to tackle in a long weekend. Spend an afternoon strolling around downtown’s Market Square and enjoying the ample greenspace at World’s Fair Park. You’ll be singing the praises of Good Ole Rocky Top in no time.

Terlingua, Texas

When you’re in a state with major cultural hubs like Austin, Houston, and Dallas (and the state itself encompasses nearly 270 million square miles), it can be difficult to get noticed—especially when your entire population hovers right around 100 people. Despite its diminutive size, there are some big (quite literally) reasons to visit Terlingua. The biggest: Big Bend National Park . You can access the otherworldly national park just minutes from town. Take in the unexpected beauty of the Chisos Mountain springing from the Chihuahuan Desert, and don’t worry a drop about crowds. The park is the 8 th largest in the U.S. but sees fewer than half a million visitors per year, meaning you’ll have ample room to roam.

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