Beauty, history, culture, and adventure. They all come together in Alabama, a state rich in everything from world-class golf to white-sand beaches. It’s a place where each meal is a celebration, each town has a story, and each day brings new discoveries you’ll always remember. If you’re considering a visit to Alabama, here are a few highlights you should be sure to experience:
A music mecca: In addition to songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and a thriving local music scene, Alabama has a rich and dynamic musical history. Music legends like Nat King Cole, W.C. Handy and Hank Williams were born in Alabama and artists such as Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Otis Redding came to Alabama to recording the 1960s and 1970s in Muscle Shoals. Visit those renowned music studios, walk through the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia, see the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham and tour The Hank Williams Trail which runs through the heart of Alabama. Most of all enjoy Alabama’s live music halls and entertainment districts.
Golfer’s paradise: The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is one of the world’s most incredible golf destinations. Crafted by acclaimed golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, the trail features 26 courses and468 holes. Each site on the trail is unique, making it enjoyable for players of any skill level. This is truly a golf experience unlike any other.
White sand, emerald water: Alabama’s family-friendly beaches are delightful throughout the year. Enjoy the nonstop excitement of beachside communities like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, or simply relax in a quiet spot where all you hear are birds and waves.
The very southern tip of Alabama is best known for Mobile Bay and the Gulf Coast beaches. Mobile Bay is surrounded by Mobile, Dauphin Island, and Fairhope. Mobile is recognized as having the first-known American Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 and the celebration is still alive today. During Mardi Gras season, the streets of downtown Mobile are filled with the sights and sounds of live marching bands, brilliant-colored floats and of course teeming crowds of parade-goers. All year long the port city of Mobile features the taste of the coast with fresh delicious seafood and a diverse array of bars, nightclubs and live music venues. There are Eco-tours into America’s second-largest delta just north of Mobile. South of Mobile you can sea kayak to barrier islands off Dauphin Island or bird watch along the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. Across Mobile Bay is the village of Fairhope, named one of the top ten romantic escapes in America, and filled with couples contentedly browsing art galleries and antique shops. Outlet shopping is found in nearby Foley.
Perhaps you love the sunny beach? Something magical happens when you visit the coastal towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach with their soft white sand and sparkling emerald waters along the Gulf. The moment you arrive, the world starts to fade away. Cast your line for deep-sea adventure on a charter fishing trip or take a scuba diving adventure. Walk the 32 miles of beaches or visit the great roadhouse beach bar, the Flora-Bama.
Cities with soul: Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, began as a center for steel manufacturing and became the center stage for the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Tour the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which has been nominated as a World Heritage Site. Across the street from that historic church which was bombed by the Klan, is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute which includes the jailcell where Martin Luther King Jr wrote the Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In Montgomery, the state’s capital, you can see the spot where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America in 1861, launching the nation into the Civil War and where, almost 100 years later, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. Parks’ actions started the modern Civil Rights struggle in America and the Reverend Martin Luther King was called to the forefront. A few years later, Dr. King would lead the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march.
Today you can walk across the bridge in Selma, where marchers were attacked in 1965, then step inside the National Voting Rights Museum to learn about the movement’s “foot soldiers.” You can drive the same route the marchers walked, stopping at the National Park Service facility at the mid-point and then traveling to Montgomery to visit the Rosa Parks Museum, see Dr. King’s church and visit the Civil Rights Memorial.
Unforgettable food: Alabama is one of the greatest food destinations in the United States. Whether you want slow-cooked Southern delights or an elegant night of fine dining, you will always find an incredible meal in Alabama.
One-of-a-kind attractions: Alabama is filled with unique destinations that will thrill the whole family. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville lets you experience the excitement of space travel. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the world’s largest space museum and location of U.S. Space Camp. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham is the ultimate spot for those who love racing. Home to the world’s best motorcycle collection, the museum now has over 1200 vintage and modern motorcycles and racecars and the largest collection of Lotus cars as well as other significant makes. The collection is the largest of its kind in the world. Several world-class races are held at the adjacent racetrack.