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15 Best places to visit in Alabama

15 Best places to visit in Alabama

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Alabama? Here’s an updated list with some of the best attractions and destinations to include on your Alabaman itinerary. 

The famous “Sweet Home Alabama” song state is located in the southern part of the country and is also referred to as “Heart of Dixie”. A wide range of diverse tourist attractions packed here will thrill every kind of traveler.

Apart from amazing nature sceneries in North Alabama, famous Gulf shores and sandy beaches, the state is also known as one of the most advanced technology holders and for its space history. Here is where the first Saturn V Moon rocket was constructed and made it possible for humans to reach and land on the moon. 

Being very rich culturally, Alabama is home to significant historic sites, monuments, museums, and Civil Rights Institutes. Interestingly, it was also the first state that declared Christmas as a Public Holiday! 

Huntsville 

Here is where science, technology, and engineering come together like few other places on earth. Huntsville is known as the Rocket Capital of the World. It’s home to Alabama’s top tourist attraction – the US Space and Rocket Center, which is also the largest space museum in the world.

The Saturn V was built here to put the first man on the moon. Aside from exploring the largest space collection in the world, here you can also try out simulators – like the moon shot that goes 140 feet up in the air in 2.5 seconds.

Apart from being an aerospatial and technology hub of the country, Huntsville offers many other attractions which will cover all interests. The beautiful cityscape with low-rise city buildings, nature offerings, the famous Huntsville Botanical Garden, Twickenham Historic District, and a lot more await travelers’ exploration here. 

Huntsville rocket city

Photo: Stan Reese / Shutterstock.com

Gulf Shores

Lying on Alabama’s Southern coastline near the Florida border, Gulf Shores offers a great beach experience with its soft, sugar-white sandy beaches and turquoise Gulf waters.

The soothing warm waters, scenic cruises, and dolphin-watching make Gulf Shores a great destination for recreation as well. In this beautiful resort city, there is plenty to do inland, too, like exploring wildlife refuges or experience the dining scene with some of the world’s best oysters, which are grown and sourced locally.

Gulf Shores

Orange Beach

Located just west from Gulf Shores, Orange Beach is another famous scenic beach destination along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama. Turquoise-tinted waters lapping into the shores, gentle breezes, and blue skies together with scenic hiking and biking trails make Orange Beach a perfect destination for relaxing and getting some adrenaline at the same time.

From here, visitors often head to the Orange Beach Islands to get some more entertainment and adventure. It’s a great spot for a family vacation with possibilities to go on a dolphin cruise or simply relax on the wide-stretched beach.

If you want to soak up the sun and spend your days on the beach, then Orange Beach is one of the best places to visit in Alabama, with all necessities for a great summer vacation. 

Orange Beach Alabama

Little River Canyon National Preserve

For those seeking solitude in nature amidst splendid views, Little River Canyon has a lot to offer. Located in the Southern Appalachians,  Little River Canyon National Preserve conserves most of the Little River which flow atop Lookout Mountain.

The river is said to have the clearest waters in the South and is one of the longest mountaintop rivers in the country. The canyon and the river make a perfect setting for backcountry exploring, panoramic drives, picnicking, or simply taking scenic walks in the woods. 

Little River Canyon National Preserve

Birmingham

The diverse city of Birmingham is located in Central Alabama and with its cosmopolitan charm, rich cultural centers, and brimming history is indeed one of the must-visit destinations of the state.

Some of the most important attractions here include Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Civil Rights District which encompass several historic sites and tell an important story about the city’s role in the civil rights movement.

Birmingham is also the largest city in Alabama as well as the host of the country’s oldest and the greatest Veterans Day celebration. 

Birmingham alabama

Montgomery

Known also as the Capital of Dreams, Montgomery is the heart and the capital city of Alabama state. Here you can explore the 19th-century life of Old Alabama Town.

The city has a lot to offer especially to history buffs, as it’s considered to be the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. It is home to numerous historic landmarks, such as the State Capitol, First White House of the Confederacy, Alabama War Memorial, Montgomery Bus Boycott, and many others. 

Montgomery state capitol in Alabama

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island is another jewel of the Gulf Coast and is famed for pristine sandy beaches, coastal amenities, a clean environment, and rich history. It is located nearly three miles away from the Mobile Bay and serves mainly as a resort area.

The island has an interesting history of passing through Spanish and British hands before becoming a part of the U.S. One of the popular attractions in Dauphin Island is The Estuarium, which is a fresh and saltwater aquarium that includes species native to Alabama. The area of the island is also home to common sharks including bull and blacktip sharks.

Dauphin Island

Cheaha State Park

This 2,799-acre large retreat holds the reputation of the highest point in Alabama and is like an island in the sky. The park is located at 2,407 feet above sea level on top of Cheaha Mountain and offers some of the most unique hiking and camping opportunities in Alabama.

It’s surrounded by Talladega National Forest offering breathtaking views, spectacular sunsets, and beautiful waterfalls. Here you can also find all the necessary facilities for an overnight stay such as hotels, cabins, restaurants, chalets and camping options.

Cheaha State Park is definitely one of the best places to visit in Alabama for an outdoor experience. 

Cheaha State Park

Noccalula Falls Park

Located in Gadsden, Alabama, Noccalula Falls Park is a public park featuring the magnificent 90-foot high waterfall with a gorge that cascades into the Black Creek ravine.

The entire park is 250-acre large and attracts many visitors for its beauty and picturesque moments. Noccalula Falls Park also has over 5 miles of hiking and biking trails, campground, and beautiful botanical gardens. It offers a ride on the authentic Huntington miniature train, war memorial, pioneer village, and a petting zoo. 

Noccalula Falls Park

Photo: JNix / Shutterstock.com

Mobile

This 300-years old city is one of the oldest cities on the Gulf Coast. It’s located on the Mobile River and is Alabama’s only saltwater port. A unique southern experience in its coastal setting is far from the only privilege of the city.

Moreover, visitors can enjoy the beautiful skyline reflection off the bay, cozy and walkable downtown, impressive French architecture, as well as the festive atmosphere combined with the soulful hospitality of the locals. All of these aspects make Mobile one of the best places to visit in Alabama.

Mobile Alabama

Neversink Pit 

Neversink Pit is a beautiful natural phenomenon and geological wonder that is not only the most photographed spot in Alabama but is also one of the most photographed sinkholes in the world.

It’s an impressive limestone sinkhole with a 40 feet wide pit and the cavity dropping a dramatic 162 feet till its floor. This natural attraction is visited by adventurers and cave explorers, climbers, and hikers from all around the world and is also a must-see location because of its magical waterfalls and beautiful fern-covered ledges.

Neversink Pit

Lake Martin

With its nearly 800 miles of wooded shoreline, Lake Martin is one the largest man-made lakes in the country and a beloved recreation area in Central Alabama. It encompasses more than 40,000-acres and offers fun-in-the-sun activities such as swimming, boating, camping, and water skiing to spend summer days in high gear.

There are also many luxury homes and waterfront neighborhoods located on the lake. Popular hangout spots on Lake Martin include Chimney Rock and a visit to the Goat Island.

Lake Martin

Russell Cave National Monument

Located just south of Tennessee-Alabama border in the northeastern part of the state, Russell Cave National Monument is an archeological site that has been a shelter and home for North American inhabitants dating from 10,000 B.C. to 1650 A.D.

Despite being a relatively small cave, it provides significant evidence of human settlement from the Archaic period to the historic era. The monument also includes a museum that features artifacts, tools, and gives an opportunity for a glimpse into the lifestyle of prehistoric people. 

Russell Cave National Monument

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Constructed in 1941, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site was a training site for African-American military pilots during the Second World War. It illustrates the history and achievement of the airmen, who were the first-ever African American military pilots, known as the Red Tails.

After the pilots passed their primary flight training at Moton Field, they were transferred to Tuskegee Army Air Field, which was a comprehensive military base built by the US military. 

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Sitedesign

Photo: Brett Welcher / Shutterstock.com

Cathedral Caverns State Park

Alabama’s Cathedral Caverns is declared as a national natural landmark and offers the state’s greatest underground experience. The cavern was originally called Bat Cave but was renamed later because of its cathedral-like appearance.

Here you can find some of nature’s most impressive formations including the famous “Goliath”, which is 45 feet tall and is one the largest stalagmites in the world. Add also the grand opening of the cave, the frozen waterfall, dense stalagmite forest, and the sound of water from Mystery River, and you can imagine the experience awaiting visitors of the caverns.

Cathedral Caverns State Park

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