Best Places to Visit in Alabama
Get ready to visit the most awe-inspiring landmarks in Alabama, from beaches running for miles to gorgeous mountain trails. Alabama also played a major role in the American Civil Rights Movement, so there are several historic monuments related to this also. You can easily plan a week-long vacation to Alabama, and immerse yourself in Southern culture and lip-smacking cuisine. Don’t ever miss out on these top things to do and best places to visit in Alabama on your trip.
Separated from the mainland by a 3-mile long bridge, Dauphin Island is blessed with natural landscapes. If you like birds, then visit Audobon Bird Sanctuary where you will find migratory birds in marshes, swamps, and there is a freshwater lake too, where you can swim. At the public aquarium called Estuarium, you can see interactive exhibits, visual displays, and see 100 species of aquatic life. You can explore Dauphin Island by bike, and visit Fort Gaines, the historic 19th-century fortification. You will also love walking down the wharf and see the soothing sight of seagulls hover in the air before alighting on the water.
Cheaha State Park
You will see nature at its best at Cheaha State Park and no wonder it is one of the most unique tourist attractions in Alabama. It has Alabama’s highest peak – Mount Cheaha, and biking and hiking trails that will take you through some pristine untouched natural scenery of Alabama. Cheaha State Park is in Talladega National Forest, and you can do several activities here besides hiking like swimming, rock climbing, and fishing. If you are coming here with families and friends, there are many accommodation options here like lodges, chalets, cabins, campsites where you can stay in the green environs of the forest. You can even go on tasting sparkling wine on wine tasting trails.
Alabama’s greatest lake is a playing ground for boating, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. These are some of the best things to do in Alabama that you will love to do here. You can take paddle boats, kayaks, pontoons, and canoes. Lake Guntersville State Park is just adjacent to Lake Guntersville, and this is a green forested area, full of hiking and biking trails, camping grounds, picnic areas. You can play golf, do bird watching, see waterfalls, and spot bald eagles. There are a hotel and many chalets, cabins, lodges where you can stay for some time.
32 miles of pure white sandy beach await you at Gulf Shores which is one of the best tourist attractions of Alabama. And there are the turquoise blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico where you can indulge in water sports like paddle boating, kayaking, para-sailing, jet-skiing, surfing, scuba diving. If you are a history lover, then you can hit the Mobile Bay Civil War Trail, and see a slice of history at Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines. Nightlife is dazzling here at Gulf Shores and there are beach bars like Tacky Jacks, Pink Tony where there is live music, right on the seashore.
Noccalula Falls Park
This spectacular Noccalula Falls has a sad story behind it, that of Noccalula, the daughter of a Cherokee chief. She fell to her death from this very fall, and you will be able to see her statue at this fall. Waters from Noccalula Falls rushes from a height of 90 ft, and the Noccalula Falls Park is named after this waterfall. You can stroll through Botanical Gardens, or explore some caves here. Kids can come to the zoo here, and there are hiking trails in the park and camping grounds too. If you are looking for some of the best places to see in Alabama then you must visit this park.
Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach is one of the beaches where you can do whatever you want. You can play basketball on the beach, go on a cruise, enjoy the crimson sunsets, or watch out for dolphins on an excursion into the deep sea. The Wharf is best for shopping and indulging in food and drinks while enjoying a quiet sea breeze. If you are more of the exploring kind, then the Branyon Backcountry trail will take you through wetlands, swamps, freshwater lakes, oak forests, alligators, bald eagles, and wildlife in its natural habitat. Don’t forget to explore some of the unique things to do and best places to visit in Alabama Orange Beach.
Ave Maria Grotto
What started as a mere hobby for the German monk, Brother Joseph Zoettl, has become a popular tourist attraction of Alabama. Ave Maria Grotto is a park where you will see the miniature models of the most famous Christian churches, shrines, buildings all over the world. They were all built by Brother Joseph Zoettl inspired by picture postcards, and are built of seashells, concrete, stone, bottles, and other recycled material. Among other things, you can see replicas of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Noah’s Ark, and other landmarks.
If you want to see alligators in their natural habitat, then you must visit Alligator Alley. To view the alligators, you will have to walk the elevated walkway and see the alligators in the swamps down on the ground. There are so many alligators here that you will lose count of them all. If you feel like holding baby alligators then there is a petting area also, and if you feel like feeding them by hand, then you can do so as well. There are turtles, snakes, and other creatures too, and you can view live shows also.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
One of the top tourist attractions of Alabama Huntsville, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is best for kids who want to know something about space and spaceships. It has interactive exhibits, presentations, kiosks, which provide fun and education to kids and parents too. Things to look out for here is the large display of rockets, spaceships, missiles, launch vehicles. Multimedia presentations on IMAX and National Geographic Theatre, Hyper Ship simulators give excitement and thrill to visitors. Interactive areas for kids, camps, are other activities to do here in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
Gulf State Park
Natural beauty and untouched wilderness are everywhere you go in Gulf State Park. A whole range of activities awaits here for adventure seekers. You can go on nature tours deep into the woods, spot wild animals, try your hand at fishing, and take part in educational programs. You can do boating here as well, and there are paddleboats, kayaks, which are available for boating. There are walkways, bicycle trails, and if you like to camp there are more than 500 sites where you can camp. You can also play volleyball, swim around, and have a grand time having all-around fun.
Cathedral Caverns State Park
This natural cave formation is one of Alabama’s most unique and natural tourist attractions. It has a huge network of stalagmite columns stretching for many acres. The entrance to this cave is also a big tourist attraction and it is 7.6m tall and 39m wide, making it seems almost like a Hollywood movie. You will find the largest stalagmites here in this park and ‘Goliath’ is one of the largest stalagmite columns in the world. You can go on a cave tour, and there are walkways inside to walk on. Besides the caves, you can go hiking, camping, and even arrange a picnic here.
A tour through Bellingrath Gardens is sure to rejuvenate you and transport you to a perfumed space full of sweet smells and fragrances. This is a huge area of tropical plants, roses, and flowering shrubs, seasonal plants. Explore Bellingrath Gardens all by yourself and see the amazing architecture of Home. You cannot miss the bridal garden, lawns, conservatory here in Bellingrath Gardens. This 65-acre public garden has a museum too, and during Christmas time, there is a dazzling display of 3 million lights, called ‘Magic of Christmas in Light’, and it is the most fantastic light display to attend.
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
In the city of Mobile, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a historical landmark that is dedicated to the USS Alabama Battleship. Victors can still see this famous battleship and tour its interiors like the bridge, captain’s cabin, mess hall, and turrets. USS Alabama Battleship played a key role during World War II. Also on display are the submarine called USS Drum, spy planes, bombers, tanks, weapons, aircraft, and other priceless memorabilia. If you are looking for things to do in Alabama with kids or family then this park offers you amazing opportunities.
Monte Sano State Park
If you love rustic outdoors and raw nature, then visit Monte Sano State Park near Huntsville. It has cabins, campsites, where you can spend some relaxed moments away from the din of city life. Monte Sano State Park has some fabulous hiking trails in Alabama, and you can have the thrill of mountain biking here. There is an 18-hole golf course too, and kids can have all the fun while you are camping in the great outdoors of Monte Sano State Park.
Little River Canyon National Preserve
One of the wild tourist attractions in Alabama, Little River Canyon National Preserve is where you will find the deepest canyons and the longest river that flows its entire course through a mountain top. This is a land of waterfalls, wildlife, steep cliffs, gorges, and forests. You can do a whole lot of outdoor adventure activities here like hiking, swimming, fishing, bird watching, biking. You can explore the deep forests of this place by going on a scenic drive, taking a kayak, and going through the rushing waters of Little River. You will need a hunter’s license to hunt wild animals, and also ride on a horse.
Birmingham is a cosmopolitan city, rich in culture, and one of the most happening tourist attractions of Alabama. You can visit art museums like the Birmingham Museum of Art and landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement like the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. There are science museums like McWane Science Center and unique museums like Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Birmingham Zoo, Sloss Furnace Historical Site are some top tourist attractions too. Birmingham is a great place for shopping, dining, entertainment, nightlife, and you will also find hiking trails, forested areas, gardens, parks, and exciting things to do.
Situated along the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals is one of the most exciting places to visit in Alabama. Muscle Shoals is famous for its artists and music studios like FAME recording studio, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios which gave some famous music to the US. If you like outdoor activities then you can visit Pickwick Lake, Wheeler Lake, Wilson Lake, where you can go boating and fishing. You can visit Ivy Green, the home of Helen Keller. If you want excitement, you can visit Sky Zone Trampoline Park and Splash Adventure Park.
Decatur is another tourist attraction in Alabama, which is full of historic and outdoor landmarks. The Historic Districts have houses with unique architecture and museums like the Blue and Gray Museum with exhibits showcasing the Civil War. Carnegie Visual Arts Center and Princess Theatre are best for lovers of arts. At Decatur’s Farmer Market you can taste the freshest fruits and vegetables. You can ride the Pickwick Belle, a paddleboat across Tennessee. You’ll love the colors of the festival such as The Spirit of America Festival, and Alabama Jubilee, a hot air balloon race.
Montgomery is the capital city of Alabama and it’s one of the best places to see Alabama if you want to know about the Civil Rights Movement in the US. There are several monuments like Civil Rights Memorial. There are such wonderful buildings like the Alabama State Capitol building and the old town of Old Alabama Town. There are several museums here in Montgomery like MOOseum, which is a unique museum about cows and cattle. Alabama Safari Park, Mann Wildlife Learning Museum, and Montgomery Zoo are fun places to visit in Alabama for kids in Montgomery.
Right on the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile is one of the cool places to visit in Alabama. Mobile is famous for the museums, music festivals, shopping districts, historic attractions, and Mardi Gras, a carnival celebration. You can visit the USS Alabama Battleship, historic forts like Fort Conde, or music festivals at Mobile Bay. History Museum of Mobile, The Gulf Coast Explorium Science Center, Dauphin Street Beer Festival is for fun lovers. You can see the bustling Mobile Flea Market or visit Eastern Shore Shopping Centre with its live music, dancing water fountains, shopping, and dining.
What’s next waiting for you?
This Alabama travel guide covers everything from top tourist attractions to best things to do and unique places to visit in Alabama. Now you know where to go and what to do in Alabama, you can plan your journey with total enthusiasm. If you are looking for some of the most popular places to visit near Alabama then check out our other USA travel guide.