Alabama is a state that really has something for everyone. Mountains, ocean shores, beautiful cities and the southern hospitality that is so famous in the region.
I grew up visiting Birmingham and the Gulf Shores for vacations.
I’m here to tell you that this Georgia Peach wholeheartedly recommends Alabama for a holiday. Whether it be a weekend or longer, you can find a diversity of activities that will create lasting memories for you and your crew.
So, we’re going to dive in and see what makes Alabama so special. Come with me and let’s explore!
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Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and its capital. So, it’s packed with things to do and plenty of delicious places to fill your belly.
My tip? Start at one of their award winning parks, as Birmingham has more green space than any other place in the country.
At Red Mountain Park for instance, you can traverse some of the park’s 15 miles of trails, go zip lining or climb one of their three treehouse overlooks.
Oak Mountain State Park can also get your heart pumping with its 50 mile trail system that you can hike or bike on and immerse yourself in nature.
If you’re wanting to stay in the downtown area, walk up and down Broad Street and you are sure to find one or ten great places to eat and drink. Try Pitch and Piano or O’Neill’s Irish Bar for a fun night out with your friends.
Birmingham is one of those towns where you can’t go wrong. Try it on for size when you visit the great state of Alabama.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
The history of the American space program and all of its artifacts are here to enjoy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Stand under the Space Shuttle, learn about the cosmos and even spin in the G-Force Accelerator. This is the place to be in Huntsville, Alabama.
The center was opened by the U.S government in 1970 after Apollo 12 landed on the moon. The public’s interest in space travel was piqued and has never waned. Over 650,000 patrons come to see the more than 1,500 rocketry and space related artifacts on display.
Haven’t you always want to go to space camp? See what campers are up to as they conduct simulated missions and reach for the stars.
There are two programs. The U.S. Space Camp exposes campers to a multitude of space related simulators and training exercises. The Aviation Challenge is geared more towards flight and the information and training that goes with it.
Be a kid again and visit this one of a kind museum that will have you wishing you were an astronaut.
Huntsville Botanical Garden
There’s not a more beautiful place in Huntsville, Alabama than the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Alabama has a wonderful climate to support all sorts of flora that thrives in all colors of the rainbow and it is here on its 118 acres that it is in full display.
Come see the indigenous plants and flowers that have been growing in Alabama’s meadows, hills and mountains for thousands of years. While here, enjoy the stunning butterfly garden while your kids frolic in the Children’s Garden.
The Gardens also have an impressive art collection to enjoy, as well as many events that are hosted throughout the year, such as the “Garden Soiree” or the “Spring Hat Luncheon”. There’s an event and an exhibit for everyone here at one of the prettiest places in Alabama.
U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
One of the most memorable visits I had while in Alabama with my family was visiting the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. It was unfathomable to me that 2,500 men lived, ate and worked in such a fortress made of steel.
Built in 1942 for the U.S. Navy, she would spend three years in various sites protecting our freedoms, earning her nine Battle Stars for meritorious service in her short tenure. She was scheduled to be demolished in the 1960’s when a group of Alabamans commenced to petition to make her a museum, and the rest is history.
It is a sight to behold and worth a visit to see the mess hall, where all of these soldiers had to eat three squares everyday. The hospital was amazing as well, where they would perform surgery while thousands of miles out at sea.
Of course, there’s the impressive amount of artillery that will make you realize you are safe with brave men and women like the ones that were aboard this ship protecting you everyday. Don’t come to south Alabama without a look at this stunning piece of history.
Gulf Shores is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Alabama, with its sugar white sand and calm ocean shores in which to relax. Vacationing here when I was young was always a treat. We would always have our dinner, then convene on the beach for a spectacular sunset to the west.
Come stay in one of the many hotels and inns that dot the coast line, or rent a home right on the beach along with friends and family. This vacation is a great way to rest and reconnect with the ones you love.
Enjoy chartering a boat for some fishing adventures or stay on land and hike some of the 28 miles of trail at Gulf State Park. There is also a zoo and a wildlife refuge if you want to see some animal friends.
Night time brings millions of crab to the surface for you to catch and release. All you need is a pail, and a flashlight. This was a great activity to do with my family growing up and I made memories that stick with me today. Bring your family and enjoy this little slice of heaven located in Alabama this summer.
Cathedral Caverns State Park
One of the natural phenomena that I have gained appreciation and love for on all my travels is the mystery of the cave. If a cave is anywhere nearby, I will be there and Cathedral Caverns State Park is no exception.
Walk into this huge, year round 60 degree expanse that feels like its namesake and you will also realize how amazing caves can be. This cave, originally named “Bat Cave”, was opened to the public in the 1950’s and has been a wonder to all ever since.
Explore “Goliath”, one of the largest stalagmites in the world at 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference. Or check out the “waterfall” in a large stalagmite forest that is 27 feet tall and only 3 inches wide.
After you tour this wonderland of ancient formations, camp at the newly improved campground so you can get up and do it again or hike one of the many trails at the park the next day. This stop has the adventure that you are looking for and is one of the coolest stops in Alabama.
Unclaimed Baggage Center
This next stop on our tour of Alabama is definitely not one you will normally see, but is the most unique place in Alabama and a stop you should make for an experience like no other.
After a flight, the normal flow of traffic will take you to claim your bag at the baggage carousel. For one reason or another, .05% of those bags on the carousel never get picked up. Airlines try their best to find the owners, but if they fail, the bag or suitcase will go to live at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. As the nation’s only retailer of lost luggage, there are thousands of items to choose from.
Come shuffle through what never got claimed and see if you can find a treasure. From electronics to designer purses to valuable jewelry, you will have your pick of something interesting and useful at this fun place to shop.
No, this is not some dreary canyon that gives you the blues. Dismals Canyon is to the contrary a unique and beautiful find in Alabama.
Come explore this sunken forest canyon and enjoy a world that seems as if it were in another time. Old growth trees litter the canyon floor as you search for caverns, grottos and waterfalls all over this 1.5 mile expanse of 300 million year old moss covered boulders. At night, explore again and see the bioluminescence of the dismalite, a tiny creature that lights up at dusk, illuminating the canyon in an awesome display of what nature is capable of.
After the show, spend the night in one of the cozy cabins on the property and get up and do it all again the next day. This is something you will definitely want to experience twice as it is truly unique and beautiful.
Civil Rights Memorial
In Montgomery, Alabama you will find a stunning display of art that commemorates the strife that the oppressed have had to overcome in the last 300 years here in America.
Spearheaded by Dr. Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights movement has spurred millions to action over the last fifty years.
At the center you will encounter exhibits, educational activities and materials, a theater and the Wall of Tolerance to learn from and explore. Stand and gaze at the black granite fountain that reads “… until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Remember the past and learn as we strive for a better future.
Come explore this two mile trail that will take you to one of the most awesome natural landmarks in the Southeast.
Natural Bridge is a 148 foot sandstone bridge that reaches 60 feet in the air in an intricate pattern letting sunlight and the greenery around you peak through the top. It is the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies and something to see if ever in Alabama.
Over two million years, this natural formation of epic proportions was etched away and is now the natural art you see today. Enjoy the waterfalls, creek and wildflowers that grow in the area as you explore the hidden treasures of this magical place.
Southeastern Raptor Center
Another one of the coolest places to see in Alabama? Come check out some of the most alluring and captivating birds of prey that America has to offer. At the Southeastern Raptor Center you can learn about these gorgeous animals and watch as they rehabilitate some to go back into the wild after an injury.
In addition to the rehab center, The Raptor Center includes a research center, Welcome Center and an amphitheater where a live talk that includes some of its resident birds commences for you and your group.
Since the 1970’s, this rehab center at Auburn University has treated and released thousands of birds of prey back into the wild. Schedule a tour and a talk and learn why it is so important to support these birds and protect their environments.
Did we miss any of your favorite places in Alabama?
Let us know in the comments if there are anymore places in Alabama you’d like to see on our list!