Address: Civil Rights Memorial, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, Accommodation: Where to Stay in Montgomery, U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville | gardener41 / photo modified. The Gulf State Park Pier is a favorite spot for fishing and people-watching. The town of Fairhope is another tourist destination along Mobile Bay, located along its eastern shore. Alabama is also full of beautiful natural attractions, especially along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Mobile Bay, where tourists will find state parks, nature reserves, and gorgeous sandy beaches. The small island has seen a wide variety of residents and visitors throughout its history, from Native Americans who left shell mounds 1,000 years ago to pirates who raided the European settlement in the early 18th century. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab has educational programs and a popular aquarium that specializes in estuarine organisms. The beach is open year-round, but collects a small entrance fee in the spring and summer to help fund environmental upkeep. The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa began in 1827 and by 1831 had seven buildings on campus. Gulf Shores is the southernmost community in the state, and its long, hot summers and mild winters welcome travelers year-round. 2022 Road Affair, LLC. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art is home to a large permanent collection, which focuses on American art. Here, visitors can view educational exhibits and planetarium shows or step into immersive environments like a flight simulator or the Apollo 11 Virtual Reality experience. Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. There are two launch simulators, one of which allows the astronaut-in-training to experience 4 Gs of force, a few seconds of weightlessness, and then a free-fall. The struggle that began here in Birmingham was part of a larger social movement that eventually led to changes, and a defining moment was the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963.

Address: 20115 Alabama 135, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Official site: www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park, Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Gulf Shores, Civil Rights Memorial | taylorandayumi / photo modified.

This immersive facility has more than 90 exhibits that cover topics like ship navigation, marine life, archaeology, weather, and much more. Camping, RVing, hiking, biking, and ATVing all top the list of things to do in the park. It reopened as a state park in 2000 after being purchased by the state in 1987. The Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary comprises more than 150 acres of woodlands and a popular trail system that takes hikers past a lake, dunes, swamps, and more. Wedged between Mississippi and Georgia, Alabama is a Gulf Coast state rich in history, so prepare to learn something on your visit. Find the best places to visit in the state with our list of the top tourist attractions in Alabama. Auburn has both The Julie Collins Museum of Fine Arts, The Gogue Center of Performing Arts, and of course Auburn Football. The Exploreum Science Center, another popular educational spot, offers an IMAX theater and interactive exhibits that encourage interest in STEM subjects. Jackson, Mississippi is also home to several major attractions, like the Medgar Evers Home Museum, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and important sites along the Mississippi Freedom Trail. Many of these can be found in the vacation paradise of the Gulf Shores, where families and couples alike can find a wide range of things to see and do, including boat tours in the Gulf of Mexico. Various lakes and creeks offer ample space for motorized and nonmotorized boating, swimming, and fishing. Located in northeast Alabama, Cathedral Caverns State Park started out as a tourist attraction called Bat Cave in the 1950s. The park offers fun above ground, too. Address: 6 US Highway 80 East, Selma, Alabama, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham | Chuck Schultz / photo modified. One of the most popular areas of the museum is its aquarium, which is home to many species of ocean and freshwater life, especially those native to the region. Anglers can take advantage of excellent fly-fishing opportunities in the river, while hunters exercise their patience looking for deer and turkeys. Prominent American artists like John Marin and Winslow Homer are featured, and there is an extensive exhibit dedicated to regional art and folk artists, with examples ranging from crafts to paintings. The Fishermans Trail circles around the six-acre Cheaha Lake, where visitors can fish, swim, and take out paddleboats. Accommodation: Where to Stay on Dauphin Island, Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum | David Brossard / photo modified. Located in Florence, the house is the only structure in Alabama designed by Wright. The paved trail starts near downtown and measures about 4.5 miles, with the path divided into sections for walkers and bikers. These icons take the forms of individuals, architecture, musical movements, and more, but they all share the common characteristic of having left their mark on American history. This island has several things to see and do, including the historic Fort Gaines, which was established in the early 1800s and became an important outpost during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Beach lovers can also explore the sandy shores and attractions in Pensacola, Florida, where tourists flock for both day trips and ocean-side vacations. The wharfs marina isnt just a place to dock boats; its also a shopping destination and home to several big-time fishing tournaments. The kids' version of this gives young astronauts a less intense version, then "lands" on the surface of the moon. The Paul W. Bryant Museum traces the history of the University of Alabama football tradition back to its beginning in 1892.

The 15-plus miles of trails wind through marshes and swamps, and eagle-eyed visitors might be able to spy deer, bobcats, and alligators. No matter which destination you choose, you wont have to look very far to find exhilarating, educational, and fun things to do in Alabama. Secondly, its the third-largest city in Alabama in terms of population, and its size is reflected in its diversity of restaurants, museums, and shops. Other museum exhibits include an exploration of the ways that art and technology intersect, as well as a variety of rotating and traveling exhibits. All Rights Reserved. Covering more than 181,000 acres in northwest Alabama, the Bankhead National Forest has six recreation areas, each offering a unique experience and a plethora of pastimes. Brush up on your history at several Alabama cities, where you'll find some of the most important Civil Rights monuments, museums, and historic sites. This body of water is known nationally for its largemouth bass, but anglers can also find catfish, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish, too. Architecture buffs will want to check out some of Tuscaloosas historic buildings. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox. The park is a memorial to all those who served in WWII, as well as more recent operations.

The museum also has an IMAX theater, which offers screenings of various films each day. Fish commonly caught along the 1,540-foot-long pier include redfish, Spanish and king mackerel, speckled trout, catfish, sheepshead, croaker, and whiting. Birmingham's McWane Science Center is home to a variety of exhibits and interactive experiences, which encourage both kids and adults to learn through hands-on activities. Accommodation options include primitive campgrounds and cabins. The galleries feature permanent and temporary exhibits on a variety of topics from violent conflict to segregation. Located in Tallapoosa, Elmore, and Coosa counties in east-central Alabama, Lake Martin is one of the largest artificial reservoirs in the United States. The sand here is white and sugar-soft, with great opportunities for beachcombing. The Black Warrior River runs through the middle of the city, and the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk is a local treasure. The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a popular spot to explore year-round thanks to its 112 acres and diverse ecosystems. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum boasts the largest collection of motorcycles in the United States (and possibly the world) and has around 500 on display at all times. Among its most prized works are examples of etchings, watercolors, drawings, engravings, and woodcuts, which are remarkable for their preservation, a difficult task for paper-based media. Who wouldve thought that one of the coolest things to see in Alabama would be underground? The memorial stands in a square next to the Civil Rights Memorial Center, where tourists will find educational displays and exhibits, including the Wall of Tolerance. Home to the state's highest peak, Cheaha Mountain (2,407 feet), this nearly 2,800-acre area is full of recreational opportunities. The star attraction of the Memorial Park in Mobile is the 1942 USS Alabama Battleship docked along the waterfront. It is constructed of cypress, glass, and brick. The collection, formed by former race car driver George Barber, gained notoriety shortly after the museum's opening in 1995, when several bikes were loaned to the Guggenheim Museum in New York for their exhibit, "Art of the Motorcycle.". Conveniently connected to the mainland by a bridge, Dauphin Island is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico and one of the best places for a beach vacation in Alabama. The largest part of the permanent collection is European art, including fine art by artists like Pissarro and van Rijn and a huge selection of decorative arts, including silverwork, furniture, and porcelain. There are many reasons why Montgomery is a must-see in Alabama. Handy, admire architecture and design at the Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum, and view impressive collections at major art museums in both Montgomery and Birmingham. Read on to discover some of the best places to visit in Alabama. Known as the "father of the blues," Handy lived here when he wrote several of his most famous songs, including Beale Street Blues and Memphis Blues. The most popular tourist attraction by far is the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, where guests can get an up-close look at the World War II-era battleship. Alabamas only saltwater port city began its colonial history with a French settlement in 1702. The park also features 25 miles of paved walking trails, also open to bicyclists, and a championship golf course. Road Affair is reader-supported and may earn commission from purchases made through links in this article. Island life in Alabama is just a car ride away. Elevated boardwalks and trails can be explored with a guide or independently. In addition to history and nature, the curious can explore science at the family-friendly McWane Science Center, or behold some of the world's most advanced technology at Huntsville's U.S. Space and Rocket Center. If youve heard of the Muscle Shoals Sound, you probably know its namesake town, one of the best places to visit in Alabama for music fans. More than a century of turbulent history saw the territory switch ownership from Louisiana to West Florida to Mississippi before Alabama finally received its statehood in 1819. Also on-site are a variety of aircraft, including a B-52 bomber and an A-12 Black Bird spy plane, as well as military equipment from various conflicts, including tanks and weapons. The Martin Dam continues to generate hydroelectric power to this day. Theater buffs will want to check out the Alabama Shakespeare Festivals calendar, which features six to nine productions a year, usually with three plays by the Bard himself. Your email address will not be published. Visitors can listen to an extensive collection of oral histories at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which also has a rendition of a 1950s segregated city and the real jail cell door behind which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail. Other sites on the Birmingham Civil Rights Trail include the 16th Street Baptist Church and the Bethel Baptist Church, both of which were bombed during the Civil Rights Movement. Goat Island is aptly named for its resident goat family, and a favorite with children. The must-do activity in this park is the guided cave tour, which is around 1.5 miles round trip. More staggering statistics await inside, like the 45-foot-tall, 243-foot-wide stalagmite known as Goliath, one of the largest of its kind in the world. A trip to Little River Canyon National Preserve wouldnt be complete without some time spent observing the local wildlife. About five miles northeast of downtown is Monte Sano State Park, which boasts hiking and biking trails, a planetarium, and a Japanese garden. The area has beaches and historic areas, which attract both locals and tourists year-round. Among the permanent collection are examples of ancient and international folk art and fine art, including decorative arts. Cheaha is a great park for a day trip, but its variety of accommodation options also make it one of the most beautiful places in Alabama to spend the night in nature. History buffs might consider a visit to Fort Gaines, well-known for its involvement in the American Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay. Soft white sands and sparkling gulf waters provide fun for the whole family, and this beach is the only one in the region that welcomes pets. I want emails from Road Affair with travel updates and marketing. Another important historic site is the Freedom Rides Museum, located in the former Montgomery Greyhound station, which was the site of the 1961 attack on the Freedom Riders who were continuing the movement that Parks began. Copyright 2022 PlanetWare Inc. All rights reserved. Nearby, the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve provides amateur naturalists with the opportunity to explore diverse habitats. Located in Florence, the W.C. For a breath of fresh air, consider visiting Birminghams Railroad Park, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, or even the Birmingham Zoo.