30 Best Places to Visit in Alabama

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Helen E. White

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

Best Places to Visit in Alabama

The famous song state “Sweet Home Alabama” is located in the southern part of the country and is also called “Heart of Dixie”. The wide variety of tourist attractions packed here will delight any traveler.

What are the Best Places to Visit in Alabama to visit in 2022

In addition to North Alabama’s amazing natural scenery, famous Gulf coasts and sandy beaches, the state is also known for being one of the most technologically advanced and for its space history. It was here that the first Saturn V Luna rocket was built, allowing a man to reach the moon and land on it.

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With a very rich culture, Alabama is home to significant historical sites, monuments, museums, and civil rights institutions. Interestingly, it was also the first state to declare Christmas as a public holiday!

1. Huntsville

Here, as elsewhere on Earth, science, technology and engineering come together. Huntsville is known as the “Rocket Capital of the World”. It is 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. Here you can not only explore the world’s largest collection of space exhibits but also try simulators – for example, a lunar image that rises 140 meters into the air in 2.5 seconds.

In addition to being the country’s aerospace and technology hub, Huntsville offers many other attractions that will cover all interests. Beautiful cityscape with low-rise city buildings, nature offerings, the famous Huntsville Botanical Gardens, the Twickenham Historic District and much more await travelers here.

2. Gulf Shores

Located on the south coast of Alabama, close to the Florida border, Gulf Shores offers a gorgeous beach experience with its soft, sugar-white sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Soothing warm waters, scenic cruises, and dolphin watching make Gulf Shores a great getaway. This beautiful resort town has plenty to do inland as well, such as exploring wildlife sanctuaries or dining on some of the world’s finest oysters grown and sourced locally.

3. Dolphin Island

Surrounded by the sparkling blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Dauphin Island is a barrier island located across the water from Alabama Harbor.

Accessible from the mainland via a three-mile bridge, this tranquil haven boasts white-sand beaches, walking trails, and excellent birding (avid twitchers should be sure to include a tour of Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Shell Mound Park). during your visit).

One of the best ways to explore Dauphin Island is on two wheels (you can rent a bike from Dauphin Island Bike and Kayak Rentals) and start admiring the island’s historic Fort Gaines, pristine beaches and scenic landscapes. There are many accommodation options on the island and you will easily find the ideal base for your holiday.

4. Orange Beach

Located west of the Gulf Shores, Orange Beach is another well-known scenic beach located along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama. Turquoise waters lapping the shores, gentle breezes and blue skies combined with scenic hiking and biking trails make Orange Beach the perfect place to relax and get an adrenaline rush at the same time.

From here, visitors often head to the Orange Beach Islands for more fun and adventure. This is a great place for a family holiday with the opportunity to go on a dolphin cruise or just relax on the wide beach.

If you’re looking to soak up the sun and spend your days at the beach, then Orange Beach is one of the best places to visit in Alabama and has everything you need for a great summer getaway.

5. Fairhope

Picturesquely nestled along the bluffs and shores of Mobile Bay, the city of Fairhope has a great small-town feel and enough exciting activities to warrant a visit. You can begin your exploration by taking a stroll down Fairhope Avenue, which is lined with charming shops, restaurants, and galleries; the entire street is beautifully illuminated at night.

You can take a leisurely stroll through the rose garden and out onto the Fairhope Pier, take a scenic boat tour, join a horseback riding tour, or play a round of golf. Nature lovers will enjoy visiting Weeks Bay Reserve, while beer lovers shouldn’t miss a tasting at Fairhope Brewing Company.

6. National Preserve “Canyon of Small Rivers”

For those looking for a natural retreat amidst magnificent views, Little River Canyon has a lot to offer. The Little River Canyon National Reserve is located in Southern Appalachia and preserves much of the Little River, which flows atop Lookout Mountain.

This river is said to have the cleanest waters in the south and is one of the longest mountain rivers in the country. The canyon and the river are great places for outback walks, panoramic drives, picnics, or just scenic walks through the woods.

7. Birmingham

The diverse city of Birmingham is located in Central Alabama, and with its cosmopolitan charm, rich cultural centers, and bustling history, it truly is one of the state’s must-see destinations.

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

Birmingham is also Alabama’s largest city and home to the nation’s oldest and greatest Veterans Day celebration.

8. Florence

Located in the northwest corner of Alabama, the city of Florence is home to a wide variety of interesting and informative attractions for all ages. Starting with the Great Outdoors, you’ll find a wide variety of scenic areas for outdoor activities: Mc Farland Park offers hiking, camping, fishing, and boating, while Shoal Creek Preserve offers challenging trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

There are also plenty of attractions for history buffs: try the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the Florence Indian Mound and Museum, and Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller. For family fun, you can head to the Children’s Museum, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, and Killen Time Mini Golf and Adventure Park.

9. Gadsden

Spanning a scenic stretch along the banks of the Coosa River in Etowah County, Gadsden was once a major shipping center. Noccalula Falls Park is often one of the first attractions for visitors: you can admire a 90-foot waterfall, see some caves, and take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Children will enjoy riding through the park on the miniature train.

Neely Henry Lake is very popular with bass anglers and offers a variety of water sports in the summer. Art lovers will enjoy a visit to the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts; downtown is home to the Etowah Youth Orchestra, the Downtown Dance Conservatory, and the Imagination Place Children’s Museum.

10. Brown

Centrally located in eastern Alabama, Auburn is primarily known as the home of Auburn University and the popular Auburn Tigers University football team. However, even if you are not a football fan, you will find plenty to see and do in the city.

History buffs can visit the historic Whitfield-Searcy House and the Loachapoka Historic District, while art enthusiasts will want to check out the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art and visit the Telfair Peet Theater at Auburn University.

Outdoor activities include mountain biking and the opportunity to play a round at six superb local golf courses. There is also a treat in store for foodies who can visit various farmer’s markets, wineries,

11. Montgomery

Also known as the Capital of Dreams, Montgomery is the heart and capital of the state of Alabama. Here you can get acquainted with the life of the Old Alabama city of the 19th century.

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

12. Decatur

Decatur sits on the shores of Lake Wheeler in northern Alabama and offers great attractions and activities for the whole family. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, and explore several parks, including the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Point Mallard Park, and other city parks. History buffs will enjoy a stroll through Decatur’s Old and New Historic District, where there are many beautiful buildings to admire.

If you love exploring museums, you can head to the Blue and Gray Museum, which showcases Civil War history or take the family to the Cook Museum of Natural Science. Art lovers can feast their eyes at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center or catch a show at the Princess Theater for the Performing Arts.

13. Dothan

Whether you’re visiting Dothan to join the locals in celebrating the National Peanut Festival (held each year in November) or to spend your days browsing the city’s remarkable antique markets, you’ll find the wide range of attractions that are offered for all ages.

You can tour the fascinating Farley Nuclear Plant Energy Education Center, learn about the history of the region’s agricultural heritage at the George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens. Families will enjoy going back in time at Landmark Park (a “living” agricultural museum), having outdoor fun at the Adventureland theme park, or taking a dip in Water World.

14. Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island is another gem of the Gulf Coast and is renowned for its pristine sandy beaches, coastal amenities, clean environment and rich history. It is located almost three miles from Mobile Bay and serves primarily as a resort area.

The island has an interesting history of passing through Spanish and British hands before becoming part of the US. One popular attraction on Dauphin Island is the Estuarium, which is a freshwater and saltwater aquarium that includes species native to Alabama. Common sharks, including bull sharks and blacks, also live on the island.

15. Foley

The seaside community of Foley seems to be a popular vacation destination for families who want to experience a warm southern welcome and a wide variety of attractions. A good place to start your visit is the Historic Center, where you can learn about the city’s rail heritage at the Foley Railroad Depot Museum and the Model Train Exhibit.

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While in the area, you can follow the beautiful Old Rose Trail to see hundreds of heritage roses (best in April). Adventure activities include kayak tours with BeachnRiver Kayak Rentals and hikes and boat rides at Graham Creek Nature Preserve. Shopaholics will enjoy exploring Bargain Hunter’s Thrift Trail and Tanger Outlets while foodies head to Coastal Alabama Farmer’s.

15. Chiha State Park

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

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

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

16. Nokkalula Falls Park

Located in Garden, Alabama, Noccalula Falls Park is a public park with a magnificent 300-foot gorge waterfall that cascades into Black Creek Gorge.

The entire 250-acre park attracts many visitors with its beauty and scenic moments. Nokkalula Falls Park also has over 5 miles of hiking and biking trails, camping, and beautiful botanical gardens. It offers a ride on a real miniature Huntington train, a war memorial, a pioneer village, and a petting zoo.

17. Mobile

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

What’s more, visitors can enjoy the beautiful reflection of the horizon from the bay, the cozy and walkable city center, the impressive French architecture, and the festive atmosphere combined with the heartfelt hospitality of the locals. All these aspects make Mobile one of the best places to visit in Alabama.

18. Neversinksky Quarry

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

It is an impressive limestone cesspool 40 meters wide and a cavity that drops 162 feet to the floor. This natural attraction is visited by adventurers and cave explorers, climbers and walkers from all over the world and is a must-see for its magical waterfalls and beautiful fern-covered ledges.

19. Lake Martin

With nearly 800 miles of wooded shoreline, Lake Martin is one of the largest man-made lakes in the country and a favorite recreation area in Central Alabama. It spans over 40,000 acres and offers sun-drenched activities such as swimming, boating, camping and jet-skiing to spend summer days in high gear.

There are also many luxury houses and coastal areas located on the lake. Popular hangouts on Martin Lake include Pipe Rock and a visit to Goat Island.

20. Russell’s Cave National Monument

Russell’s Cave National Monument, located south of the Tenness-Alabama border in the northeastern part of the state, is an archaeological site that has been a haven and home to North American residents since 10,000 B.C. before 1650 AD.

Even though it is a relatively small cave, it provides significant evidence of human settlement from the archaic period to the historical era. The monument also includes a museum that displays artifacts, and tools, and provides a glimpse into the way of life of prehistoric people.

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21. Tuskegee National Historic Site

Built-in 1941, the Tuskegee Air Force National Historic Site was a training site for African-American military pilots during World War II. It illustrates the history and accomplishments of the Airmen – the first-ever African-American military pilots known as the “Red Tails”.

After the airmen completed their basic flight training at Moton Field, they were transferred to the Tuskegee Air Force Field, which was an integrated military base built by the US military.

22. Guntersville

A firm favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Guntersville is blessed with plenty of activities to keep even the most energetic visitor moving. Located along the shores of Lake Guntersville, the city boasts more than 170 acres of lakeside recreation facilities, including a swimming area, new boat deck, picnic areas, boat launch and a boat dock.

Public fishing. Lake Guntersville State Park offers a good selection of lodging options including a hotel, campground, cabins, and chalets. You can spend your time golfing, hiking, biking, bird watching, or fishing. For a change of pace, you can visit the nearby Cathedral Caverns to see an amazing frozen waterfall,

23. Vacuum Cleaner

Centrally located south of Birmingham, the city of Hoover has grown by leaps and bounds since it was established in the late 1950s. Today, the Shelby County metropolitan area that surrounds the city offers visitors a wonderful selection of activities and attractions, starting with no fewer than ten beautiful golf courses where you can hone your skills.

You can take a stroll through the Aldridge Botanical Gardens, go hiking or rock climbing at Moss Rock Preserve, or enjoy a day of shopping at the Riverchase Galleria. Some of the more popular nearby family attractions include the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum and the Aldrich Coal Mine Museum.

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24. Monte Sano State Park

Located in northeast Alabama near the city of Huntsville, Monte Sano State Park is known for its fresh air, beautiful views, and wonderful variety of healthy outdoor activities. In addition to the Monte Sano Lodge (11 rustic cabins) there is a large camp with service and rustic stone cabins with kitchens.

People come to Monte Sano primarily to explore more than 22 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, but there’s also a great playground and an 18-hole disc golf course. When you need a short break from nature, you can visit some of Huntsville’s interesting museums.

25. Muscle Shoals

Located in Colbert County, the city of Muscle Shoals is a popular tourist destination in Northwest Alabama. People come to Muscle Shoals for a variety of outdoor activities including golf (along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail) and great boating and fishing on Pickwick Lake, Wilson Lake, and Wheeler Lake.

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The city hosts several annual events, including the Helen Keller Festival (you can visit Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s birthplace year-round), the Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride, and the WC Handy Music Festival. Younger visitors will enjoy the Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Splash Adventure Park, and the George H. Carroll Lion Habitat in nearby Florence.

26. Selma

Packed with historic sites and architecture, the city of Selma is a great place to visit and learn more about Alabama’s early days. The city is located on the banks of the Alabama River, where it played an important role in weaponry and transportation during the Civil War when it was surrounded by fortifications. Today, history buffs can tour Alabama’s largest historic district, where more than 1,000 historic structures can be admired.

Other city highlights include the Museum of Ancient Africa, Slavery and Civil War and the National Voting Rights Museum, Historic Water Avenue, the Jackson Home Historic Site and the Old Depot Museum.

27. Talladega

Steeped in history and surrounded by vast areas of scenic recreation areas, Talladega has something to offer each and every member of the family. Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers will enjoy all the resources on offer in the beautiful Talladega National Forest and Cheaha State Park, both of which offer camping, hiking, fishing, swimming and much more.

Everyone will have a blast visiting Desoto Caverns, and motor racing enthusiasts can attend a NASCAR event at Talladega Superspeedway and visit the Talladega NASCAR Hall of Fame. There are also many historic sites to admire, including the Silk Stocking District, where you’ll find 113 acres displaying various historic architectural styles.

28. Tuscaloosa

Founded in 1819, the city of Tuscaloosa is the famous home of the University of Alabama and has many interesting attractions to show for it. Begin your visit by soaking up the atmosphere of Tuscaloosa at the five-acre Government Plaza Park in the heart of downtown, before taking a stroll along the beautiful Riverwalk that runs along the Black Warrior River.

There are many historic sites to visit, including several interesting museums, the Black Warrior Model Railroad, the Battle-Friedman Historic House, and the Tuscaloosa Veterans Memorial Park. Plus, you can take a (free) tour of the Mercedes Benz Visitor Center and take the kids to the Children’s Hands Museum.

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29. Scottsboro

Nestled between the Tennessee River and the Appalachian Mountains, the small town of Scottsboro welcomes visitors to come and enjoy great scenery, outdoor activities and genuine southern hospitality. The city has historic sites dating back to the early days of the railroad and the Civil War; visit the Scottsboro Jackson Heritage Center and the Scottsboro Depot Museum for more information.

There are several scenic areas to explore on foot or by bike and excellent cave exploration at Cathedral Caverns State Park and Russell Cave National Monument. Also, there are three golf courses in the area and great fishing. Scottsboro offers a variety of lodging options including camping at Jackson County Park and at the Goose Pond Colony Resort.

30. Cathedral Caverns State Park

Alabama’s Cathedral Caves have been declared a National Natural Landmark and offer the state’s greatest underground experience. The cave was originally called “Bat Cave” but was later renamed due to its cathedral-like appearance.

It is home to some of the most impressive natural formations, including the famous Goliath, which is 45 meters high and is one of the largest stalagmites in the world. Throw in the grand opening of the cave, the frozen waterfall, the dense stalagmite forest, and the sound of water from the Secret River, and you can imagine the experience awaiting cave visitors.

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