2024 Alabama Visitors Guide
Visitors to Alabama will find many reminders of the state’s archetypically American deep-south history: the capital of the Confederacy, magnificent plantation homes, and civil rights memorials. But there’s more to Alabama than civil war and strife. Whether you’re celebrating a Mobile Mardi Gras (of longer standing than the one in New Orleans), attending the excellent Alabama Shakespeare Festival, watching an Alabama University football game, or jet skiing by the beaches of the Shoals, Alabama is a wonderful place to spend some time.
Feel the magical sound of gently lapping waves & the typical smell of coconut oil as you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast. The shimmering emerald waters of Alabama beaches bordered by sparkling white sandy shorelines form the perfect backdrop for a beach-front wedding & the best destination for a honeymoon vacation. Most Alabama beaches offer the perfect balance of non-stop activity & laid-back vacationing. Travel back in history with a visit to one of the nearby historical attractions, get going on an exciting charter fishing trip along the Gulf coast, or just delight in the luxury of your beachfront hotel. Whatever you choose to do, you are assured of endless fun all along.
Alabama is widely recognized for its endless historic sites & attractions. Owing to the fact that Alabama has been inhabited by indigenous people of varying cultures in the past, the state features numerous historical attractions representing the varying cultures that had lived in the area for thousands of years.
Burritt on the Mountain Huntsville
The Jewel on the Mountain includes aside from Dr. William Henry Burritt’s eclectic mansion, a historic park with restored 19th-century houses including a barnyard and animals. Kept alive with concerts, plays, and exhibits, you can enjoy a delightful mixture of attractions. Situated on a magnificent 167-acre site, visitors explore the natural beauty of Round Top Mountain. Tour the Burritt Mansion to view original furnishings, exhibition galleries of regional and natural history, collections of prehistoric Indian artifacts, rocks and minerals, and Dr. Burritt’s personal and professional artifacts.
Vulcan Park Birmingham
As home to the world’s largest cast-iron statue, Vulcan Park offers spectacular panoramic views of Birmingham. Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge was originally built in 1904 and has stood as a symbol of Birmingham for over 100 years! A 10-acre urban green space surrounds the 56-foot-high statue and observation balcony that sits upon a 126-foot pedestal. Visitors to Vulcan Center find interactive exhibits and displays that give insight into the region’s history and industrial growth. Vulcan Park is open 7 days a week from 7 am – 10 pm. Vulcan Center and Tower is open Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, and Sunday 1-6 pm. Evening hours for Vulcan Tower are daily from 6 -10 p.m.
Alabama Natural Areas
The state of Alabama is home to a large number of natural areas that form a part of a nationwide network of natural areas. These areas have especially been set aside for the purpose of education & research. The Alabama natural areas have been established with the aim of typifying certain types of important aquatic, forest, alpine, grassland, geological, or similar environments. These areas are said to contain significant scientific & ecological values & are managed to cause minimum human disturbance
Fred T Stimpson Wildlife Sanctuary
The Fred T. Stimpson Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 12 miles south of Jackson. The sanctuary boasts 5,500 acres full of protected wildlife while also serving to introduce the youth of Alabama to hunting. While the sanctuary especially protects a large population of deer & wild turkey, it is also home to other protected species like rabbit, coyote, fox, bobcat, dove & quail. Owing to the large population of protected wildlife, the Stimpson Wildlife Sanctuary is a hot spot for wildlife photographers, birdwatchers & hikers. College students also frequent the place for their studies.
Rising south of downtown, the forested slopes of Coldwater Mountain provide the perfect emerald backdrop to much of Anniston’s cityscape. Although the 3,924 acres of Coldwater Mountain tract was primarily acquired for environmental conservation in the central-east part of Alabama, efforts are being made to develop the place as the center of a massive recreational resource while also maintaining environmental quality. The plan is to provide extensive opportunities for short & long-distance hiking, mountain biking, picnicking & other outdoor recreations.
Alabama State Parks
The state of Alabama is known to have a bountiful natural environment with endless state parks located across varied geographical locations, from coastlines up to the mountains. Alabama State Parks are truly a camper’s paradise with endless opportunities for recreation & fun. Thus, no matter which season or time of the year you choose for an outdoor camp, there is always a state park available to suit your specifications. Some of the best state parks for winter & spring camping include – Joe Wheeler State Park, Cheaha State Park, Lake Guntersville State Park & others.
DeSoto State Park
3,502-acre DeSoto State Park sits proudly atop the beautiful Lookout Mountain in Alabama. The park features modern chalets and campsites, a picnic area, hiking trails, and lots of top-notch recreational amenities. Of special interest are the scenic DeSoto Falls and Indian Falls along the West Fork of Little River. DeSoto State Park has 78 excellent Alabama campsites located in a beautiful setting. This campground has 58 water and electric back-in sites, 10 water, electric, and sewer back-in sites, and 10 water, electric, and sewer pull-thru sites as well as 2 comfort stations with restrooms and hot showers.
The endless list of festivals & events in Alabama attracts thousands of visitors all year round. One such major & one of the most popular events of the state is the Mardi Gras celebration includes over twenty carnival balls & festive parades, receptions & a host of booths offering regional foods. Celebrated for the first time in 1703 in Mobile, this is one of the oldest festivals in the country. Gardens & horticulture are strongly associated with the state of Alabama, and several festivals are celebrated around different blossom seasons. Alabama also hosts an array of exciting events like the Honda AMA Superbike Championship in Birmingham or the Nationwide Tour Golf Championship on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail that attracts thousands of sports enthusiasts from across the globe.
National Shrimp Festival Gulf Shores
One of the most popular festivals in the state of Alabama, second only to Mardi Gras is the National Shrimp Festival. This spectacular & interesting event is held each year in the month of October on the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores. One of the premier outdoor festivals of the country, the event features over 300 vendors & attracts more than 300,000 food lovers who fly down to attend this extravaganza of regional cuisine featuring shrimp along with fine arts, crafts & entertainment. While two stages offering continuous musical entertainment keep the adults busy, for children there is the Children’s Activity Village where they can create their own artwork. This year the event will be held in October.
Mardi Gras Mobile
One of the most talked-about & oldest continual annual events of Alabama, the Mardi Gras celebration first started in Mobile city way back in 1703. Initially, the event was celebrated with men painting their faces red & acting crazy to have a few hours of fun. However, in 1840, a civic group named Cowbellion de Rakin Society transformed it into a parade event. The same group whose motto is to “Let good times roll” also helped set up the event in New Orleans in 1857. Throughout the 13 days of this late winter event, the city is a bacchanalia-on-the-bayou with over 20 carnival balls, festive parades, parties, coronations of kings & queens, booths of regional food & pure fun.
Alabama, home to 4.4 million people, is of great relevance in U.S. history – from antebellum homes of the Confederacy to places that are etched in memories of the 1960s. Alabama boasts various landscapes from wooded canyons to idyllic ocean beaches.
In Huntsville, visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. This plays an integral part in the national aerospace program. Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, offers the Civil Rights District and Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Mobile & the Gulf Coast Visitors Guide
Located in the center of Alabama is the state capital. Montgomery was pivotal in the civil rights movement of the 1960s – to evoke this era visit the Civil Rights Memorial. The attractive port city of Mobile and the Gulf Coast is located in the southern part of Alabama on the glorious Gulf of Mexico. Visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile’s Historic District, and relax on the phenomenal beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Further along the coast from these resorts is historical Fort Morgan.
The port city of Mobile is situated in the Gulf Coast region, where you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports including fishing, jet-skiing, rafting, canoeing, and sailing. Mobile also features renowned championship golf courses, such as Linksman Golf Club and Magnolia Grove—part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. In addition to water sports and golf, Mobile has much more to offer. Take a stroll through Mobile’s Historic District which features its wonderful architectural heritage. For those who want an adventurous history tour, visit the USS Alabama Battleship, Memorial Park. The decks, turrets, berth compartments, bridge, and captain’s cabin of the battleship are open for tours. Of interest to the whole family will be the Gulf Coast Exploreum Museum of Science. For a quiet, relaxing evening, take a walk around the Mobile Bay, where indigenous shore and wading birds can be enjoyed throughout the year. Peaceful Dauphin Island is a haven for birdlife. The Mobile Bay Ferry offers a short ride to Fort Morgan, where you can take a quick drive to the resorts of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach—don’t miss Gulf State Park.
Huntsville Visitors Guide
Huntsville is considered the birthplace of Alabama since area leaders met there in 1819 to petition the United States Congress to grant the area statehood. Their success is commemorated at a popular Huntsville attraction, the Alabama Constitution Village. Visitors enjoy strolling through the re-created 1800s village that features eight federal buildings, picturesque gardens, and the meeting site of the Alabama Territory leaders. However, Huntsville is also known as the space capital of America since it is home to the world’s largest space attraction. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center features dozens of interactive exhibits, including a force of gravity demonstration, shuttle shows in the Omnimax Theater, and displays about the Apollo lunar missions. Every year the streets of Huntsville are abuzz during the Big Spring Jam, a three-day event in September that features live country, jazz, rock, and blues performances on a number of stages.
Birmingham Visitors Guide
Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, is a mix of trend and tradition. Visit Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, a fine example of Greek Revival architecture dating from the 1840s. Or go to the Civil Rights Institute and learn about Birmingham’s past history of conflict including the story of Dr. Martin Luther King. For those who are looking for family activities, the McWane Center Adventure in Science or Birmingham Botanical Gardens are suitable diversions. This 62-acre garden features more than 5,000 varieties of plants. For the golf lover, Birmingham boasts numerous golf courses. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and Bent Brook Golf Course are rated among the best public courses. If you like a little more spontaneity, take a walk in the Five Points South district where restaurants, nightclubs, and boutiques prosper. Family entertainment may be found at Alabama Adventure Theme Park, featuring an array of rides and attractions.
Gulf Shores AL Visitors Guide
While thousands flock to Cancun each year, it may be a surprise to find that the same white-sand beaches can be found in Alabama. Gulf Shores, aptly named for its location on the Gulf of Mexico, enjoys a balmy location just 32 mi (52 km) west of Pensacola, Florida. With warm waters and a large, pristine beach it is one of the state’s three seaside resorts (the others being Orange Beach and Dauphin Island). Sun worshippers flock here and in response, a profusion of condos, vacation homes, and beachfront hotels have followed. With quartz sand that looks like sugar—its powdery texture a sweet treat for the feet—visitors spend most of their time at various beaches along West Beach Boulevard. And the emerald-green waters are equally popular for surfing, scuba diving, and fishing. But a vacation here could easily go amiss without a visit to some of Gulf Shores’ offshore attractions.
The scenic golf courses are renowned for featuring white sand traps, kids’ love area water parks, and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Gulf Shores is also rich in military and natural history as represented by Fort Morgan and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge respectively. Or visit the Gulf Shores Museum for more information about how Hurricane Fredrick, Ivan, and Katrina have impacted the area. But to best experience, Gulf Shores’ culture visit its diverse restaurants, where seafood definitely reigns supreme.
Montgomery Visitors Guide
Montgomery, the capital city of Alabama, witnessed one of the nation’s first civil rights movements of the latter part of the 1900s. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started when Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination in voter registration. To honor the African-American struggle in Alabama, visit the Civil Rights Memorial, which stands in the front plaza of the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you are looking for something more relaxing, visit Jasmine Hill Gardens, a 20-acre Greek-style garden. For the history enthusiast, go to Old Alabama Town and De Tonti Square—a neighborhood of varied historic homes. Montgomery also offers world-class entertainment. Montgomery’s Alabama Shakespeare Festival is the 5th largest Shakespeare festival in the world. For those who are looking for golf courses, Montgomery proudly presents Lagoon Park, which is rated as one of the best in America.