The state of Alabama, located in the south of the USA, has a total area of about 136,000 km² and an estimated population of over 5 million. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery with 206,000 inhabitants, which is thus considered the second largest city in the state of Alabama after Birmingham with 212,000 inhabitants.
Alabama has a remarkable natural environment as well as a large number of navigable rivers and waterways. The most important among them are the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River, which begin in northeastern Alabama and extend to Montgomery to join the Alabama River.
The climate in Alabama is considered a subtropical humid climate with an average temperature of circa 18 °C. The coldest months in Alabama are December and January – temperatures are around 10 °C during this time, whereas from June to August temperatures are above 30 °C.
Alabama has a lot to offer for everyone who is connected to nature. We present you here the 14 best places to visit in Alabama in reverse – as always, however, not in the sense of a rating.
14. Dauphin Island
Located right on the Gulf of Mexico and ten miles from the Alabama border, Dauphin Island is Alabama’s only offshore island.
This pristine island is home to a booming bird population as well as wildlife sanctuaries and further boasts some of the most amazing natural habitats in the Gulf, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.
Dauphin Island is a popular year-round vacation destination and has something for everyone. With an abundance of restaurants, shopping, and accommodations, it’s a place where you can always find your new favorite activity.
13. Noccalula Falls Park
Noccalula Falls Park is a beautiful and unique place in the state of Alabama. Consequently, it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations as well as a great place for outdoor recreation for young and old. The park offers its visitors many different activities such as fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking. The park is also a popular place for birdwatchers, as you can meet exotic birds there accordingly.
In the early 20th century, the park was originally owned by the Noccalula Land Company. In turn, in 1936, the land was purchased by the state of Alabama to be turned into a public park. The name of the falls comes from an Indian girl who, according to legend, jumped to her death from the cliff over 100 years ago after being jilted by her lover.
The city of Montgomery is on the one hand the capital and on the other hand the second largest city of the state of Alabama and was founded in 1819. The landmark of Montgomery’s skyline is the 114 meter high RSA Tower.
In 1955, a “bus boycott” was triggered in Montgomery when Rosa Parks refused to not give up her seat on the bus for a white person. This event caused such a stir that it became the beginning of the civil rights movement. The resulting demonstrations and protests in turn called upon Martin Luther King, who was appointed coordinator of the protests and demonstrations.
The Rosa Parks Library and Museum exhibits a model of the bus, and in this context, a moving film documentary from the said period.
For animal lovers, a visit to the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum is recommended, which is home to 600 animals from five continents. The special thing about this zoo is that many enclosures consist of natural boundaries, so that partly no fencing is needed for the animals.
11. Chewacla Falls
Chewacla Falls is a waterfall in Alabama – in Chewacla State Park to be exact. The falls are located on the Tallapoosa River and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Alabama.
Chewacla Falls was named after a Native American tribe that lived in the area before white settlers arrived and claimed the land from them. The word “Chewacla” means “the people who live by the water.”
The area, which after all covers more than 700 hectares, is also interesting for those who want to use non-motorized watercraft, such as canoes or kayaks, to navigate the 26-hectare lake.
For campers who want to stay a little longer on the grounds, a campground is an appropriate option. Since the park is privately owned, however, there are entrance fees, which seem affordable due to the interesting terrain.
10. Cheaha State Park
Explore the breathtaking outdoors from Alabama’s highest point. Located at the southernmost tip of the Appalachian Mountains, Cheaha Resort State Park is Alabama’s oldest park (it was established in 1933) and is considered one of the most unique parks in the country.
Cheaha State Park seems far removed from civilization. However, the park is only 30 minutes from several historic downtowns (Oxford, Heflin, Anniston, Talladega, Lineville, Mumford and Ashland), which in turn offer ample shopping, dining, cultural and recreational opportunities. There are three main routes leading to Cheaha State Park. The park recommends Talladega Scenic Drive – this is Alabama State Route 281.
A scenic “road less traveled” is Cheaha Road (County Route 42) in Mumford, Alabama, which winds through the Talladega National Forest. Thus, Cheaha Road is a scenic route that winds through forestland – however, it should be noted that the route is not a well-maintained road and is therefore unsuitable for large camping vehicles.
Mobile is considered one of the cultural capitals of the Gulf Coast and is home to several museums, a symphony orchestra, professional opera and ballet performances, and some historic architecture. Mobile is not only the oldest city in Alabama, but is also considered the birthplace of America’s original “Mardi Gras.”
Mobile has long been the cultural center of the Gulf Coast, where you’ll find an authentic way of life that you won’t find anywhere else in the American South.
As for the weather, Mobile has an average of 220 days of sunshine. Thanks to the subtropical climate, there are mild springs, autumns and winters – the summer, on the other hand, can get quite hot.
Fortunately, since Mobile is located on the Gulf Coast, there is always the possibility of heading towards the beach to escape the heat. The beach to recommend would be Dauphin Island. This is located just 65 kilometers from the city of Mobile, Alabama.
8. Lake Martin
Lake Martin is a definitely worth seeing lake located in the east-central part of Alabama. To be exact, Lake Martin is a 41,150-acre man-made lake with over 1,400 kilometers of forested shoreline bordering the towns of Tallapoosa, Elmore and Cootha.
The lake was created by the construction of Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River. The “Martin Dam” reservoir is operated by the “Alabama Power Company” to generate hydroelectric power. Construction of Martin Dam began in 1923 and was completed in 1926.
With over 41,000 acres, Lake Martin is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, making it a popular recreational area for swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, camping and golfing.
Likewise, Lake Martin offers several popular attractions such as Eagle’s Nest, natural sandy beaches, restaurants, campgrounds and islands. Furthermore, the lake has several landmarks, such as the Cowariga Bridge, but perhaps the most famous landmark of the lake will be Chimney Rock, a large rock formation that resembles a chimney.
7. Orange Beach
The great thing about Orange Beach, Alabama is that you always have a choice between exciting and relaxing activities. Stroll the soft and snow-white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, take a sunset boat ride, or eat delicious seafood on the beach in the southeastern United States. Whatever you want to do, just about anything is possible here.
For example, visit one of the many bars that are known as beachside venues for bands and entertaining events. Likewise, you can enjoy delicious seafood like snapper, shrimp, crab and oysters at many restaurants. There’s plenty on offer for the little ones, too – order kid-friendly meals, among other things, while the kids play in the sandbox or watch one of the performances designed especially for children.
Whether you’re looking for fun and adventure or just want to relax on the beach, Orange Beach has it all. Even dolphin boat tours can be booked to admire frolicking dolphins up close.
6. Perdido Bay
Perdido Bay is located on the border between Alabama and Florida. The bay is a small estuary system fed by freshwater from the Perdido River and is designated as “Outstanding Florida Water.” In addition to Perdido Bay, the system includes Tarkirne Bay, Arnica Bay, Bay La Launch, and Bayou St. John. Separating the Gulf from the Gulf of Mexico is Perdido Key.
Perdido Key is a spectacular offshore island located a few miles west of Pensacola. The island itself is on the Alabama border, but the small community of Perdido Key is again on the Florida side of the border.
This island is one of the most beautiful in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and you’ll immediately feel at home on the white sand beaches and stunning scenery.
The area is also a wildlife paradise, as much of the island is protected as a wildlife sanctuary. Off the coast itself, dolphins are often seen swimming in the waters near Perdido Key.
5. Little River Canyon National Preserve
Little River Canyon National Preserve has a lot of recreational activities to offer its visitors. For instance, you can join a ranger for a walk through the area, enjoy with a horse in the Wildlife Management Area, or have a family picnic in the Canyon Mouth Park. In between, just relax at one of the overlooks.
For those who like river kayaking tours, there is also a lot to do in this case. These are offered both in winter and spring – from category 3 rapids on. For the more experienced there is also something “wilder”.
Little River Canyon National Preserve also offers some of the most difficult and sought-after climbing in the South. The sandstone bluffs in Little River Canyon are accessible from many road exits along Little River Canyon.
Do you like hiking? Then there are 42 kilometers of hiking trails and, in addition, 33 kilometers of backcountry roads for your hiking pleasure. From leisurely walks through the woods and along the river to strenuous hikes through the canyon, there is something for everyone.
Huntsville is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the southeastern United States. Huntsville combines a deep history of Southern hospitality with innovative high-tech developments and cultural diversity all in one.
Remarkably, more than 100 languages are spoken in the city of Huntsville – multicultural, that is. The founding of the city is associated with a thirst for knowledge on the one hand and research on the other.
Huntsville’s location in the expansive Tennessee Valley is perfect for day trips into the mountains. Explore the city’s pre-Civil War homes and gardens or leisurely stroll through the countless and exotic flowers of Huntsville’s botanical gardens.
Whether for a leisurely stroll or a romantic picnic, Big Spring International Park is a popular lakeside spot in the heart of the city. There are also unique culinary experiences around every corner. Dine in a jail cell, which is housed in a renovated old Madison jail, or visit one of the “regular” restaurants – you’ll be delighted.
Auburn is more than just a world-class university. It’s a small city with a vibrant, historic downtown and close ties to great Southern food and its culture. The college town of Auburn was named one of the top 10 “Sports Towns” in America by Sports Illustrated.
In Auburn, Alabama, you’ll find hospitality around every corner, so it’s not hard to feel at home as a tourist there. This also led to Auburn being named one of the ten most livable cities in the U.S. since 2009.
One of the best activities for nature lovers in Auburn is to visit the Louise Kreher Forest Ecological and Conservation Center. However, if you’re looking for “fun” activities to do with kids, plan a visit to Hickory Dickory Park. Located on Hickory Lane, the park is a popular children’s attraction covering approximately 1115 square feet.
2. Gulf Shores
Gulf Shores is a popular tourist destination in Alabama. The main attractions are the white sand beaches and emerald green water.
The town itself is located on Mobile Bay, so people can enjoy fishing, boating and other water activities. Gulf Shores was founded by businessman George Ray McIlwain, who felt sorry for people during the Great Depression.
He wanted to create something that would boost the Alabama economy and create jobs for people, so he opened a golf course that later became a gathering place for soldiers during World War II.
Gulf Shores is also famous for its nightlife with many bars, clubs and restaurants serving seafood. However, alcohol is prohibited on the beach itself from late February to mid-April. Gulf Shores also does not place much emphasis on a vibrant party scene. Rather, Gulf Shores’ goal is to be a family-friendly place to stay and not be overrun as a “party destination.”
Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city and the state’s most populous. With over 212,000 residents, Birmingham is also the second largest city in the southeastern United States after Jacksonville, Florida. The Birmingham metropolitan area has a population of over 1,100,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s data estimate and is ranked as one of the top metropolitan areas in Alabama and America.
Fifteen minutes from downtown Birmingham, this beautiful and architecturally well-planned community offers natural rolling hills, a variety of lakes and streams, lush green forests, hot springs and more.
In terms of recreational activities, there is so much to do in Birmingham. You can spend the day exploring the Civil Rights Institute, strolling through Kelly Ingram Park, or simply taking a day trip to Cahaba, which is sure to be a lifetime memory.