42 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Alabama

things to do in Alabama
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Alabama, known also as The Cotton State and the Heart of Dixie, is a beautiful place with delicious food, delightful natural landscapes, deep historic roots, and of course, football galore!

It’s packed with lots of options for what to see, no matter what you’re interested in, so there is a lot to add to your vacation ideas.

How can you decide what tourist hotspots you’ll want to check out when you arrive?

To help you out, here is our travel guide for 42 things to do and places to visit in Alabama that you should add to your bucket list.

1. U.S. Space & Rocket Center

U.S. Space & Rocket Center
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The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a unique museum that should be among any space-lovers’ list of where to visit in the state of Alabama.

Located in Huntsville, this museum showcases the history of the space program of the United States through information and artifacts.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is both a Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA and a Smithsonian Affiliate, and it’s also considered one of the largest space museums on the planet.

More than 1,500 different artifacts are on display and it boasts one of the biggest collections of its kind.

Among the most exhibits at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are memorabilia and items from Army rocketry and aircraft, the Apollo program, the International Space Station, and the Space Shuttle program.

It can tell you all about the Space Race and the evolution of space exploration.

Some of the best things you need to check out are the genuine Apollo 16 capsule, a Skylab solar array, capsule trainers, and space travel simulators.

A number of traveling exhibits occasionally stop by here, and two camp programs are held at the museum.

There are also movies shown every day at the National Geographic Theater and the IMAX Theater, and you can tour the grounds with a bus tour.

All in all, this is one of the most fun things to do in Alabama.

Address: 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States

2. Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum
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The Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum is one of the key architectural points of interest in Alabama.

It’s one of the most beautiful buildings that the great Frank Llyod Wright created in America and the only one by him at all in the state.

In 1940, the Rosenbaum house was created for one family: Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum.

Until 1999. Mildred would continue to live here, and then the house was entirely donated to the city of Florence.

It stands now as a prime example of the Usonian style of Wright, an aesthetic that only arose following the Great Depression.

“Usonian” is a bit of an acronym, basically meaning “United States of North American”, and the buildings in this style were designed to be affordable, functional, and well-blended with the world around them.

This meant natural materials with lots of horizontal lines, glass windows, and cantilevered roofs.

Wright had this down to a T, with a large open living space, cozy appearance, and even an added extension that fit perfectly when the Rosenbaum family grew to include four sons.

In 1948, more sleeping room was added as well as a Japanese garden, and Wright was extremely happy with this – it was a sign of practicality that the building could be so easily changed and extended.

While not the most fun design of Wright’s homes, a trip here will give you a new appreciation for the architect’s genius.

It definitely should be on your list of places to go!

Address: 601 Riverview Dr, Florence, AL 35630, United States

3. Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
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Gulf Shores is a beautiful destination to head to this weekend as one of the best beach locations in Alabama.

It’s packed with different options for what to do, no matter what kind of trip you’re seeking.

32 miles of white-sand beaches cover the area.

Local attractions cover things like museums, shopping, art, and golf.

Naturally, there are also plenty of water activities to enjoy, like parasailing, boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, fishing, paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and cruises.

You can also simply lounge on the beach and relax, or work on a tan!

4. Huntsville Botanical Garden

Huntsville Botanical Garden
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Termed as one of the most popular vacation spots, the Huntsville Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Alabama and also one of its top attractions, welcoming about 308,000 visitors on an annual basis.

It’s open all throughout the year, no matter the season, so it’s a great, reliable option.

One of the most loved spots within the Huntsville Botanical Garden is the Nature Center and Children’s Garden, which is the home of the biggest seasonal butterfly house in America.

It’s also specially designed just for kids, with themed spaces like a space garden, dinosaur garden, and storybook garden.

There are also many other gardens for people of all ages, such as the biblical garden, fern glade, daylily garden, and herb garden, and there’s also a cool nature trail to check out.

Seasonal events are often held during the year, such as the Scarecrow Trail, Huntsville Blooms, Galaxy of Lights, and Beaks and Barks.

Check the Huntsville Botanical Garden calendar to see if you’ll be in town at the right time to catch something exciting!

Address: 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805, United States

5. Mobile

Mobile
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If you’re looking for places to vacation by the sea, or just want a place with a lot of historical activities, you’ll do well with Mobile, a port city with a rich past.

It sits on Alabama Gulf Coast, providing visitors with southern hospitality, fun attractions, and lots of historic districts to take a look at.

In Mobile, you’ll have your fill of art museums, performance art, and coastal wonder.

Check out the 1850 Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, wander the beaches for some relaxation, or check out the carnival.

There’s enough to do to keep you busy this weekend!

6. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
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The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is where you’ll find the USS Alabama, a ship that began construction on the 1st of February in 1940.

It was completed two years later and showed off in an elaborate ceremony.

Captain George B. Wilson became its commander that year on the 16th of August, and about a year later, it would have its first military engagement.

In 1962, the ship was ordered to be scrapped, and it remained unused for the most part until the Battleship Memorial Park was set up in 1977.

Today, the battleship holds status as a national historic landmark and stands alongside many other historic vessels, including fellow national historic landmark USS Drum, which is a submarine.

Both of the aforementioned ships are vessels from World War II.

The Battleship Memorial Park also has some other interesting features, like a patrol boat used during the Vietnam War, military equipment, fighter and bomber planes, and Vietnam War and Korean War Memorials.

It’s no surprise that this location is one of the most rewarding spots for history buffs, and it’s certainly among the state’s top 10 attractions!

Address: 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36603, United States

7. McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center
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The McWane Science Center is a fun and exciting spot that is one of the main places to see in the state for families with children.

It opened its doors in 1998 and has been thrilling children with informational but entertaining science ever since.

Measuring over 9,000 square feet in total, it is packed with interactive exhibits, a Challenger Learning Center, and an IMAX Dome theater.

Over 500,000 different artifacts are on display here, covering a wide range of different scientific topics.

This includes precious minerals, Native American artifacts, and fossils, like an 80-foot whale fossil that is the official state fossil.

Permanent exhibits are diverse, with favorites like the World of Water Aquarium, Explore! Collections Center, the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, Alabama Dinosaurs, Itty Bitty Magic City, Sea Monsters, the Fox 6 Weather Lab, Science on a Sphere, NatureScope, and High Cycle.

Each one is full of interactive activities that make for a fantastic learning experience.

Address: 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

8. Cheaha State Park

Cheaha State Park
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The Cheaha State Park is the oldest state park in Alabama, opened in 1933 and boasting about 2,800 acres of land in Northern Clay and Cleburne.

It’s one of the best places to spend time in for all the park activities you can think of: sightseeing, hiking, camping, water sports – you name it!

At the Cheaha State Park, you can head to the camp sites, outfitted with modern amenities, or go to the Cheaha Lodge that boasts a swimming pool and 30 hotel rooms.

If you’re not looking to stay long, head to bodies of water for fishing, swimming, or boat launches.

You can also just go hiking to all the different scenic spots with gorgeous views, following loved paths like the Chinnabee Silent Trail, the Pinhoti Trail, and the Odum Scout Trail.

Aside from the usual park amenities, the Cheaha State Park also has a restaurant and general store.

In other words, this is one of the most well-outfitted Alabama attractions for visitors who want a lot of options!

Address: 19644 AL-281, Delta, AL 36258, United States

9. Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Bellingrath Gardens and Home
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The Bellingrath Gardens and Home are truly historic and worth the trip for sightseeing purposes alone.

The grounds cover 900 beautiful acres with the Gardens being the main attraction in this large space in Theodore.

With numerous fun features that make this one of the state’s most delightful tourist attractions, the Bellingrath Gardens and Home provides plenty to do and enjoy.

The great lawn, bridal garden, and conservatory are among top picks on this garden property.

You can also enter the home, which measures 10,500 square feet and dates back to 1935.

It was built by Mobile native and architect George B. Rogers with handmade brick.

Ironwork comes from the Southern Hotel and the entire building gives off a vibe that can only be likened to the Gulf Coast.

It’s also an interesting way of looking at the architectural history of the general area.

The Bellingrath Gardens and Home have 65 acres dedicated to non-stop color through flowers, no matter what time of year it is.

Azaleas brighten the spring.

Tropical plants, roses, and hydrangeas bloom in the summer.

Chrysanthemums take over in the fall.

And, finally, camellias – 400 kinds of them! – cover the grounds in winter.

Take a self-guided tour through the stunning land and feast your eyes on the flora!

Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore, AL 36582, United States

10. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
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The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute should be on the bucket list of any American history buff.

Civil rights activists were highly active in Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, and as such, it makes sense that Birmingham in the state is the site of one of the best places to learn about this powerful movement.

In 1992, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute opened its doors for the first time, welcoming 25,000 guests in its first week alone.

It tells the story of the development of civil rights, the actions of those who fought for it, and the struggle that still continues to this day for equal treatment.

The things to see within the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute are explorable independently through self-guided walks.

As you pass through the exhibits, you’ll follow the journey of the movement and end on a positive note, as the institute hopes to light a spark of hope for the future through its message.

Address: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

11. Florence

Florence
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Florence is one of the most famous Alabama vacation spots, home to a wide range of scenic, educational, and fun attractions.

Located in Alabama’s northwestern side, it is full of outdoor activities, historical locations, and kid-friendly spots for the whole family.

Only 40,000 people live in Florence, and as a small town, it’s a pretty famous tourist location.

It hosts quaint and delightful events, like the W C Handy Music Festival, and provides vibrancy and life to an already bright state.

12. Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island
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Dauphin Island is set within the Gulf of Mexico’s lush waters.

It is a barrier island, across Alabama Port, and accessible through a bridge spanning three miles from the mainland.

As a getaway, it is nothing short of serene – trails for walking are teeming with greenery, beaches glisten with white sand and blue surf, and rare birds fly about, waiting for bird-watchers to spot them.

If you’re keen to explore Dauphin Island, then renting a bike is a must do.

With a bike, you’ll be able to more easily visit the many unique spots on the island, including historic parks, lovely parks, and tropical delights.

It’s known as the Sunset Capital of Alabama for its gorgeous vistas of the horizon, too.

No wonder it’s one of the best things to do in Alabama and one of the most beautiful places to go in the US!

13. Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Rosa Parks Library and Museum
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You’re likely familiar with the inspiring but harrowing story of Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who, in 1955, refused to give her seat to a white man on the bus.

Her brave action sparked the beginning of an uptick in civil rights activism and led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, her legacy is honored today.

You’ll find the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery, where its doors are open five days a week.

The museum has an online virtual tour but is certainly worth an in-person trip.

Housed in the former Empire Theatre building, it is split into six different areas that each tell a unique part of Rosa Parks’ story.

Popular exhibits here include a replica of the bus where the inciting incident occurred, a station wagon restored from 1955, and some original documents relating to this historic event.

Other features include an auditorium, “time machine”, conference room, classrooms, and archives.

A children’s wing is available onsite to allow children to learn about Rosa Parks in age-friendly and educational ways.

History buffs should definitely have this museum on their list of what to do in Alabama.

Address: 251 Montgomery Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, United States

14. Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley
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No trip to Alabama is complete without a stop at Alligator Alley.

Located in Summerdale, this alligator farm is a haven for lovers of the reptile and for anyone who is interested in learning more about them.

It’s one of the state’s cool things to do, packed with fun, excitement, and plenty of activities.

Alligator Alley was set up in 2004 in Alabama as a farm with a natural environment for these many-toothed reptiles.

The alligators here have come from all sorts of bad situations, rescued from dangerous environments, and brought here to live a healthier life in a better home.

There are also some other animals that have been taken in, either – you can find bullfrogs, owls, ospreys, and turkeys in different areas of the grounds.

A guided adventure takes you through Alligator Alley, beginning at the impressive viewing platform elevated above the ground.

Through it, you can see more than a whopping 450 alligators of all different ages engaging in their daily lives: sunbathing, nesting, courting, and relaxing!

Once the tour is done, you’ll get to head to the gator station, where you’ll be able to hold an adorable baby alligator.

Don’t forget to stick around for the feedings, which happen three times daily; you might even get to participate!

Address: 19950 Co Rd 71, Summerdale, AL 36580, United States

15. Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines
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Fort Gaines is an excellent option among Alabama destinations for a sightseeing stop.

Located on Dauphin Island, it provides all-around views of the beautiful sand and surf, and its wealth of history makes it one of the best places to stop by when you’re on the Gulf Coast this weekend.

The Fort has been around for over 150 years and has been kept surprisingly well-preserved, remaining on the “entrance” to the stunning Mobile Bay.

It boasts its original canons and kitchen to this very day, as well as a blacksmith’s shop.

There is also a museum and gift shop on the premises, and guided tours are conducted by staff in period costumes who take you through the many interesting tunnels.

You’ll get to watch the art of smithing and even see a cannon fire!

Fort Gaines is considered one of America’s most endangered historic locations, which makes it a rare find in Alabama but also one of the most melancholy.

It was once a key factor in the Battle of Mobile Bay and is the site of the famous “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” order from Admiral Farragut.

If you do plan to go to this location, be aware of the erosion on the shoreline.

Address: 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, United States

16. Birmingham Zoo

Birmingham Zoo
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The Birmingham Zoo is a zoological part that covers 122 acres of its titular town.

More than 470,000 visitors head here on a yearly basis, and there are lots of activities held throughout the year that make it worth a trip while you’re in Alabama.

It opened in 1955 with only a handful of animals in a firehouse and has since grown to accommodate over 800 individual animals from 200 different species.

Some of the most fun attractions around the Birmingham Zoo are the Kangaroo Kountry, Predator Building, Flamingo Lagoon, Primate Building, and Alligator Swamp.

If you’re looking for more stuff to do, keep an eye out for camel rides, available seasonally, and the Sea Lions Splash Show.

There is also the delightful Schaeffer Eye Center Lorikeet Aviary, which charges a small fee to let you interact with and feed birds!

Address: 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, United States

17. Ave Maria Grotto

Ave Maria Grotto
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The Ave Maria Grotto in Benedictine Abbey is an impressive work of art that makes it one of the best places to visit of religious and general artistic significance.

It comprises more than 125 different little miniature reproductions of buildings, shrines, and churches across the planet.

The Ave Maria Grotto was built by Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Brother of the Order who resided in St. Bernard Abbey.

He was born in Bavaria but arrived here in 1892.

In his time here, he began work on the Grotto, which was actually just a project he did as a hobby.

He used recycled materials and the Grotto soon grew into a famous feature of the Abbey.

For three acres, the grotto will transport you away from Alabama and onto the streets of many beautiful locations in different parts of the world.

It is even commonly called “Jerusalem in Miniature”, and it’s an apt name for such a masterpiece.

Address: 1600 St Bernard Dr, Cullman, AL 35055, United States

18. Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham Museum of Art
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The Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the must do Alabama attractions for art aficionados.

It is considered among the finest art collections in Alabama, and perhaps even in the Southeast of the country.

It opened its doors in 1951, has the support of an education program, and is home to more than 25,000 exhibits.

Multiple cultures are well-represented at the Birmingham Museum of Art through decorative works, paintings, and sculptures.

You’ll find work from Africa, Asia, America, and Europe, and from Native American and Pre-Columbian cultures.

The museum also has amazing Renaissance, Wedgwood, and Baroque art collections, and the Vietnamese ceramics collection is to die for!

Noted artists with works here are Carrie Hill, a landscape artist, and Hannah Elliot, a miniaturist.

Address: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

19. Cathedral Caverns State Park

Cathedral Caverns State Park
Diegoandrade, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cathedral Caverns State Park can be found in Marshall County, just southeast of Alabama’s Woodville.

The state park is named after a stunning cavern within it that is known as one of the best tourist attractions in the area.

The magnificent Cathedral Caverns were once simply known as the Bat Cave, but it completely naturally looks like a cathedral, earning in its current title.

The Cathedral Caverns are always 60 degrees in temperature, and they greet you with a giant entrance measuring 25 feet in height and 126 feet in width.

11,000 feet have been traversed, but 2,700 feet more of the Caverns are still closed as they have not yet been surveyed.

Gem mining, cave tours, camping, and picnics can all be done here.

The most stunning of the Cathedral Caverns’ sights is Goliath, which might be the largest natural column in the world.

The stalagmite has a 3-inch diameter, a 243-foot circumference, and a height of 45 feet.

It reaches the ceiling, 25 feet above, at an angle that makes room for it.

It’s the centerpiece of the state park and a masterwork of nature!

Address: 637 Cave Rd, Woodville, AL 35776, United States

20. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
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The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is situated on 740 acres of ground in Birmingham.

It is the home of the world’s most comprehensive and fine collections of vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

It was created by George Barber, who has a private collection of vintage motorcycles thanks to his interest in them.

He used his collection to open the museum in 1988.

Barber was more than just a collector, though.

He had 63 first-place wins from racing Porches and was advised by his friend, Dave Hooper, to focus on motorcycles due to the common collections of cars already existing.

Barber listened and began gathering what is now the biggest collection of motorcycles in the world.

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum now has more than 1,450 motorcycles that span over a century of production from 20 different countries.

Famous bikes onsite include everything from common brands like Honda and Harley-Davidson to rarer ones like Cagiva and DSK.

Aside from motorcycles, the museum is also home to a fun collection of Lotus racecars – the biggest of its kind worldwide!

There’s no denying that the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is one of the state’s things to see that shouldn’t be missed for motorcycle enthusiasts!

Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094, United States

21. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
Heather Cowper / flickr

The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is situated in Montgomery, and as the sole museum exclusive to its subject, is one of the top points of interest for renowned author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the world.

The Fitzgeralds came to live in the house in 1931, at the same time that the writer was working on screenwriting Red-Headed Woman and authoring the novel Tender Is The Night.

Only a year later, a mental breakdown would see his wife, Zelda, admitted to a clinic in Baltimore.

That April, Fitzgerald would vacate the home with his child.

The house was set up to be knocked down in 1986, but two people rallied to save it: Julian and Leslie McPhillips.

They also set up the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Association and the house was officially opened as a museum the following year.

It is now the last house ever lived in by either Fitzgerald or his wife that remains standing now in Montgomery.

The house itself is interesting to explore.

Its foyer leads to a number of different directions, with the museum being situated on the first floor and apartments located above.

The apartments are now actually used as the Zelda and Scott Suites, which are an AirBnB location.

If you book a room for the night, museum entry is complimentary, so it could be among the free things to do if you decide to stay here!

A tour of the museum starts with a video that dates back to the 1980s.

It is 30 minutes long and tells the tale of the Fitzgeralds and their home.

The rest of the museum is backed with personal items, photos, letters, and books relating to the author and his family.

Address: 919 Felder Ave # 919, Montgomery, AL 36106, United States

22. Unclaimed Baggage Center

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Unclaimed Baggage Center

The Unclaimed Baggage Center is one of the best cool places that you can check out in Alabama.

It is in Scottsboro and is one of the many places that unclaimed baggage may end up in order to find new homes somewhere.

Many airlines provide reimbursements to customers whose luggage or cargo is lost, and then the eventually located luggage may then be sold.

The Unclaimed Baggage Center, which opened in 1970, is one of the businesses that purchase such lost items.

They first opened as a part-time business in 1970 before a full expansion in 1995 that led to it reaching the size of a city block!

Over 7,000 new items are brought in daily, so the selection is wide-ranging and interesting.

At the Unclaimed Baggage Center, you’ll find a large amount of clothing predominantly, but there are many other items as well.

Electronics, books, jewelry, sporting goods, cameras, and actual luggage are also common finds.

There are also rarer and more unique items occasionally; some that have been reported over the years are a parachute, a suit of armor, a fighter jet system, gemstones, and a whole live rattlesnake!

The rarest items can be viewed in the museum on site.

This includes artifacts from Egypt, Hoggle from Labyrinth by Jim Hensen, and even a 1700s violin.

There’s a reason over a million people come to check this place out annually – it’s just cool!

Address: 509 W Willow St, Scottsboro, AL 35768, United States

23. Little River Canyon

Little River Canyon
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The Little River Canyon is a national reserve that can be found close to Fort Payne, on Alabama’s Lookout Mountain.

It is the site of America’s longest mountaintop river, and it’s truly one of the most beautiful places to go in the state.

The canyon is often considered the deepest of its kind east of the Mississippi River and was originally called May’s Gulf.

There are a number of fun ways to keep yourself occupied if you visit Little River Canyon.

Backcountry camping is possible in Hartline’s Ford, Billy’s Ford, and Slant Rock.

Fishing and hunting can be performed with a license, too.

If you prefer, you can also just drive along the edge of the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway to get a 23-mile gorgeous view around the rim of the canyon.

Address: 4322 Little River Trail #100, Fort Payne, AL 35967, United States

24. Fairhope

Fairhope
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Fairhope is a lovely, picturesque location that has a small-town vibe, which makes it one of many more laid-back vacation ideas in Alabama.

Perfect for exploring the shores and cliffs of Mobile Bay this weekend through the delightful, whimsical locations it has to offer.

Among Fairhope’s most famed places to visit is Fairhope Avenue, which has plenty of unique and interesting shops, eateries, and galleries, as well as storybook-like lights at night.

There is also the Fairhope Pier, the rose garden, tours through horseback and boat, and more.

25. Mobile Carnival Museum

Mobile Carnival Museum
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The Mobile Carnival Museum is the best way to get a glimpse into Mardi Gras history in Alabama.

This is because Mobile was the location of the very first Mardi Gras (or Carnival) in the New World of French Louisiana in 1703.

The Mobile Carnival Museum tells its tales through photographs, costumes, floats, gowns, jewels, and posters, all dating as far back as 1886 and as current as the modern day.

As one of the most fun things to do in Alabama, it showcases all the unique and fascinating parts of Mardi Gras and Carnival evolution over the decades.

Address: 355 Government St, Mobile, AL 36602, United States

26. Bryant Denny Stadium

Bryant Denny Stadium
Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

The Bryant Denny Stadium rests on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

It’s one of the key places of interest for sports fans and was set up in 1929.

At first, it only has 18,000 or so seats, but it has since grown to be capable of accommodating more than 100,000 people!

Over the years, the Bryant Denny Stadium has become one of the country’s main venues for college football.

If you love sports as entertainment, you’ll likely be able to watch a game if you catch tickets on time.

If not, book a tour of the stadium in advance in order to go on one of the daily tours, which caps at 25 people.

If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you’ll also probably want to catch the Iron Bowl, which takes place here in even-numbered years!

It’s a fun mashup between the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, which are the state’s two biggest rivals in the sport of college football.

Address: 920 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, United States

27. Dismals Canyon

Dismals Canyon
JMcQ / Shutterstock

The Dismals Canyon comes alive when night falls.

Why?

Dismalites!

Dismalites are a kind of gnat larvae, commonly called “glowworms”, which doesn’t sound very appealing, but they’re a must see if you’re in Alabama thanks to their rarity alone.

Dismalites, officially called the North American Orfelia fultoni, can only survive in specific habitats when they are still larvae, so they can only be found in very few locations.

They need hanging surfaces to build webs on, humidity to keep them moist, darkness so its lights can show, and still air in order to keep web lines steady.

Alongside Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains, Dismals Canyon is one of the places to see that has this habitat!

The canyons, covered in moss, are often so full of them that it’s tough to differentiate between them and the sky above!

The Dismals Canyon is also home to one of the world’s biggest Canadian Hemlock trees, known also as Tsuga canadensis.

It towers at 138 feet in height and nearly 9 inches around.

Its crown spreads across 50 feet and it has an impressive age of 360 years.

Address: 901 County Rd 8, Phil Campbell, AL 35581, United States

28. Moundville Archaeological Park

Moundville Archaeological Site
Donn-beckh / Shutterstock

Travel back in time to a pre-Columbian world at the Moundville Archaeological Park near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

For more than a millennium, these earthworks have gazed over the Black Warrior River on a bluff, boasting 29 mounts built by the Mississippians, a Native American society.

The civilization of Mississippians was made up of chiefdoms that lived in a long rush of land from the coast of the Atlantic to the western Plains.

Chiefdoms were autonomous but connected by conflicts, trades, or other arrangements.

The culture also discovered techniques for sustainable agriculture, unlike many hunter-gatherer societies, which is why permanent settlements were possible for them.

Ruling religious and political figures were the head of their complex civilizations, and these elites were responsible for the supervision of the construction of the mounds you see now.

These mounds were the basis for houses, temples, and buildings of council and required heavy labor.

The ones at the Moundville Archaeological Park were built between 1000 and 1450 CE and had more than one thousand residents.

The larger the mound, the more elite the individual residing within it.

The largest one at the Moundville Archaeological Park measures 60 feet in height.

This place was abandoned around 1500 CE and it wasn’t excavated properly until the 20th century as part of New Deal job creation.

It spans 185 acres and is one of the best Alabama attractions you can find, as well as one of the most unique.

Address: 634 Mound State Parkway, Moundville, AL 35474, United States

29. Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway
Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for fun tourist attractions, the Talladega Superspeedway is an amazing way to get your taste of races and entertainment in Alabama.

Measuring 2.66 miles, it is the fastest and longest of NASCAR’s tracks.

It originally opened as the Alabama International Motor Speedway in 1969 and it earned a reputation for being cursed due to its location atop burial grounds of ancient communities.

The Talladega Superspeedway is unique because it offers a fascinating way to spend weekends when races are scheduled: with the option for free camping on the grounds.

You can avail of infield RV tent camping, RV camping, and outdoor camping as well.

There is also the new addition of the Party Patio, which lets you take a look at the whole track as you rest and await races.

Address: 3366 Speedway Blvd, Lincoln, AL 35096, United States

30. Tinglewood Carvings

Tinglewood Carvings
Angie Flowers / flickr

The Tinglewood Carvings can be found in Orr Park of Montevallo, Alabama.

The park itself is lovely, with eight sports fields, two playgrounds, a walking trail, a creek, and several picnic shelters.

But the best things to see at Orr Park aren’t these facilities, but the carvings made in many of its trees.

When a storm swept the area in 1993, many of the older trees wound up being destroyed.

They were originally meant to be simply chopped down, but one Mr. Tingle decided not to allow that!

He arrived and began carving into them, a mix of whimsical and comedic that add to Orr Park’s beauty.

Living trees are left untouched, but dead ones are game for whatever carvings he wants to add!

Alligators, squirrels, men, silly faces, and a dragon are among the different designs of the Tinglewood Carvings.

They’ve become so famous that the Montevallo City Hall has a book that details all of them!

Address: Park Dr, Montevallo, AL 35115, United States

31. Alabama Wildlife Center

Alabama Wildlife Center
Ralph Daily / flickr

The Alabama Wildlife Center is the biggest facility for wildlife rehabilitation.

Created in 1977, it’s also the oldest, beginning as a small volunteer organization.

For the most part, the wildlife center focuses on being a rehabilitation clinic for native wild birds, providing a wildlife helpline, and offering fun educational programs.

More than 50,000 wild animals have been helped by the wildlife center, the facility continues to provide medical and rehabilitative aid to the animals that they can help.

More than 100 species of wild birds are cared for here annually – over 2,000 individual animals!

Address: 100 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124, United States

32. Alabama Theater

Alabama Theater
Michael Gordon / Shutterstock

In 1927, the Alabama Theater was opened in Birmingham to be a premier movie theater for America’s southeast.

It was among the very first buildings to boast air-conditioning and, in the 1930s, was home to the activities of the Mickey Mouse Club.

In the beginning, the theater could only play silent films with the aid of a Mighty Wurlitzer organ.

It is this organ that eventually saved the theater from its eventual slating for demolition.

Now, the Alabama Theater is a nonprofit that still offers frequent entertainment.

Seating 2,500 people, it has come a long way since it was a mere vessel for vaudeville and performance arts.

As the only district theater in the state still operating, it’s certainly one of the best things to do in Alabama.

Address: 1817 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States

33. Town of Spectre

Town of Spectre
Jason Biro / flickr

The Town of Spectre is a fictional town that you may recognize from Big Fish, a film from 2003.

In the movie, the main character visits Spectre multiple times, going as a child to find it beautiful and bright, and arriving later to find it dilapidated.

The lead then works to fix it and, the final time he visits it, it’s all fixed up and good as new.

It’s whimsical and melancholy – even more so when you consider the current state of the set of Spectre.

Spectre was built along the Alabama River, on a private island.

Its facades were left to stand there when filming was over, along with all the other dressings of the set.

The reason it looks so run-down is because that version of Spectre was the last to be filmed, so it already looked intentionally bad when filming wrapped.

Some of the buildings have begun to collapse over time, and one of them led to a fire when debris collapsed and the owners attempted to save it.

Sparks burned and most of the commercial part of Spectre was destroyed.

A river house was also demolished due to flooding that damaged it.

Spectre is still a fun option for what to do, but much smaller now.

Only six homes, two trees, a church, and columns from an important building remain.

If you loved the film, you can leave your shoes at the long line already existing here, left behind by visitors.

Address: Dirt road near, Cypress Ln, Millbrook, AL 36054, United States

34. Civil Rights Memorial

Civil Rights Memorial
Danny E Hooks / Shutterstock

The Civil Rights Memorial of Alabama is located across the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Despite being harrowing in nature, it is one of the best places to visit to feel the symbolic gravity of the movement for civil rights.

It bears the names of 40 individuals who died between the years 1954 and 1968 in their fight for equality.

The years were chosen because the former is when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against racial segregation in schools and the latter is when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The memorial is always watched by a guard in order to prevent vandalism.

It was designed by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin and was dedicated in the year 1989.

The design of the memorial is water-themed and is meant to appear healing and relaxing.

It is a nod to King’s own words from his famous speech: “…we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”.

Address: 400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104, United States

35. Orange Beach

Orange Beach
Sara Louise Singer / Shutterstock

Orange Beach is one of the famous places in Alabama because it’s one of the few beach getaways that offers sand and surf fun.

It rests along the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline and spans 32 miles.

Orange Beach has golf courses, fishing events, nature preserves, and plenty of white sand to enjoy.

You can rent a boat, bask in the sun, go for a cruise, partake in fishing, or even look for dolphins!

36. GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico
Stephanie A Sellers / Shutterstock

The GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the best ways to get a true look into the Gulf of Mexico.

As the only maritime museum dedicated to its subject on the planet, it’s paramount of the list of where to go for education about this gulf at the end of Alabama.

Situated on the Mobile River, the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is an interactive location, making it one of the only interactive museums of this theme in the United States.

It is built inside the container ship of the SS McLean as a symbol of the 1950s concept of containerization.

Address: 155 S Water St, Mobile, AL 36602, United States

37. Auburn

Auburn
Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

Auburn is a college town, through and through.

You won’t find another place that is more quintessential to the concept of Alabama colleges.

It’s home to the famous football team, the Auburn Tigers, and the school pride is evident virtually in all the places to visit you’ll encounter.

There are plenty of fun spots throughout Auburn worth visiting.

Whether you’re looking for art, good food, nature, shopping, or sports, you’re sure to find something here that will entice you.

Experience a slice of the world of university life and feel young again – or feel like you’re all grown up!

38. Hank Williams’s Gravesite

Hank Williams's Gravesite
Michael Gordon / Shutterstock

More than 25,000 individuals take a trip to Hank Williams’s Gravesite annually, which makes it a surprising addition to the top list of Alabama attractions.

It is located in Montgomery, Alabama in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex.

Williams’ enjoyed a short career in music, but it was nothing if not memorable.

Superfans of Williams have plucked the grass from around his grave so much that it was eventually replaced completely with Astroturf, which makes the grave – and the grave of Williams’ wife, Audrey, stand out significantly.

The artificial bright green contrasts with the natural hues of every place around it.

Address: 1269-1399 Upper Wetumpka Rd, Montgomery, AL, United States

39. Neversink Pit

Neversink Pit
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / flickr

The Neversink Pit is one of Alabama’s more unique tourist attractions.

It is located in the north of the state and is a bit of a cross between a cave and a sinkhole.

It’s a majestic sight to behold, which is probably why it’s not just a hotspot for climbers, but for photographers as well.

The Neversink Pit is a magnificent geological marvel.

It measures 40 feet in width at its peak entrance and drops by a whopping 162 feet to a floor nearly 80 feet in width.

Many people aim to climb it, and they’re greeted by different vistas each season.

In the spring, ribbons of water fall after the rain.

In the summer, rare species of ferns drape over the sides.

In the winter, ice sheets make things extra chilly. It’s equal parts fun, intimidating, and breathtaking.

The Southeastern Cave Conservancy spent years trying to keep the Neversink Pit pristine before purchasing the property entirely with donations in 1995.

The organization now maintains watch over the pit’s ecology and overseas guest activity.

This is especially important because of the endangered plants growing in the Neversink Pit and the vulnerable “community” of bats that calls this cave home.

Address: Unnamed Road, Fackler, AL 35746, United States

40. Sloss Furnaces

Sloss Furnaces
IA Fillm Group / Shutterstock

The Sloss Furnaces is an incredibly national historic landmark and one of the most unique things to do in Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1882, the furnaces began their function as a blast furnace for pig-iron.

In 1971, the Sloss Furnaces site was shut down, and it was then preserved as one of the things to see for the public.

The fascinating structures were named after Colonel James Withers Sloss, one of Birmingham’s founders who promoted the development of railroads.

He built this company on land spanning 50 acres, which was donated for the purposes of industrial growth.

Only two furnaces could be built even on that huge amount of space.

Each furnace is 60 feet in height and 18 feet in width, and they are surrounded by the items, machines, and tools used in the pig-iron production process.

Sloss eventually sold his company when he wanted to retire.

The park then expanded, accommodating new boilers, and they soon grew to be one of the world’s biggest industry players.

Cottages were set up for workers to live in and improvements were made repeatedly throughout the years.

They were shut down after the passing of the US Clean Air Act.

The Alabama State Fair Authority then received them as a donation and preservationists made sure the site was saved instead of demolished.

The Sloss Furnaces now function as an industrial museum, providing a globally renowned metal arts program and teaching visitors an interpretive history of the industry.

It is also often used as a venue for concerts and festivals, and there’s no entry fee, so it’s one of the few free things to do in the state.

Address: 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222, United States

41. Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge
Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock

The Natural Bridge is one of the must see points of interest in Alabama.

It is surrounded by unbelievably lush foliage as well as delightful and awe-inspiring rock formations, but the uniqueness of this bridge, made of iron ore and sandstone, outshines them all.

Over 200 million years ago, this bridge was slowly being formed outside what is now known as the William Bankhead National Forest.

It spans the area of a cave and measures 148 feet in length and 50 feet in height.

Native Americans have lived here for centuries, and it became a national park in 1954.

You cannot walk over the bridge now due to safety, but it’s amazing enough to walk through and take photos.

If you walk a little farther, you’ll find a mysterious Native American head carving believed to depict a former chief.

Address: County RD 314, Natural Bridge, AL 35577, United States

42. Southeastern Raptor Center

Southeastern Raptor Center
Josh Hallett / flickr

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Alabama, you can’t go wrong with the Southeastern Raptor Center.

Founded in the mid-1970s, it was created after Dr. Milton received requests to help injured birds that had been taken to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Auburn University.

Eventually, donations and volunteer work allowed for the creation of the raptor barn, followed by a housing area.

The Southeastern Raptor Center has since helped thousands of birds of prey, treating them and releasing them into the wild as one of the top specialists for this field in Alabama.

As such, the center is an amazing option among places to visit in the state, especially for bird enthusiasts.

Address: 1350 Pratt-Carden Dr, Auburn, AL 36849, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Alabama

Alabama’s places to visit are fun, exciting, and unique.

Whether you’ve got a huge budget or want something free, there are sure to be Alabama vacation spots that fit your idea of the perfect holiday.

Hopefully, this travel guide has helped you determine your own picks for the top things to do in Alabama!