28 February 2019
“Sweet Home Alabama” is more than just a song; this state is a land of history, culture, music and adventure from beaches to mountains. Music legends Nat King Cole, W.C. Handy and Hank Williams were born here, and artists including Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones came to Alabama to cement their careers. Gospel is sung in churches and folks dance, while Blues, Country and Jazz set the mood of local bars. Locally owned restaurants dish up meals of mouth-watering barbecue and fresh seafood from Alabama’s fishing villages, and museums cover everything from Civil Rights and music history to fast cars and faster spacecraft. Here are our top five things you can’t miss during a visit to Alabama:
Take a Musical Adventure to Muscle Shoals
Start your visit at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia to see exhibits of gold records and costumes. Then drive a few minutes north to Sheffield to visit Muscle Shoals Sound Studios: a unique, hit recording studio owned by studio musicians who came to be known as The Swampers. Originally with FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, the Swampers split off to form their own operation and called it Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
While in the area, a must visit for music lovers is the W.C. Handy Home, Museum and Library which has an impressive collection of memorabilia including instruments and sheet music belonging to W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues.”
Explore at the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre
Located in Huntsville, the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre is a museum showcasing rockets and artefacts of the U.S. Space Program. See exhibits about the International Space Station and attend U.S. Space Camp. General admission includes access to historic Shuttle Park, Rocket Park, and all indoor exhibit areas such as the main museum atrium and the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
Visit Gulf State Park
Sit back and enjoy this park’s 3 kilometre white sand beach near the communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. There is a range of activities for everyone: the H.S Branyon Backcountry Trail provides 40 kilometres of paved trails for walking or biking plus you can play golf, tennis or for thrill seekers: check out one of the zip lines!
Take a View from the Top
Visit DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne (Northeast Alabama) where waterfalls, woods and a stunning view from the top of Lookout Mountain await. Here, those that love adventure can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, zip lining, fishing, biking, rappelling, hiking and rock climbing. The park also has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a nature centre featuring interpretive programs and live animals.
See Where Martin Luther King Jr. Made History
Walk across the bridge where the Selma-to-Montgomery march began. See Martin Luther King Jr.’s home in Montgomery and visit Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: one of the South’s finest museums offering photo, audio and exhibits that take visitors inside the integration movement. Here you can see the jail cell where Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.
Planning a visit to Alabama? Get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor who can make your travel dreams a reality.
For more information, visit alabama.travel/.