Alabama is a state full of natural outdoor beauty, history and adventure. It is a state that truly has something for everyone to enjoy, whether you are planning a day trip or a week-long vacation.
Residents and visitors have an abundance of options to explore Alabama attractions in major cities in both the southern and northern parts of the state.
The yellowhammer state has everything from beaches to botanical gardens, the infamous Space and Rocket Center or the Birmingham Zoo and everything in between.
There are truly so many things to do in Alabama, and before you even leave from your first visit, you will want to start planning your next so that you can make sure you see all that the state has to offer.
If you are planning to visit the state, do take the time to visit these top 25 must-see attractions in Alabama.
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Located in the city of Huntsville in Northern Alabama, the US Space and Rocket Center is a mecca of all things space and is one of the most visited attractions in Alabama.
Some of the key highlights are the shuttle experience or flight simulator, both of which make it feel like you are experiencing space exploration or ground control in real life.
When visiting the center, plan ahead so that you can enjoy and experience all that it has to offer.
There are various training programs and experiences available, from learning how to train to become an astronaut or even learning how to scuba.
The Center also hosts the extremely popular Space Camp, Aviation Challenge Camp, and Robotics Camp that are attended by thousands of competitors every year.
Make sure to sign up ahead of time, as these experiences tend to fill up quickly due to popularity.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Huntsville
Address: 1 Tranquility Base Huntsville, AL 35805
Also Read: Top 10 Space and Aviation Museums in the USA
When planning a visit to Birmingham, Alabama, the Birmingham Zoo should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Alabama.
Spread over 122-acres, the zoo boasts more than 200 species of animals, including numerous endangered species from around the world.
Younger children will love the option to go on a train ride through the zoo, while the big kids and adults can enjoy the different exhibits and experiences the zoo offers.
The Zoo has more than 50 different exhibits that are open all through the year.
The zoo includes animals such as the North American black bear, sea lions, rhinos, lemurs, jaguars, lions and so much more.
Apart from the exhibits, the Zoo also holds education classes for children and adults. Special classes are also available for teachers, preschoolers, and students.
Special classes like bird photography training, after-school labs, etc. are also held depending on availability and interest.
During the summer vacations, the Summer ZooFari Camps are very popular with children and the camps are often booked well in advance.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Birmingham
Address: 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223
Golfing is a popular option for tourists and visitors in Alabama and it is easy to see why.
The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is a collection of eleven different locations throughout the state that offers over four hundred holes of competitive golfing.
Visitors from all over the world come to play the variety of courses throughout the state.
While you are visiting, you can relax and unwind off the course in one of the luxurious Marriott or Renaissance hotels located nearby.
The most infamous of the eleven courses is the course at Ross Bridge which is right outside of downtown Birmingham and their spa is worth the luxurious visit as well.
Ross Bridge is the fifth-longest course in the world and is well worth a visit!
Accommodation: Where to stay in Opelika
Address: 3000 Robert Trent Jones Trail, Opelika, AL 36801
Also Read: Best Golf Courses in The US
If you are looking for a day full of outdoor activities, Point Mallard Park is the place to be, especially if children are some of your traveling companions.
With thousands of glowing reviews, it is easy to see why tourists enjoy visiting this park on their trip to Alabama. This park has it all.
One of the most exciting parts of the park is the amazing water park with a wave pool (America's first wave pool, to be exact), numerous slides and even a sandy beach to relax on while watching the kids have the time of their lives.
After spending some time relaxing by the pool, you can enjoy the numerous amenities the park provides, with batting cages, tennis courts and a driving range.
The park has a large tennis center with over ten courts for playing and a pro shop for all your tennis equipment needs.
You can also use the attached campgrounds with campsites with all the attached facilities. It's a great place to have fun on the hiking, jogging, and biking trails that wind about the park and campsite.
With so many fun options available, visiting Point Mallard Park is clearly one of the best things to do in Alabama.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Decatur
Address: 2901 Point Mallard Dr SE, Decatur, AL 35602
Nestled in the heart of Alabama, Cheaha State Park is a massive expanse of Southern beauty. It has lush green forests, numerous diverting paths, and some of the best camping grounds to be found in the state.
You can work this state park in any way you want! From high end hotels with all the benefits of luxury to camping underneath the stars with the necessities; Cheaha State Park is the ideal location for your getaway.
Cheaha is also notable for being one of the most unique destinations in Alabama for the outdoors scene. Being such a sprawling, sizeable land there is so much to explore that you have never seen before.
High elevations will take you up to some of the best viewpoints in all of Alabama, and make your hike incredibly memorable. The park is open throughout the year, and every season brings a little something new to the environment.
Go during spring to see all that blooms here, or come in fall to feel the crunch of leaves beneath your boots as you trail blaze. Whatever you choose to do in Cheaha is going to be an adventure you’ll never forget.
Address: 19644 AL-281, Delta, AL 36258
If you like big ships and American history, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a must-visit. The USS Alabama Battleship is docked along the waterfront and it is a great floating museum.
The 680-feet battleship takes more than two hours to see completely but visitors are encouraged to stay the entire day and see all the attractions. Apart from the Battleship, visitors can also visit the USS DRUM Submarine that is located close to the Battleship. The USS DRUM is the oldest submarine on display in the world and it does require two or more hours to see completely.
The Park is also home to more than 25 beautiful military aircraft that include Tomcats, Hornets, and Blackbirds. Other attractions include the park memorials, the military equipment on display, and the recreational area for visitors.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Mobile
Address: 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36603
Also Read: Best Battleship Museums In the USA
Spending time on the beaches of Gulf Shores truly feels like you are on vacation in the Caribbean.
The turquoise blue of the water mixed with the white creamy sand feels like something out of a dream and is one of the most visited Alabama tourist attractions.
Gulf State Park is an oasis for fishing and sunbathing and offers the Angler Academy an introduction to some of the country's best saltwater fishing.
When the kids are ready to explore what the area offers, the Gulf Coast Zoo is the place to go.
For older kids, it is worth making a reservation with a local tour company for their dolphins and wildlife kayak experience.
Even if you just spend the time you have on the beach, it is a trip worth making that allows you to feel like you are in the tropics without ever having to leave the country.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Gulf Shores
Address: 3150 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
This state-of-the-art museum and aquarium is a great way to entertain friends and family. The 9000-square feet Center has four floors of interactive exhibits that have captured the attention of more than 10 million visitors since opening its doors in 1998.
The exhibits include artifacts of native american tribes, preserved biological specimens, rocks and minerals, and many types of fossils. The science center is dedicated to preserve and understand the natural wonders of Alabama.
For more interactive experience, there is an IMAX Dome theater playing educational documentaries like Mysteries of the Unseen World, Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.
Address: 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203
Being outside in the sun exploring gorgeous plants and flowers is a day well spent, and Huntsville Botanical Gardens provides just that.
The gardens offer the country's largest open-air butterfly house as well as a fun and engaging children's garden for the kids to explore and learn more about plants while having fun doing so.
As you explore all that the botanical gardens have to offer, you can enjoy walking along a birding trail or simply enjoy some peace in the gazebo at the bulb garden.
Visitors may love the Biblical garden featuring plants mentioned in the Bible, the Dogwood trail featuring dogwood trees including a 100-year old dogwood tree transplanted to the site and the Vegetable garden providing useful tips to the home gardeners.
One of the favorite sections of the garden is a miniature village created by local boy scouts and includes a miniature steam locomotive that travels through the well-detailed landscape and garden.
Address: 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805
Alabama has a complex history. The area was colonized by indigenous people of varying cultures much before Europeans reached the area.
By the 16th century, the European settlers colonized the area. By the 19th century, prosperous Southern planters bought in slaves from Africa to work on their plantations and this resulted in a huge mix of cultures and races in the south-eastern states.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute catalogs all these intricate cultures and the way they interacted with each other to gain their independence.
The museum catalogs the struggle that started in Birmingham and how the freedom struggle progressed from there. The museum also holds regular exhibitions, traveling exhibits, and musical shows for locals and tourists.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is one of the best things to do in Alabama because it’s one of the most prominent and prestigious cultural and educational institutions.
Address: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203
Montgomery played a significant role during the Civil Rights Movement between 1954 and 1968. The Civil Rights Memorial pays homage to the lives lost during those years of influential people who fought for racial equality and justice.
The memorial is located in Downtown Montgomery on a plaza open to the public and includes the Civil Rights Memorial Center.
The main monument is a fountain designed by Maya Lin, who created other famous memorials in the US.
It features 41 prominent names such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Emmett Till. Other names are noted inside of the memorial center.
The site provides guided tours to learn about the Civil Rights Movement history.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Montgomery
Address: 400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104
Alabama borders the Gulf of Mexico, but there is a unique inlet formed along the coast to create Mobile Bay. It's a relatively large bay with Mobile located along the coast, amongst several other towns. It's one of the popular vacation spots in Alabama.
There are several destinations located around the shores of Mobile Bay. The coastline features several historic sites as it played a role in wars. The USS Alabama Battleship is one of the famous attractions that offers tours of the legendary warship.
Mobile Bay is a popular destination for recreation. Fishing is one of the main activities. During the summer, it experiences a phenomenon called jubilee where lots of fish swim near the shores, which makes it very easy to catch them.
Other activities include kayaking, cruises, and leisure beaches.
Also Read: Best Alabama Beaches You Must Visit
Frank Lloyd has many famous houses built around the US, but only one in Alabama – the Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum. Don't miss a chance to see a home built in 1940, designed by the famed architect.
Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum is one of the unique sights to see in Alabama. It was the former private residence of the Rosenbaum family.
Wright was commissioned to design the house, which is the first to display his self-proclaimed Usonian architectural style. The style is depicted in an unconventional style of home, which vastly contrasts other homes in the neighborhood.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the home. The unique style is also featured on the interior, where you'll get to see preserved furnishing. Guides provide details about the architecture and history.
Address: 601 Riverview Dr, Florence, AL 35630
When William Christopher Handy was born in 1873 in a small log cabin, it was hard to predict that he would become world-famous and known as the "Father of the Blues."
His humble beginnings in Florence, Alabama, are preserved in his birth home, now recognized as the W.C. Handy Home and Museum.
The museum is a preserved log cabin to give visitors an accurate view of his life growing up in the home. It houses exhibitions formed from personal donations that include memorabilia, artifacts, and handwritten sheet music.
Visitors can enjoy a guided tour by an expert historian about the life of W.C. Handy and his impact on Blues music. Seeing where it all began is a great way to appreciate some of his biggest hits like the Memphis Blues and Beale Street Blues.
Visit Alabama to see the musician's origins and follow up with a visit to the museum in Memphis for highlights about his career.
Address: 620 W College St, Florence, AL 35630
Located in Selma's Historic District, the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute is a must-visit museum to learn about the historical fight for voting rights during the Civil Rights Movement. It's one of the most moving attractions in Alabama.
The museum's location is significant – it's the site of the Bloody Sunday event, which occurred when a peaceful march turned violent on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The events eventually led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Visit the museum to see exhibitions highlighting the events. You'll get to see footprints and clothing worn by people involved in the march. It also includes firsthand accounts of the events of protesters. Other exhibitions include information about the Women's Suffrage movement.
After visiting the museum, you can take a walk across the bridge to recount the historical steps.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Selma
Address: 6 US-80 East, Selma, AL 36701
Make a stop at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum during your trip to visit one of the coolest attractions in Alabama. It houses one of the world's largest motorcycle collections.
The museum was founded by George Barber, a former race car driver, as part of the Barber Motorsports Park.
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum holds over 1,200 motorcycles and race cars in its collection. It's a well-designed building that makes the viewing experience enjoyable for all motorcycle and car enthusiasts.
It features many rare and spotlight motorcycles like the 1995 Britten V1000 and the 1959 Ducati 200SS.
Check the events calendar before visiting the museum. Visitors can also purchase tickets to attend a race at the track, including the Grand Prix of Alabama in the spring and an annual motorcycle meet in the fall.
Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art is the first fine art museum opened in Alabama and remained one of the best places to go in Alabama to see art.
The vast collection includes famous American Art from the 19th-20th Century to prints from Old Masters.
The museum opened in 1988 in a large lakeside venue within the Blunt Cultural Park. It hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other artworks.
You can see artwork from local Alabama artists or enjoy the children's area if visiting with kids.
One of the newest additions to the museum is the outdoor sculpture garden which is free to the public. The museum also hosts educations programs for all ages.
Address: 1 Museum Dr, Montgomery, AL 36117
You can easily spend a few hours wandering the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens if you're looking for things to do in Alabama.
Situated on 65-acres along the Follow River, the gardens are among the most beautiful sights to see in Alabama. The colorful flora and decorative garden features make it a popular tourist destination.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home are located right outside of Mobile. It was founded by Walker Bellingrath, who grew his fortune as one of the first bottlers of Coca-Cola in the region.
He used his wealth to purchase the land. Bellingrath initially used it for fishing in the lake, but his wife began to develop the grounds into the massive garden that you see today.
The gardens feature thousands of plants of different species. There are various trails leading around the garden for a leisure stroll in the tranquil environment.
Springtime is one of the best times to visit to see the flowers in full bloom. The holiday season is another favorite time to visit, where you'll get to see more than three million Christmas lights illuminating the garden.
During your visit, be sure to stop by the Bellingrath estate for a tour of the museum.
Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore, AL 36582
Visit Birmingham to see some of the top local tourist attractions. One of the spotlight venues is the Birmingham Museum of Art.
It's considered to have one of the top art collections you'll see in the state. Explore multiple floors filled with art exhibitions collected from around the world.
The Birmingham Museum of Art has over 24,000 works of art. It was founded in 1951 but relocated to the current facility in 1959.
It's best known for the Asian Art collection, but it also holds lots of art from the European Renaissance and African art. You'll see a range of art, including paintings, prints, sculptures, furniture, and more.
Plan for at least a couple of hours to walk through all of the galleries. It's a family-friendly venue, so there are even things to see interesting for kids. When you're finished inside, walk around the outdoor sculpture garden.
One of the best parts about the museum is that it's free and open to the public.
Address: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203
Cave exploration is one of the unique activities you can look forward to while visiting Alabama. The Cathedral Caverns State Park is one of the most famous caves in the Southeast region.
It's one of the highlight things to see in Alabama; it's recognized as a National Natural Landmark and offers several recreational activities for visitors.
Cathedral Caverns State Park is a commercial cave that's highly developed for tourists. The main tourist area extends approximately ¾-miles long and features a paved walkway that even wheelchairs can access. Nobody has to miss out on the incredible experience.
Take a guided cave tour to explore the unique cave formations like massive stalagmites protruding from the ground and ceiling. You'll also see the Mystery River, an underground river flowing inside of the cave.
The entire inside is illuminated for high visibility. The tour takes you to the end of the cave as you learn all about its history and formation. You can then spend all the time you'd like taking photos and enjoying the cave environment.
Outside the cave, you can enjoy several hiking trails, picnics, and even camping overnight at designated campsites. Cathedral Caverns State Park is an award-winning destination for its visitor experience.
Address: 637 Cave Rd, Woodville, AL 35776
Also Read: 25 Best State Parks in the United States
When you travel by air, there's always a chance that your bag might go missing. In most cases, the airline can track you down to deliver your luggage.
But have you ever wondered what happens to the baggage that doesn't get back to its rightful owner?
Unclaimed Baggage Center is one of the most unique shopping experiences you'll ever have. The entire store is filled with inventory stocked from unclaimed luggage.
Luggage is declared "unclaimed" after three months of trying to track down the owner. The center buys unclaimed luggage for reselling clothes, donating, and recycling.
Located in Scottsboro, the Unclaimed Baggage Center is a large mall that sells everything, including clothing, shoes, hats, jewelry, accessories, and, of course, luggage.
It's a fun place to shop and to enjoy the novelty of its story. Keep your eye out for great deals and rare finds.
The inventory is constantly changing at the Unclaimed Baggage Center, so don't hesitate to stop in and see what you can find. You might find that lost jacket you've been searching for all these years.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Scottsboro
Address: 509 W Willow St, Scottsboro, AL 35768
Alligator Alley might be a misleading name because you'll be far from the alley. Located in Summerdale, you'll arrive at a swamp that's home to hundreds of alligators. It's one of the best things to do in Alabama to see one of nature's most ferocious animals.
It's not every day that you get to see alligators up close, but that's only the beginning of what you can expect when you visit Alligator Alley.
You'll enter the beasts' natural habitat for the perfect viewing experience. Visitors walk along an elevated walkway over the swamp to see the alligators' natural interactions in the wetland environment.
You'll encounter alligators of all sizes, from babies to fully grown adults weighing over 700lbs. One of the favorite activities at the attraction is feeding the alligators.
You can purchase food at the entrance and feed them right from your hand. The site also features a petting area where you can hold baby alligators.
There are a few other animals within the park, such as snakes and turtles. Be sure to check out the live shows.
Address: 19950 AL-71, Summerdale, AL 36580
Did you know that Mobile is the first city in the US to host Mardi Gras? Most people tend to think about New Orleans when it comes to the exciting carnival celebration, but its originals began in Mobile, dating back to 1703.
You can learn about the famous celebration inside of the Mobile Carnival Museum. The museum is located in Downtown Mobile and features exhibitions dedicated to the event.
It was long in the works and opened in 2005, becoming a favorite Alabama attraction for tourists and locals. You'll be amazed at the things you'll see inside of the museum.
The Mobile Carnival Museum explores the history of Mardi Gras with artifacts dating back more than 300 years. You'll get to see gowns, jewelry, art, and costumes. There are tons of elaborate decorations set up throughout the venue.
The museum walks you through the story of how Mardi Gras evolved over time. There is also a simulated float ride that you can participate in. Audio tours are available for visitors.
You can participate in Mardi Gras hosted annually in Mobile every February.
Address: 355 Government St, Mobile, AL 36602
Of all the historical Alabama attractions located at Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan State Historic Site is one of the top places to visit in Alabama.
The legendary fort was heavily used during wartimes and remains well-preserved to give visitors a glimpse into the past. Take a tour of the site to learn about its important role in American history.
Fort Morgan State Historic Site was built in 1834, replacing a previous fort on the site after the War of 1812. Its main use was during the Civil War when the Confederate Army occupied it but later captured by the Union. It's now designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The fort has a distinctive pentagon shape which provided lots of protection from all sides. The waterfront location was critical to protecting the region from incoming troops.
It underwent lots of renovations and repairs after the war and damage from natural causes.
Visitors can enter the fort and walk around to see various structures and preserved artifacts. There is also a museum nearby with exhibitions detailing the fort's role in wartimes.
Address: 110 State Highway 180 51 State Hwy 180, Fort Morgan, AL 36542
NASCAR has some of the most energetic fans compared to any other sport. Talladega Superspeedway is one of the most famous NASCAR race tracks where you can join 175,000 cheering fans at a high-speed race.
Talladega Superspeedway is located in Talladega and is the town's favorite destination. For major NASCAR events, people travel from all over to be part of the action.
The track is the longest over-shaped track in NASCAR, with a course approximately 2.6-miles long.
Of course, the best way to experience the speedway is for an actual event. It hosts the GEICO 500 race and other notable races in the sport.
There are always pre-race events at the track, typically happening right outside of it. Then you'll want to get the best seat in the house to see the mesmerizing laps of cars speeding over 200 miles per hour.
The track also allows visitor tours on days outside of the major events. You get to see the tunnel where the cars emerge and even walk the track.
You might recognize the track which was used in the famous Talladega Nights film.
Address: 3366 Speedway Blvd, Lincoln, AL 35096
Also Read: Best Race Tracks in the US
There truly are so many fantastic Alabama attractions; it can be hard to narrow them down and choose.
The beauty of visiting the state is that no matter which part of the state you visit, there are unique attractions to explore.
Between the beautiful weather and scenery, enjoying delicious southern food, and learning more about the great outdoors, Alabama will provide you with a trip to remember and leave you wanting to come back for more.