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31 Fun Things to Do in Alabama

31 Fun Things to Do in Alabama

From historical landmarks to natural wonders, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Alabama. And whether you’re a fan of the great outdoors or prefer to stay indoors, or merely a traveler passing through, we’ve got you covered with 31 fun things to do in Alabama, the Heart of Dixie.


1. Discover the Huntsville Botanical Garden

A favorite among locals and visitors alike, Huntsville Botanical Garden is a 120-acre year-round oasis featuring gorgeous flowers, tranquil ponds, and plenty of photo ops. Be sure to check the calendar before you go, as the garden often hosts special events like concerts and holiday celebrations.

Bring bug spray and stay hydrated, because you could be here for hours admiring the beautiful natural areas and themed gardens. Admission is $17 for adults and $12 for children age 3 to 15. Certain days of the month are pet-friendly, and you can bring your four-legged friends for $4 each.


2. Ride Bikes at Gulf State Park

With over 30 miles of paved trails winding through some of the most beautiful scenery in Alabama, Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail at Gulf State Park is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast. And with several access points throughout the trail, it’s easy to make your bike ride as long or as short as you’d like.

Note: This trail connects the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.


3. Dance with the Temptations in Birmingham

Discover the captivating Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park, a serene tribute to the legendary singer of the Temptations. Created by talented Tuskegee artist Ron McDowell, this garden showcases a stunning bronze sculpture of Kendrick, surrounded by granite walls and sculptures of the other Temptations. This attraction is a welcome surprise in the heart of Birmingham’s Civil Rights District.

As you admire Kendrick’s statue, be enchanted by the synchronized choreography of the four other Temptations. Dance and sing along with the music shared publicly with favorites like “The Way You Do the Things You Do” and “Just My Imagination.”


4. Stroll Downtown Fairhope

With its quaint shops and art galleries, Fairhope’s downtown area is perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll. And when you get hungry, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from, including several that overlook Mobile Bay.

A few of my favorites are shopping at Adrenaline and Christmas Round the Corner, and walking the Fairhope Municipal Pier. A stop by the fun and funky Coffee Loft will caffeinate your journey.

5. Take a Music Tour in Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals is one of the most important cities in music history, and a tour of its famed recording studios is a must-do for any music lover. You’ll get an inside look at how some of the world’s most famous songs were recorded, and you might even get to meet a rock star or two.

6. Making Sandcastles at Orange Beach

With its white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, Orange Beach is one of the most beautiful places in Alabama. Enroll for Sand Castle University and learn the ins and outs of extreme and proper sand castle building techniques using only simple items, such as a fast food knife, straw, and bucket. Owner Janel Hawkins is brilliant at her creative sand designs. Group or individual sessions are available.

When you’re ready for a break from building sandcastles, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy, such as swimming, fishing, dolphin cruises, and boating.


7. See a NASCAR Race at Talladega

For race fans, Talladega Superspeedway is a must-see attraction. The track is home to two NASCAR races each year, and tickets can be found for as little as $20 if you plan ahead. You can even camp in some pretty cool spaces at this racetrack. 

Check out the Talladega Garage Experience on NASCAR race weekends if you can afford the splurge. It is the most immersive, interactive, and behind-the-scenes fun you can find!

Photo from Talladega Speedway IG page.

8. Photograph the Alabama State Capitol

Located in downtown Montgomery, the Alabama State Capitol is one of the most iconic buildings in the state. The Greek Revival-style building, circa 1850, is open to the public for tours Monday through Friday. These grounds hold a lot of history, so be prepared for an emotional day.


9. Learn About Hartselle

Hartselle is a small town with a big heart, and there’s no better place to learn about it than by attending Main Street Market Days. I know about it from @theregoesconnie writing about it so much.

Held on the first Saturday of every month from April through October, Main Street Market Days features arts and crafts vendors, live music, and food trucks galore. You won’t want to miss it!

10. Walk the Edmund Pettus Bridge

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was made famous by Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a march across the bridge in 1965, ending with him being arrested and hundreds of others. Today, the bridge (on the Civil Rights Trail) is open to pedestrians and offers stunning views of downtown Selma. While fun to cross off the bucket list, this is a very moving experience. 

Bonus: Get an up-close look at history by visiting Selma’s Interpretive Center, which tells stories about the activists who marched across Edmund Pettus Bridge during 1965’s Voting Rights March.


11. Sightseeing in Downtown Decatur

If you’re looking to shop, Downtown Decatur has unique goods and souvenirs that make great gifts or keepsakes from your visit. I found quite a few selfie spots, adorable boutiques, colorful murals, and a fantastic coffee shop. What more do you need?

My suggestions for where to shop are Chel’den’s Gift Emporium, Bee Hive Bathhouse, and Miss Muldrew’s —then grab a snack and coffee at High Point Market.


12. Eat Oysters at Wintzell’s in Mobile

Wintzell’s Oyster House is a must-visit if you’re in Mobile, a “Gulf Coast tradition since 1938”. Indulge in wild-caught and farm-raised oysters on the half-shell, fried oysters, award-winning seafood gumbo, and other seafood delights – all served with Southern hospitality.

I first heard of Wintzell’s on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Sitting at the bar and watching the oyster shuckers is a good time, much less eating them! If you’ve never tried chargrilled oysters, this is definitely the place to do so. I love the Bienville ones, topped with shrimp, crabmeat, and a creamy parmesan sauce, though you can try a sampler with three of each variety.

There are six Wintzell’s locations around Alabama.

Photo from Wintzell’s IG page.

13. Wander Through Huntsville’s Living History

Huntsville is riddled with historical areas around the downtown. Explore Constitution Hall Park, an open-air museum in Huntsville, where you can experience life as it was in 1819. With its eight historical buildings, including a law office, and post office, this living history museum captures the time when Alabama became the 22nd state admitted to the Union.

Then, stroll around the Twickenham district with beautiful Victorian homes dating from 1814 to 1870 stretching across 13 blocks. You’ll find the Old Town Historic District just north of Twickenham, with homes built between 1810 and 1930.


14. Attend the Christmas Tour in Opelika

If you’re visiting during December, head to Opelika for its annual Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour. This event showcases dozens of beautiful homes decorated with festive holiday displays – perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit!

15. Throw Rolls at Lambert’s Cafe

You can’t come to Alabama without trying Lambert’s Cafe – their homestyle dishes (pot pie, fried chicken, barbecue ribs, etc.) and delicious desserts are fabulous! Located in Foley, this famous cafe is known throughout the south. I have friends who ask all the time if I’ve been. 

I prefer to eat the rolls, but throwing them is part of the kitschy fun of this beloved restaurant.

16. Wandering the University of Alabama Campus

Home to one of college football’s most storied programs, the University Of Alabama campus is full of historic buildings and monuments that tell tales about its past while still being used today! Cheer on the Crimson Tide led by West Virginia native, coach Nick Saban.

Roll, Tide, Roll!


17. Enjoy the Landscape at Natural Bridge Park

Enjoy nature by taking a stroll through Natural Bridge Park, which features trails and waterfalls surrounded by beautiful rock formations. My daughter and I saw this gem while crossing the state’s backroads. 

I meet people from Alabama often who have no idea this place even exists! Natural Bridge Park is a one-of-a-kind attraction with a fun place for hiking, though be advised that the paths are often unloved and wet.

Photo from website linked above.

18. Eat at Alabama’s Oldest Restaurant

Dining at The Bright Star, Alabama’s oldest family-owned eatery, is an excellent addition to your itinerary. Choose from Greek-style steaks and classic steakhouse side dishes. I encourage you to order the Fried Green Tomatoes or the Baked Stuffed Mushrooms for starters; they are definitely crowd-pleasers. 

Save room for one of the long list of award-winning pies for dessert. Lemon Icebox gets my pick. And be sure to admire the hand-painted murals in the lobby as you come or go.


19. Admire the Animals at the “Little Zoo That Could”

Visiting the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is an absolute must for those who love animals and being outdoors. Here, visitors can marvel at over 118 species of animals from around the world represented in more than 25 acres of exhibits. The long list of animals to ooh and aah over include Bengal tigers, kangaroos, American black bears, sloths, and more. 

With educational programming geared towards families, plus events such as a free Easter egg hunt each year, it’s easy to see why the “Little Zoo that Could” (Animal Planet, 2006) has become a beloved part of Alabama fun.


20. Tour the USS Alabama

Located on Mobile Bay near downtown, Battleship Memorial Park is home to one of America’s most famous battleships – the USS Alabama. You can go on a self-guided tour or take a guided tour to learn more about this historic ship and its role during WWII. Other things you will see, included with your admission ticket, are the aircraft pavilion, tanks & artillery, USS Drum, and stately park memorials.

It is undoubtedly a thing of beauty as you drive across the causeway and see its majestic home on the water. Admission ranges from $15 to $18 for adults, and $6 for children 6 to 11. Parking is $5 for cars and $30 for large vehicles, such as RVs, trucks pulling trailers, which also includes one adult admission ticket.


21. Tailgate at Auburn

Experience college football like never before by tailgating at Auburn University! Put on your orange and blue gear and join thousands of passionate fans as they cheer on their beloved Tigers football team.

Between the Tiger Walk tradition, Auburn Eagle flight, and celebrating a win at Toomer’s Corner, it’s an incredibly unique and family-friendly experience.


22. Sip Drinks at Flora-Bama Beach Bar

Straddling the Florida-Alabama state line is Flora-Bama Beach Bar – one of Alabama’s best dive bars, if not the country! Enjoy live music while sipping delicious drinks. And then there is the Bushwacker; everybody’s favorite frozen milkshake cocktail made from Kahlua, dark rum, cream of coconut, and dark Crème de Cacao.

Did you know that you can go to church at Flora-Bama? Yes, they have bar church with live music on Sundays under the tent at 9 AM and 11 AM. The May Mullet Toss is another crowd-pleaser.

Photo from Flora-Bama IG page.

23. Visit Cathedral Caverns State Park

Cathedral Caverns State Park (Woodville) is home to one of the largest caves in North America, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in seeing some of Alabama’s amazing geological formations up close. Guided tours are available year-round, and there’s also an on-site campground if you want to make a weekend out of it.

Photo from Cathedral Caverns State Park website.

24. Feast at Jim ‘N Nick’s

Jim ‘N Nick’s is legendary— it truly is. Where else will you find consistently delicious slow-cooked bbq meats, tantalizing Southern sides, and how about those mouth-watering corn muffins with butter? Mmm, mmm, good. Start your meal with some delectable deviled eggs, or brisket chili cheese wedges.

Need help deciding what to order for your main course? I like Mr. Jim’s Combo Plate (brisket and Carolina-style pork) with collard greens and Mac & cheese. The hand-breaded chicken tenders are also a tasty option.

You can also purchase Jim ‘N NIck’s cheese biscuit mix, bbq sauce, and dry rub seasoning to take home.

Fun Fact: There are 44 Jim ‘N Nick’s locations in six states.


25. Stay at Award-Winning The Grand Hotel

After an exciting day exploring Alabama, relax and unwind at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort & Spa just minutes from Mobile Bay in Point Clear.

With luxurious rooms overlooking manicured gardens and amenities like golf courses and heated pools, this Autograph Collection resort promises restful nights after days full of adventure! It was nice to see the Grand Hotel coming in as #4 on the list of The South’s Best Hotels 2023 Edition in Southern Living Magazine.

Photo from Marriott website.

26. Play at OWA

Spend some time having fun with family & friends in Foley at OWA, an entertainment complex that houses Tropic Falls, a 23-acre water and amusement park. With roller coasters and other attractions, like an arcade and the Brandon Styles Theater & Magic Shop, it’s sure to be a great time for all ages!

To whet your appetite, the water park, beneath a convertible glass roof, has water slides and rides of all kinds, a dump-bucket tower, and a 30,000-sq-ft outdoor Big Water Bay wave pool. Rides at the amusement park include Air Racer, Sky Balloons, Mystic Mansion, and the Flying Carousel, to name a few.

Downtown OWA, with pedestrian-only streets, has several shops to browse and dining choices, too!


27. Shop at The Wharf at Orange Beach

Along the picturesque Gulf Coast of Alabama, The Wharf is a shopping and one-of-a-kind complex offering something extraordinary for everyone. You can easily spend an entire day here shopping the boutique stores, soaking up the IG-worthy sites, and eating at the delicious restaurants! 

Take a ride on the Ferris wheel, then stay until dark for the Uber-cool SPECTRA Laser Light Experience at dusk. Oh, and it’s pet-friendly, too.


28. Hike the Cheaha Falls Trail

For outdoor adventurers looking for a challenge, hike Cheaha Falls Trail inside Cheaha State Park near Talladega National Forest. This 3-mile trail will take you up steep inclines as it winds toward spectacular views where Cheaha Creek cascades down limestone bluffs into Lake Chinnabee below. 

Wear appropriate shoes, and remember to stay well hydrated!

29. Drive the Civil Rights Trail in Birmingham

Explore the rich history of the Civil Rights Movement on the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail. This self-guided tour takes you downtown to significant locations along the 1963 March routes and more, like Kelly Ingram Park and the 16th Street Baptist church. Points of interest include churches, museums, parks, and other monuments commemorating this crucial historical era. 


30. Visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Prepare to embark on an awe-inspiring journey filled with interactive exhibits and a chance to see rockets up close. There’s so much to do and see at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, like experiencing the thrilling G-Force Accelerator, immersing yourself in the Saturn V Hall, discovering space through pop culture, catching a show at the INTUITIVE planetarium, and strolling through Rocket and Shuttle Parks.


Fun Fact: Ever heard of Miss Baker, the squirrel monkey superstar that orbited into space? After a long and fruitful life, she finds her resting place outside the museum’s entrance. Show her some love and leave a banana on her headstone.

31. Taste White BBQ Sauce at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q

If you’re looking for authentic southern cooking, look no further than Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur. This is one of the most famous bbq restaurants in the nation, winning 15 World BBQ Championships! Big Bob’s famous pulled pork sandwich has earned them national recognition, though he was already famous for his Original BBQ White Sauce, one of my favorite sauces ever. 

I love Big Bob Gibson’s smoked turkey and pulled pork, with perfect sides of green beans and ultra cheesy macaroni, but the kettle-baked beans and coleslaw are also satisfying accompaniments. Save room for a slice of lemon icebox or peanut butter pie.


They Don’t Call it “Sweet Home” Alabama For Nothing

There’s something for everyone in Alabama, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or cultural experiences (or both!).

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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