50 States / 5 cities is an ongoing series in which we hand-pick 5 cities in every state that we think make great places to vacation in. Explore the United States along with us!
With a coastline of white sand beaches, cities steeped in civil war history, and an area that birthed some of America’s most beloved books & authors, Alabama holds many treasures to be explored. Here are five cities that we think make great places to visit whether you are a science geek, a beach lover or a bookworm.
If you decide to visit Alabama, here are some Alabama travel books to help you plan your trip.
1. Birmingham, Alabama
Vulcan Park and Museum Photo credit: Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. It is home to the largest cast iron statue in the world, Vulcan and is becoming increasingly known as a hot spot for foodies.
Highlights of Birmingham’s many attractions include the Barber Motorsports Museum, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Vulcan Park & Museum. If you are looking to get a little nature along with your culture, Ruffner Mountain the second largest urban nature preserve in the country is just 10 minutes from downtown Birmingham.
Blogger’s Perspective: My Trip to Birmingham, Alabama
2. Gulf Shores, Alabama
Orange Beach: Red Snapper World Championship Credit: Alabama Tourism Department
White sand beaches made of quartz, sparkling emerald water, championship golf courses, deep sea fishing and more await you in coastal Alabama. Simple pleasures are a great way to go in the Gulf Shore area. Grab a bucket of peel and eat shrimp and a beer and lounge on the beach, go “treasure hunting” on the shoreline and look for sea glass or other relics swept up by the waves or spend a day fishing on the Gulf Sate Park Pier, the longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico at 1,540 feet long.
The Gulf Shores area hosts a number of special events every year, including the National Shrimp Festival in the fall, a seaside Mardi Gras celebration in February and March, the Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship in April and the Southern Breeze Wine and Culinary Festival in May.
Blogger’s Perspective: Eating Our Way around Mobile Bay
3. Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville: US Space And Rocket Credit: Alabama Tourism Department
Huntsville, located in the northernmost part of Alabama, is known as “Rocket City” because of its’ history with U.S space missions. It is a great city to visit if you have an interest in space or space technology. A team of scientists in Huntsville designed and tested the rockets that put man on the moon. It is also home to earth’s largest space museum and NASA’s first public location for visitors, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Family’s visiting Huntsville can continue their Sci-tourism by visiting SCI-Quest, the ultimate techie museum for kids. You’ll leave Huntsville knowing more about of planets, rockets and the science behind space exploration!
Blogger’s Perspective: U.S. Space and Rocket Center
4. Monroeville, Alabama
Monroeville Courthouse Photo Credit: Monroe County Heritage Museum
Literature buffs, get thee to Monroeville. Known as the literary capital of Alabama, Monroeville was the home of Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood, visited in the summers during his childhood and formed a friendship with Harper Lee. And it gets better, the courthouse in the movie version of To Kill A Mockingbird was modeled directly off the courthouse in Monroeville.
You can sit in the jury box, explore the judges bench, or sit in the same balcony that Harper Lee used to sit in when she was a child watching her father practice law. In May the Mockingbird Players perform a play of Harper Lee’s novel inside the courthouse.
Blogger’s Perspective: Monroeville, Alabama and Back
5. Montgomery, Alabama
The Civil Rights Memorial, Montgomery, AL
Montgomery has played an important role in history from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement. It is home to the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor and from where the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized. If you are interested in exploring Montgomery’s role in the Civil Rights movement you can follow this Civil Rights Audio Tour of 20 historically significant sites.
Visitors interested in Civil War history can visit the First White House of the Confederacy, the site of Alabama’s Confederate Prison, and the Confederate Memorial that Jefferson Davis laid the cornerstone of.
Montgomery Area Itineraries
Blogger’s Perspective: A road trip to Montgomery Alabama