Looking for a vacation that strays from the norm but still has culture, great food, and beaches all for an affordable price? A roadtrip across Alabama should be a vacation to consider whether solo, with family, or friends. Here is the best itinerary for the ultimate Alabama roadtrip:
The building blocks of any good vacation starts with outdoor activities. Start your roadtrip in Gulf Shores, Alabama- known for their soft, white sand beaches and plentiful watersports. The Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Hiking Trail that transverses the area is a great way to get in some hiking, biking, or running miles while on vacation. Keep your eye out for alligators, turtles, and snakes!
The food in Alabama is full of Southern flavor- it can be not so healthy but the grilled fish, oysters and shrimp selections can help not bust the waistline. Still most things are fried so go for some extra beach walks.
But save room for grits, fried okra, collard greens, and pimento cheese- this is the state to try all the famous Southern sides.
If populated places are not your thing, the Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve north of Gulf Shores is a great spot for camping, horseback riding, zip-lining, kayaking, and more. It gets hot in Alabama so maybe don’t try camping in the dead of summer.
The cities of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma carry much Civil Rights Era history. Visit the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery to learn more about the amazing women who helped start a movement. The Civil Rights Museums and Memorials are all worth a look and see where Martin Luther King, Jr. lived and worked.
In Birmingham the Civil Rights Institute is full of historical information about the Era- both horrifying and inspiring the patrons who have come to learn. March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and remember those who crossed before you.
16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham:
If you need some light-hearted fun after so much somber history, go visit the World’s Largest Office Chair or any of the sports museums at the University of Alabama or Auburn- one of the biggest rivalries in college football.
The last stop in your Alabama roadtrip should be in Huntsville- home of the US Space and Rocket Center, home of Spacecamp, USA.
If you don’t have the time and money to partake in Space Camp, at least visit the US Space and Rocket Center to see all the exhibits about life in space, old rockets, and scientific videos and demonstrations. Any science or space nerd will go crazy over this place.
Huntsville Botanical Gardens are a great place for a sunny day walk and picnic. Or go for a run around Big Spring International Park, the Huntsville Museum of Art, and Old Town to view some Twickenham neighborhood homes.
The end of any vacation and roadtrip is a sad thing. Fly either out of Huntsville or keep driving the few hours to Nashville for a bigger airport and maybe a night or two with some live country tunes.
Seeing more of the United States and learning about the Alabama was an eye opening experience. My new-found knowledge about the Mission to Mars in 2020 and Civil Rights Era history is exactly why people should travel more- to (hopefully) put themselves on a path to becoming a better and more well-rounded person who understands other viewpoints. The delicious Southern fare and gorgeous beaches round out a fantastic roadtrip- the ultimate Alabama roadtrip.