History holds magnificent power; it can make us wiser, smarter and overall better as a society. Take a step back in time and watch history unfold at the many historical sites scattered all throughout the state. Alabama is home to one of the most complete records of prehistoric cultures in the Southeast. It is home to grounds of historical battles like the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and the Battle of Mobile Bay. In Alabama, you can walk the grounds of places and relive events that forever changed our nation and our world. Go ahead and dive deeper into the past. You never know what you might find.
Arts and Culture
Alabama is a creative cultural powerhouse that is unrivaled. Art is not just another attraction here, it is a part of the heart and soul of Sweet Home Alabama. Film festivals, art museums and sites dedicated to the state’s most famous artists celebrate distinctive artistic styles that can be found nowhere else. Be transformed into another world through a theater performance or find your new favorite artist through a gallery tour. No matter what your interests may be, Alabama’s culture and arts scene has something for everyone.
The soft, sugar-white sands and warm turquoise gulf waters of Alabama beaches make up a relaxing oasis. As you step out onto the pillows of white sand beneath your feet, you can instantly feel the salty sea breeze brush against your skin, hear the soothing crash of the waves upon the shore and see the wide open skies above you. Within seconds, you’re transported to a world that you will never want to leave. Add in seafood straight from the Gulf, panoramic views and plenty of fun family activities, and you might find yourself planning your next trip here before the current one is even over.
Civil Rights Legacy
The heart of the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-20th century was founded here. Go behind the scenes of the lives of those that started a movement. From Rosa Parks’ refusal to take the back seat to the courageous Freedom Riders, Alabama is home to some of the most pivotal moments in history. Here, you can encounter an era of triumph and tragedy. You can celebrate moments that not only redefined our state but also our nation and world forever. There are many interactive exhibits and museums dedicated to the Movement allowing you to reflect on the past and look to a future where all are indeed equal.
Food & Drink
Experience world-class culinary masterpieces from award-winning restaurants all across the state. Fine dining establishments and hidden gems house one-of-a-kind delights that will have you wishing your meal will never end. From barbecue that’s so tender it falls apart in your mouth to French-inspired cuisine that will transport you to a whole new world, Alabama’s culinary scene will not disappoint. And, if you like craft beer, the best is brewed here. Grab your loved ones, pull up a chair and take a minute to savor the flavors of the Alabama food scene.
Alabama’s rich, historic music scene has shaped the soundtrack of American music. Southern inspiration from the Shoals to the Gulf Coast has given rise to many talented musicians in a variety of genres: soul, jazz, rock ‘n roll, country and blues. Many legends have been made here. Award-winning music can be found across the state with southern influence seeping into each melody. Tour hit-making studios, the birthplaces of numerous artists and museums dedicated to the preservation of the state’s musical legacy. Don’t believe us? Listen for yourself. You’ll hear greats like W.C. Handy; Hank Williams, Sr.; Jason Isbell; Brittany Howard and many, many more.
From the foothills of the Appalachians through countless river valleys to the sugar white beaches of the Gulf, natural wonders abound for the explorer in you. From caves and caverns to towering mountaintops, adventure awaits. Marvel in the beauty of our many trails and waterways that is sure to take you off the beaten path. The 22 state parks, which encompass 48,000 acres of land and water, provide endless opportunities to fish, camp, canoe, hike and enjoy the great outdoors. Each season in Alabama brings a beautiful change for adventurers to enjoy all year long.
Science & Discovery
Soar the skies and defy gravity like an astronaut in Sweet Home Alabama. Not only can you experience the depths of space stateside, but the many museums and discovery centers also allow the explorer within you to delve into the great mysteries of science and beyond. Planning an out-of-this-world trip is a lot closer than you think. Hands-on experimentation and observation can be enjoyed here through interactive exhibits. The wonders of space and beyond are waiting in Alabama.
There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline-pumping, buzzer-beating feeling you get when watching your favorite teams, and in Alabama – there are quite a few of those moments. Legends are celebrated here and not just on the court or in the field. Individual and team sports – golf, motor sports, soccer and cycling find a competitive home here. Come for the sporting events and stay for the post-game celebrations because Alabama is home to champions. Minor-league baseball teams, drivers on NASCAR’s biggest track and avid soccer fans all cheer their favorites on to victory here.
Avid golfers and beginners alike can enjoy more than 250 fairways to perfect their swing. Eleven of the 26 courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail are spread out across Alabama. Challenging yet serene, these courses allow players to enjoy the scenery as they are taking in 18 in Alabama. But here, that’s just par for the course. Did you know that Alabama averages almost 215 sunny days each year? That’s 215 shots at enjoying Alabama’s beautiful weather and its first-class courses.
16 Feb 23NEWS
The Red Tide of Tuscaloosa, AlabamaIf you are on a tour of the US southern states make sure you include ...Read moreThe Red Tide of Tuscaloosa, Alabama - News & announcementsIf you are on a tour of the US southern states make sure you include Tuscaloosa as part of the itinerary. Situated in Western Alabama, it a place that’s very manageable. It’s big enough to have the usual amenities but small enough to get to know very quickly. The city is home to the University of Alabama which, whilst it has an excellent record for academic achievement, is perhaps best known as the home of the Crimson Tide – the student supporters of the college football team. Like many university cities the abundance of scholars and perhaps more importantly their spending power makes it a vibrant place to visit. The downtown area is very safe and very walkable, and one can enjoy the hospitality at any one of the local independent venues of food, drink and music. On my first port of call, having booked into the Embassy Suites, I visited the Black Warrior Craft Brewing Company for a few ales. Named after the River that runs close to the city the bar offers a wide range of beer including some that are not so alcoholic that you can actually drink more than one. What was pleasant about the establishment was that it seemed just a place to grab a beer and have a chat with friends in a relaxed social environment. The best compliment I could pay it was that it was just like an old British pub, a community meeting place. I got into a very detailed discussion with a complete stranger about the virtues of boiled peanuts, where they originated from and the benefits of eating them whilst watching sport. The next morning, I was up early for breakfast at Rama Jamas the infamous diner situated in the heart of the University and with decades of history relating to the Crimson Tide. Serving breakfasts, burgers and the like since 1996 the place is adorned with memorabilia. The walls are papered with newspaper headlines relating to the college football team and almost every square inch of non-eating or cooking space is covered in pennants, flags, hats and other miscellaneous items. The food is good, the atmosphere, even at eight o clock in the morning, is good and you feel, once again, at ease with your surroundings. Just around the corner is the enormous, stadium which would put most modern sports facilities in Europe to shame and linked to that is the Paul W. Bryant Museum which details not only the history of the football team but specifically that of their legendary coach. A small but fascinating record of how the college went from relative obscurity to leading the country in football excellence. This being Alabama, there is a history of Civil Rights, many of which came to the attention of both the national and international media. The first of these occurred at the entrance doors to the Foster Auditorium, University of Alabama in June 1963. The then Governor, George Wallace, in attempt to fulfil his inaugural address of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" blocked the doorway to two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, who were attempting to register for classes. After a pubic and widely covered stand off the US President Kennedy, authorised the National Guard to order Wallace aside and eventually some time later he did and the students were allowed to enter. This however was not the end of Civil Rights issues and in 1964 at the First African Baptist Church, many African Americans were set upon by local Klan members One 21-year-old man Maxie Thomas was badly beaten and almost lost an eye. Fifty eight years later it was my privilege to meet and interview Maxie so he could explain in more detail the events now known as Bloody Tuesday. Tuscaloosa is not a destination to miss.
26 Jan 23NEWS
Discover Birmingham, AlabamaBy Graham McKenzie Named after the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham, Alabama is itself the state’s third ...Read moreDiscover Birmingham, Alabama - News & announcementsBy Graham McKenzie Named after the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham, Alabama is itself the state’s third most populous city after Huntsville and Montgomery. It is in fact a relatively new city, formed as part of the post US Civil War reconstruction strategy. Making the most of rail connectivity, a low-cost labour force and the presence of all the minerals required, Birmingham rapidly became a major producer of steel and steel by products. Today, although greatly reduced, that industrial legacy can still be seen with both active manufacturing plants but also heritage sites where visitors can look back into the city’s economic origins. Birmingham, like much of Alabama, is also known for its role during the civil rights period of the fifties and sixties. The history of this period and indeed years since are covered very comprehensively in the Civil Rights Institute which is walking distance from the downtown area. Here in a couple of hours you can learn the detail of Martin Luther King’s arrest and detention whereupon he wrote his famous ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ in which he details the struggle for justice. One can experience the scenarios in public places where ‘whites only’ was the order of the day. Educate yourself and view evidence of the activities of the Klu Klux Klan within the Birmingham area. Sit in the office of the first Black Mayor of Birmingham, Richard Arrington, who served the city for 20 years between 1979 and 1999. You can also learn how other human rights struggles around the world took inspiration from the Civil Rights movement. Perhaps most emotional of all is the details of the atrocities committed on September 15, 1963, as you view the shards of glass remaining from the 16th Street Baptist Church which is just across the street. Four young black girls died attending Sunday service due to a bomb placed by the Klu KLux Klan. In the aftermath, on the same day, two other black children died, one of whom was shot in the back by police as he fled down an alley. Today the city is a much happier and peaceful place with lots going on and after the demise of steel and manufacturing enjoys a revived economy that supports lots of establishments suitable for visitors. One of these is just outside the city boundaries but is pre-eminent certainly in the US and possible the world with its collection of motor bikes. Spread over several floors the exhibition is breath-taking even for a non-petrol head such as myself. Row and row of vintage and not so vintage motorbikes adorn the floors with a huge representation from British manufacturers the majority of which have sadly now disappeared. Barbers Vintage Motorsports Museum is definitely worth the time to travel the few miles out of town. The vast majority of the over 900 motorcycles are still roadworthy. Periodically, special exhibitions are on display, and I am pleased to say that whilst I was there our very own John Surtees was the focus. He’s the only man to have won world championships on both two and four wheels. As with many cities Birmingham has a very vibrant music and food scene. I was lucky enough to combine both at an open-air Saturday morning market at Pepper Place. Here one can enjoy locally produced food and also regional specialities including ‘Nanas Puddin’ an original home style banana pudding made and sold by a father and sons combo. The longest queue was for the artisan bread and pastry stall which was, with no exaggeration, at least 100 yards long. It looked and smelt scrumptious, and, in the US, good bread is at a premium when you have experienced the standard store offering. The market made me hungry for brunch so off to Automatic Seafood. Despite the name the restaurant has an extensive menu and I opted for oatmeal with a Banana Pecan topping sitting outside enjoying the October Alabama climate. Plus a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Delicious! The Birmingham story is however incomplete without mention of the Golf. The Robert Trent Jones golf trail leads through the entire state of Alabama but nearby lies one of the finest examples – Oxmoor Valley. Two full championship 18 hole courses, the Ridge and the Valley, are supplemented by a nine hole par 3 that takes just over an hour to play as a foursome. All the courses have a choice of tees to suit all standards of golfer and as one would expect from an RTJ course, each hole has its own unique challenge. Playing on your own is not a problem and I hired a set of clubs and teamed up with three very friendly gents from New York. As part of an Alabama tour, Birmingham is a must see destination.
06 Jan 23NEWS
Dothan: Go nuts in AlabamaDothan, Alabama is known as the "Peanut Capital of the World" due to the large ...Read moreDothan: Go nuts in Alabama - News & announcementsDothan, Alabama is known as the "Peanut Capital of the World" due to the large number of peanuts grown in the surrounding region. It is home to one of the state’s largest festivals when Miss National Peanut Festival is crowned each year and needless to say it also home to a plentiful supply of many people’s favourite snack in all sorts of forms. Early last year I discovered the delights of boiled peanuts – yes boiled! The normal ‘monkey’ nuts with which all Brits are familiar simmer away in their shells for anything up to 4 hours in a saline solution. When they emerge, the outer shell comes away easily as does the nasty brown inner skin to leave a mouthful of deliciousness combining the tang of salt with the crunch and earthy taste of the nut. Fabulous! I was told then that a visit to Dothan (the th is pronounced with a lisp like affect) was imperative and six months later I turned up at the headquarters of the Peanut festival to learn all about the event and indeed other ways to enjoy the product. I learnt that like the town itself it’s not just about peanuts. The festival is an eight-day long combination of music, food and entertainment with almost a quarter of a million visitors. I also found out that amongst the organising committee the favoured way of consuming the nut was to have it fried! In Peanut oil obviously. Why is this area so focussed on the common peanut? In the late 1930’s Dr George Washington Carver encouraged the use of peanuts as an alternative crop to cotton and this saved the area economically after boll weevils had destroyed the cotton crops upon which Dothan and much of the surrounding area had been dependent upon for hundreds of years. There are, however, many other things to see and do in Dothan,Alabama besides visiting peanut-related attractions. The Dothan Area Botanical Gardens feature a variety of plants and flowers, as well as a butterfly house, a children's garden, and a gift shop. Landmark Park is worth exploring and the 130-acre site is home to a working farm, a vintage train depot, and a variety of other historical buildings. The downtown area of Dothan itself is a charming slice of small town America with a number of independent shops and boutiques selling everything from clothing and accessories to home decor and gifts. An abundance of top-quality independent restaurants are plentiful and given the location of the town, the availability of fresh local produce is mouth-watering. During the Covid pandemic Dothan underwent somewhat of a renaissance. As most holidaymakers were aware, Florida did not put any restrictions in place during that period and as a consequence hotel occupancy and resulting rates were very high. Many people decided to take advantage of the lower accommodation prices available in places such as Dothan and travel to the coast on a daily basis. Twenty first century Dothan, smaller town, nearby open spaces and of course peanuts were introduced to some people for the first time. Once tasted, would you want anything else.
04 Jan 23NEWS
Exploring Alabama Gulf ShoresBy Graham McKenzie On leaving Mobile for the next stage of my Alabama Odyssey ...Read moreExploring Alabama Gulf Shores - News & announcementsBy Graham McKenzie On leaving Mobile for the next stage of my Alabama Odyssey I headed towards the state’s ’Riviera’ - Gulf Shores. This is the narrow piece of bayfront real estate that stretches from Louisiana to Florida. The route I chose was not the obvious one as I drove directly south to Dauphin Island and the Mobile Bay Ferry. It was a wise choice. My wisdom paid off as just before I boarded the ferry, make sure you pre book tickets, I visited the Lighthouse bakery for breakfast. A smart decision. The local speciality of omelettes was just the job and I could not resist some of their baked goods for later consumption. Now for the Mobile Bay Ferry trip which was more like a mini cruise. Even in October it was shorts, t-shirt and shades as we gently glided across the waters to Gulf Shores. The journey takes about 35 minutes, and it is well worth the fifteen dollars for you and your car to have the most scenic of trips across the water. What is so special about the Gulf Shores? Well, the beaches are typical of the northern gulf region and by that, I mean fantastic. The sand, washed down from mountains thousands of miles away, is of a quartz nature and squeaks like new snow when you walk on it. The shore is edged beautifully by dune like hillocks covered in tough green grass that in itself encourages birdlife the like of which would not be seen on your average beach. One can easily while away a few hours just watching pelicans, herons, terns, ospreys, egrets, and a host of other species. The climate is conducive for at least nine months of the year, perfect for swimming, sunbathing (if still allowed), sandcastle construction, snorkelling, paddle boarding and fishing. The area has a thriving gastronomy scene, with a variety of eateries serving produce caught fresh from the gulf. You can also find a range of other cuisines, from Italian to Mexican to Southern comfort food. What makes everything taste even better is that so many of the restaurants enjoy fabulous locations. It is not uncommon to sit by a marina, beach, lake or harbour and take in not just the food but also the ambience. While it does not need any events to attract visitors, it has a number of events throughout the year, including the Hangout Music Festival, the National Shrimp Festival, and the Gulf Coast Triathlon. In addition, live music plays a big part in the entertainment scene. In the Orange Beach area, lots of venues have live music virtually every night but the daddy of them all is Florabama. Situated on the Florida Alabama state line this infamous club has five stages for live music and is the home of the Bushwhacker cocktail. No article on this area would be complete without a mention of Golf. Alabama is the home of the Robert Trent Jones Golf trail and just a 45-minute drive from my hotel was the most southern of his courses Lakewood Club located on Mobile Bay. I played twenty-seven holes at the Peninsula Club which perfectly integrates with the natural habitat. The experience is a mix of golf and wildlife spotting. Gulf Shores has a range of accommodation options for all budgets, from luxury beachfront hotels to budget-friendly vacation rentals. I stayed at the Perdido Beach Resort where the service, rooms and views are outstanding. In conclusion, Gulf Shores, Alabama is the ideal destination for an active beach vacation. Whether relaxation, water sports, delicious food or cultural events, Gulf Shores has something for everyone.
29 Dec 22NEWS
Mobile, the Gateway to the Gulf“Down in Mobile, they’re all crazy, because the Gulf Coast is the kingdom of monkeys, ...Read moreMobile, the Gateway to the Gulf - News & announcements“Down in Mobile, they’re all crazy, because the Gulf Coast is the kingdom of monkeys, the land of clowns, ghosts and musicians, and Mobile is sweet lunacy’s county seat” wrote Eugene Walter in his novel The Untidy Pilgrim. In almost 70 years things have not changed and based on my recent experience the man was 100% accurate. It is the party city of the South. The bars, the restaurants, the open spaces and even the clothes shops have a splendid anarchy about them with wicked designs, slogans and humour. Almost every week there is a festival of some kind and even when not, local residents will get dressed in costume and promenade the streets just for the thrill. I bear witness to this as I arrived fully three weeks before Halloween and it was Tex Mex food festival time. Needless to say, this gave rise to music, food, pop up stands and of course outrageous costumes. I was fully expecting El Vez to turn up and offer up nothing but a hound dog but unfortunately, he had left the stadium by the time I got there. No Mexican outfit? No problem, its only three weeks to Halloween so out comes the ghosts, monsters, walking pumpkins and anything resembling abnormality. As Paul Whitehouse would say “Brilliant”! Mobile is Alabama’s third largest city and was founded in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana, making it also the oldest city in Alabama. Contrary to popular opinion it also the original home of Mardi Gras. A festival, what else, that was established by French Catholics from the North who wanted to escape the puritanical beliefs of their elders in the northern states of the USA from Ash Wednesday in the lead up to Lent. The first Mardi Gras, originally known as Boeuf Gras (fatted ox) was in 1703 and the following year it became de rigueur to wear a mask to the celebrations. Eight years later the first parade took place and both traditions have remained in place for over 300 years. It is the oldest official Carnival celebration in the United States and it is therefore hardly surprising that the city has maintained and indeed expanded that festival feeling to 52 weeks of the year. Located on Mobile Bay with deep water access to the Gulf, the city has always been an important seaport playing a significant role in the slave trade and now forms part of the rich and well documented Civil Rights trail across the Southern States. During the Civil War after a ferocious battle in the bay, Mobile was captured by Union forces and served as a major port, supply depot and source of cotton which was used for export thereby raising valuable finance for their military exploits. Mobile also has a number of attractions including the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, the Gulf Coast Explore Science Centre, and the Mobile Museum of Art. It has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters which coincidentally is ideal for festivals and parties.
18 Oct 22NEWS
Alabama’s National Peanut FestivalWho doesn’t love a peanut? In the heart of Alabama, near Dothan, the staff at ...Read moreAlabama’s National Peanut Festival - News & announcementsWho doesn’t love a peanut? In the heart of Alabama, near Dothan, the staff at the headquarters of the National Peanut Festival are quickly putting the finishing touches on this year’s event which starts soon. It is likely that 2022 will see almost 250,000 visitors so to find out more, Graham McKenzie went along to talk to them. [yotuwp type="videos" id="g5vzEWTefmA" ]
25 May 22NEWS
Rhythms of life at Muscle Shoals , Alabamaby Graham McKenzie Situated in the Northeast corner of Alabama, tucked close to the Mississippi ...Read moreRhythms of life at Muscle Shoals , Alabama - News & announcementsby Graham McKenzie Situated in the Northeast corner of Alabama, tucked close to the Mississippi and Tennessee borders, Muscle Shoals stands out as one of the centres of American musical history. Forming a triumvirate of musical hot spots with Memphis and Nashville, the culture, the people and the surrounds are responsible for many of the sounds that have created the soundtrack of the South. Who hasn’t tried to emulate Mick Jagger cavorting around the front room to Brown Sugar? Danced and swayed to Sailing by Rod Stewart? Had a contemplative moment or two listening to Percy Sledge, Aretha or the Staple Singers? Probably nobody under the age of 45 but for everybody else the answer is almost certainly yes. Here in Muscle Shoals, you can visit the revered studios which were and still are responsible for making the town the hit recording capital of the world. A visit to ‘the Shoals’, as it is known locally, is not complete without a tour of the Muscle Shoals Recording Studio and the FAME studios. Here musical history was created and the list of famous groups and singers utilising the unique local talent pool of musicians is far too long to list here. An example was at 3614 Jackson Highway (Muscle Shoals Studio) on one day in 1969 a local singer RB Greaves recorded ‘There is always something there to remind me’ but later that afternoon the Rolling Stones turned up unannounced and over the course of the next few days cut three tracks for the forthcoming Sticky Fingers album. One of these songs ‘Wild Horses’ was allegedly written by Keith Richard whist sitting on the toilet. Another was the aforementioned Brown Sugar. The studios themselves are no bigger than the average public bar but it definitely captures you and enthrals you. Needless to say, music pervades almost every aspect of life outside the studios as well. Live performances are easily found and can be combined with excellent Southern Soul food and hospitality. I enjoyed the famous fried chicken at Champys on the deck with live country music. Excellent! Almost supplementary to the music Muscle Shoals has an array of other fascinating attractions. It is, for example, one of the few places in the US that has a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. If ever there was an occasion to quote ‘fashion is temporary, but style is permanent’ this is it. Although almost 100 years old, it could easily have been built yesterday. A museum dedicated to WC Handy, the composer of St Louis Blues (music again) is worth a morning visit as is the ancient Indian mound that is over 2,000 years old. Another venue for lunch or dinner is the Rattlesnake saloon which is a cave created from natural water erosion of the sandstone. Helen Keller’s house is in the Shoals and the famous drystone wall created by Tom in honour of his wife is truly outstanding. Music however is the reason to go to the Shoals. Rick Hall, who masterminded many of the hits at FAME studios once said, ‘Them that don’t know, don’t know they don’t know’. One visit and you will know.
24 Jun 21Partner News
The Official U.S. Civil Rights Trail Book Launches, Guiding Deeper Travel ExperiencesNew cultural travel book invites readers to share the journey of the civil rights movement ...Read moreThe Official U.S. Civil Rights Trail Book Launches, Guiding Deeper Travel Experiences - News & announcementsNew cultural travel book invites readers to share the journey of the civil rights movement Churches, schools, homes and landmarks where Black Americans fought for fundamental freedoms are now the centerpiece of The Official U.S. Civil Rights Trail companion book, which was unveiled today in Atlanta at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. Author and Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell joined Dr. Bernice King (CEO of The King Center and last born of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King), Judy Forte (National Park Service Superintendent), Mark Jaronski (Deputy Commissioner of Explore Georgia) and other civil rights leaders and state officials to celebrate the book launch at the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home alongside a 1958 restored Freedom Riders Bus. us. Designed to bring to life the stories and history of the American civil rights movement, the 128-page hardcover book showcases iconic photographs captured by former Southern Living photographer Art Meripol, now published in print for the first time. The historic photos, paired with more than 200 images of the landmarks today, underscore the transformative experience of the trail and its endured relevance. Using the new trail companion book, travelers can immerse themselves in history while visiting more than 120 landmarks across 14 Southern states that served as battlegrounds for famous marches, activist rallies and non-violent demonstrations. The book provides a way for visitors to share the journey of the civil rights movement together and tell the story of how “what happened here changed the world,” long after their visit is over. “While the world is still healing from recent events in the fight for racial justice, cultural tourism is more relevant than ever,” said Author and Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell. “Travelers are visiting the trail in record numbers to connect with the stories of courage and gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the events that took place during the movement.” Sentell, who has served as Alabama tourism director for nearly 20 years, began organizing the trail in partnership with 14 neighboring state tourism agencies in 2007, making the trail the first of its kind. The trail has garnered regional and international acclaim since its 2018 launch. Beginning with the training of Black Tuskegee pilots in 1941 through President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the U.S. Civil Rights Trail follows a timeline of 36 major events, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Congressional actions, providing a framework for each decade of the movement. The trail extends from schools in Topeka, Kansas, known for the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education desegregation court decision, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. “The Civil Rights Trail is a one-of-a-kind cultural travel experience that everyone should visit to renew their perspective and gain a deeper appreciation for those who fought before us,” said Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center and last born of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. “Each landmark across the trail serves as a reminder of where my father and many other brave activists fought tirelessly for our fundamental freedoms so that future generations of Black Americans could enjoy a better life.” Travelers can draw inspiration from the legacy of Civil Rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Daisy Bates and John Lewis, connecting even deeper while touring their residences. They can follow the harrowing stories of 14-year-old Emmett Till, NAACP leader Medgar Evers, Birmingham Sunday School attendees, Selma voting-rights marchers and Nashville Freedom Riders while reading their stories and retracing their footsteps at sites along the trail. The book also underscores the movement’s present-day relevance by featuring historic destinations such as the Smithsonian National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C., alongside new memorial sites including the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail book was published by Alabama Media Group in partnership with the Alabama Tourism Department. Proceeds will benefit a campaign to install LED lighting to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The book is available for purchase directly through Alabama Media Group and via Amazon, at the King Center and various retailers along the trail including the MLK National Historic Park bookstore in Atlanta. Travelers can also find copies of the book in select airports including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport. For more information about the book or to plan your journey on the trail, visit civilrightstrail.com.
23 Jun 21Partner News
Independence Day celebrations held across AlabamaIndependence Day celebrations held across Alabama (Montgomery, AL) Fireworks, food trucks and family fun ...Read moreIndependence Day celebrations held across Alabama - News & announcementsIndependence Day celebrations held across Alabama (Montgomery, AL) Fireworks, food trucks and family fun accentuate some of the many Fourth of July events taking place across the state to commemorate our nation’s Independence Day. Citizens and visitors alike can participate in myriad celebrations from the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast to the mountains of North Alabama. Events include Thunder on the Mountain (Birmingham), Spirit of America Festival (Decatur) and Celebration on the River (Tuscaloosa). Fort Payne: Fort Payne Independence Day Celebration – July 1 Enjoy live music, vendors and fireworks at the Fort Payne Sports Complex from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 1. Boys in the Band will provide musical entertainment beginning at 7 p.m. Fireworks begin at dark. Learn more at: https://fortpayne.org/event/independence-day-celebration-2/ Orange Beach: Pepsi Beach Ball Drop – July 1 Freedom rings a few days early for the annual Pepsi Beach Ball Drop in sunny Orange Beach. On Thursday, July 1, be there from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. when 5,000 beach balls fall from the sky. Youngest eventgoers can enjoy a designated area for ages 5 and under for the ball drop. Choose from dozens of family friendly activities including a surf simulator, bouncy house, bubble zone, face painting and appearances by Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and other special characters. Fireworks begin at 8:45 p.m. followed by the SPECTRA Laser Light Experience. Admission and parking are free. Camel rides and face painting are additional. Learn more at https://alwharf.com/calendar/2021/07/AAD109835EF~Pepsi+Beach+Ball+Drop.htm Foley: 4th of July Celebration – July 2-4 Celebrate a long weekend and Independence Day at OWA with a day of family-friendly activities and live entertainment along with one of the area’s largest fireworks displays. The pyrotechnics can be seen throughout the property and are synchronized with a spirited patriotic soundtrack. New for 2021 is their patriotic walking parade, led by a 70-piece marching band. Other entertainment includes live music from Southern Approach and the Troy Laz Band. This is event is free and open to the public. Learn more at: https://visitowa.com/independence/ Alex City: Russell Marine Boat Parade – July 4 Kowaliga Marina in Alex City will once again play host to their annual Fourth of July Boat Parade. Boat owners and enthusiasts can decorate their watercraft and parade from the marina to Children’s Harbor. Registered boats will compete for top honors and prizes in categories such as Largest Flag, Most Patriotic, Most Creative and Best Crew. Learn more at: https://www.russellmarine.net/event/4th-of-july-boat-parade/ Birmingham: Thunder on the Mountain – July 4 Birmingham’s annual fireworks display booms over Red Mountain and Vulcan, the largest cast iron statue in the world. Choose your vantage point in the Mountain Brook area to see the choreographed colors sizzle across the sky while listening to a unique soundtrack. Free event. Learn more at: https://visitvulcan.com/july-4th-fireworks/ Cullman: The Smith Lake Park Fireworks and Music Festival – July 4 From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., it is a day full of arts and crafts, food, live music and fireworks! Play putt-putt, visit the beach area, rent kayaks, canoes or paddle boards and experience their famous golf cart parade. Entertainment includes Graham Harper, Natalie Valentine and Bob Marston, Jake Robertson Band, BB Palmer and Taylor Hunnicutt Band and Red Clay Strays. Park Admission is $5 per person. Additional costs for camping, pool, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and putt-putt. Learn more at: www.facebook.com/SmithLakePark Decatur: The Spirit of America Festival – July 4 Each year, Point Mallard Park hosts one of the largest Independence Day events in the state. It offers a waterpark, summertime family competitions and games, sports tournaments, more than 100 food and beer vendors and the presentation of the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award (named after the most-decorated noncommissioned officer in WWII, who became a Western film star). Learn more at: https://www.decaturcvb.org/events/annual/spirit-of-america-festival/ Florence: Spirit of Freedom Celebration – July 4 Celebrate Independence Day in the Shoals! Live musicians will perform throughout the day, food vendors will be onsite and activities will be available for the entire family at McFarland Park from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., culminating with one of the largest fireworks shows in the Southeast. Free event. Learn more at: https://www.visitflorenceal.com/events/spirit-of-freedom-celebration/ Lake Martin: Fireworks and Concert – July 4 Family and friends come together on the grassy lawn at The AMP for fun and fabulous music. The Bank Walkers and Sweet Tea Trio will provide the soundtrack to the night of festivities. Learn more at: http://www.theamponlakemartin.com/events/july-fourth.html Madison: Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular – July 4 The Rocket City Trash Pandas celebrate Independence Day at Toyota Field with fireworks, on-field activities, food trucks and live entertainment. Tickets are $10 per person, and children 2 and under are free. Learn more at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1453621184976288/ Pelham: Fire on the Water – July 4 Hosted by Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, families can watch a number of interpretive events throughout the day while enjoying food trucks, a DJ, wakeboarding and fireworks. There are lakes for swimming and fishing, playgrounds, 18-hole golf course and numerous trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. American Legion Post 555 will present the colors and National Anthem to kick off the ceremony. Learn more at: https://www.alapark.com/events/oak-mountain-state-park/fire-water Tuscaloosa: Celebration on the River – July 4 Tuscaloosa’s Celebration on the River features a sterling performance by Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra at the city’s amphitheater and a range of activities for children. Learn more at: https://www.tuscaloosa.com/posts/2021/06/09/city-of-tuscaloosa-and-para-to-host-july-4th-celebration-on-the-river- The Alabama Tourism Department works to inspire consumers and facilitate travel to and within Alabama while leveraging increased involvement by the private sector. An appointed board of industry advisors connects the department with tourism businesses and organizations throughout the state. Tourism is a key sector of the state’s economy, historically attracting 28 million tourists who spend $16.8 billion in leisure and hospitality sales and employing more than 200,000 full and part-time workers. The industry represents 7 percent of Alabama’s private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates in excess of one billion dollars of the state’s sales tax revenues.