HistoryHistory 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.
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 movementChurches, 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 1Enjoy 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 1Freedom 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 4Kowaliga 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 4Birmingham’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 4From 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 4Each 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 4Celebrate 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 4Family 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 4The 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 4Hosted 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 4Tuscaloosa’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.