I have lived in Alabama my entire life, I grew up exploring the downtown area and hiking various parts of the state. My childhood was full of long car rides and adventures with my parents. So when I hear people say there is absolutely nothing to do in Alabama, I’m always a little shocked. From gorgeous waterfalls to rainbow murals, Alabama has it all! So for your convenience, I have compiled a list of my favorite things to do in Alabama.
Note: Some places may currently be closed or have different operating procedures due to COVID-19.
ARC Stories: Birmingham, Alabama $
This is hands down my favorite thing to do in Alabama. Located in Birmingham, ARC Stories is a group of Alabama Storytellers who hosts live storytelling events! The rules? The story has to have happened to you, and the story has to be true! Some are scary, some are sad, some are funny, and all of them are incredible stories told by everyday people. While location can vary they normally operate out of the Avon Theater. Tickets are pretty inexpensive, and while you’re there you can grab a delicious cookie and a cup of coffee from Church Street Coffee! Follow them on Instagram @arcstories and give their free podcast a listen!
Dismals Canyon: Phil Campbell, Alabama $
A 1.5 mile hiking trail full of natural waterfalls, caverns, enormous boulders, grottos, and even a hideout that Aaron Burr allegedly used after his duel with Alexander Hamilton. In certain seasons you can take night tours to see glowing insects, or you can shop in their country store and hang out at their seating areas. Admission rates can range from $8.75 to $30 depending on the length of your visit and your age. Follow them on Instagram @dismalscanyon.
Autauga Sunflower Fields: Autauga County, Alabama $
Open in certain summer and autumn months the Sunflower Field in Autauga County is one of my favorite places I visited this summer. Run by the sweetest couple, you can go and take pictures in their GIGANTIC sunflower field for free or you can pay $10 and fill a bucket with sunflowers you can pick yourself. Not to mention they have a beautiful patch of zinnias and you can buy cute t-shirts or fresh fruit! Follow them on Facebook at The Sunflower Field.
Mural Hunting: Birmingham, Free
Recently murals have been popping up all over downtown Birmingham. For a free day of fun, grab a friend and go explore downtown Birmingham. Take pictures with all of the incredible murals that are all over the city. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and your Instagram will look so good after! If you need help finding some murals, go follow @magiccitymurals on Instagram!
Hiking at Ruffner Mountain: Birmingham, Alabama $
For an inexpensive day of fun, go visit Ruffner Mountain! Look in their awesome nature center to see some Alabama flora and fauna, then go hike some of their awesome trails. They have a trail for every fitness level but my favorites are their Quarry Trail and Overlook Trail. Follow them on Instagram @ruffnermt.
Kelley Ingram Park: Birmingham, Alabama, Free
Take a walk around Kelly Ingram Park and see the heart-wrenching statues that depict some of the most gruesome events of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Located across from the 16th Street Baptist Church and the Alabama Civil Rights Museum, this park serves as a powerful memorial to those who have lost their lives in the battle against racism.
Alabama Peanut Company: Birmingham, Alabama $
Located on historic Morris Avenue, the Alabama Peanut Company has kept the original factory perfectly preserved and features over 100 flavors of fresh roasted peanuts!
Elyton Hotel: Birmingham, Alabama Free-$$$
Even if you’re not looking for a fancy hotel to stay in, walk into the Elyton hotel and take a ride up to the top-floor (make sure to look up because the roof of their elevator is clear) and visit their rooftop bar. Take some pictures of the beautiful view and historic buildings that surround you! On your way out, note how this beautiful building is located on the heaviest corner on earth. Follow them on Instagram @elytonhotelbirmingham
Cheaha State Park: Delta, Alabama $-$$$
From great views, beautiful hiking, and awesome bike trails, the highest point in Alabama is definitely worth a visit. Follow them on Instagram @cheahastatepark.
Goat Yoga at My Farm Day: Springville, Alabama $$
When you get out of your car at My Farm Day you will be greeted by a friendly dog, some very extroverted ducks, and the sweet couple who runs the farm! You’ll get to meet their pig, their goats, and some baby chicks, and if you’re lucky their kangaroos! Not to mention the yoga class with goats and baby chicks is the most adorable workout ever. Just pray that the goats don’t hop on your back in the middle of a plank. Follow their Facebook at Myfarmday
Birmingham Barons Wet Nose Wednesdays: Birmingham, Alabama $
Almost everyone has been to a Birmingham Barons game, but if you go on Wet Nose Wednesdays you won’t only get to see a Baseball game, but you’ll get to see all of the dogs that the visitors brought with them because dogs are allowed entry! So support Birmingham’s home team, pet some dogs, and get a special treat for your furry friend! Follow them on Instagram @bhambarons.
Support your favorite small businesses: Anywhere $-$$$
The price range for this one can vary but it’s super important to support small businesses and further your local economy! My favorite small businesses in Birmingham are Reeds Books where you can explore this shop that is filled to the brim with books and curios and have a wonderful conversation with the friendly owner, Mr. Reed; Soujourns, one of Birmingham’s only fair-trade establishments; Grinders Cafe in downtown Bessemer, with a beautifully renovated historic building and great coffee; Botanica, the loveliest plant shop; and Pepper Place!
Limestone Tubing: Brierfield, Alabama $
Located in the middle of nowhere, you can pay $10 to get an inner tube and transport to a drop-off spot and float down the Cahaba River. It’s good back-country fun, and at the very end, there is a swimming hole with platforms you can jump off of. Everything is at your own risk so be careful on the rapids, because some guests have gotten injured.
Little River Canyon: Fort Payne, Alabama $
Little River Canyon is a great place to get outdoors! With beautiful waterfalls, great swimming holes, and a plethora of trails, it is a wonderful spot for families to visit. There is a nature center and cabin rentals are available in the near area. Follow them on Instagram @littlerivercanyoncenter.
To Kill A Mockingbird Play: Monroeville, Alabama $$
Visit the town that inspired Harper Lee’s literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird and see a reenactment of the fictional court trial and other iconic scenes from her book.
Red Mountain Park: Birmingham, Alabama, Free
Whether you want to go on a zip-line adventure or visit the old mines sprinkled throughout the many trails, Red Mountain Park is a great place to get outdoors, try something new, and learn about Alabama’s rich mining history. Follow them on Instagram @redmountainpark.
Desoto Falls: Fort Payne, Alabama $
Another great place to get outdoors, Desoto Falls State Park has huge boulders, one of the most visited waterfalls in Alabama, back-country campsites, and great places to picnic and hike with your family! Follow them on Instagram @desotostatepark.
Alabama Theatre Scene $-$$$
No matter your price range or location, Alabama has a rich theater scene. From huge events like Broadway in Birmingham or the Montgomery Shakespeare Festival to smaller companies like Red Mountain Theatre Company, Virginia Samford Theatre, or Birmingham Festival Theatre, Alabama has tons of great places to support the arts with different show options and different ticket prices that will work for every family!