Planning a visit to Alabama in the near future? It might be time to put together your Alabama travel bucket list.
If the idea of sifting through all of the things to see and do in this state seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the awesome sites and attractions that we think are bucket-list-worthy. Take a look at our picks, choose your favorites, and make your own list of places to visit as you explore the Cotton State.
What is a Bucket List?
Before we dive in, let’s address a basic question that many may be asking themselves: What exactly is a bucket list?
A bucket list is one that includes all of the things you feel you must do before you die, or “kick the bucket” as it were. A bucket list can include absolutely anything you see fit to put on there, but we like to create lists that include unusual sites that may not be found in other places.
We love bucket lists because they provide motivation for road tripping and encourage travelers to see new and interesting parts of the country they may not make the time to see otherwise. They’re also great for those who know they want to travel but are never sure what to see or do, as they can provide inspiration.
Bucket List Vacations in Alabama
Let’s start by listing some Alabama bucket list ideas that an entire vacation could be built around. These must-see attractions and events provide the perfect foundation for a perfect vacation that we know you’ll love.
1. Relax on the Beach in Gulf Shores
Gulf Shores features some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire country. We especially love Gulf Shores State Park, and highly recommend setting up camp there. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy these sunny beaches!
2. Set up Camp at Noccalula Falls Park and Campground
Located in Gadsden, Noccalula Falls Park is an absolutely lovely vacation destination. The park is home to a nice campground, meaning you can stay onsite and fully immerse yourself. Be sure to see the gorgeous Noccalula Falls as well as the petting zoo, botanical gardens, and trails.
3. Become a Cave Explorer in Cathedral Caverns State Park
Are you a cave lover? If so, you’ll adore Cathedral Caverns State Park. The caves here are absolutely incredible and feature daily tours. Gem mining is also available onsite, and a campground is in the park for those who travel by RV.
4. Attend Mardi Gras in Mobile
Everyone knows about the awesome Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, but did you know Mobile, AL has equally spectacular events?
We highly recommend experiencing Mardi Gras in Mobile and trying a moon pie (they’re also thrown to guests during Mardi Gras parades and are locally made). After that, be sure to visit the Mobile Carnival Museum to learn about the history of this yearly event.
5. Take a Space-Themed Trip to Huntsville
Nearly everyone has wanted to attend space camp at some point in their life. While you might not be able to go to camp anymore, you can still check out the amazing U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
6. Go Skiing at Cloudmont
Most people don’t think of skiing when they think of Alabama. That’s what makes skiing at Cloudmont so unique. Here you can ski down a mountain of man-made snow.
7. See a Race at Talladega Speedway
Something that does come to mind when thinking about Alabama? The Talladega Speedway. Every racing fan should experience a weekend of camping at the speedway and watching the big race.
Alabama Bucket List Experiences
Prefer to piece together a road trip full of several travel list sites and attractions? None of the Alabama bucket list experiences below is a full vacation on its own, but when you hop around the state and experience several of the options on this list, you can create the ultimate Alabama adventure.
8. Drive the Rim of Little River Canyon National Preserve
Easily one of the most beautiful spots in all of Alabama, Little River Canyon National Preserve is a must-see park, and the drive around the rim provides some seriously amazing views.
9. Stroll Through the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Those who are fans of motorsports—and honestly, even those who aren’t—will enjoy a stroll through this awesome museum full of history and awesome vehicles.
10. Cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge
Speaking of history, we mustn’t forget that some seriously important civil rights history happened in Alabama. Take a minute to remember this important piece of history by crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
11. Shop the Unclaimed Baggage Center
Ever wonder where all the unclaimed baggage goes? To the Unclaimed Baggage center, of course! Here you can shop through the bizarre, valuable, and funny things found in the lost luggage of American airports.
12. Explore Moundville
An archaeological park run by the University of Alabama, Moundville was once the home of a great and powerful prehistoric community. See the massive flat-topped earthen mounds constructed by the people who lived here long ago, and learn about the people themselves in the nearby museum.
13. Tour Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
There was a time when Birmingham was an industrial city. Sloss Furnaces provided employment to the people of Birmingham and kept the city going. The furnaces shut down for good in 1971 but have been well preserved, and are now used for concerts, festivals, and more.
14. See the Dismals Canyon Glow Worms
Have you ever seen a worm glow? The bioluminescent “glow worms” of Dismals Canyon do just that. Go on a guided night hike through this beautiful canyon to see this amazing natural wonder.
15. Eat Some Fried Green Tomatoes
No trip to Alabama is complete without eating some fried green tomatoes. Fortunately, these are actually pretty easy to find once you’re in the state, but our favorite place of all to get them is Lulu’s in Gulf shores.
16. Coast Uphill at Gravity Hill
This one is really bizarre. If you drive to Gravity Hill in Sylacauga, stop at a specific stop sign, put your car in neutral, and it will roll uphill. Some believe this is because the road is haunted, others believe it’s an optical illusion. Either way, it’s pretty fun to experience.
17. Learn New Things at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Check out a battleship, a spy plane, and a submarine at this educational and interesting military park. This is the perfect spot for military enthusiasts, and we’re guessing most kids will appreciate the vehicle found here.
18. Admire Ave Maria Grotto
Located on the Grounds of St. Bernard Benedictine Abbey, Ave Maria Grotto is the handiwork of Brother Joseph Zoetl, O.S.B. It took over 45 years to build and features miniature versions of some of the world’s most important landmarks, as well as many other adorable tiny buildings.
19. Tour the FAME Recording Studio
The FAME Recording studio first opened in 1959. The studio recorded such artists as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Otis Redding, Paul Anka, and Etta James, and is still recording today. Tours are available to the general public and are quite interesting.
20. Enjoy Live Theater
Believe it or not, Alabama is home to some seriously awesome live theater. We highly recommend attending the state’s huge Shakespeare Festival in the city of Montgomery. You might also enjoy seeing To Kill a Mockingbird in the author’s hometown of Monroeville, or checking out the outdoor production of The Miracle Worker in Tuscumbia, the birthplace of Hellen Keller.
21. Go to the Top of Cheaha Mountain
The highest point in the state of Alabama is at the top of Cheaha Mountain. Here, you can check out some incredible views of the Talladega Forest below, making your visit a worthwhile one for sure,
22. Walk the Trail of Tinglewood Carvings
Have you ever walked through an enchanted forest? Tinglewood Trail in Orr Park lets you do just that. Here, you’ll find more than 30 faces carved into the trunks of dead cedar trees by artist Tim Tingle.This gives the whole place a magical fairytale vibe that we just can’t get enough of.
23. Try a Bushwacker at the Flora-Bama
Looking for a great way to finish off a great day? Head to the Flora-Bama at the border of Alabama and Florida and order their well-known drink, the Bushwacker. This delectable treat tastes just like a milkshake, but be aware that it’s actually quite alcoholic and can do much more damage than an ordinary milkshake.
24. Watch a Dauphin Island Sunset
Last but not least, we must mention the sunsets at Dauphin Island. If you’re looking for the most beautiful sunset in the state, and one of the most beautiful in all of the South, Dauphin Island is the place to go. Find a seat on the beach and think about the day’s events as the sun goes down and those beautiful pinks and oranges reflect on the water of the ocean.
These are some of our favorite things to do and see in the amazing state of Alabama. That said, they are far from the only things to experience, meaning you’re sure to find a number of awesome attractions to visit. Why not start planning your Alabama adventure by finding the perfect RV rental?