See which are the best cities to visit in Alabama! All offer something different, so you’re sure to find something for everyone to enjoy.

Best Cities To Visit In Alabama

Thinking of doing a road trip through the Southern US? Why not stop in the Yellowhammer State? If you’re putting together an itinerary, we can help! With the help of some blogger friends, we’ve created this list of the best cities to visit in Alabama. Each is special and offers unique attractions. Let’s get started!

Birmingham

By Victoria of Southern Trippers

Birmingham is truly one of the best cities to visit in Alabama that you shouldn’t miss! Birmingham has it all, depending on what you are interested in. From some of the best food in the south, to historical locations for the Civil Rights Movement, there is a lot to see and do.

Start your trip off with a tribute to history at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to get an education of the city and Black American’s role in it. Next, consider going on a food tour to hit some of the best restaurants in Birmingham so you can try a little taste of each and every one of them. Most food tours go to 4-5 spots and is a great way to taste the city.

End your evening with a ghost tour that takes you through the haunted cemeteries, churches, hotels, streets, and more that call Birmingham home. While most people head to New Orleans for haunted things, Birmingham has a lot of ghost stories to offer too!

Spend the night at the gorgeous red-brick Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown Birmingham before getting ready to explore again tomorrow!!!

Birmingham is one of the best cities to visit in Alabama
Birmingham. Photo by Zach Searcy on Unsplash

Dauphin Island

By Sam of My Flying Leap

If you’ve been dreaming of pristine white-sand beaches when you close your eyes, you may just need a trip to Dauphin Island. This barrier Island is off the coast of Mobile, Alabama, in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Though it’s somewhat of a locally-kept secret, it offers clear blue water, white powdery sand, huge live oak trees, and some incredible history. It’s a favorite of beach lovers, birders, and history lovers.

Dauphin Island Public Beach is a great place to go to enjoy the beauty of this area. Check out the long boardwalk that once went to the water (and no longer does!) An added bonus of this picturesque beach is that it’s dog friendly.

Birders will love this island as it’s on the migration path for birds flying south in the winter. There are a number of protected areas around the island for birding. And you can learn more about the local birds, animals, and plants at the Sea Lab Estuarium.

For history buffs, Fort Gaines is a highlight. It was in the middle of the action at the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War. And Native American history on the island is remembered in Shell Mound Park.

For great food, check out the Lighthouse Bakery for their cinnamon buns and Skinner Seafood for their locally-caught fish. 

There’s only one motel on the island, the Gulf Breeze Motel. Or stay in a rental property or in nearby Mobile, less than an hour away. Just cross the bridges, grab a golf cart, and enjoy this sleepy island for an incredible beach trip.

beach on Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island

Gulf Shores

By Brianna of Casual Travelist

Few people think of Alabama when it comes to amazing beach vacations but Gulf Shores is home to one of the prettiest beaches in the US. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the south’s best kept secret when it comes to beach getaways. With the same powder soft white sand as the more crowded Florida beaches and a fraction of the crowds, Gulf Shores has a lot to offer.

You can rent an amazing condo at Turquoise Place, (the 3 bedroom condo on the 23rd floor was spacious and had amazing beachfront views). Or if you’d rather a hotel, you can’t go wrong with the boutique feel at the Lodge at Gulf State Park.

While the beaches are amazing, Gulf Shores has a ton of things to do away from the sand. With 2.5 miles of beach, 3 freshwater lakes and 27 miles of trails, Gulf State Park highlights the best of the area. If retail therapy is your thing, be sure to check out The Wharf at Orange Beach. Featuring a wide range of local businesses, an entertainment complex that draws nationally touring acts, and even a zipline course, visiting the Wharf is a must.

No visit to Gulf Shores is complete without a stop by the world famous Florabama Roadhouse. This beach-side honkeytonk has five bars and great live music. It’s also a popular stop with country music stars. A mix of southern and Floribbean flavors with a kick of Cajun spice, the food in Gulf Shores is worth the trip alone. Fresh seafood is featured everywhere and it doesn’t get much better than Fisher’s Upstairs Restaurant Orange Beach, voted one of the best restaurants in the south by Southern Living and nominated for a James Beard award for all things oyster.

pier at Gulf Shores
Gulf Shores

Huntsville

We really can’t get enough of this city! There are so many fun things to do in Huntsville, and the city is only continuing to grow. Known as the Rocket City, it’s most popular attraction is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Here you’ll find a museum, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, historic Shuttle Park, a planetarium, and Rocket Park.

Huntsville has many other great museums to visit as well. Our favorites are Huntsville Revisited History Museum, Huntsville Museum Of Art, and the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum. Of course, if you’d like to spend some time outdoors as well, you have plenty of options. Monte Sano State Park is just outside of town and has beautiful hiking and biking trails.

There are also a lot of great Huntsville restaurants for you to try. Obviously you’ll find some great Southern cuisine, but you’ll also find food from all over the world. And if you love beer, you’ll be happy to know that there are ten breweries in town!

For your visit to Huntsville, we recommend staying at the Hampton Inn Huntsville/Village of Providence just outside of the US Space and Rocket Center. It’s in the area known as the Village of Providence. There are restaurants and shops within walking distance and the US Space and Rocket Center is a short drive away.

Huntsville is one of the best cities to visit in Alabama
Huntsville

Mobile

By Charles of McCool Travel

Mobile is one of the most exciting places to visit in Alabama—featuring a dynamic and historic city, plentiful attractions and nature activities, and a wide variety of lodging and dining options. Mobile Alabama is the largest US Gulf Coast city between New Orleans and St. Pete, Florida, served as the first capital of La Louisiane (France’s New World colony), and today is the capital of Lower Alabama (L.A.) and the gateway to the Alabama Beaches. USA’s first Mardi Gras was held in Mobile in 1830.

Popular things to do in Mobile, Alabama include visiting the USS Alabama battleship, exploring amazing museums (including GulfQuest, Mobile Carnival Museum, History Museum, Gulf Coast Exploreum, and Conde-Charlotte), and enjoying incredible food. Springtime in Mobile is particularly gorgeous, when the magnolias are in bloom. Some hidden gem fun things to do in Mobile include strolling the Old Church Street Cemetery (find Joe Cain’s grave!), escape the heat inside Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (and pretend you are in Europe), learn about two of history’s all-time great baseball players (Satchel Paige and Henry Aaron), and visit the Moon Pie General Store.

Battle House Renaissance is an exceptional four-star hotel and lovingly restored historic property and is walking distance to the Mobile Convention Center and downtown Mobile. US Gulf Coast chefs highly recommended eating at NoJa, Southern National, and The Noble South, and all three are magnificent. To get a sampling of several downtown Mobile restaurants, sign up for a Bienville Bites Food Tour.

Mobile
Mobile

Montgomery

As the state capital, Montgomery is one of the best cities to visit in Alabama. The city is steeped in Civil Rights history and also has a thriving food and art scene. Located in the center of the state, it’s easy to get to by car or plane.

A popular attraction in Montgomery is the Alabama State Capitol. Admission is free and visitors can tour the Senate and Old Supreme Court Chambers, the House of Representatives, and the Rotunda. Other popular attractions are the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and the Dexter Parsonage Museum. The church is where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor from 1954 through 1960. Less the mile from the church is the nine-room parsonage where King and his family lived while he was pastor. It is now a museum and has been restored to what it was like while he lived there.

If you’re an art lover, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has over 4,000 pieces in its permanent collection. If theater is your thing, then the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is a must-see. It puts on 6-9 productions annually, and usually includes three works by William Shakespeare.

If you’re staying overnight, consider staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery-Downtown. It’s within walking distance to many museums and attractions and offers free breakfast and free WiFi.

Montgomery is one of the best cities to visit in Alabama
Montgomery. Photo by Rojan Maharjan on Unsplash

Selma

By Stephanie of History Fangirl

Selma is a great place to visit in Alabama, and it’s the perfect Alabama road trip stop if you’ll be traveling from Birmingham to Montgomery, Jackson, or even Atlanta. While it’s great if you can spend a few days here, even just a few hours in a place as important as this can go a long way!

The most important thing to do in Selma is to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which is the bridge where Voting Rights activists were attacked trying to march to the state capital to fight for Black Alabamans’ right to vote. While marchers here included famous Civil Rights leaders like John Lewis, you’ll find many locals who participated and who have worked to keep the story alive for visitors.

Other things to do include visiting the Brown Chapel AME Church, which is where the marchers left for the day. You can learn even more about the struggle for voting rights (and civil rights in general) at the Selma Interpretive Center, which is across the street from the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Other great educational stops in Selma include the National Voting Rights Museum and the Ancient Africa, Enslavement, and Civil War Museum.

If you want to stay overnight, check into the St. James Hotel, which is one of the only surviving antebellum hotels (and all the responsibility this comes with) in the area and also harbored outlaws, Frank and Jesse James. Some say they still haunt it.

Selma
Selma

Final Thoughts On The Best Cities To Visit In Alabama

As you can see, there many great Alabama cities to visit. There is a lot of history in the state, but also great food and places to have fun and relax. As we continue to travel through house sitting, we hope to visit more cities and add them to this list.

Which is your favorite city in Alabama? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂

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See which are the best cities to visit in Alabama! All offer something different, so you're sure to find something for everyone to enjoy.