The southern US state of Alabama was the twenty-second state of the nation and is the 30th largest state in the country but what is Alabama actually known for? Well, this state played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement, has a huge abundance of major natural resources needed in the US, and lots more.
If you’ve never been to Alabama and are planning a visit, here are the things you need to know about this state so you can enjoy it as much as possible.
If there is one thing Alabama is known for it’s Fort Rucker which is the single site for all Army Helicopter training in the United States. Every single helicopter pilot in the army goes to Fort Rucker to learn how to fly and the great thing about this military base is that you can visit it.
At Fort Rucker, you’ll find one of Alabama’s best museums, the Army Aviation Museum where you can learn about the rich history of helicopter aviation in the military and you can see some of the first helicopter models in person. If you’re lucky, you can actually see some of the trainee pilots practicing both their take-offs and their flight paths which is a pretty awesome thing to see. You will need special permission to do this so make sure to request way ahead of time.
Sitting in Northern Alabama is something that has been around for more than 200 million years and it’s been labeled the natural bridge.
You’ll find the natural bridge in William Bankhead National Forest just north of a town called Natural Bridge, which was named after THE Natural Bridge in the park. This Natural Bridge spans some 148 feet, sits 60 feet high, is made of sandstone, and is the longest natural bridge in the country west of the Rocky Mountains.
You can’t walk across the bridge anymore as it’s rather dangerous but seeing it from below and on the same level, it’s quite amazing to think that it was created naturally.
While going to see the Natural Bridge you should also enjoy the national forest which is full of lovely hiking trails, waterfalls, and you can go horse riding, fishing, and lots more.
If you have ever been to Alabama or asked anyone who has been to Alabama what it’s known for, you’re going to hear “Roll Tide”. Roll Tide is pretty much the college football team of the University of Alabama and the locals take supporting their college football team extremely seriously.
If you’re going to Alabama, make sure to plan your visit around a football game and book tickets way in advance. When you’re walking around town you’ll find locals saying Roll Tide to you in the build-up for the game along with their great Southern Hospitality.
Once you’re at the game you’ll be blown away by the energy as a whole stadium of tens of thousands of people is cheering their team on. Try and sit next to the student’s stands if you can as they have the best vibes.
Sitting in North Alabama is the one city Alabama is known for more than any other, Birmingham. Birmingham is a stunning city that you should definitely spend some time in while you’re in Alabama.
The city of Birmingham is known for one of many things and the coolest in my eyes is that it’s flanked by two national forests, making it easy to get out into nature. Also, Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain Preserve is the second-largest urban nature preserve in the whole of the USA, which is pretty awesome.
Birmingham was also the city where Veterans Day was first founded in 1971 and they host the largest and therefore oldest Veterans Day celebration parade every year. If you’re in town during Veterans Day, make sure to get involved as it’s a lot of fun.
Something else you can’t miss while in Birmingham is the Birmingham Museum of Art which is home to more than 10,000 pieces and it has the largest museum collection of Wedgwood in the world.
Another great thing Alabama is known for is the U.S Space and Rocket Center and it’s known and you’ll find it in the rocket capital of Alabama, Huntsville which is known as rocket city.
This amazing center is an awesome place to visit as it showcases all the great things about space and the NASA space station. This is where the USA’s space camp is located and the marshall space flight center is just south of it too, and Boeing is next door as well.
While walking around the center you will be able to learn about how the NASA space station works, see the first rocket that went to space, and have a load of fun in simulations, and learn certain skills required in Space.
A historical moment that Alabama is known for is the Montgomery Bus Boycott which was the boycott started by Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat for a white person. This sparked the boycott against the law that required African Americans to give their seats to white people.
The boycott lasted for over a year and was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The boycott was so effective and was the number one event Alabama is known for. In the end, the boycott worked and the state changed the Alabama legislature to make sure buses were no longer segregated.
The protest also worked as a catalyst that sparked off a huge series of national protests across the country which eventually led to the end of any kind of formal segregation.
Another thing Alabama is known for is its stunning stretch of coastline called Gulf Shores. If you’re going to Alabama, you have to check out this stunning place as it’s a magic city with white sand beaches that sits right on Mobile Bay.
Referred to as the Deep South of Alabama, you have hundreds of different beach options to choose from that sprawl out onto the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a perfect place to hang out, swim in the sea, go fishing, enjoy other water sports, and of course, try the delicious food.
The seafood along the shores is fantastic and just make sure to avoid the chain restaurants and eat local as they know how to make their local seafood better than anyone.
Something that Alabama is known for is being the peanut capital of the USA and the world. The Peanut is very much Alabama’s official nut and tonnes of them are grown in Dothan.
The town of Dothan pretty much produces all the peanuts in the US and is also hosts a festival every year in the fall that is pretty much just about peanuts. Attending the festival is a lot of fun and you won’t have a better experience of southern hospitality anywhere else.
Another great thing about visiting Dothan is that you’re very close to the coast so you can pop down to the Shores within an hour or two of driving.
You might not have heard of Muscle Shoals but you definitely would have heard of the people who have recorded there. Muscle Shoals is a small town in Northern Alabama that sits along the Tennessee River and the reason it’s known all around the world is because it’s renowned as the “Hit Recording Capital of the World.”
In this little town were two recording studios that popped up in the 1950s or around them and it was there that artists like Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan went to record some of their most famous songs and albums. This trend kept on running and music stars around the entire country flocked to this little town to start cutting their records.
Artists still come to this Alamaba town to record their records and names you might recognize are the Zac Brown Band and Chris Stapleton.
Today you can visit the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios that were used to record all the fantastic songs and it’s quite an experience.
The final thing Alabama is known for that we are going to discuss is the Talladega National Forest. The Talladega National Forest takes up a huge part of the middle of the state and is a whopping 600 miles squared in size meaning you can explore it for days on end.
The Talladega National Forest is home to a lot of great flora and fauna, it’s perfect for camping trips, going hiking, enjoying fishing and hunting, and there are some magical waterfalls to check out too.
The waterfalls you should visit in Talladega National Forest are High Falls, Cheaha Falls, and Devil’s Den, all of which are spectacular in their own way.
While visiting Alabama, make sure you plan a few nights of camping in the Talladega National Forest, you won’t regret it.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!