Sure, it’s fun to go to big, crowded attractions sometimes, but those places definitely have their drawbacks. Often, the very best places for a relaxing day or weekend trip are hiding right under your nose. Here are some of the state’s best kept secrets that we think deserve your attention:
1. Chewacla State Park, Auburn
This park near Auburn has scenic trails for hiking and mountain biking, plus a lake for swimming and kayaking. There are dozens of camping sites and six stone cottages constructed in the 1930s.
2. Frank Lloyd Wright's Rosenbaum House, Florence
This home in Florence was built in 1940 and has been called one of the best examples of Wright's Usonian houses. It is the only example of his work in Alabama.
3. Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Tuscumbia
It's undeniable that Alabamians have had a huge impact on the music industry. This museum features informative exhibits on Alabama's greatest and most famous contributors.
4. Harmony Park Safari, Huntsville
Visitors can get up close and personal with exotic animals at this drive-thru nature preserve. See a vast array of animals closer than you've ever seen them before, at a very affordable price.
5. Dothan Area Botanical Gardens
This charming 50-acre garden in Dothan is one of only seven beautiful gardens on the Alabama Garden Trail. Nature trails wind through cultivated and wooded areas.
6. Rickwood Caverns State Park, Warrior
For a peaceful retreat in nature, spiked with a bit of adventure, check out this park located north of Birmingham. From the huge swimming pool to the caverns, this is the perfect place to cool off in the summer.
7. U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, Huntsville
This museum in Huntsville features artifacts, memorabilia and even vehicles, spanning centuries of our country's military history.
8. Rainbow Mountain Trails, Madison
These dog-friendly trails are perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors. Visitors love the scenic bluffs and impressive rock formations. The trail is moderately difficult, with some rocky areas.
9. The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, Montgomery
Bookworms will love this hidden gem in Montgomery. This museum preserves the last existing home where the Fitzgeralds lived as a family.
10. Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, Birmingham
This lush preserve covers over a thousand acres near Irondale. Though it's so close to the city, you'll feel a million miles away from busy modern life. The scenic views from the lookouts will blow you away.
11. Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham
Exhibits in this museum include artifacts, models, and almost 100 aircraft to educate the public on the wonder of flight. This year the museum celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Have you been to any of these places? What’s your favorite lesser-known attraction in Alabama?