Now that it’s summer, we’re thinking about all of the different types of places we can go. Luckily, Alabama is home to many attractions that are perfect for spending a summer day, week, etc. Many of you have already planned your summer days. For those of you who haven’t, time’s ticking away. Fall will be here before you know it. Before letting your summer slip away, here are 12 wonderful places in Alabama you’ll want to visit:
1. Gulf Coast Beaches - (Gulf Shores / Orange Beach)
It comes as no surprise that Alabama's Gulf Coast beaches top our list. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the perfect places to soak up the sun. When you've had enough of the beach, there are several nearby attractions that are worth a visit. A few of these attractions include The Wharf, Gulf State Park Fishing Pier and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
2. Oak Mountain State Park - (Pelham)
At 9,940 acres, Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama's largest state park. A few of the park's popular activities include mountain biking, hiking, fishing, swimming and camping. Oak Mountain State Park should be on everyone's summer bucket list.
3. Bellingrath Gardens and Home - (Theodore)
Bellingrath Gardens and Home features a gorgeous 65-acre garden and the estate of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. This is one of Alabama's top outdoor attractions, and it's enjoyed by visitors of all ages. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is the perfect place to take a summer stroll.
4. The Hippie Hole - (Fort Payne)
Located deep within the Little River Canyon is a well known swimming hole that's referred to as "Hippie Hole" by locals. This is a popular swimming spot among the younger crowd, especially during the summer months.
5. Dauphin Island
Located in Mobile County, Dauphin Island is a popular vacation destination. Island visitors enjoy exploring the nature trails and waterways. Dauphin Island's most popular attractions are the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and Fort Gaines.
6. River Rest Bed and Breakfast - (Talladega)
For a relaxing weekend getaway, the River Rest Bed and Breakfast is a great place to stay. Located on Lake Logan Martin, this bed and breakfast offers five guest rooms with private baths, in addition to a sandy beach area that overlooks the lake. For fine dining establishments and great shopping opportunities, River Rest Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located near Birmingham.
7. Dismals Canyon - (Phil Campbell)
Dismals Canyon is one of Alabama's true hidden gems. Other than its natural scenic beauty, what makes this canyon such a unique attraction are the dismalites. These are tiny insects (glow worms) that come out at night. Another great feature of Dismals Canyon is its hiking trail. As you hike the canyon's 1.5-mile trail, you can expect to see a variety of plant life, a flowing stream, a couple of beautiful waterfalls, several natural bridges and many boulders.
8. Sipsey Wilderness - (Lawrence County / Winston County)
The Sipsey Wilderness is located within the Bankhead National Forest. It's the most visited wilderness area in Alabama, and is also one of the state's top hiking spots. Because of its many waterfalls, the Sipsey Wilderness is nicknamed "Land of 1,000 Waterfalls."
9. The Riverwalk - (Tuscaloosa)
The Riverwalk is a paved trail that runs along the banks of the Black Warrior River. At more than 4 miles long, The Riverwalk is a popular spot for walking and biking.
10. Lake Guntersville - (Guntersville)
At 69,000 acres, Lake Guntersville is Alabama's largest lake. Fishing, boating and jet skiing are some of the lake's most popular activities. A few of the popular activities within the area include camping, hunting and eagle watching.
11. Peach Park - (Clanton)
Peach Park is a popular stop for travelers as they make their way down I-65. Famous for their homemade ice cream and freshly-baked pies, Peach Park is a must stop if you're ever in the Clanton area. And don't forget to get a basket of fresh peaches before you leave. They're the best!
12. Cahaba River - (Jefferson County)
The Cahaba River is Alabama's most free-flowing river and one of the most scenic rivers in the U.S. This is the perfect river for canoeing.