As 2016 comes to an end, there’s no better time to make plans for 2017 than right now. From unique attractions to delicious restaurants, there are many amazing places in Alabama you’ll want to check out in the upcoming new year.
Listed below are 25 places you’ll most certainly want to add to your 2017 bucket list.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Dismals Canyon - Phil Campbell
Dismals Canyon, located in North Alabama, is one of the state's true hidden gems. Not only is Dismals Canyon a popular place for hiking and camping. It's also one of the few places where dismalites (glowworms) live. Address: 901 Hwy 8, Phil Campbell
2. The Bright Star Restaurant - Bessemer
The Bright Star Restaurant opened in 1907, making it the oldest restaurant in Alabama. This historic restaurant serves up the freshest Greek-style steak and seafood in a classic setting. Address: 304 19th St N, Bessemer
3. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge - Gulf Shores
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1980, is a great place to visit if you're an animal lover. Here you'll get to view sea turtles , migratory birds and the endangered Alabama beach mouse up close. Address: 12295 Alabama 180, Gulf Shores
4. Harrison Brothers Hardware - Huntsville
After being in business since 1897, Harrison Brothers Hardware is Alabama's oldest hardware store. This unique place isn't your typical hardware store. Harrison Brothers Hardware sells a large variety of items, including edibles, housewares, arts and crafts, vintage toys and more. Address: 124 Southside Sq, Huntsville
5. Turkey Creek Nature Preserve - Pinson
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve covers nearly 500 acres and protects some of the Southeast's most beautiful scenery. It's also one of Alabama's top outdoor spots. Address: 3906 Turkey Creek Rd, Pinson
6. Three Georges Candy Shop - Mobile
Three Georges Candy Shop is one of Alabama's very best candy shops. Since 1917, this nostalgic candy shop has been selling the most delicious candy, baked goods, gourmet apples, nuts, etc. Address: 226 Dauphin St, Mobile
7. Noccalula Falls Park - Gadsden
The main feature at Noccalula Falls Park is Noccalula Falls. This beautiful 90-foot waterfall is also one of Alabama's most visited natural attractions. Address: 1500 Noccalula Rd, Gadsden
8. Mossy Grove Schoolhouse Restaurant - Troy
Mossy Grove School was founded in 1856. For more than 30 years, it's been operated as Mossy Grove Schoolhouse Restaurant. This historic restaurant is one of Troy's best-kept secrets. Address: 1841 AL-87, Troy
9. Bellingrath Gardens and Home - Theodore
Bellingrath Gardens and Home is a 65-acre Southern estate garden that's considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Alabama. Because this outdoor attraction is open year-round, you'll be able to experience its beauty during all four seasons. Address: 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore
10. Town of Mooresville
Incorporated on November 16, 1818, Mooresville is one of Alabama's oldest towns. It's also home to the state's oldest operating post office, which was established in 1840.
11. Rattlesnake Saloon - Tuscumbia
Rattlesnake Saloon, which is located inside of a cave, is one of Alabama's most unique restaurants. This one-of-a-kind restaurant offers the most incredible dining experience. Address: 1292 Mt Mills Rd, Tuscumbia
12. Neversink Pit - Jackson County
Neversink Pit is one of the most photographed spots in Alabama. Cavers from all over the world travel to Alabama to experience this spectacular natural attraction, which has a drop of approximately 162 feet.
13. Dreamland Bar-B-Que - Tuscaloosa
Since 1958, Dreamland Bar-B-Que has been serving its legendary bar-b-que ribs. Throughout the years, this BBQ joint has become a staple in Tuscaloosa. Address: 5535 15th Ave, Tuscaloosa
14. Sipsey Wilderness - Double Springs
At nearly 25,000 acres, the Sipsey Wilderness is Alabama's largest wilderness area. Located within North Alabama's William Bankhead National Forest, the Sipsey Wilderness is also one of the best hiking spots in the U.S.
15. Harmony Park Safari - Huntsville
At Harmony Park Safari, you'll get to have an up-close encounter with a variety of exotic and endangered animals. As you take a drive through this unique park, a variety of animals will approach your car and you'll get to feed them from your window. Address: 431 Clouds Cove Rd SE, Huntsville
16. Huggin' Molly's - Abbeville
Huggin' Molly's, a former drug store, is a 50s-inspired restaurant that'll take you back in time. Featuring a collection of antiques, nostalgic posters, and an authentic soda fountain, this unique restaurant will give you such an old-school feel. Address: 129 Kirkland St, Abbeville
17. Little River Canyon National Preserve - Fort Payne
The Little River Canyon National Preserve, which is home to Little River Falls and Little River, is one of the South's most beautiful nature spots. Outdoor enthusiasts, especially hikers, return year after year to explore this amazing area. Address: 4322 Little River Trl NE, Fort Payne
18. Gulf Coast Beaches
Alabama's Gulf Coast (Gulf Shores and Orange Beach) is the state's main vacation destination. Its 32 miles of beautiful white-sand beaches and turquoise-blue water will keep you returning year after year.
19. Derailed Diner - Robertsdale
Derailed Diner is a transportation-themed diner where you'll be served some of Alabama's most delicious food. It's unique atmosphere will make you feel like a kid again. Address: 27801 Co Rd 64, Robertsdale
20. Cheaha State Park - Delta
Cheaha State Park is home to Cheaha Mountain (or Mount Cheaha). With an elevation of 2,407 ft, Cheaha Mountain is Alabama's highest natural point. Address: 19644 AL-281, Delta
21. Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House - Florence
Built in 1939, the Rosenbaum House is the only structure in Alabama that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This Usonian home is also the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in the Southeast that's available for public tours. Address: 601 Riverview Dr, Florence
22. Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q - Decatur
For the past several years, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q has been smoking the best barbecue around. This popular BBQ joint introduced us to the famous white barbecue sauce (Original White Sauce), and they were named the "2014 World BBQ Champion." Address: 1715 6th Ave SE, Decatur
23. Cathedral Caverns State Park - Woodville
Originally called "Bat Cave," Cathedral Caverns' stalagmite forest covers approximately three acres. And at 25 feet high and 126 feet wide, Cathedral Caverns has one of the world's largest cave entrances. 637 Cave Rd, Woodville
24. Natural Bridge - Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge, which is located in a small Alabama town of the same name, measures 60 ft high and 148 ft long. This measurement makes it the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies. According to geologists, Natural Bridge is more than 200 million years old. Address: 314 County Rd 3500, Natural Bridge
25. Matt's Homemade Alabama Ice Cream - Gulf Shores
With a variety of delicious flavors such as "Salted Caramel," "Blueberry Cheesecake" and "Creole Praline," there's no denying that Matt's Homemade Alabama Ice Cream serves up the tastiest ice cream in Gulf Shores. It's also the only homemade ice cream in town. Address: 1308 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores / 701 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores (two locations)
Have you ever visited any of these unique attractions and/or delicious restaurants? Are there any other places you’d add to your 2017 bucket list? If so, share them with us!