Grab your camera and get ready to hit the road in Arizona for a driving holiday that goes the extra mile when it comes to superb scenery.
Whether you’re looking for romance, beach-hopping, or a historic visit back through time for your next holiday, the Southern U.S. state of Alabama has you sorted. The state is fantastically diverse with mountains, beaches, cities, and fascinating history, not to mention delicious food. You can either make Alabama your standalone destination or include it as part of a bigger Southern USA road trip. The roads in Alabama are in great condition, and there are plenty of roadside service stops if you need fuel or food!
Follow our guide to three of our top stops on an Alabama road trip:
The Romantic Getaway – Mobile
If you’re searching for a romantic getaway, Mobile, Alabama – just a 3.5 hr drive from New Orleans, Louisiana - has it all. As Alabama’s only saltwater port, this beautiful city sits alongside Mobile Bay on the north-central Gulf Coast, and is an original French settlement more than 300 years old, with spreading live oaks that loom over downtown streets and picturesque historic mansions with wrought-iron balconies. Is anyone sensing Romeo and Juliet vibes?!
Mobile has several unique art museums and professional membership for an opera company, symphony orchestra and ballet company. Plus, the city has the oldest organised Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations in America, typically observed in January and February. Visit Mobile in springtime, and you’ll be swept away with the pink and purple azaleas blooming everywhere. Held every March, the Mobile Azalea Trail Festival takes guests through some of the most stunningly beautiful gardens and homes in the country.
When it comes to romantic dinners with your loved one, you’re spoilt for choice here. Seafood is available in abundance, including delicious wild-caught Gulf shrimp, blue crabs, and oysters. Slow-cooked, pit barbecue is a prized local favourite. Mobile’s music scene has always been lively, with nightlife and entertainment options galore. Many bars downtown can stay open past 2AM, and you can even walk from bar to bar with drinks in hand, thanks to a block-long entertainment district on Dauphin Street.
Mobile has more than 6,000 rooms to fit every taste and budget available. From four diamond hotels to bed and breakfasts and historical inns or budget limited-service hotels, you’ll find genuine Southern hospitality wherever you look. Check out Mobile’s hotel rates here.
Further information on this romantic road trip, see here: https://alabama.travel/road-trips/mobile-a-romantic-getaway.
The Beach-Hopping Holiday
Head down the I-65, U.S. Hwy 231 or if you’re coming from Mobile, head across I-10 and down (approx. 1-hour drive) to Alabama’s beautiful white-sand beaches. There’s 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches for you to enjoy, plus activities such as the world-famous Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo or eco-cruises where you can watch dolphins play! The beach communities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores offer visitors a wide variety of fun – either for a girls’ or guys’ weekend away or a family-friendly holiday. The region has 18,000 rooms with a variety of places to stay, including hotels, condos, and beach houses.
Beach lovers: rejoice! Take a swim in the warm, turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy walking along the white sands, which are some of the softest in the world. You can deep sea or pier fish, parasail, or cruise to see dolphins. Beyond the shore, there’s hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing, plus the freshest seafood around.
At Orange Beach, you can find ultimate zen as you watch the bright blue waves gently roll into the shore. If adrenaline is more your thing, or perhaps you’re looking for family adventure, Orange Beach also has you covered. Inland, there are beautiful golf courses, scenic hiking and biking trails, kayaking, and more. Home to one of the largest charter fishing fleets in the Gulf, you can try your luck on a full or half-day fishing excursion!
For further information on a beach-hopping holiday, see here: https://alabama.travel/road-trips/gulf-shores-orange-beach-spring-break-at-the-beach.
Take a Trip Back in Time – Montgomery
If you’re a history buff, Montgomery, Alabama, is the perfect destination – a 4-hr drive (via I-65) north of Orange Beach. Walk along any street and you’ll be surrounded by historic churches, homes, notable dwellings, not to mention an abundance of museums in Downtown Montgomery, passing on stories of years gone by. Visit the 1847 Alabama State Capitol Building, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. In the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, you’ll learn about the church’s twentieth pastor in the 1950s, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., who became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
You can explore the city’s rich history either by parking and walking, or jumping in the car. Some of the key sites include:
- Rosa Parks Museum – a museum showcasing events that started the Montgomery Bus Boycott and early Civil Rights movement
- The Freedom Rides Museum is housed in the historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station, where you can learn the story of young Freedom Riders who approached mob violence with non-violence and courage in May 1961
- The First White House of Confederacy, where Jefferson Davis and his family lived during the short period when the capital of the Confederacy was in Montgomery
- Next door is the Alabama Archive of Archives & History, where the Museum of Alabama tells the story of three phases in the state’s history, including its Native American heritage, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement.
While exploring downtown Montgomery, we highly recommend you tour the Hank Williams Museum. Here you can see the 1952 baby-blue Cadillac that the singer passed away in on 1st January 1953. The historic cemetery, where the country legend is buried, dates back to the early 1800s, and is home to some of the most elaborate monuments and headstones in Alabama.
For further information on this historic road trip, see here: https://alabama.travel/road-trips/montgomery-a-place-where-history-runs-deep.