With a wealth of awesome restaurants, gorgeous hotels, and so many fun things to do, I think it would be so fun to plan an Alabama vacation. I’ve never been, but I have a ton of friends who live there and have visited and with their help and input, here is a quick overview of what to do, see and eat on your next trip.
Where to Eat in Alabama
Fried chicken, squash casseroles, mashed potatoes, okra, black eye and fresh peach pie are just a few of the varied dishes that express the people of Alabama. They’re as much apart of the Alabama lifestyle as it is to share your dish with friends, neighbors and even strangers.
Food is such an important part of the cultural experience Alabama has to offer that the first Year of Alabama Food was hosted in 2005 and quickly became an annual event. The 100-Dishes-To-Eat-In-Alabama-Before-You-Die has grown to over 200 unique items.
Personally, when I’m traveling to a new place I love to eat somewhere interesting. I’m more excited to eat at a place if it has a story, whether it’s a family history, or unique to the building itself.
I also love the local, family owned dives where everyone knows each other by name and the locals swear by them. Now I’ve never eaten at these places, but I’ve done some research and think you should try them:
- 50 Taters
50 Taters serves up GIANT potatoes stuffed with scrumptious ingredients, it’s entire mound fills a dinner place. Their signature dish is the brisket stuffed potato but they also serve up barbecue and burgers!
- George’s Steak Pit
I’m a certified meat eater through and through, nothing makes my mouth water like a nice grilled steak seasoned just right. If you can relate in anyway I would definitely check out George’s Steak Pit. It’s been family owned and operated for over 60 years! They secret of their success is said to be the famous open pit where George girlls fresh-cut steaks, chicken and fish over hickory logs. Their signature dish is the ribeye steak!
- Classic on Noble
If you’re looking for a place with history you just met it. Once a saloon in the late 19th century Classic on Noble is a historic front on Noble Street. David and Cathy Mashburn restored downtown’s famous Levy and Clark building and opened the Classic on Noble.Now the restaurant is famous for it’s Shrimp and Grits – you know grits are a southern standard. The grits are cooked with heavy cream and whole milk. Then combined with applewood smoked bacon, collard greens and chopped tomatoes. The jump shrimp and andouille sausage are sautéed with garlic; deglazed with chardonnay, cooked with heavy cream and then served over grits. WOW, I have to say that made my tummy rumble just writing it. They must be doing something right because that dish outsells everything else on the menu by 75%!
Things to Do in Alabama
What’s a vacation without some exploration? A family vacation should be all about the right combination of exploring, adventure, and relaxation. Check out these fascination things to see and do while you’re in Alabama.
- Birmingham Civil Rights District
During the Civil Rights movement as many as 2.425 protesters, including children, were jailed in Birmingham for protesting. Birmingham is where the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. It’s where Rev. Martin, Luther King Jr penned his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” while he was locked up for 8 days. But it’s also the place there the first black mayor of Birmingham led a campaign to build the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. It’s also where Kelly Ingram Park is now a setting for sculptures inspired by the events of 1963. On Saturday mornings at 10am (April 6th – Sept 28) you can take a guided tour the park, Civil Rights Institute and church to experience this crucial point in the states, and our nations history.
- Point Mallard Park
What’s a vacation without a water park?! I think my husband and I love to visit them almost as much as my son does. I found Point Mallard Park fascinating because its 700 acres are filled with awesome activities like hiking, ice skating, swimming in the wave pool or floating the lazy river.
- Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
One of the biggest college sports rivalries is between Alabama and Auburn and in Alabama you’re either one or the other. But one place everyone can meet in the middle is golf. Recently, celebrating it’s 20th birthday the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is like the quarter back of the golf scene. Robert Trent Jones Trail offers 11 sites such as Ross Bridge near Birmingham and Lakewood in Point Clear. Tee times are priced between $46 and $81 for 27,36, and 54 hole facilities. And the picturesque settings you will see along the way are amazing. My father in law recently took up golf last year and I know he would love this place!
Where to Stay in Alabama
Alabama has some of the most gorgeous AAA, 3 and 4 diamond hotels in the USA with many of them, including the two below, placing in the top 500 Hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine.
- Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa
Point Clear, AL
Like I said, my father-in-law has recently become a golf aficionado, but my mother-in-law has not. Spending the day at a golf course wouldn’t place in her top 100 things to do. But spending the day at AAA Four Diamond hotel, family-friendly historical hotel? I suspect that would be right up near the top of her list! The Grand Hotel is 166 years old and in addition to 405 rooms the hotel also has spas and pools that are to die for. With the Grand Hotel Marriott it’s a win win for both of them since the hotel is also home to one of Robert Trent Jones golf resorts!
- The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa
If you’re looking for something a little more quaint but still filled with historic charm check out The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa. Originally built in 1852 the hotel offers 238 rooms and a historic lobby, restaurant and ball rooms. This hotel also offers a pool and spa and isn’t far from a Robert Trent Jones Golf course either.