Known as the Yellowhammer State, Alabama is one of the most unique coastal states east of the Mississippi. Filled with landmarks from the American Civil Rights Movement as well as plenty of outdoor activities, Alabama has something for everybody. The city of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, now a museum, was a protest headquarters in the 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church and the Rosa Parks Museum can be found in the capital of Montgomery. It’s the only state in the U.S. where it’s a felony to wrestle a bear and boasts an alcoholic beverage as its official drink, the Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey. You’ll also be surprised to find that Alabama was actually the first state to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Sugar-white Gulf Coast Beaches
Ultra-fine particles of quartz washed down from the Appalachian Mountains down to the beaches of Alabama, creating some of the whitest beaches you can find in the U.S. With over 32 miles of shoreline, the Gulf Coast beaches of Alabama are legendary. They are also home to nesting sea turtles that can be seen “boiling” from May to October. This is when they hatch all at the same time and make their way to the sea.
Step deep into the caverns’ 126 foot wide entrance and into the world of the underground with a visit to Cathedral Caverns. Sinkholes, underground streams and caves are etched into the areas limestone creating a unique location to explore. 90-minute tours are available year round and will lead you to one of the largest stalagmite columns in the world sitting at 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference.
Birmingham Alabama is home to the world’s largest cast iron statue. The 56-foot-tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, the god of the fire and forge, and represents Birmingham’s roots in the iron and steel industries. It weighs 101,200 pounds. The statue was designed by the Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti. It was created as Birmingham’s entry for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. While it is the world’s largest made of iron-ore, it is also among the nation’s tallest statues of any kind. It was restored in the early 21st century and now sits in the Vulcan Park and Museum.
While Mobile may be a part of Alabama today, it was once a part of Louisiana. While the Spanish were the first Europeans to discover Alabama, it was the French who first settled there. Founded by the French colonists in 1702, Mobile is the oldest city in the state. In fact, it was the capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702 as part of New France. The city has passed from the French, to the British, then the Spanish, and finally to the Americans, spanning 160 years, up to the Civil War. Mobile finally became part of Alabama on December 14, 1819.
Wickles Pickles can be found all over the United States, but this tasty original originated from Alabama. These spicy pickles stem from a family recipe that has been passed down for generations. Find them in boutique markets as well as a few major grocers while you explore the state of Alabama.