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Willkommen in Sweet Home Alabama, Bild: Allard One / shutterstock

Alabama: Visiting the Cotton State of the USA

Alabama is one of the best known among the so-called southern states of the USA. For a long time, Alabama was associated with racial segregation and slavery because of its history. Because in this state, plantation agriculture predominated economically. Cotton was mainly grown, which is why Alabama is also known as the Cotton State . In the past, dark-skinned slaves from Africa were often used to harvest cotton. Today, Alabama is trying to get rid of the bad image that has arisen more and more, which is also succeeding. Because Alabama has a lot to offer visitors.

There are several larger cities, such as Birmingham or Montgomery, that are worth visiting. There, as well as in the smaller towns of the state, there are numerous bars and clubs where live music is played. Alabama has produced many great musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole and the Rolling Stones. The musical spectrum that is played here ranges from blues to country and gospel to rock and jazz. In addition, there are interesting museums of all kinds to visit in Alabama and exciting outdoor adventures to experience.

A visit to the lively industrial metropolis of Birmingham

Skyline of Birmingham, Alabama
View of the Birmingham skyline, Image: ESB Professional / shutterstock

Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama with a good 215,000 inhabitants. Many well-known jazz musicians were born here, for example Billy Valentine. If you stop off in Birmingham, you should definitely visit the Birmingham Museum of Art. Founded in 1951, the art museum has a collection of no less than 17,000 exhibits. In addition to paintings and drawings, sculptures, graphics and video installations are also on display. The thematic arc that the collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art covers is enormous. Because the works on display come from a wide variety of cultures and epochs.

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On display are African, Native American, European and Asian works of art. Contemporary art is represented in the Birmingham Museum of Art as well as works of art from the Renaissance or Baroque periods. If you prefer to exercise in the fresh air rather than in a closed building, you should visit the city’s zoo and botanical gardens in Birmingham. Both facilities are located right next to each other. There are about 550 animals in the zoo , which can be attributed to 180 different animal species. Among them are some that are already threatened with extinction. The Birmingham Botanical Garden has numerous expertly landscaped themed gardens and the impressive Long Life Lake Bridge, which is considered the main attraction of this botanical garden.

Learn all about space in the Rocket City of Huntsville

Huntsville, Alabama
In Huntsville, (almost) everything revolves around space, Image: Philip Arno Photography / shutterstock

Huntsville is only the fourth largest city in Alabama, but you should definitely stop by the city in the far north of the state. Especially if you are enthusiastic about technology and space. Because Huntsville is not called Rocket City for nothing. With the Redstone Arsenal, a rocket development center and test site of the US Army is located here. And NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where the Apollo space program was developed, can also be found here. Visitors can visit the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Here you can learn everything about the American space program and visit rockets and rocket parts. In addition, there is the opportunity to feel like a real rocket scientist and astronaut in flight or underwater simulators. If you are more in the mood for dignified art, visit the Huntsville Museum of Art. The collection focuses on American and regional art. Around 2,300 exhibits can be visited, including works by Andy Warhol.

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Alabama’s pristine white coast: the city of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Alabama’s coastline is not necessarily one of the longest in the USA, but the beaches of the city of Gulf Shores, which has only about 12,000 inhabitants, easily make up for the lack of space with breathtaking beauty. The beaches here have pristine white and extremely fine-grained quartz sand, which shimmers in the sun in a very special way. Nestled between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is Gulf State Park. The beach section there is three kilometres long and invites you to take relaxing walks on the beach. However, Gulf State Park has a whole host of other exciting things to do.

You can play golf, kayak, sail, surf or dive in the park’s man-made reefs. Deep sea fishing is also possible here under guidance. In addition, a wide variety of themed tours by boat are offered. Here, tourists can, for example, familiarize themselves with the world of dolphins and visit them in their natural habitat. If you prefer to move on land rather than in the water, Gulf State Park has a variety of well-marked hiking and mountain biking trails. These lead through pine forests as well as through swamps. If you are lucky, you will meet a bald eagle on the way.

Among other things, alligators swim in the park’s lakes, which is why you should strictly follow the instructions regarding any bathing bans here. Spending the night in Gulf State Park is also no problem. In addition to lodges that can be rented, there is also a campsite. Visitors interested in history also have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Native Americans and the civil war that once took place here. The Baldwin County Heritage Museum takes an in-depth look at local history surrounding Orange Beach. The Fairhope Museum of History focuses on the history and traditions of the region’s Native Americans.