Winter in Alabama has always been mercurial – pleasantly warm today, cold and wet tomorrow. Even though spring is still a few months away, you can already get a head start on your plans – if only to stave off those winter blues. Just like trees in a state of dormancy during winter, the number of fun things to do in Alabama blooms once spring rolls around.
There’s no better time to start planning your springtime road trip than in the dead of winter. It will warm your heart just thinking about the fun things you plan to see and do on your statewide jaunt. We’ve prepared a list of some interesting sights to help you rediscover spring in Alabama.
Shoot for the stars in Huntsville
Curious about space travel? The U.S. Space & Rocket Center along the I-565 is the largest museum in the world dedicated to space flight. Established in 1970, the rocket center houses space-related artifacts and equipment like a moon rock collected during the Apollo 12 mission, former Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von Braun’s work desk, capsules, spacesuits, and much more.
The highlight of the museum is the Saturn V rocket displayed in the Davidson Center. Suspended 10 feet above the ground, the rocket gives visitors the opportunity to ponder its massive scale up close.
General admission tickets for the rocket center are $25 for adults and children 13 and above, and $15 for kids aged 5 to 12. Visit the center’s website to learn about other activities and events.
Witness bird migrations at Dauphin Island
Pack your binoculars and hop on a ferry to Dauphin Island for some bird watching. The Gulf Coast is one of the key areas migrating birds visit before they continue their spring journey northward.
With forests, marshland, and dunes, the 137-acre island harbors 95% of known bird species in Alabama, or 420 out of 450 kinds of birds. As such it has been named an Audubon Bird Sanctuary on a “globally important” scale. Here, you can be on the lookout for pelicans, herons, kingfishers, falcons, and sparrows in the wild.
Admission to the park is free. If you wish to make a weekend of it, you can use the park’s campgrounds for a fee. You can reach Dauphin Island by driving down Highway 193 until you get to the three-mile bridge that connects the island to Alabama’s mainland.
Make room for great barbecue
It doesn’t matter if you’re living here or just passing through, dining at a barbecue joint is a must in Alabama. One of the best barbecue ribs in the state can be found within the walls of Dreamland Bar-B-Que. (The late Dreamland founder John “Big Daddy” Bishop was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame if you aren’t already convinced.)
While the restaurant has expanded to several branches throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, the original Dreamland restaurant in Tuscaloosa at 5535 15th Avenue East comes highly recommended. There, you’ll dine on the best hickory-smoked ribs, white bread, and barbecue sauce in town, while getting a full appreciation of more than 60 years of barbecue history.
Tour the mansions of Mobile
Historic mansions in Mobile, AL offer a glimpse of the luxuries well-to-do members of Southern society enjoyed during the 19th century.
Dubbed the “official period house of Mobile,” the Oakleigh Historic Mansion at 350 Oakleigh was built by a Virginian cotton broker in 1833 and has been maintained and well preserved by the families who lived in the mansion throughout the years.
The historic home is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays. Admission is $10 for adults, and free for children under the age of five.
Another place of historic interest is the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion at 1906 Springhill Avenue. Typical of mansions in the antebellum South, it features a sprawling lawn, tall hardwood groves, and neoclassical architecture. The home was built primarily so the original owner and his family could enjoy the flurry of activities that preoccupied Mobile society from Thanksgiving to the Mardi Gras in February. Now, the mansion serves as a time capsule that visitors can tour to learn about the lives of the Southern elite.
Sample fresh seafood at Orange Beach Marina
Alabama’s Gulf Coast serves eats that can throw down with the best New Orleans has to offer. To sample the state’s coastal cuisine, head to Orange Beach, near the Florida border. There, at the Orange Beach Marina, you’ll find Fisher’s, a two-in-one restaurant—Dockside for casual affairs and Upstairs for special evenings out. Order the classics: Cajun roasted oysters, shrimp and grits, or a fried green tomato po’boy.
These are just a few of the fun things to do in Alabama during springtime. And while you’re on the road, you can also schedule time to look at houses on the market. Curious about your options? Call the Bill Mackey Real Estate Team at 307.690.6879 or email bill(at)billmackey(dotted)com to learn more! For more useful articles on real estate in Alabama, check out our blog.