9 of the best holiday getaways in Alabama

Ross Bridge
Who’s ready for a holiday escape? (Sabrina Palmer / The Bama Buzz)

As we enter December, winter break is on the horizon and cozy getaways are calling. Luckily, there are plenty of exciting places to explore within Alabama—no need to buy a plane ticket! Keep reading for nine of our favorite winter vacation spots in Alabama.

1. Pursell Farms

Pursell Farms is an ideal destination for a cozy countryside holiday experience. With rolling hills and woody acres, Pursell Farms has multiple places to stay, including:

  • Cottages and cabins
  • The Inn
  • The Parker Lodge
  • The historic Hamilton House

That’s not all—guests at Pursell Farms can participate in a wide variety of activities, such as award-winning golf courses, sporting clays, fly fishing, a spa, archery, tennis, pickleball, UTV rides, horseback riding, axe throwing, history tours and more.

BONUS: Pursell Farms has plenty of holiday events lined up, including the Christmas Market December 9-10 and Christmas at the Farm.

2. Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge + Brock’s Restaurant. (Sabrina Palmer / The Bama Buzz)

The second you walk onto Ross Bridge property during the holiday season, you feel like you’re in a movie yet right at home. The Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf & Spa has beautiful amenities like a spa, a fitness center, and a restaurant. Plus, the surrounding area is filled with loads of shops, restaurants, and beautiful sites to explore.

BONUS: Ross Bridge goes all-out for the holidays, with an event lineup that includes s’mores and movies, Fireside Readings and breakfasts with Santa.

3. The Lodge at Gulf State Park

Of course, Gulf Shores is a staple summertime destination for Alabama and beyond, but there’s so much to love during the holidays too. The Lodge at Gulf State Park, situated right on the beach, has stunning views and is located right near all the action happening at Gulf State Park.

BONUS: Gulf State Park always has a stacked events calendar, and this holiday season they’re hosting A Very Merry Coastal Grinchmas (December 10 + 17), Christmas Caroling at the amphitheater (December 16) and Breakfast with the Grinch at Mt. Crumpet (December 9).

4. The Laurel Hotel

The Laurel Hotel and Spa, the first hotel in Alabama to receive an AAA Five Diamond designation, is a truly luxurious getaway in Auburn. Partnered with Auburn University, The Laurel brings a one-of-a-kind, opulent experience to Alabama with a stunning rooftop, top-notch cuisine, rooms with mind-blowing features, a world-class spa and more.

BONUS: The Laurel Hotel and Spa is offering the HEY Day Holiday Package and New Years Elevation Package this season. Their New Years Elevation will feature a top-notch dinner for two and a rooftop celebration with a live DJ and midnight champagne toast.

5. The Elyton Hotel

The Elyton in Downtown Birmingham. (The Bama Buzz)

Located right in the heart of Downtown Birmingham, The Elyton is a stunning boutique hotel in the center of all that the Magic City has to offer. A part of Marriot’s Autograph Collection, this AAA Four Diamond hotel has historic character and modern amenities that combine for a magical experience any time of year, and especially when the Christmas lights are glowing.

BONUS: There’s always something going on near the Elyton’s convenient Downtown Birmingham location. Check out these 20 holiday events happening this season.

6. Joe Wheeler State Park + Wheeler Lake

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Sandhill Cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. (The Bama Buzz)

Joe Wheeler State Park is home to a beautiful Resort Lodge, which overlooks the scenery of the 69,700-acre Wheeler Lake and the surrounding natural beauty. With accommodations from the resort lodge to the cozy cabins, this resort park is a true getaway, featuring a restaurant, championship golf course and clubhouse, marina and group lodge.

BONUS: The Parade of Lights at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina is a stunning, unforgettable way to kick off the holidays, happening December 10.

7. Lake Guntersville

Lake Guntersville. (Matthew Niblett / The Bama Buzz)

As a North Alabama native, Lake Guntersville was one of my favorite getaways growing up. With the recently-opened City Harbor development, it’s even better. With eateries like Levi’s on the Lake, The Wake, The Brewers Cooperative, Big Mike’s Steakhouse, La Esquina Cocina and more, there are plenty of options for both good eats and good entertainment all holiday season long.

BONUS: The first annual Boat Parade of Lights is happening on the water at City Harbor at Lake Guntersville, and you don’t want to miss it.

8. Buck Creek Bed + Breakfast

On December 15, the highly anticipated Buck Creek BnB will open just in time for the height of the holiday season. Located just a short distance from the charming Old Town Helena area, this new boutique bed and breakfast offers family-friendly activities, waterfront suites and delicious eats to start your cozy mornings right.

BONUS: Christmas in Helena is a magical celebration near Buck Creek BnB that includes a holiday market and the annual Christmas parade on December 2. We’re loving this year’s theme, “A Christmas Vacation.”

9. OWA Parks & Resort

With 520 acres of experiences to explore, OWA will fill any holiday vacay with cheer. Between theme park rides, a beautiful theater, tons of food options, an arcade, cute shops and more, there will never be a dull moment. Plus, their Christmas-themed activities are top-notch (just wait until you explore the links below).

BONUS: Christmas at OWA is filled with magically festive events like The North Pole Experience, Elf Academy, the Sugarplum Festival, Breakfast with Santa and more.

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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