WorldAtlas featured 9 charming small towns in Alabama, can you guess who they chose?

Historic Old Town in Decatur. Photo via Nathan Watson for the Bama Buzz

WorldAtlas, the original online geography resource, featured nine small Alabama towns in their national digital publication last month. Curious who made the list? Let’s see who they chose and then let’s begin the debate!

Who is WorldAtlas?

Fun fact: WorldAtlas started their online publication way back in 1994, back when there were only 2700 websites on the internet. According to the company, WorldAtlas is one of the largest publishing resources in geography and other topics that include sociology, demography, environment, economics, politics and travel. They claim a world-wide readership of 165 million. So, when World Atlas publishes a story, it reaches the planet.

9 Small Alabama Towns

So, who did WorldAtlas pick as their nine charming small towns in Alabama? 

Here is their list with some of their reasons why.


Sandhill Cranes In Flight
Are you planning to attend the Festival of the Cranes this year? (David Frings)

Did you know the wave-pool at Point Mallard in Decatur was the first in the U.S.? I didn’t. WorldAtlas also recognized Decatur’s proximity to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge as a big plus and of course the Tennessee River.


Gorgeous Streets And Walkways Of Fairhope
Gorgeous streets and walkways of Fairhope. (Liv George/ The Bama Buzz)

If you have ever been to Fairhope, you know it has one of the most charming downtowns in the state. A haven for artists and retirees, the city is growing fast, along with the rest of Baldwin County and the Eastern Shore.


Home to Antebellum homes and some of the best public fishing spots in Alabama, WorldAtlas features both the Lakepoint Resort State Park and the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge in their story.


The Harbor
Florence Harbor Marina at night Photo Via Daeja Coleman for Bama Buzz

In Florence—of the largest towns on the list—WorldAtlas recognized the flagship Billy Reid clothing store, Trowbridge’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop (one of the oldest in the nation) and of course the beautiful University of North Alabama campus. No mention of Leo, the school’s live lion, though. 

Fort Payne

Little River Falls
Little River Falls at Little River Canyon National Preserve in December 2020. (Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

As we all know, Fort Payne is a natural wonderland with Little River Canyon National Preserve as its backyard. WorldAtlas also recommended that visitors check out the glass-blowing at the Orbix Hot Glass or antique shopping at the Big Mill Antique Mall.

Gulf Shores

The Wharf is gorgeous in lights. Photo via Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Gulf Shores is more than just a beautiful beach—the city offers fishing, parasailing and the Hangout Festival in May. One tidbit learned from WorldAtlas: there is a Sandcastle University! We didn’t know that!


Desoto Falls
Desoto Falls at Desoto State Park. (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

How beautiful is DeKalb County Alabama? Fort Payne AND Mentone made the WorldAtlas list! Home to some of the best art shopping in the state, Mentone is picturesque and dare we say…charming.

Mountain Brook

One thing you can tell, the folks at WorldAtlas fell in love with Mountain Brook’s Lane Parke and Mountain Brook Village. In their story, they featured the Daniel George Restaurant and the Grand Bohemian Hotel.


Birthplace Of Keller
Ivy Green, Hellen Keller’s birthplace in Tuscumbia, Alabama. (Nathan Watson/The Bama Buzz)

Did you know that Tuscumbia is home to Ivy Green, the the childhood home of Helen Keller? This small town in Colbert County has been called the “Charm of the Shoals” and features Spring Park as its centerpiece.

Agree or Disagree?

What do you think of the WorldAtlas list?  I can think of a dozen more towns in Alabama (hint – Wetumpka, Selma, Tuskegee, Anniston and Enterprise) and we are just getting started.

Perhaps WorldAtlas can do a part II next year.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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