Reviewed by: Pat Byington
Alabama is a state full of rich history, captivating scenery, with touches of Southern charm around every corner. Visitors are often drawn to bigger cities such as Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile when looking to luxuriate in a weekend getaway.
What often gets overlooked are the hidden gems of our state—the smaller towns that are full of beauty, character, and culture that make the perfect travel destinations for your next escape.
WorldAtlas, the original online geography source, has named the 8 best small towns in Alabama for your next escape. Keep reading to see who made the list.
Who is WorldAtlas?
WorldAtlas is one of the largest publishing resources in geography, reaching over 165 million readers worldwide. It was launched in 1994 in the early days of the world wide web, when there were only about 2700 websites on the internet.
Today, WorldAtlas serves as a top resource for geography as well as other topics like sociology, environment and travel. Let’s see which Alabama small towns made the best travel destinations for your next trip.
Nestled along the Tennessee River in North Alabama with a population of 8,600, Guntersville is one of the best travel destinations in Alabama.
Named after John Gunter, the great-grandson of the famous cowboy, Will Rodgers, Guntersville is known for its stunning views and diverse and abundant wildlife such as the bald eagle. Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in the town’s abundant history or unwind on Lake Guntersville surrounded by serene nature—Guntersville has something for everyone to enjoy.
A charming town located along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, Fairhope is a popular destination for a peaceful escape when you’re looking for warmer weather, scenic views, and delicous food.
Where there is abundant opportunity for recreational activities on the water such as boating and fishing, Fairhope has so much more to offer. Immerse yourself in the town’s history at The Fairhope Museum of History, or explore local boutiques, cafes, and eateries. Fairhope is abundantly rich in the arts scene with several local galleries, exhibitions, and craft shows. This quaint and beautiful town really has it all.
3. Magnolia Springs
Tucked away on Mobile Bay, this small town of 900 is one of the greatest kept-secret travel destinations in the state. If you’re looking for a relaxing escape full of tranquility, scenic views, and coastal vibes, Magnolia Springs is the place for you.
Voted “the prettiest town in Alabama” by Daily Meal, Magnolia Springs is located along the Magnolia River in South Alabama and features stunning architecture and magnolia trees that form natural tunnel when driving through the quiet town. According to WorldAtlas, Magnolia Springs it the only place in the United States to have their mail delivered by boat.
4. Orange Beach + Gulf Shores
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are two neighboring cities located along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Visitors from all over flock to these two travel destinations year-round to experience the white sandy beaches, water sports, and delicious seafood.
If you are looking for one-of-a-kind entertainment, be sure to check out The Wharf in Orange Beach for the best shopping, live music, and food. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, The Alabama Gulf State Park has walking and biking trails, a public beach, campgrounds and more. This dynamic-duo of a vacation spot has so much to offer for anyone visiting.
Tuscumbia is a small, undisturbed town that is full of history and lush green spaces. Located in north Alabama, Tuscumbia is known for being the birthplace of Helen Keller. Visitors can tour her home and learn about her history at the Ivy Green historic museum. Also located in Tuscumbia is the Alabama Music Hall of Fame—exhibitions featuring Alabama music throughout history.
In addition to being rich in its history, Tuscumbia is just as plentiful in its beauty and nature. Spring Park is a stunning area located in the heart of the city with a 80ft wide picturesque waterfall. It’s perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a picnic or a stroll through the lush gardens.
6. Bayou La Batre
Sitting along the Gulf Coast on the Mississippi Sound, Bayou La Batre is a small town of 2,900 notable for its soulful charm.
Some may recognize that it is the home of the fictional character, Bubba Gump, from the iconic film, Forrest Gump. According to WorldAtlas, Bayou La Batre has been named the “Seafood Capital of Alabama,” and has strong fishing industry where visitors can have the opportunity to catch their own meal. From fresh catches to robust flavors, you don’t want to miss out on the unique and flavorful southern cuisine of Bayou La Batre.
Located in the southeastern region of Alabama, Eufaula is a naturally beautiful town nested along the Chattahoochee River banks.
Widely known for its fishing scene, Eufaula was named “The Bass Fishing Capital of the World” according to WorldAtlas. Visitors flock to this quiet town for fishing tournaments along the rivers, lakes, and in the 41,000-acre reservoir that is abundant to different species of fish such as bass, catfish, and trout. Visitors can also experience the unique wildlife at The Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge home to over 40 species of animals and 300 species of birds.
8. Dauphin Island
Dauphin Island is another hidden-gem located in the southern tip of the state that offers the perfect beachy vibes for a relaxing getaway.
Nestled at the entrance of Mobile Bay, Dauphin Island has plentiful opportunity for fishing, boating, and other water activities to soak up the sun. Dauphin Island is also known for their abundant and diverse marine life. Visitors can get up close and personal with some of the island’s unique marine species at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Estuarium.
What small town getaway do you have your eyes on? Let us know @TheBamaBuzz