Alabama: Discover America’s Best Kept Secret Vacation Destination

Discover Lake Martin

Located in the heart of Alabama, Lake Martin is a favorite hangout spot for locals. With great opportunities for fishing, paddling, swimming, and boating Lake Martin is the ideal spot to make new memories with family and friends on your next trip to Alabama. The lake spans over 44,000 acres with hundreds of miles of beautiful shorelines and several islands. At the lake an iconic rock formation known as Chimney Rock is a unique gathering spot for boaters and swimmers. Lake Martin is truly the best place to base your next vacation to Alabama with its abundance of water activities and vacation rentals.

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Unique Facts about Alabama

01

Geographical Diversity

Alabama boasts a diverse landscape, from the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in the south to the Appalachian Mountains in the north. In between you’ll find prairies, caves, valleys, rivers, swamps, and lakes.

02

World Class Events

The first American Mardi Gras event was officially celebrated in Mobil, Alabama in 1703 and it still an annual event today. Another popular event is the NASCAR races held at the Talladega Superspeedway.

03

Unique Nickname

Alabama is known as the ‘Yellowhammer State,’ a nickname founded during the Civil War when Alabama soldiers wore gray uniforms with yellow trim, resembling the coloration of the yellowhammer bird.

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Must-See Attractions

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The Gulf Shores

Nature & Parks

From beaches to wildlife parks and fine dining, the Gulf Shores offers an abundance of recreational water activities and fun for the whole family.

Rickwood Caverns State Park

Nature & Parks

Explore some of Alabama’s most impressive caverns with access to over 1 mile of caves to tour and explore. An enjoyable excursion for young and old.

Birding

Nature & Parks

Famously known for it’s birdwatching, Alabama has 449 recognized bird species throughout the state. Enjoy watching technicoloured birds as you hike trails, take in waterfalls, or lay on a beach.

Where to Sleep

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Lakes to Explore

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1. Lake Martin

51 Miles

The biggest man-made lake in Alabama (and one of the largest in the USA) this lake is perfect for wildlife lovers.

2. Lake Wedowee

88 Miles

Due to the high quality of the water, Lake Wedowee has some of the best bass fishing in the state.

3. Lake Tuscaloosa

113 Miles

The top lake for water recreational sports, it boasts of many vacation rentals including cabins and cottages.

4. Bankhead Lake

124 Miles

The beautiful lake is perfect for fishing where bass, crappies, rainbow, and trout abound.

5. Lewis Smith Lake

136 Miles

For an exciting plunge into 21,000 acres of clean, clear , and blue water, jump off the Indian Head Rock.

6. Guntersville Lake

183 Miles

Suitable for swimming, fishing, and boating, Guntersville Lake is the perfect base for your Alabama vacation.

7. Wheeler Lake

198 Miles

As Alabama’s second biggest lake, you can enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, and an abundance of water recreational sports.

8. Pickwick Lake

234 Miles

Stretching over 50 miles, you can drift through 3 states before returning to your dock at the end of a day.

Annual Events and Festivals

January 26 – February 13, 2024

Mardi Gras in Mobile

The Mardi Gras in Mobile is a Mardi Gras event that is suitable for the whole family. The event runs over two weeks with over 40 parades, live marching bands, and plenty of colorful costumes, beads, and flowers. While you visit Mobile and this spectacular event, be sure to visit the Mobile Carnival Museum with its galleries, presentations, and images, all of which are in a very interesting historic mansion!

March 2 – 3, 2024

Ballyhoo Festival

The Ballyhoo Festival takes place in Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. Fun for the whole family, this arts and cultural festival highlights the history of Native American’s and early settlers in Alabama. Watch a powwow, listen to a live fiddling, and observe art demonstrations such as basket weaving and wood carving. Local seafood is abundantly available throughout the festival grounds, but don’t forget about the live music, including the fiddle and banjo competition! So, will you Ballyhoo with locals?

April 13, 2024

Baldwin County Strawberry Festival

Drive out to Loxley Municipal Park the second Saturday in April and feast on delicious plump strawberries at this annual strawberry festival. While there you can enjoy an antique car show, crafts, carnival, music, and all things strawberries. And be sure to try the local favorite: strawberry shortcake. The festival is unique in that it raises funds for local charities. You can have a fantastic time while also supporting great causes!

Top Hiking Trails

Walls of Jericho Trail

Walls of Jericho Trailhead, Estillfork, Alabama

The best of Alabama’s trails, this trail is an out and back trail that spans 6.5 miles and takes an average of 3.5 hours to complete. Enjoy lush greenery as you hike the trail through caverns and pass a family cemetery and a breathtaking waterfall. This hike is suitable for the family and dogs are welcome to join so long as they are on a leash.

Visit their website for more information

Pinhoti National Recreation Trail

Pinhoti Trail – Southern Terminus, Alabama

Stretching over 330 miles long, this trail features several entry points that can be used to make short day hikes. Wildlife is abundant on the trail with deer, turkeys, and woodpeckers making it their primary home. October to March are the best times to hike the trail as during the warmer months the swarms of bugs can be very irritating.

Visit their website for more information

Kings Chair Loop

Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama

With relatively little elevation gain, this 4 mile hike is the perfect hike for all fitness levels. It takes an average of 2 hours to complete. Enjoy stunning views as you walk the well maintained path, but be sure to where good footwear as the path is rocky at times. Start at the North Trailhead with the Blue link and return on the Red link.

Visit their website for more information

Best Golf Courses

Capitol Hill

2600 Constitution Avenue Prattville, Alabama

Overlooking the Alabama River, Capitol Hill is one of American’s premier golf courses. Three 18 hole courses are spread over 1,500 acres which highlight some of Alabama’s most beautiful topography.

Visit their website for more information

Grand National

Robert Trent Jones Trail, Opelika, Alabama

Voted the best public golf course by Golf World, the Grand National golf course is a 54 hole facility that is not to be missed. Over half of the holes hug Lake Saugahatchee, giving golfers stunning views as they perfect their sport.

Visit their website for more information

Magnolia Grove

7001 Magnolia Grove Pkwy, Mobile, Alabama

Recently renovated, the Magnolia Grove golf course features 54 holes that are backdropped against lakes, waterfalls, wooden boardwalks, and creeks. The grounds have all been renovated in recent years, making the golfing experience more enjoyable than ever!

Visit their website for more information

Water Sports

Reeling in Fish with Extreme Chaos

Fishing

Because of its numerous lakes and rivers Alabama has become known for its freshwater fishing opportunities. Popular species include largemouth bass, crappies, catfish, trout, and more. For an amazing fishing experience try a chartered tour from Extreme Chaos Fishing Charters on the Gulf Shores.

Visit their website for more information

North Alabama Sailing Marina

Sailing

The vast waters of Alabama’s premier lakes and rivers make sailing a captivating adventure as you enjoy the thrill of harnessing the wind’s power with the serenity of gliding across open waters. Enjoy a sense of freedom as you sail the warm blue waters of Alabama with friends and family. Many lakes in Alabama have marina’s with sailboat rentals such as the North Alabama Sailing Marina at Lake Guntersville.

Visit their website for more information

Watercraft Paddling

Paddleboarding, Kayaking, & Canoeing

Whether you prefer to glide on the water by yourself or with a partner, watercraft paddling is the perfect way to spend a few hours on the water. Perfect for a year round activity, it can be enjoyed by the whole family. Enjoy an early morning sunrise paddle and soak up the early morning rays as you tour the lake. Many lakes and rivers offer watercraft and lifejacket rentals such as Wheeler Lake Watersport Rentals at Lake Koa.

Visit their website for more information

Resorts to Explore

The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Family friendly
One Grand Blvd, Point Clear, Alabama

Chesnut Bay Resort

Luxury, Family friendly
4480 County Rd 44, Leesburg, Alabama

Cheaha Resort State Park

Outdoor, Adventurous
19644 AL-281, Delta, Alabama

Tips on Vacationing in Alabama

Privacy and Space

Vacation rentals in Alabama typically provide more private and spacious accommodations than hotels. Many rentals have living area, fully equipped kitchen, and separate bedrooms.

Local Experience

Staying in a vacation rental allows you to experience the beauty of Alabama as a local. You’ll have the opportunity to explore nearby attractions and experience the local culture at your leisure.

Unique Accommodations

Alabama vacation rentals offer diverse options, from cozy cabins on Lake Guntersville to luxurious condos with breathtaking Gulf views. You can choose the perfect rental to suit your style and preferences, giving you a more personalized and memorable experience.

Affordability

Renting a vacation home in Alabama can be more cost-effective than staying in a hotel. With the option to cook your own meals and enjoy more space, you’ll likely save on dining out and won’t need to book multiple hotel rooms to accommodate larger groups.

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Jet Skiing

Key Locations for Vacation Rentals in Alabama

Beachfronts
When planning your Alabama vacation, beachfront properties provide the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway. Soak up the sun and enjoy the warm sands along the Gulf Coast. You can find a variety of beach house rentals on websites like Lake, offering details such as proximity to the beach, Guld views, and nearby attractions.

Lake Cabins
If you prefer a more serene, nature-based experience, Alabama has numerous lakes with cabin rentals perfect for fishing, boating, and enjoying the great outdoors. Look for cabins close to popular destinations like Lake Martin and Smith Lake. You can easily find cozy and charming lakefront properties.

Mountain Lodges
For a secluded and peaceful retreat, the Alabama mountains provide an idyllic escape. Explore hiking trails, visit state parks, and take in the breathtaking views. Look for lodges near Mount Cheaha or in the Lookout Mountain area.

City Apartments
If you want the convenience and excitement of city life, Alabama offers numerous options, including Birmingham, Huntsville, and Mobile. City apartments provide easy access to dining, shopping, and cultural attractions without sacrificing comfort. City apartments are the perfect fit for your next urban adventure.


Top Beaches in Alabama

A trip to Alabama isn’t complete without exploring some of the top beaches in the state. Here are a few popular options for you:

Gulf Shores
This famous beach destination is known for its white sand beaches and numerous recreational options such as the Gulf State Park, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. You can find a variety of vacation rentals in the area that suit your preferences and budget.

Dauphin Island
Accessible by ferry or bridge, this secluded barrier island offers unspoiled beaches and a tranquil atmosphere. Not only will you find various beach rentals, but you can also visit the Alabama Aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary.

Orange Beach
This beach city offers plenty of activities, such as water sports, boat rentals, and hiking trails. You can choose from various beach rentals available in the area and enjoy stunning waterfront scenery. Don’t miss attractions such as The Wharf, a premier entertainment complex, and the Backcountry Trail.

Fort Morgan
Located at the western end of the Gulf Shores peninsula, this beach destination people desiring a serene and low-key vacation. Explore the historic Fort Morgan State Historic Site, learn about the Civil War era, and relax at the quiet, less crowded beachfront. There are numerous beach rentals available to accommodate your stay.

Fairhope
Situated on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, Fairhope offers a delightful mix of art and beach culture. Stroll through the downtown area to explore art galleries, shops, and eateries, or unwind by the shoreline. Various vacation rentals are available in this charming beach town.


What to Expect in a Vacation Rental

Most vacation rentals in Alabama come fully furnished, allowing you to feel at home during your stay.

You will find essentials such as linens, towels, and kitchen appliances, making it easy for you to settle in and relax. Additionally, many properties offer Wi-Fi, so you can stay connected with your loved ones and share your experiences during your vacation.

Along with these amenities, vacation rentals in Alabama offer a variety of sizes and styles to accommodate different needs and preferences. From quaint beach houses to luxurious villas, there is something to suit every taste. Depending on the property you choose, you may have access to private outdoor areas, stunning views, and convenient locations close to popular attractions.

Furthermore, rental rates for vacation properties in Alabama can be quite competitive, often providing considerable savings compared to hotel stays. This affordability, combined with the added benefit of more space and privacy, makes vacation rentals an appealing accommodation choice for many travelers to the area.

Customer service can vary depending on the rental company or property owner so it is essential to research and read reviews before confirming your booking. This will help ensure you have a memorable vacation experience and can fully enjoy all that Alabama has to offer during your stay.

Frequently Asked Questions about Alabama

  • Ensure the rental location is convenient for your itinerary.
  • Check for essential amenities that meet your needs.
  • Always read the rental agreement for policies on cancellation, check-in, and additional fees.

Yes, Alabama rentals do cater to pet lovers by offering pet-friendly vacation rentals.

  • Pet-friendly vacation rentals are available but may have specific rules and additional fees.
  • Confirm the pet policy directly with the rental owner or management.
  • Vacation rentals offer more privacy and space compared to hotels.
  • They are cost-effective for groups and provide a home-like environment.
  • Access to a full kitchen can lead to significant savings on food expenses.

The best areas to stay in for an Alabama beach vacation include Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Dauphin Island. These coastal towns offer beautiful beaches and a variety of activities for all ages.

Popular activities near Alabama vacation rentals include exploring beautiful beaches, visiting local attractions such as the Gulf State Park, fishing, water sports, golfing, and dining on delicious local cuisine. Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers a variety of activities for a memorable vacation experience.

For the best selection and prices you should book your vacation rental 3-6 months in advance, especially if your vacation will be during the peak season (summer).

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