Alabama Tourism releases next round of 10 road trips

Alabama Tourism releases next round of 10 road trips

The latest round of road trips released today by the Alabama Tourism Department include spending the night at one of state’s last active plantations, hiking one of the largest river canyons in the Southeast and taking a ferry to a remote hideaway to see the renowned Gee’s Bend quilters.

The three-year campaign will eventually provide 100 ready-made itineraries for those wanting to spend a weekend or a vacation in Alabama.

The next 10 trips include Gulf Coast Family Fun, Gee’s Bend: Pastimes to Patchwork, Discover Dothan: The Heart of Alabama’s Wiregrass, Famous Alabama Hometown Heroes, Bicentennial Road Trip from Burnt Corn to Horseshoe Bend, Florence: Alabama’s Renaissance City, Rocking and Rolling on the Mountains, Fort Payne: The View from Lookout Mountain, Alabama’s Coastal Connection: National Scenic Byway, and Greensboro and Marion: Interesting People, Places & Food.

“We now have 30 road trips posted online and each provides detailed itineraries for families, couples, friends and individuals,” said Lee Sentell, tourism director. “This next round of road trips takes visitors to each corner of the state for adventures and discoveries,” Sentell said.

The Gulf Coast family fun trip takes visitors along 32-miles of white sand beaches, the Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores and the Southeast’s tallest Ferris wheel in Orange Beach. Alligator Alley is just north from the beaches on Hwy. 59 near Robertsdale and showcases plenty of big gators. When families need a break from the beach they can drive a short distance to Mobile to explore the USS Alabama Battleship and the Gulf Coast Exploreum, a hands-on science museum for adults and kids alike.

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Alabama’s Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway trip offers natural surroundings like preserved lands, coastal waterways, wildlife refuges and beachfront activities. Enjoy bird watching and sea lab discoveries on Dauphin Island and see shrimp boats docked with the day’s fresh catch in Bayou La Batre. Along the way, visitors will discover the floral beauty of the 65-acre Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore.

The Creek Indian War road trip explores the history of the battles from Burnt Corn and Fort Mims that led to the Battle at Horseshoe Bend near Alexander City and the signing of the treaty of Fort Jackson at Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka. Each year in August re-enactors perform the battle at Burnt Corn and the massacre at Fort Mims. About a three hour drive north to Dadeville sits the National Park Service’s Horseshoe Bend. Visitors can walk or drive around the park to learn the history of the entire Creek War here at the park and museum. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend ended the Creek War. The final stop is at Fort Toulouse near Wetumpka. This is where the U.S. and the Creek Confederacy signed the treaty for the Creeks to cede 23 million acres of land.

The Road Trip to Gee’s Bend offers visitors a unique opportunity to meet the world famous quilters firsthand. They’ve been piecing together some of the most famous patchwork quilts and passing their skills down for generations. They’ve appeared on Oprah Winfrey, who owns several of the quilts herself, and their artwork has been featured on postage stamps. A quilt mural trail winds its way through the remote communities of Alberta and Gee’s Bend and leads visitors on a fascinating journey through the places the quilters call home. Gee’s Bend is accessible by ferry from the nearby town of Camden and is an hour’s drive from Selma.

The West Alabama Road trip takes travelers to the small towns of Marion and Greensboro in the Black Belt region of the state. A visit to historic downtown Marion offers plenty of antique shops, an ice cream soda fountain and the historic site that ignited the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965. The tour also highlights the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in Marion and one of Alabama’s last active plantations, the Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation just west of Marion. A trip to the next town of Greensboro includes the delicious offerings of Pie Lab as well as HERO Bike where visitors can make their own bicycle out of bamboo. Also on this trip is the Safe House Black History Museum where Dr. Martin Luther King sought refuge from the Klan during the turbulent days of the Civil Rights Movement.

Another road trip takes travelers along U.S. Hwy. 231 to Dothan in the heart of Alabama’s Wiregrass region. Dothan offers an affordable family vacation and includes a visit to the 135-acre Landmark Park, a living history farm full of animals, a cane mill, syrup shed and other historic buildings. The downtown area boasts an outdoor art project featuring 22 murals painted on buildings by nationally acclaimed artists. Within walking distance of the murals are the George Washington Carver Interpretative Museum and the historic Porter Hardware store. Miniature peanut statues around town and the National Peanut Festival each fall showcase the town’s proud agricultural heritage. While in the regions, visitors will also discover the World’s Smallest City Block. This triangular piece of land, recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, features a stop sign, yield sign, street signs, and even a monument denoting the block’s claim to fame.

The Famous Alabamians road trip takes travelers across the state to places where Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hank Williams, and Dr. George Washington Carver made history. In Mobile, learn about baseball legend Hank Aaron and see his childhood home and museum. Just north of Mobile, visit Georgiana to see Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum. Visit the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery to learn about the 42-year-old seamstress and the bus ride she took that changed the course of history in America. A few blocks away, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church stands as the only church where Dr. King served as pastor. Nearby is the parsonage where Dr. King and his family lived while in Montgomery. East of Montgomery in Tuskegee, museums dedicated to Dr. George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Airmen reveal epic stories of heroism and showcase the many achievements of noted African-Americans.

The Rocking and Rolling on the Mountains road trip includes the towns of Steele, Ashville and Springville. The road trip starts in Steele at Horsepens 40, a privately-owned outdoor nature park located atop Chandler Mountain. The park is known among the rock climbing community as a premier bouldering site and it’s one of the legs of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series, the largest bouldering competition in the United States. The town of Ashville offers a quilt shop and several museums. Travel a short distance south to Springville for ice cream and candy shops and plenty of antiques.

The Fort Payne trip showcases the natural beauty of the Lookout Mountain area of Northeast Alabama. When visiting the attractions, check out the Fort Payne Depot and the 1889 Opera House. For the country music fan, there’s the ALABAMA Fan Club & Museum with memorabilia ranging from gold records, to costumes and their touring bus. A must-see is the nearby Orbix Hot Glass studio where glassblower Cal Breed creates beautiful art from his signature pitcher to plates, wine bottle stoppers and more. Also enjoy the exhilarating drive along the 32-mile rim of Little River Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the Southeast.

The Rocking and Rolling on the Mountains road trip includes the towns of Steele, Ashville and Springville. The road trip starts in Steele at Horsepens 40, a privately-owned outdoor nature park located atop Chandler Mountain. The park is known among the rock climbing community as a premier bouldering site and it’s one of the legs of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series, the largest bouldering competition in the United States. The town of Ashville offers a quilt shop and several museums. Travel a short distance south to Springville for ice cream and candy shops and plenty of antiques.

Florence is considered Alabama’s “Renaissance City” as visitors will discover on this northwest Alabama road trip. While walking downtown, shop for award-winning fashion at designer Billy Reid’s store and Ye Ole General Store which has been in operation since the 1940s. The store was named “One of the 25 Best Vintage Stores in America” by GQ magazine. You’ll know you’re close to the University of North Alabama campus when you start seeing purple paw prints on the street. They represent the lion mascot of the university. Florence is also home to the W.C. Handy Home and Museum where visitors can learn about the “Father of Blues.” Just past the W.C. Handy statue downtown is Wilson Park. It is the site of several annual events including the Alabama Renaissance Faire that draws 40,000 people to the area each October to enjoy some medieval entertainment.