Want to take a break from the same old tourist attractions and experience a unique side of Alabama? By hopping off the interstate, you can discover many authentic oddities in the Heart of Dixie.
There’s no shortage of unexpected attractions, from unusual artwork to staggering geologic formations.
Today, we’re sharing some of the most unique things to do in Alabama. Consider adding these to your itinerary, whether it’s your first trip or your 50th.
Let’s hit the road!
Discover Unique Alabama
Alabama was the 22nd state admitted into the US. Its capital, Montgomery, sits almost directly in the middle of its 52,423 square miles. However, the largest city is Birmingham, which is nearly 100 miles north of the capital.
If you’ve ever wondered where its name comes from, it’s from the natives who inhabited the land for thousands of years. Hernando de Soto first contacted them in 1540. In the early 18th century, the French set up settlements near the Mobile River.
The region later played a significant role in the 1813 Creek War between the natives and American settlers. The battle resulted in the federal government taking over millions of acres. Officials loved that the cotton plantations throughout the area generated tremendous revenue to help fuel the economy.
During the 1960s, Alabama played a massive role in the Civil Rights Movement. Visitors can find museums and historic buildings that pay tribute to those who helped advance the country. The individuals and events were pivotal in the fight for equality and social justice.
Today, most people think of the state for its southern hospitality, love for college football, and its role in space exploration. Alabama is an incredibly unique place. We recommend you come and enjoy it for yourself.
#1 Visit Alabama’s Natural Bridge
Alabama’s Natural Bridge measures 60 feet tall and 148 feet wide. As its name indicates, no man had anything to do with its creation. It’s the result of thousands of years of erosion from wind and water. Some estimates say developing this geological masterpiece took 200 to 300 million years. The bridge is a must-see if you appreciate the power of Mother Nature.
This formation is in Haleyville’s Natural Bridge Park. Accessing the structure requires an approximately two-mile round-trip hike. It’s not an overly strenuous trek, but you’ll have to maneuver around roots and other obstacles. Unfortunately, you can no longer walk across or access the top of the bridge for safety reasons.
Many folks bring lunch to eat before or after the adventure. A picnic area is available to allow guests to consume meals and properly dispose of trash. Do park officials a favor and tidy up when you’re finished.
Alabama also has special man-made bridges: 7 Beautiful Covered Bridges in Alabama.
#2 See Unique Sculptures at Barber Marina in Elberta, Alabama
Fans of art and sculptures will want to check out Barber Marina. These fiberglass statues have been attracting road-trippers since the early 2000s. They include a recreation of Stonehenge, giant dinosaurs, and even a 50-foot woman who often floats in the marina.
So what’s the story behind these, and why are they there? Mark Cline is the artist behind their creation. However, a billionaire named George Barber is the one footing the bill. Aside from having a passion for odd artwork, the reasons behind the pieces remain a mystery.
Barber Marina is in Elberta, Alabama. Once you turn onto Fish Trap Road, the first sculpture, Bamahenge, is approximately a mile down the road. You’ll find several others along the way, but the grand finale is “Country Girl Skinny Dipping.” We’re not sure which is the most unique.
#3 Check Out the Museum of Wonder
Unique is one word you could use to describe the Museum of Wonder in Seale, Alabama. The museum runs off donations and is what you’d expect when a former taxidermist decides to open a folk art shop. Artist Butch Anthony used almost everything he could get his hands on to create his homemade pieces.
Visitors can actually drive through this quirky museum. While he now uses multiple storage containers to house them, you can see almost everything from the comfort of your vehicle. Unfortunately, those with taller vehicles may want to consider parking and walking through instead.
Take advantage of this attraction if you like offbeat and appreciate different art styles. We’d be lying if we said Anthony’s fashion is for everyone. As the displays change occasionally, there’s no telling what he’ll add next.
#4 View the Unique Tinglewood Carvings in Montevallo, Alabama
Orr Park has two playgrounds, multiple sports fields, and a walking track. Oddly, most people know the grounds for the wood carvings from chainsaw artist Tim Tingle.
He started this massive project in 1993 and has completed over 30 works. He brings new life to dead trees by transforming them into various characters, including a dragon.
You shouldn’t have trouble finding the greenway, as it’s only a block from Main Street. Before visiting, make sure you consider the time. The park is open during daylight hours, so plan accordingly.
Hop on the walking trail and go for a stroll. It won’t take long to start seeing these works of art along the way. And it’s an excellent opportunity for those on a road trip to stretch their legs and appreciate fine craftsmanship.
#5 Explore Majestic Caverns
If you’re into spelunking, Majestic Caverns is the place to go. It was once known as Kymulga Cave and then DeSoto Caverns before its current identity today. The attraction sits approximately 30 miles southeast of Birmingham.
While the name may have changed, the main attraction has not. Majestic Caverns offers tours of the limestone cave network, featuring a large central room and numerous tunnels. Experts estimate it to be three million years old. Luckily, they’ve added lighting and stairs to make exploring easier.
If going underground isn’t your thing, there are also 20 outdoor attractions. Visitors enjoy the maze, gem panning, wacky water golf, and more. All ages can find something to entertain them here.
#6 Experience Unique Alabama Dining at Rattlesnake Saloon
Those up for unique dining environments don’t want to miss their chance to hit the Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia, Alabama. It’s part of the 20,000-acre Seven Springs Lodge complex and sits at the base of a massive rock shelter. The atmosphere has a welcoming, old-fashioned aesthetic.
The space occupied by the restaurant today once served as a hog pen. It only took the team 49 days to transform it into what you see today. Their menu has several burgers and appetizers, but the Gigantor is the main attraction.
It’s two pounds of beef on a bun with a pound of fries and a half pound of onion rings. You can choose a pitcher of your favorite beverage to wash it all down. Consume it all in less than 45 minutes, and it’s free. Unfortunately, if you fail, you’re paying the price of four meals.
#7 See the Unique Features of Alabama’s Cheaha State Park
Alabama has 21 state parks, and Cheaha is among the best. It features Cheaha Mountain, which stands 2,407 feet above sea level and is the highest point in the state. The views from the top are breathtakingly beautiful, especially in the fall.
One of the best ways to get to this park is by taking the Talladega Scenic Byway. It’s excellent for those in larger vehicles who may struggle with winding roads and uneven surfaces.
Take Cheaha Road, or County Road 42, for the less traveled road. It can make the trip more exciting, but it isn’t wise in larger vehicles due to tight curves and rugged terrain.
The park’s 2,800 acres are great for hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Spots you’ll want to visit include Bald Rock Boardwalk, Pulpit Rock Trail, and Cheaha Lake. This is your chance to see the true beauty of the Appalachian foothills.
Alabama’s Unique Flair Might Surprise You
As you can see, Alabama has more unique things to do than meets the eye. Hopping on the back roads will allow you to explore some off-the-wall attractions you may not have known about.
Whether you check off one or all of these destinations, we hope our list encourages you to visit quirky attractions. They can help you to think outside the box and make new memories!
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: