7 Incredible Hidden Gems In Alabama To Visit In Summer 2024

While Alabama might not be known as a vacation destination like Florida or California, it boasts fantastic attractions that will make your stay a blast. However, you don’t have to stick around the most popular tourist spots. How about you visit something unique no other state offers?

On this list, you will find the 7 incredible hidden gems in Alabama to visit in 2024 that will make your friends and family want to vacation in the Cotton State too. Here they are.

Alabama’s Natural Bridge, Haleyville

Natural Bridge in Winston County is another hidden natural wonder of Alabama. It’s 148 feet long and towers up to 60 feet, which makes it the largest natural bridge east of the Rockies. 

To get there, you have to hike a 2-mile-long trail. But don’t worry, the terrain isn’t difficult. After you come back, you can buy souvenirs at a tiny gift shop and refuel at a picnic area. The site is open all year round and there is a small admission fee – so come prepared, you might need cash.

Rattlesnake Saloon, Tuscumbia

Are you a fan of Western movies? In that case, you simply must visit Rattlesnake Saloon in northwest Alabama. This unique restaurant features old-timey saloon decor, fantastic dishes, horseback rides, and live music.

However, it’s not just the Western theme that makes this place so special. It’s nestled inside a natural cave, which will take your dining experience to a completely different level.

Tinglewood Carvings, Montevallo

With its Tinglewood Carvings, Orr Park is yet another nature preserve that has been kept secret for years. And you now have a chance to discover it. But why Orr in particular? The story goes like this: in 1993, some trees in the park were destroyed by a storm. But instead of taking them away, Mr. Tingle carved them into various fairytale-like creatures and made the trees live forever.

If you wanna get the most out of your visit, aim to arrive on the 7th of September when it hosts the famous Tinglewood Festival. You can look forward to a whittling contest, car show, tractor show, and plenty of delicious food.

Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman

If you’re into art and history, put Ave Maria Grotto on your travel bucket list. This 4-acre park is set on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman and it features 125 miniature replicas of religious structures from around the world, such as Montserrat, the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, or the Tower of Pisa.

Apart from being pretty, it’s a shrine of great symbolism. All created by a Benedictine monk Brother Joseph Zoettl, it shows what years of faith, craft, and dedication can result in. So come to take a minute to reflect and soak in the meditative atmosphere. Who knows what else you will find here.

Dismals Canyon

Beautiful canyons can also be found outside of Arizona, and one of them is set in Alabama. It’s home to an array of geological formations, such as sandstone cliffs, natural bridges, and waterfalls. On the other hand, the lush vegetation provides the perfect conditions for various plant and animal species, some of which are even endangered.

If you can, stay overnight, as Dismals Canyon is home to bioluminescent worms called “glowworms”. They require a specific habitat and only live in a few parts of the world. Take a guided night tour to learn more about these fascinating creatures and see them up close. Cabin rentals are available.

Neversink Pit, Fackler

Neversink is a breathtaking 162-foot open-air pit located in Jackson County. You can admire it from the edges, while experienced climbers can bring their gear and descent to the bottom of it.

The hike to the pit is short but rather strenuous – not recommended for kids. However, it shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes plus you can be pretty sure there will be no one else around – perfect to disconnect and enjoy the solitude of nature.

Note that a permit is necessary but can be required online here. Also, there is very poor phone coverage. We recommend you come with someone for your safety.

Bamahenge, Elberta

Southern Alabama isn’t just about the sunny seashore and its beaches. Not far from Josephine, you will find something you probably wouldn’t expect in such a setting – an American Stonehenge.

The replica of the English Stonehenge was created by an artist Mark Cline and offers much more than “just” a circle of megaliths. There are also huge fiberglass dinosaurs and other quirky sculptures that transform Bamahenge into an unconventional art installation.