Travel

Browse exclusive SoulGrown stories about travel in beautiful Alabama

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Recently, North Alabama has been stepping up its game. Flourishing downtowns, burgeoning local businesses, and vibrant food scenes make this region worthy to be explored. If you haven’t been to the area lately, or if you’re unfamiliar with North Alabama, it’s time to get acquainted. We recommend starting with Gadsden. Located along the Coosa River between Birmingham and Chattanooga, this town of a little over 33,000 has so much to offer. From gorgeous natural water features to a charming main street, here’s how to spend a weekend in Gadsden. 

How to spend a weekend in Gadsden

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April 3, 2023

If the dinosaur in the museum came to life, it would recognize at least one plant in Anniston’s Longleaf Botanical Gardens—a pre-historic relic, a cycad. These plants date back from 9 to 65 million years and in all probability endured plenty of dinosaur nibbling. With plants that complement the mission of the Anniston Natural History Museum, the Gardens are packed with both native and exotic plants that beautify and mystify those who walk its trails. 

Longleaf Botanical Gardens is an oasis of rare and interesting plants

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March 1, 2023

Warren Buffet said someone is sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago. The City of Decatur has been planting trees for years and […]

4 ways Decatur, Alabama became nationally recognized as a Tree City USA

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February 24, 2023

There is already so much to explore on the Singing River Trail; so many sights to see, so much history to learn, so many memories to make. What will eventually […]

6 towns you need to visit along the Singing River Trail of North Alabama

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February 22, 2023

“Showcase the good.” Three simple words with profound meaning were spoken by Olympic Gold medal winner and track and field superstar Jesse Owens. These words, however, encapsulate that reality that […]

Visit the Jesse Owens Museum & Park in Oakville, Alabama for Black History Month

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February 21, 2023

Every year thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Leeds, Alabama to visit Barber Motorsports Park and Museum. Over the past two decades (the park turned 20 in January), the attraction has drawn more than 3 million visitors to the state. If you’ve never been to this gem (it’s only a 20-minute drive from downtown Birmingham), we highly recommend adding it to the top of your Alabama bucket list. Car enthusiasts can check out the 16-turn racetrack. Motorcycle lovers will fawn over the massive two-wheel collection inside the museum. And even those who aren’t so interested in motorsports can enjoy the gorgeous grounds, gardens, and a surprising sculpture park. Here are five fun facts to know about Barber before you visit. 

5 things you might not know about Barber Motorsports Park

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February 18, 2023

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning something special for the lucky guy or gal in your life. This year, skip the tired old dinner reservation and surprise your sweetie with a completely unique date idea. Here are 10 great Alabama date ideas guaranteed to sweep your partner off their feet. 

10 fun and unique Alabama Valentine’s Day date ideas

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February 11, 2023

Once all the presents are unwrapped, the last of the leftovers have been polished off, and the endless boxes of lights and ornaments are safely stowed away, the holidays can seem like a thing of the distant past. But just because December has come and gone, that doesn’t mean the magic of the “most wonderful time of the year” has to follow suit. 

Have drinks and charcuterie in a rooftop igloo in Huntsville

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January 19, 2023

As the sun begins to set over Lake Guntersville, a bald eagle bullet dives into the water, emerging with a wriggling fish. It heads back towards the ridge, where a nest awaits with a mate overseeing a couple of chicks. On a dock astride the lake, a group watches as the eagles fly in for dinner time. There is something exhilarating about a white head and tail feathers flying overhead. Watching it fish for its young against the orange and red sunset transforms it to mythical status. 

Attend an Eagle Awareness Weekend at Lake Guntersville State Park

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January 17, 2023

The Festival of the Cranes is an annual three-day event that takes place in January at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur to celebrate the winter migration of over 14,000 Sandhill cranes, as well as endangered Whooping cranes. 

Visit Decatur for the annual Festival of the Cranes

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December 30, 2022

The theme song for the classic show “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson pretty well summarizes how north Alabama celebrates the holidays. Massive light displays, decorated evergreens, and holiday shopping help spread happiness and cheer across the Shoals region and in Alabama’s picturesque mountain towns. Considering a Yuletide road trip in north Alabama? Here are some places and events for the whole family. And since baristas love to celebrate the holidays with special brews, we also suggest a coffee shop in each town. After all, you’ll need to “fuel” this foray.

Christmas and coffee in North Alabama

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December 13, 2022

The holidays are here and there’s nothing more joyful than festive small town cheer. And charming Decatur has plenty to go around this holiday season. From a “tinsel stroll” to a Christmas color scavenger hunt at the natural science museum to a tour of historic tastefully decorated homes, experience the holidays like never before in Decatur.

4 holiday events to attend in Decatur, Alabama

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December 3, 2022

There are only two places on earth where the natural phenomenon called a jubilee occurs: the Fairhope area and Japan. Dana Maloney has had the good fortune of living in both places. Rather than the bounty of sea creatures lulled out of their watery homes into the shallows, her personal jubilees came in different packages. While others may be snapping up flounder, crab, and shrimp during the brief oceanic wonder, Dana gained more permanent gifts. In Japan, her third son was born. In Fairhope, she realized a dream of owning her own bed and breakfast. Jubilee Suites Bed and Breakfast now welcomes others to enjoy their own personal celebrations whether it is a vacation, gathering, or business that brings them to this elegant lodge overlooking Mobile Bay.

Plan a getaway to Jubilee Suites in Fairhope

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November 28, 2022

When you bingeing travel shows and watching endless Instagram videos of beautiful destinations is no longer scratching the travel-bug itch, it may be time for a road trip. For those in the central-to-north Alabama region, a multi-day drive up I-22 could be just the thing you need for a fun weekend away. Start your trip in the Magic City with Civil Rights history and a wonderfully revitalized downtown, then make your way up the highway to Memphis where you can get your fill of barbecue and blues. Though it’s only a 3.5-hour drive along I-22 to get where you’re going, it’s the little stops and side attractions along the way that will make this trip truly special. After all, life’s not about the destination but the journey. 

The best places to stop on a road trip up I-22

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November 27, 2022

Looking for fun, laid-back, culturally-enhancing weekend plans? Then look no further than Decatur Morgan County, an absolute gem of a town, located in the thriving North Alabama region. There is so much to do while “finding your flow” in Decatur, you might not know where to start. So, we’re here to help. Decatur is full of one-of-a-kind trails to follow, so choose one or two per visit to immerse yourself in while you’re here. For a cultural experience, with some sugar on top, start out on the MoCo Art Trail, then hop on over to the MoCo Sweet Treats Trail for a pick-me-up—or two or three. It will be a Saturday you won’t regret… and you’ll be back to discover more of Decatur before you know it.

Spend a Saturday in Decatur, where creativity and confections collide

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November 25, 2022

They say there’s no place like home for the holidays, but few places in the world know how to celebrate the season quite like Germany. Alabamians can get the best of both worlds—with traditions near and far—during Christmas in Cullman. The monthlong celebration pays homage to the Southern town’s German heritage with a series of events designed to help locals and visitors alike get in the Christmas spirit. 

Learn about German holiday traditions in Cullman, Alabama

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November 23, 2022

For those who bravely untangle last year’s Christmas tree lights, imagine covering an entire zoo or botanical garden with the illuminating bulbs. All across Alabama, the custom of lighting up Christmas rises to the level of art with dancing elves, prancing reindeer, walking Gingerbread men, and in one case, a mooning Santa. The displays range from dramatic to whimsical, high in the tree tops to below ground, and from elegant to so tacky that the infamous Griswold house would not make the cut. From November through January, you can fill your senses with holiday cheer. Start early, and follow the lighted trail from north to south. Or, choose an old favorite to share with the whole family. These light displays are filled with joy, whimsy, motion, humor and the holidays at their best. 

Where to see the best holiday light shows in Alabama

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November 22, 2022

It’s an unfortunate consequence of air travel. Somewhere along their journeys, suitcases get lost in transit and sometimes they’re never reunited with their owners. If you’ve ever wondered what becomes of all those long-lost bags, you need only to look to Scottsboro, Alabama. This tiny town in northeast Alabama is home to Unclaimed Baggage, the country’s only retailer of lost luggage, where you can buy everything from designer clothing and jewelry to brand-new electronics, beauty products, and even art. 

How to spend a weekend in Scottsboro, Alabama

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November 12, 2022

Rising above the clouds, it earned the name, “Island in the Sky.” The Creek Nation labeled it “Chaha,” meaning “high place” in the Muskogee language. At 2,407 feet above sea level, Cheaha State Park towers over the rest of the state as its highest point. Located in the town of Delta in North Alabama, this oasis stretches wide across the horizon in the midst of 2,799 acres of state park, plus the surrounding 392,567 acres of the Talladega National Forest, which in turn encompasses more than 7,000 acres of the Cheaha Wilderness. It affords a rare luxury in these crowded times—miles of vista oblivious to human touch.

Visit Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama

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November 5, 2022

Nestled between the sound of the flowing Tennessee River waterway and wide-open green spaces fit with wrap-around porches and momma’s home cookin’ is Downtown Decatur.

Downtown Decatur’s 2nd Avenue is our 2022 Cutest Street in Alabama

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November 2, 2022

There’s something about cruising down a backroad with the windows rolled down and your favorite song turned up. As the world blurs by you in a rush of color, you can exhale and let go of the week’s worries. When the weather begins to cool and the leaves begin to turn, it’s the beginning of fall drive season. Alabama is blessed with dozens of gorgeous backroads and stunning scenic byways that show off the state’s beauty. And they’re best visited in that sweet spot when the leaves have begun lighting up in brilliant crimson, gold, and orange and have only just begun dusting the ground. Ready for a weekend adventure? Here are some great places to start. 

The 5 best scenic fall drives to take in Alabama

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October 26, 2022