The southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains swoops down into eastern Alabama, one of the country's most quietly scenic slices of land. Get a new perspective on just how beautiful Alabama can be from the road as it crests Cheaha Mountain, offering up views of quaint small towns and woodland wilderness. Or, for an even more unique perspective, head underground below the Appalachians into DeSoto Caverns. Along the way, you'll see some of Alabama's lesser known gems and attractions, rounding out the adventure into something completely unforgettable!
Berman Museum of World History
Located just east of the heart of Alabama, the Berman Museum of World History takes visitors on a "tour of the world." Founded by Alabama native Farley Berman, the museum boasts a wide collection of historical artifacts, documents, and paintings from all around the globe. Whether you're interested in learning about the colonization of western North America, the many world class paintings of contemporary Europe, or looking to shore up your knowledge of the arts of Asia, the Berman Museum of World history is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about our planet's rich past.
Totaling roughly 26 miles of unparalleled views, the incredible Talladega Scenic Drive is one of Alabamas's most beloved tourist destinations... and for good reason. On the ride, you can take in the majestic Appalachian Mountains, revisit the beautiful cabin settlements of the past, and enjoy opportunities to fish, camp, and hike, making this scenic drive the perfect addition to any trip. When planning, consider visiting in the fall, as nature rewards those who do with breathtakingly bright colors and crisp, fresh air.
Cheaha State Park
Located in the middle of the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park is home to the highest point in Alabama, at 2,407 feet above sea level. That means that the 2,799-acre park is home to some of the most breathtaking views in the whole state, and offers plenty to do. Here you'll find multiple trails of varying difficulty, as well as the chance to get up-close-and-personal with a wide range of wildlife. And, Cheaha offers multiple campgrounds to choose from, so you can spend the night basking in the refreshing natural beauty of this lovely spot.
Talladega National Forest
While making your way through Alabama, adding Talladega National Forrest to your trip is a must. The woodland is the smallest of the four national forests in Alabama, but don't let its size deter you. Whether you're looking for some peaceful relaxation in nature, or want a variety of options for outdoor activity, Talladega National Forest has you covered. Walk the 8-mile-long Bartram National Recreation Trail, which was one of the first major hiking trails in Alabama, and be mesmerized by the blooming flowers, incredible wildlife, and rich diversity of trees. Or, if you're looking for activities beyond hiking, you'll have access to campgrounds, ATV rentals, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There's also access to fresh water lakes for swimming and boating. If you can, make sure to plan your visit during the spring or fall to get the most out of the amazing nature views.
Monument to Lady Hit by Meteorite
As the legend goes, in late November 1954, an 8.5-pound meteorite landed in the small town of Sylacauga, Alabama, crashing through the roof of Ann Hodge's house, hitting her in the arm. Surprisingly, the only damage was a bruise on her arm. The town was so shocked at the once-in-a-lifetime feat, they built the monument "Falling Star" in her honor. It was crafted by the highly acclaimed stone-based sculptor Don Lawler. To this day, hundreds of tourists from around the country come to learn about how a rock fell from the sky and hit a woman, but left her alive to tell the tale. It's a kitschy stop dedicated to an event that totally defied the odds of probability!
DeSoto Caverns is a great stop for anyone looking for a little roadside attraction fun. A family-run business, DeSoto Caverns is one of the most historic spots in the United States, with rich history embedded in each step you take. It was deemed America's "first cave" by George Washington himself! Beyond the natural beauty, the caverns offer access to hundreds of years of history, from the Civil War to the Native Americans that used to call the caverns home. Whether you're awestruck by its unique views, or curious about the strangely-named "Healing All Cathedral" room, you're guaranteed to have a good time.
Kymulga Grist Mill
The Kymulga Grist Mill and Covered Bridge are two of the most historic sites in all of Alabama and are loaded with over 200 years of history. Both the mill and the bridge date back to the years before the American Civil War, and both have seen dozens of restorations and new owners over the years. The Kymulga Grist Mill is still in working condition today, and it remains a popular tourist attraction; it offers guided tours and a gift shop. The Mill operates daily, using electricity, which helps produce the mill's cornmeal.
Not to be outdone, The Kymulga Covered Bridge is one of two 19th-century covered bridges still operating in Alabama. It was used by settlers and Native Americans, back when it was part of an essential North American trade route. Fear not, the bridge is restored regularly, so you're safe to drive or walk across! Best yet, all proceeds and donations go the continual upkeep of these two attractions so they can live on for many more generations to come.
The Talladega Scenic Byway is one of Alabama's best-kept secrets. Immerse yourself in the quiet restoration of nature, or entertain the entire family with a trip that's sure to create lasting memories. Either way, taking the journey through the Talladega Scenic Byway is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.
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