Day 1: London – Birmingham
Your Alabama Discovery starts today as you leave London for your same day flight into Birmingham. Collect your Alamo car rental after arrival and head into Alabama’s largest city, where rich heritage and a lively entertainment scene is waiting to be explored. Stay 2 nights at the Embassy Suites Birmingham (or similar).
Day 2: Birmingham
Discover Birmingham’s fine dining, outlet shopping, funky jazz scene, and of course its deep woven roots within the civil rights movement. Take a stroll through the historic downtown area, where hot peanuts have been sold on the streets for over 100 years. Pay a visit to the Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park and 16th Street Baptist Church to learn about the city's civil rights struggles. Or, for a little outdoor adventure, visit the Red Mountain Park located on the edge of the city where you can go on a nature hike or take a zip line through the treetops.
Day 3: Birmingham – Anniston – Fort Payne (approx. 132 miles)
Today, it’s time to head to Alabama’s northern region as you head to Fort Payne via Anniston, where you can find the World’s Largest Chair. Arrive into Fort Payne which is stunningly situated between Lookout and Sand Mountains. With its prime location, there’s a range of rugged outdoor activities and spectacular scenery that can be found at DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon. Get your hiking boots out and enjoy the fresh mountain air, with rock climbing, kayaking, hiking or wild cave tours on offer at Sequoyah Caverns. Stay 1 night at the Holiday Inn Express Fort Payne (or similar).
Day 4: Fort Payne – Scottsboro – Huntsville (approx. 71 miles)
After your fresh outdoor adventure, enjoy a spot of thrift shopping in Scottsboro when driving to Huntsville. Visit the Unclaimed Baggage Center where you pick up a bargain or two from an assortment of lost luggage. Then it’s onwards to Huntsville, fondly known as ‘Rocket City’. Stay 2 nights at the Hampton Inn & Suites Huntsville Hampton Cove (or similar).
Day 5: Huntsville
This sleepy, North Alabama cotton-farming town has been put firmly on the map for being home to the impressive U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the world's largest museum dedicated to space exploration. Discover where America’s space programme was born, offering a wide variety of exhibits to see including the mammoth 363-foot Apollo-era Saturn V Rocket. Visit the EarlyWorks Museum and Sci-Quest, which are fun for young and old, and take time to stroll around the beautiful Botanical Gardens, featuring America’s largest seasonal butterfly house. There’s further opportunity to see more of North Alabama’s outdoor wilderness at the Monte Sano State Park, where endless recreational activities can be tried, including hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing along the Tennessee River.
Day 6: Huntsville – The Shoals (approx. 72 miles)
Today, drive towards the soulful vibe of The Shoals, a quad-city region consisting of Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Florence, where creative flair and the roots of American music heritage runs deep through the area, especially as its famed for being the birthplace of Alabama’s rhythm and blues history. Stay 2 nights at the Hampton Inn Florence Downtown (or similar).
Day 7: The Shoals
During the day, discover where the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Otis Reading recorded their hit songs at the FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, and check out the famous memorabilia on show at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia. In the evening, head across the Tennessee River into Florence, fondly known as Alabama’s ‘Renaissance City’, which is home of "Father of the Blues" W.C. Handy, and offers a quaint and old-fashioned downtown area where great food and nightlife can be found, including Ricatoni’s Restaurant, well known for its rustic Italian cuisine.
Day 8: Muscle Shoals – Montgomery (approx. 202 miles)
Enjoy a scenic drive towards Montgomery, passing by the primordial forest landscapes of Dismals Canyon. Stop for lunch in Tuscaloosa and visit nearby Moundville Archaeological Park before arriving into Montgomery, the birthplace and epicentre for both the Civil War and the American civil rights movement. Stay 2 nights at the Doubletree by Hilton Montgomery (or similar).
Day 9: Montgomery
Make sure to park up the car and explore Montgomery authentic downtown area by foot. Learn about the city���s historic roots, from its involvement with civil rights where you can visit the church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached and Rosa Park’s Museum, portraying a fascinating insight of the struggles. Take in the State Capitol, where Dr. King delivered his moving speech from the steps, and visit the White House of the Confederacy to see where the Civil War started. Or perhaps, hop on a Blake’s Segway Tour around Montgomery’s scenic Riverfront area. If time allows, take a side trip to Selma to follow in the steps of the freedom march across Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Day 10: Montgomery – Monroeville – Mobile (approx. 194 miles)
After a few days of outdoor adventure and historical immersion, it’s time for some Southern relaxation as you head towards Mobile, along Alabama’s sunny coastline. On your way, why not stop by the quaint town of Monroeville, home to Harper Lee the famed author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and stop by the Mockingbird Grill for a spot of lunch before continuing on to the Port City of Mobile. Stay 2 nights at the Wingate by Wyndham Mobile (or similar).
Day 11: Mobile
An original French settlement town and home of the first American Mardi Gras festival back in 1703, there’s a diverse variety of activities that await in the quaint coastal town. Visit the mighty USS Alabama Battleship which won nine battles during World War II, enjoy the wildlife wonders at the Mobile Zoo and experience the country’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration at the Carnival Museum, where ornamental robes, crowns and floats are on show. Explore the stately homes within the Oakleigh Historic District, taste the delights of fresh coastal seafood cuisines, and for great entertainment and live music, Dauphin Street is the place to be!
Day 12: Mobile – Gulf Shores (approx. 99 miles)
Continue your exploration of Alabama’s coastline with beachside bliss along the sunny Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, boasting 32 miles of glorious white sand beaches and sparkling emerald waters for you to enjoy over the next couple of days. Stay 2 nights at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Gulf Shores (or similar).
Day 13: Gulf Shores
From championship golf courses, deep sea fishing opportunities and day visits to Dauphin Island, which was recently voted as Alabama’s Sunset Capital, you will not be short of activities to find in the Gulf Shores. Spend a day at the Gulf State National Park, visit Bayou le Batre, explore the back bays and watersport opportunities and nearby Foley town, chill out at classic beach bars like the Flora-Bama and the Hangout, try an authentic ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ at Lulu’s restaurant, or take a dolphin watching cruise – your options are endless.
Day 14: Gulf Shores – Mobile – London
Your Alabama discovery ends today with a drive back to the airport at Mobile where you can return your car rental and board your onward in-direct flight flying back to London.