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Taking a DIY History Tour Through Alabama: 5 Key Spots to Check Out

It doesn’t get much more “Southern” than Alabama, does it?

And for those of us who’ve perhaps overlooked the state or what it has to offer, you’re most definitely missing out.

Not only does Alabama boast friendly locals, delicious food and the sort of warm climate that we all associate with the South, but also a fascinating history.

From the Civil War to Civil Rights, the Heart of Dixie isn’t without its controversies and notable happenings in the history books. As such, the state has done so much to preserve that history in the form of monuments, museums and one-of-a-kind sights for tourists.

Oh, and for those looking to see the rich history Alabama has to offer, road-tripping and camping are most definitely the way go to. You can find an RV rental in Alabama available near the likes Orange Beach and Gulf Shores to experience the great outdoors after you’ve educated yourself.

Now, whether you consider yourself a history buff or you simply want to see some of the most notable landmarks throughout Alabama, we’ve got you covered with the five attractions highlighted below.

The Alabama State Capitol

Described as both the first and last stop on the state’s own suggested Civil Rights trail, the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery is a shining example of two battling sides of the state’s history.

Representing the birthplace of the Confederacy and the last stop of the famed Selma march, the museum and its marvelous craftwork are totally free to visit. In short, a great spot to learn a thing or two about Alabama and beat the heat.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

This museum offers a sort of comprehensive, immersive experience of the entire Civil Rights movement through its exhibits and firsthand accounts of struggle. Detailing the dark days of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is eye-opening and educational without pulling any punches.

Dexter Parsonage Museum

The former home of Dr. Martin Luther King from 1954 to 1960, this humble site provides tours throughout the week which take visitors back in time. Restored to resemble the home as it was during Dr. King’s lifetime, this site provides perspective on the man prior to his status as the symbol of the Civil Rights movement.

The USS Alabama

Hard to miss if you’re on the highway passing by Mobile, the USS Alabama represents a rare opportunity for visitors to walk through a real-life battleship commissioned during World War II. Nearby Battleship Memorial Park offers even more monuments to military history including planes, anti-aircraft guns and tank on-site.

Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Speaking of the military, the history of the Tuskegee Airmen is a fascinating one and definitely a bright spot in the state’s sometimes stormy past. Paying homage to the famed African American pilots of World War II, the site provides both indoor and outdoor areas to explore, including two distinct museums of former hangars where the pilots were trained.

While Alabama is obviously a staple of the South, its storied past is something that tourists from all walks of life should take time to reflect on and see firsthand. If you’re passing through and are looking to experience a unique slice of American history, look no further.