Beach Chair Line, Alabama© Chris HansonBeach Chair Line, Alabama
© Chris Hanson
"Sweet Home Alabama" isn't just for Lynyrd Skynyrd fans anymore. In Huntsville, for example, you can find yourself on the cutting edge of American technology at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Kids may want to check out the Aviation Challenge, where they can learn what it's like to fly a fighter jet.

The state still remembers its past, however. The Old State Bank in Decatur, for example, was one of only three or four buildings in the city to survive the Union occupation during the Civil War, and you can still see slugs from musket fire in the walls. The world's largest cast-iron statue, meanwhile, is in Birmingham. Depicting Vulcan, it's a testament to the city's one-time strength in the iron and steel industry.

Likewise, the difficult civil rights struggle is commemorated all over the state. At the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, water flows over the names of those killed during the movement, and the city itself is home to museums dedicated to Rosa Parks and to Martin Luther King, Jr. In Selma, near the Edmund Winston Pettus Bridge, you'll now find the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, where you can learn more about what Dr. King was trying to achieve on that bridge on March 7, 1965. On that day, voting rights marchers had a bloody confrontation with police. Several weeks later, they successfully completed their march.

O' Neal Bridge spanning the Tennessee River between Florence and Sheffield, Alabama© Wayne JamesO' Neal Bridge spanning the Tennessee River between Florence and Sheffield, Alabama
© Wayne James
Of course, Alabama is still a place where good ole' boys (and their good ole' wives and girlfriends) can kick back and have fun. The Talladega Superspeedway, for example, is one of the most famous NASCAR tracks, so much so that Talladega is home to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. There, you can not only see some legendarily fast cars, such as Richard Petty's famous STP Dodge Charger, but also cars that have belonged to celebrities.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF