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Spring break is almost here which (hopefully) means relaxation, exploration and FUN are all in your future. No matter where your compass is pointing, we’re sure you’ll have a blast. But just to be safe, we’ve gathered this trusty guide full of places to go, things to see and lots to do.
Want to win a $250 gas card to help get to where you’re going? Sign up for our newsletter to be entered into our Spring Break Giveaway, and keep reading for all the deets. Happy spring breakin’, Birmingham!
If you’re hanging around the ‘Ham… 🤙
Who says you have to leave the ‘Ham to have an eventful spring break? Not us. Birmingham is full of fun (and mostly free) activities that are perfect for spring break. Here are a few of our favorites:
Spend a Day at DeSoto Caverns
It’s crazy to think that by driving only an hour outside of Birmingham, you can find so many hidden gems—one of them being DeSoto Caverns, one of the country’s most beautiful and historic show caves.
- What to Do: Below ground, explore caverns with one of the largest accumulations of onyx-marble stalagmites and stalactites in the world and make sure to catch their sound, laser, light and water show. Above ground, enjoy their 20+ attractions like gemstone panning, a cave climbing wall and a lost trail maze!
- Driving Distance: 36 miles southeast from Birmingham down Highway 280
- Most Instagrammable Spot: The Healing All Cathedral (pictured above) is the first room you’ll visit during the cavern tour and makes for the perfect photo op. Talk about first impressions!
- Price: Their Adventure Package which includes 1 caverns tour and 5 attraction passes costs $34.99 for adults and $29.99 for children. Get more info on their site.
Take a Hike at Cheaha
- What to Do: Bring your pup to play at the Bosarge Memorial Dog Park, explore the Walt Farr Native American Museum, take a dip in Cheaha Lake, or pack a picnic to enjoy in Alabama’s oldest continuously operating state park! Check their site for more info on activities.
- Driving Distance: Roughly 80 miles west from Birmingham, and about a 1 hour and 20-minute drive.
- Most Instagrammable Spot: The Bald Rock Outlook (pictured above) is highly regarded as one of Alabama’s most beautiful views, and we’d have to agree. Get more info on that trail and more here.
- Price: Ages 0-3 get in free, ages 4-11 cost $2, ages 12+ cost $5, seniors 62 years+ cost $2. | Parks for Patriots Veterans and Active Military get in free with ID. | Park gates are cash only.
Learn Something New at the McWane Science Center
- What to Do: Check out their traveling exhibit—Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World, open now until May 10th—or catch a movie like in their IMAX theater. Get more spring event + exhibit info here.
- Driving Distance: About half a mile from City Hall in downtown Birmingham across from The Pizitz
- Most Instagrammable Spot: Dance around in front of their Color Shadow wall (pictured above) for a fun Instagram post.
- Price: Combo tickets for both the Adventure Halls and IMAX cost $20 for adults, $15 for kids and $18 for seniors. See more ticket options on their site.
If you’re heading down south… 🌊
For those of you seeking some sun, sand and saltwater, we’ve got ya covered. Alabama’s southern shores are the perfect spring break destination, and there’s even more to see further south. Here are a few recommendations if the beach is calling your name:
See the Beach Without leaving Alabama in Gulf Shores
Ahhhh, Alabama’s beaches. The stunning white sand and salty Gulf water is something many of us have grown up with and know well. It’s the most relaxing spring break destination, and there’s always something new to see and do—no matter how many summer vacations you’ve taken there.
- What to Do: If you’re visiting in March you’ll want to see their Ballyhoo Festival, a festival celebrating arts and culture happening March 7-8, or their 46th Annual Festival of Art March 14-15. And if you’re visiting in April, don’t miss the 2020 Waterway Village Zydeco & Crawfish Festival + 5K Run on April 4, or the 2020 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship May 1-3. Find more events and activities online here, or check out their 2020 Vacation Guide and sign up for their eTidings newsletter—they are both FREE!
- Driving Distance: A little over 4 hours, so get your beach playlists made!
- Most Instagrammable Spot: Obviously, the beach makes a great back-drop but that’s not all Gulf Shores has to offer. Check out their list of the 8 most Instagrammable restaurants in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach. We’re drooling over The Yard Milkshake Bar and their overflowing Instagram-worthy treats. (See above to drool too. 🤤)
Soak up the Sun and So. Much. More. in Seaside
- What to Do: Catch a film under the stars at the Amphitheater, hear live music at 216 Quincy Square every week or head to the Seaside Farmers Market to live like a local. Get more info on these events and more online here.
- Driving Distance: About the same as Gulf Shores—a little over 4 hours. So bring snacks, and downloads some good podcasts!
- Most Instagrammable Spot: Grab a bite to eat on Airstream Row, pick up a new beach-read at Sun Dog Books, take a bike ride through the Seaside streets or snap a pick from Bud & Alley’s rooftop porch. Almost every inch of Seaside is Insta-worthy.
If you’re taking off towards the north… ⛰️
If your idea of spring break fun involves more mountains than beaches, you’re in the right place. Heading north is a great option if you’re the ~outdoorsy~ type, or if you just need a change of scenery. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Get Your Fix for Shopping, Hiking, Exploring and More at Lookout Mountain
North Alabama is seriously an all-encompassing spring break destination. It’s brimming with beautiful parks and outdoor activities, amazing shopping experiences—including tons of thrift shops, antique stores + local makers’ shops—and has the charm and comfort that’s perfect for a unique spring break stay.
- What to Do: Stop to eat at the Wildflower Cafe (voted best cafe in the state by Alabama Magazine in 2015 and 2018) in Mentone, browse art and goods from local makers at Boom Town Makers Market or Miracle Pottery + Art Gallery, and go antiquing and thrifting at the 40+ secondhand shops in the area.
- Driving Distance: Less than two hours from Birmingham—perfect for an easy day trip or weekend stay.
- Most Instagrammable Spot: Desoto Falls + State Park and the Little River Canyon National Preserve both have stunning falls (see above), and both are great places to get that granola content for your feed. Get more info on Lookout Mountain’s parks + waterfalls here.
Check Out Chattanooga for Change of Scenery
- What to Do: Only a few minutes from downtown, the other Lookout Mountain is the perfect place to spend a day in Chattanooga. Hike to see stunning views of Lookout Valley from Sunset Rock, or explore historic St. Elmo’s shops, restaurants and attractions before hopping on the Incline Railway for a ride up the mountain. And don’t forget about Ruby Falls, the 145-foot underground waterfall inside the mountain!
- Driving Distance: About 2 and a half hours north of Birmingham in Tennesse
- Most Instagrammable Spot: Walk the Walnut Street Bridge (pictured above) over the Tennesee River for gorgeous views of downtown and North Chattanooga. Not only are the views nice, but you can also get in a nice workout walking the 2,376 feet across and back.
If you’re headin’ out west…
Take a Trip to Tupelo for Elvis, Exotic Animals and Everything in Between
- What to Do: Take a stroll down Tupelo’s Main Street, and pop into the local shops (including Tupelo Hardware—where Elvis got his first guitar!), mosey through alleys to spy colorful murals, or grab a bite at some of their 20+ restaurants and food trucks. Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis, so we’d be remiss not to direct you to the Elvis Presley birthplace + museum. Get more on that here.
- Driving Distance: About two hours west of Birmingham
- Most Instagrammable Spot: Convince your followers you’ve gone on a safari with photos of zebras, giraffes and more at the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo! Admission is only $15 to see 260+ exotic animals—and you don’t even have to leave the country. What a steal.
If you’re exploring the east… 🧭
Do All the Things in Atlanta
- What to Do: Where do we start? See stunning pieces of art (including Virgil Abloh’s exhibit, “Figures of Speech”, until March 8) at the High Museum. Explore the story of Coca-Cola at the World of Coke. Go under the sea at the Georgia Aquarium. Or take the kiddos to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center to make all their LEGO dreams come true.
- Driving Distance: Roughly 147 miles, or a little over two hours east of Birmingham
- Most Instagrammable Spot: ATL is definitely one of the most Instagrammable cities on this list—see the photo above for proof. Share cityscape views from The Jackson Street Bridge, document the amazing street art in the Krog Street Tunnel, snap a pic from the SkyView Ferris Wheel in Centennial Park or prance around Ponce City Market to get that obligatory ~artsy~ ATL pic.
Win a $250 Gas Card for Your Trip—On us!
You didn’t think we’d give you all these super fun trip ideas with no help to get you there, did ya? We’re giving away a $250 gas card to help you and your friends get to your ultimate spring break destination.
To enter, all you have to do is sign up for our super fun, totally awesome and completely free newsletter HERE. (And no, I’m not biased at all.) We’ll run the giveaway for a week, and announce the winner on social and contact them via email on Monday, March 9.