Aerial view of Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Coast.

7 Cutest Small Towns in Alabama

Whether you live in Alabama, are planning to spend your vacation there, or are just passing through on the way to another destination, take time to explore one of the state's many cute small towns. From breezy Gulf of Mexico beaches with white sand to forested mountain ranges, this southern US state has it all. Since Alabama is so diverse, you will have no problem finding a small town that will appeal to your entire family.

Dauphin Island

Aerial view of Dauphin Island, Alabama
Waterfront of Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Accessible via either a ferry or a 3-mile-long bridge from the Alabama mainland, Dauphin Island features seven miles of white sand beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico. This charming island town is full of opportunities to explore nature, take in the native wildlife, and even do a bit of shopping.

Don't miss the Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary, which boasts 164 acres of woodlands, a walking trail, and access to swamps and Gulf beaches. If you want to fully immerse yourself in island life, stay in the campground, which offers guests the use of a private, secluded beach and a public boat launch. If shopping is more your thing, don't miss the island's collection of unique gifts, souvenirs, clothing, and jewelry shops, as well as an art gallery. Enjoy fresh local seafood from one of the island's several restaurants, and have a light snack or coffee at a bakery or cafe.


Building on Pier at Sunset in Fairhope, Alabama
Pier at Sunset in Fairhope, Alabama.

Also situated on the Gulf of Mexico, the cute seaside town of Fairhope beckons visitors with an abundance of natural attractions, mouthwatering seafood restaurants, and a charming downtown filled with boutiques and art galleries. Offering stunning sunset views over Mobile Bay, Fairhope is a place you will want to spend a few hours, days, or even weeks in.

Start by exploring Fairhope's historic and easily walkable downtown, where you can indulge in everything from a cup of coffee in a charming cafe to a gourmet lunch or dinner. You can also enjoy live music from local bands while sipping wine or cocktails if you are looking for a night out on the town. Nature lovers will delight in one of the area's several hiking and biking trails, from which you can explore the 260,000-acre Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Traverse the Bartram Canoe trail by boat, or trek through the native flora and fauna on foot or horseback. Take in cypress swamp and marsh views, as well as sneak a peek at wildlife such as bald eagles, alligators, and turtles.


Greenville, Alabama, United States, an old movie theater on the main street
An old movie theater on the main street in Greenville, Alabama. Image credit Sabrina Janelle Gordon via Shutterstock

Located in Alabama's Black Belt region, Greenville is known for its historic areas filled with Victorian-era homes. A quintessential small Southern town, Greenville offers blooming magnolias in the springtime, several places to indulge in local home-style delicacies, and plenty of charm. 

If you are a golfer, spend some time at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Cambrian Ridge, which consists of three 9-hole championship courses as well as one 9-hole short course. For those visiting Greenville the last week of September, don't miss a trip to the Butler County Fair for an hour of family fun. Set up a tent or park your RV or camper at Greenville's Sherling Lake Park & Campground, which offers a walking trail and fishing opportunities on two lakes. There are also modern bathroom facilities as well as a playground and picnic pavilions. 


Guntersville, Alabama: city decorations for Valentines Day adorn the front of the police station
City decorations for Valentine's Day adorn the front of the police station in Guntersville. Image credit Carla Sloke via Shutterstock

Situated on scenic Lake Guntersville, the cute town of Guntersville is known as a place of recreation and respite, depending on the type of activities you partake in. Not only is the town located on the 69,000-acre lake, but it also sits on a peninsula at the southernmost point of the Tennessee River. Start your outdoor adventure with a trip to Lake Guntersville State Park, which sits on the banks of the Tennessee River, providing many opportunities for fishing, swimming, and other water sports. Explore the part's 6,000 acres of woodlands, enjoy a round or two of golf on the 18-hole championship course, take a ride down the zipline, or take your family to the outdoor nature center.

If shopping is more your thing, spend time walking around Guntersville's charming downtown, which features several unique boutiques, eateries, and cafes. Depending on your lodging preferences, you can either stay at a local campground or get pampered at the Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast, which serves a full gourmet breakfast each morning.


Old Union Crossing Covered Bridge low angle
Old Union Crossing Covered Bridge in Mentone. Image credit jackienix via

Situated high up in Lookout Mountain, surrounded by woodlands, the beautiful town of Mentone. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can play a few rounds of golf during your stay or ski or snowboard down snowy slopes.

Check out the Mentone Arts Center, where you can explore the music and culture of the Appalachia region. Participate in classes, workshops, and lectures throughout the year while supporting local and regional artists. Spend a few hours exploring the Moon Lake Trading Company, and refuel with breakfast, lunch, or a slice of tomato pie at the Wildflower Cafe. As another option, enjoy an al fresco lunch at the Desoto Falls Picnic Area.

Muscle Shoals

Old Brick Presbyterian Church, 260 Mount Pleasant Road, Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Old Brick Presbyterian Church, Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

With a population of just under 15,000, the town of Muscles Shoals oozes with small-town charm. Known for its southern hospitality as well as its rich musical history, this cute town is ideal for either a long vacation or a weekend getaway. Situated on the Tennessee River in the northern portion of Alabama, Muscle Shoals is home to the famous FAME Studios, where well-known musicians such as Cher, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and the Rolling Stones once recorded music. You can take a guided tour of FAME, which is still a working studio today.

Explore the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, where you can learn about local musicians and check out a touring bus. Outdoor lovers won't want to miss the town's McFarland Park, which features a 60-site campground, a marina with a fishing pier and a boat ramp, and a floating restaurant and bar.


Downtown Eufaula, Alabama at sunset
Downtown streets of Eufaula.

Located on a high bluff overlooking Lake Eufaula, the picturesque town of Eufaula also sits on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River. Known as the Big Bass Capital of the World, Eufaula also features Alabama's second-largest historic district. Take a stroll through the charming district, which features more than 700 historic and architecturally significant buildings. Visitors can take a tour of these structures during the Annual Eufaula Pilgrimage. There are several other reasons to attend this event, such as tea gardens and antique shows.

Nature lovers won't want to miss Lakepoint Resort State Park, which is home to restaurant and convention facilities, 29 cabins, a marina, and plenty of opportunities for fishing, golfing, hiking, swimming, and other water sports activities. Have a picnic lunch at the park, or stay longer at one of the campsites.

No matter what region of Alabama you are in, from the northern mountains to the southern beaches, you will find a cute small town or two in which to spend some quality time. Alabama's quaint towns are ideal for every type of trip, including romantic weekend getaways, week-long family adventures, and even special events such as bridal showers, weddings, and family reunions. Once you discover a small southern town that you love, you may even want to make it an annual destination.

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