Downtown Eufaula, Alabama. Image credit JNix via Shutterstock

Alabama's 7 Most Underrated Towns To Visit In 2024

As the Heart of Dixie, the state of Alabama proudly displays the kind of Southern hospitality and charm that many Americans are known for. But Alabama has also been a state that has contended with civil rights movements and abolitionism, and the most underrated towns in the Yellowhammer State encapsulate the historic struggles and natural beauty of the land. From riverside and seaside settlements like Guntersville, Eufaula, and Gulf Shores to historic sites like Fort Payne and Spanish Fort, these small towns of Alabama have a bevy of beautiful cultural and wildlife attractions for you to cherish. Venture beyond the big city appeals of MontgomeryBirmingham, and Huntsville, and make sure to visit Alabama's most underrated towns in 2024.


Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama.
Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama. Editorial credit: Carla Sloke /

Lounging on the southernmost point of the Tennessee River, the hospitable town of Guntersville beckons travelers with the lapping, vibrant Lake Guntersville with its 69,000 acres of natural freshwater. Only an hour and a half from Birmingham, one can experience recreational enjoyment and euphoria on the many scattered islets and shores of Lake Guntersville. You can also immerse yourself in the cultural and theatrical performances from The Whole Backstage, a local 50-year-old theater organization dedicated to excellence in Guntersville.

At the Guntersville Museum, visitors can appreciate the various Native American cultures that called Lake Guntersville their home vis-à-vis the many traditional artifacts and murals on exhibit. Get a chance to watch or participate in annual festivities such as the Art on the Lake in April and the AWF Wildgame Cook-off in May. Most importantly, find yourself a place to stay at the Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast, Cottages at Gunter's Landing, or City Harbor Suites.

Fort Payne

Little River Falls in the Little River Canyon National Preserve
Little River Falls in the Little River Canyon National Preserve.

About 44 miles from Guntersville, the town of Fort Payne promises dynamic and spectacular moments in the valley of Lookout Mountain. There are many places to look out for around Lookout Mountain, such as the Little River Wildlife Preserve, Canyon Nat’l Preserve, and Canyon Falls Park. In the town itself, the Alabama Fan Club and Museum houses the awards and achievements of the Country Music Group of the Century, a local musical group of great renown. Nearby, the Hosiery Museum informs travelers on why Fort Payne was called "The Sock Capital of the World."

In the wilderness around the town, tourists can take photographs of the uniquely carved Mushroom Rock or capture the endless and silvery cascades of Graces High Falls. Travel the Azalea Trail for awesome vistas of DeSoto Park, or immerse yourself in Sand Mountain's many natural features, like Buck's Pocket State Park and High Falls Park. If you ever get tired from all the exploration, then settle down at the Bee on the Brow Bed & Breakfast, Mentone Mountain Getaways, or the Great Buck Lodge.


Aerial view of the Fairhope, Alabama Municipal Pier
Aerial view of the Fairhope, Alabama. 

Feel fair and hopeful in the utopian town of Fairhope. Established in 1908 by a group of Single Taxers who wanted a "fair hope" of living on the shores of Mobile Bay, the town has prospered as a vocational resort for weary travelers seeking tranquility and ease. Visitors can learn more about Fairhope's compelling past at the Fairhope Museum, which contains many documents about Fairhope's early settlers, from Native Americans to pioneers and potters. The Fairhope Pier is a particularly riveting landmark that shelters many boasts and vessels that you can charter for trips on the water, especially towards the nearby Gaillard Island. The Weeks Bay Reserve houses a wealth of biodiversity, while the town's French Quarter contains Alabama's largest crape myrtle. Only 30 minutes from the city of Mobile, one can find all sorts of lodgings, such as Emma's Bay House, Jubilee Suites Boutique Hotel, and Key West Inn.

Gulf Shores

Aerial view of the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama
Aerial view of the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama. 

As the name implies, Gulf Shores can be found on Alabama's Gulf Coast overlooking the expansive Gulf of Mexico. The town's Gulf State Park boasts plenty of beaches and trails in addition to a zip line over the rolling sand dunes of the area. The native and prosperous wildlife of Gulf Shores, such as sea turtles and migratory birds, thrive within the subtropical and coastal habitats of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, while the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo houses more exotic creatures like lemurs, kangaroos, and sloths.

Beyond the breathtaking beauty of nature, a 19th-century fortress called Fort Morgan protects the mouth of Mobile Bay. Charter an aerial experience at the Lost Bay Helicopters for a bird's eye view of Gulf Shores, or appreciate the town's heritage at Baldwin Heritage County Museum. In July and November, look to the skies as the US Navy, the Blue Angels, demonstrate the power of the American Air Force and Navy along the Alabama/Florida coastline. Remember to book rooms at the Phoenix All Suites Hotel, the Staybridge Suites Hotel, or The Lodge at Golf State Park.

Spanish Fort

High school building in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
High school building in Spanish Fort, Alabama. Image credit: JodyB via Wikimedia Commons.

Only about ten miles from Fairhope and Mobile, the historic town of Spanish Fort has protected the Mobile-Tensaw Delta since the American Revolution and Civil War due to its strategic position. Its position also allows Spanish Fort to be strategic in its tourism, particularly in the area's many natural attractions. The Wild Native Delta Safaris, for example, showcases the majesty and splendor of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta's ecosystems. Meaher State Park is a similarly resplendent region that displays the vibrancy of the marshes and coast while also being a good place for camping.

Aside from nature, the Spanish Fort promotes historical awareness and insight into the many tribulations from the past. The Historic Blakeley State Park bears the skeletal remnants of the Battle of Fort Blakeley, complete with the ruins of the early Alabama town of Blakeley and evidence of Native American habitations. One might stumble on plaques in Spanish Fort illustrating the many battles and skirmishes from back then. Nearby, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park functions as a floating museum exhibiting life aboard a WWII warship, accompanied by the USS Drum submarine.


Historic Butler County Courthouse in Greenville, Alabama.
Historic Butler County Courthouse in Greenville, Alabama. Editorial credit: JNix /

The unassuming and underrated town of Greenville is a quiet, 45-mile getaway from the city of Montgomery. For generations, Greenville sat on a vital Native American trail for travelers across the ages to reach different places in the Alabama region. In 1775, the Federal Road was constructed along this route for thousands of emigrants to travel between Montgomery and Mobile. In the early 1860s, the Montgomery & West Point Railroad established a waystation for crucial transportation, and now the Greenville Depot Museum exhibits the contributions that this railroad has made for the town and Alabama as a whole.

Close at hand, two forts—Fort Dale and Fort Bibb—stand as historical testaments to Greenville's legacy in addition to Confederate Park. Nowadays, Greenville is known as "Camellia City" because of the town's promotion of the camellia flower to become Alabama's state flower in 1959.


Historic district of downtown Eufaula at sunset.
Historic district of downtown Eufaula at sunset. Editorial credit: JNix /

Situated on the western bank of the Chattahoochee River, opposite Georgetown at the border between Alabama and Georgia, the small town of Eufaula was named after the Eufaula band of Creek Native Americans in 1823. Within the town's confines, the Seth Lore and Irwinton Historic District is one of the largest historic districts in Alabama. Inside, you can tour well-preserved architectural memorabilia of the 1800s, such as the Shorter Mansion and Fendall Hall.

Beyond Eufaula's township, the nearby Lake Eufaula promotes many recreational activities like bass fishing. Elsewhere, the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge and the Lakepoint Resort State Park protect the local wildlife while sporting numerous hiking trails for the adventurous and the daring. So explore this dynamic town by first finding accommodations at the Eufaula House.

From the sparkling Gulf of Mexico to the woodland foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Alabama is brimming with deep Americana charm and Southern hospitality. As exciting as it might be to visit Mobile—where the first Mardi Gras was held long before New Orleans made it a staple festivity—or the other major cities of Alabama, you should definitely try to visit the most underrated towns this 2024. There is no shortage of wilderness adventures and opportunities in places like Gulf Shores and Eufaula, nor a lack of historical wonders and intrigue in Greenville and Spanish Fort. In a state where the great Martin Luther King Jr. was raised and advocated for civil rights, you can appreciate all sorts of liberties and enjoyment in the most underrated small towns of Alabama.

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