Looking for cheap things to do in Alabama? Indeed, there are tons of fun and unique activities you can do in this state – all without busting your wallet. Alabama has a temperate climate all year round, perfect for any kind of adventure anytime!
Here’s a list of 10 fun, quirky, and cheap things to do in Alabama. Grab your bucket list and get ready for activities a-plenty in this wonderful Yellowhammer State! If you want to plan a trip, check out our comprehensive sampling of top Alabama road trip destinations.
Also, have a look at the below slides to find out how you can get the most out of your budget in Alabama:
- 1 Alabama Gulf Coast – Best Sea Food & Other Attractions
- 2 Green Mountain Nature Trail: Natural Attractions of Alabama
- 3 Alabama Coastal Birding Trail: Best Cheap Things To Do In Alabama
- 4 Dismals Canyon Conservatory: Bioluminescent Creatures
- 5 Museum of Wonder and Drive-Thru Museum: Taxidermy In Alabama
- 6 Orr Park and Tinglewood Trail – The Forest of Faces
- 7 Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival – Fun & Cheap Things To Do In Alabama
- 8 National Peanut Festival and Parade – The Peanut Capital of The World
- 9 Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum – Fishing Heritage of Alabama
- 10 Ferris Wheel at The Wharf: Fun Activities & Rides In Alabama
- 11 Wrapping Up the Cheap Things to Do in Alabama
Alabama Gulf Coast – Best Sea Food & Other Attractions
Location: Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Baldwin County
Experience the finest beaches Alabama has to offer by going on a road trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast area! Located at the state’s southernmost tip, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Baldwin County offer you a pristine beach adventure.
Enjoy around 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches in this lovely island strip! Savor the refreshing breeze, swim to your heart’s delight, go boating with the dolphins, and peacefully walk by the Gulf during sunrise.
The Alabama Gulf Coast is a great destination for the entire family. Family and kid-friendly accommodations abound in the area, and plenty of restaurants serve kid-friendly menus as well.
Speaking of food, discover a plethora of fresh seafood caught off-the-boat at the Alabama Gulf Coast. There are also seven budget-friendly food trails – eat your way from oysters to shrimps to burgers and bread puddings! Your tummy will certainly be satisfied much as your other senses are delighted in the Alabama Gulf Coast!
Green Mountain Nature Trail: Natural Attractions of Alabama
Location: Madison County, Huntsville
Head over to Hunstville to experience the beauty of Green Mountain Nature Trail, otherwise known as the Madison County Nature Trail. The 72-acre park boasts of a natural environment in its undisturbed state with a 16-acre Sky Lake, lush wooden pathways, lovely sceneries, and a plethora of wildlife and plants. Nature lovers won’t want to miss this park!
The park also features other amenities such as:
- Outdoor classrooms
- Covered bridge
- Open-air pavilion
- A picnic area
Stroll around the park and admire the lush greens from its abundance of plants. Then, give fishing a try – you can fish in the lake every Monday to Friday for a minimal fee. You may also sit and admire the wonderful beauty of nature as there are several seating provisions throughout the park.
The well-kept Madison County Nature Trail is open daily from sunrise till sunset, even during holidays. It’s only closed during inclement weather. And it’s completely free to enter the park!
Alabama Coastal Birding Trail: Best Cheap Things To Do In Alabama
Locations: Fort Morgan, Perdido Key, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach
Grab those binoculars and get ready for some delightful bird watching! The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail has 50 designated birding locations along the coasts of Baldwin and Mobile counties. Head over to Fort Morgan, Perdido Key, Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach to spot lovely birds such as:
- Brown pelicans
- Blue Herons
- Northern Shoveler
Alabama holds a Coastal Bird Fest every October. It’s a prime time to visit for some serious bird watching, workshops, and guided tours on land and water.
Dismals Canyon Conservatory: Bioluminescent Creatures
Location: Phil Campbell
Curious about what “dismalites” are and how they look like? Take a look at these bioluminescent creatures at a Guided Night Tour of Dismals Canyon! The tour is among the most interesting and cheap things to do in Alabama.
These tiny glowing insects are the larvae stage of the North American Orfelia fultoni. They come from the fly family and are close relatives of glowworm species found in New Zealand and Australia.
Dismals Canyon is a sandstone gorge with two waterfalls and six natural bridges. It’s a great place to hike during the day. But come twilight, the stunning natural surroundings become awash with tiny lights that look like stars in a dark sky. These lights come from the dismalites emitting their blue-green light from humid algae-covered rock faces.
Guided Night Tour hours may slightly change throughout the year, but the most common admission time starts at 8:30 pm on Saturdays. The tour lasts around 45 minutes. Adult rate is $10 (those over 60 years old pay $9), while kids under 12 pay $7.75.
Museum of Wonder and Drive-Thru Museum: Taxidermy In Alabama
Are you a fan of old things, folk art, and unusual finds? Then head over to the rural Seale town and visit the Museum of Wonder and the Drive-Thru Museum!
Butch Anthony turned his old taxidermy shop into a museum filled with antiques, artifacts, and strange items. Hence, you’ll find homemade art pieces, taxidermy animals, and weird but interesting objects at the Museum of Wonder. You’ll also see vintage photographs with skeletons and bones artistically drawn over it, a signature style that Anthony calls intertwangleism.
After your visit, continue your artistic journey by driving to the Drive-Thru Museum, located just a mile away from The Museum of Wonder. The Drive-Thru Museum is also Anthony’s brainchild and was originally intended to control the people coming to The Museum of Wonder.
Stacked shipping containers will greet you upon arriving at the Drive-Thru Museum. These containers have holes where the art pieces are nestled and viewed.
The museum features a collection of art pieces you can view without leaving your car. It’s all similar to the weirdly wonderful art styles you saw at The Museum of Wonder, but the art pieces are still compelling enough to make you hit the brakes in awe.
The Drive-Thru Museum is open 24/7. You can freely access it since there’s no entrance fee. A donation box sits there where people often drop $1 before driving inside the museum (some people drop more, of course!). The museum visits are among the cheap things to do in Alabama, albeit interesting and awe-inspiring!
Orr Park and Tinglewood Trail – The Forest of Faces
Pay a visit to Montevallo’s lovely Orr Park and Tinglewood Trail, another amazing yet cheap things to do in Alabama!
Orr Park in Montevallo, Alabama is also known as “The Forest of Faces”. That’s because over 40 cedar trees in the park have different face carvings on them! The carvings are not limited to faces, though – you can also spot other designs such as unicorns, dragons, lions, and squirrels.
The wood carvings were created to preserve old and dead cedar trees, rescuing them from the chainsaw by turning them into interesting works of art. Artist Tim Tingle is the amazingly talented sculptor behind the tree carvings who started work on the dead trees after a 1993 storm. Hence, the park was also called Tinglewood Trail in honor of him.
Orr Park also has the typical amenities you’d see in a natural reserve – a walking trail to Shoal Creek, picnic shelters, ball fields, and recreation centers. It’s a lovely nature preserve in its own right which is truly worth a visit!
Come to the park during September to get a taste of The Tinglewood Festival. It’s a festival where chainsaw woodcarvers create lovely pieces of wood art and sell or auction them off right away. There are also lots of children’s activities your little ones will enjoy. The best part? Free admission!
Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival – Fun & Cheap Things To Do In Alabama
Location: Foley Soccer Complex, Foley
Enjoy a kaleidoscope of colors in the sky at the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival! This three-day festival features balloon flights starting at dawn and tethered rides during dusk (weather permitting).
There are lots of activities to participate in and enjoy as well, including:
- Art and craft workshops
- Dog shows
- Hot air balloon displays
- Live music shows
Food booths and retail stores are also overflowing!
Festival grounds are open to the public for the first two days. The third day is meant for the hot air balloon pilots’ final competition flight and awards ceremony. You can absolutely come and enjoy the balloons from afar as they take flight in the sky!
Entrance to the festival is free of charge. However, activities such as evening tethered rides require a paid ticket. These rides start at around $18 for kids aged 12 and below and around $23 for adults. That’s a reasonably priced tethered balloon ride, making the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival among the fun yet cheap things to do in Alabama!
National Peanut Festival and Parade – The Peanut Capital of The World
Head over to Dothan for The National Peanut Festival and Parade. It’s the largest peanut-themed celebration in the USA!
The National Peanut Festival and Parade honor the huge contributions of Dothan’s local peanut farmers and Wiregrass Country’s peanut industry. Dothan is considered as the peanut capital of the world, after all!
The National Peanut Festival happens yearly every November. There are lots of attractions in the fair such as:
- Live performances from local musicians
- Comedy acts
- Pageants and parades – Miss National Peanut Festival and Little Miss National Peanut Festival
- Arts and crafts booths
- Commercial vendors
- Lots of peanut and food stalls
- Fair rides
- Agricultural displays
- Livestock shows
- Costume contests
Gate admission to the festival is $8 per person (starting with kids from age 6 up to adults). Kids aged 5 years below and accompanied by an adult are free. You can also opt for a MegaPass for $28 – this includes gate admission and an armband to gain access to all paid activities inside the fair for one night only.
Missed the fair? No worries! Drive around Dothan and you’ll see lots of painted peanut statues! It’s part of the “Peanuts Around Town” public art project, which is now better known as “Peanuts on Parade”. Have fun looking at around 60 peanut statues around town! Meet peanut doctor, the tub nut, Noki the cellphone nut, and more!
Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum – Fishing Heritage of Alabama
Location: John M Snook Drive, Orange Beach
Want to learn more about the Native American culture and their fishing heritage? Then, add Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum to your affordable itineraries in Alabama!
Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum is a free-for-all museum featuring memorabilia, artifacts, and collectibles about the local fishing industry. It was originally a 1910 schoolhouse converted to a museum in 1995.
Generous Native American locals contributed bits and pieces of artifacts to accurately display both the challenges and triumphs of the local fishing industry. You’ll find nautical items such as boat steering wheels, water floats, life jackets, photographs, and more! Immerse yourself in the Native American culture prevalent inside this small but wonderful museum.
Entrance is free at Orange Beach Indian and Sea Museum! Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted. The museum is open three times a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) from 9 am to 4 pm.
Ferris Wheel at The Wharf: Fun Activities & Rides In Alabama
Location: Wharf Parkway, The Wharf, Orange Beach
Head over to The Wharf to experience a fun ride overlooking tree tops in Orange Beach! The Wharf’s Ferris Wheel has become a landmark for each Gulf Coast vacation. Instead of staring up at it, go ahead and ride inside the gondolas for a breezy and scenic view of Orange Beach!
The gigantic Ferris Wheel was created with a ship wheel design inspired by the waterways of the Gulf Coast. It stands at 112 feet and has 34 gondolas holding a total of 140 people. The ride was crafted by Italy’s Technical Park.
Hop onto the gondolas for just $7 per person per ride! Kids under 3 years old can ride with you for free!
Wrapping Up the Cheap Things to Do in Alabama
And that’s our roundup of 10 exciting, fun, yet cheap things to do in Alabama! Get yourself ready for an awesome time in The Yellowhammer State with these lovely activities!
But wait! Your trip to Alabama won’t be complete without a trusty vacation rental property to stay in. Find the perfect rental near your planned activity areas by visiting Rental Trader. Lots of lovely and comfy properties await you there! On the flip side, if you’re a property owner in Alabama, you can also sign up to list your rental homes for free.
That being said, we hope you enjoy your Alabamian adventure soon!