Alabama vs. Auburn. It’s a rivalry for the ages, and it drives so many of us to make the trek to the stadium every year.
Even though we know you’re ready for tailgating, this season as you travel, we challenge you to make the trip about the journey and not the destination! From Huntsville to Auburn or Tuscaloosa, there are so many awesome stops (including Unclaimed Baggage Center, of course!) that could turn your drive into the road trip of a lifetime.
But don’t take our word for it—check out some of them yourself!
In Vance, AL, which is just 30 minutes from Tuscaloosa, schedule a stop at the Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center. It’s the only of its kind outside of Germany, and features exhibits on the history of the Mercedes-Benz and tours of a manufacturing plant. Be sure to call ahead and register for the tour which can fill up pretty far in advance (because yes, it’s just that cool!).
This stop is a no brainer! If you love your sports, then you’ll love learning more about sports history at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Birmingham, AL. Featuring more than 5,000 sports artifacts elegantly displayed in the 33,000 square foot building surrounded by a 3 story pillared atrium, this is one amazing sight to see. And besides, it’s on your route!
3. Enjoy a quirky photo opp at the Big Chair.
Ok, now this is a big chair and all you’re going to find at this destination is…a big chair. But this fun photo opportunity is right along the route to get to the game in Anniston, AL, so it’s a great place to stretch your legs, snap a picture and take in the glory of the Guinness Book of World Records of 1982 winner for the worlds largest office chair.
4. Stop and smell the hydrangeas at Aldridge Gardens.
Aldridge Gardens, nestled in the heart of Hoover, is a 30-acre woodland garden featuring all types of hydrangeas, camellias and other native Alabama plants. This stop on your journey can be an amazing chance to relax and take in some of nature’s gifts and artists’ talents. Fun fact—for many years the property was the home of noted nurseryman Eddie Aldridge who discovered and patented the snowflake hydrangea. Don’t miss feeding the geese, ducks, turtles and the fish, and also be sure to check out the art gallery and the featured artist of the month.
Just a few miles outside of Huntsville is the little town of Madison, Alabama. Before you make your trek to the south, divert a bit to enjoy some lunch with a twist at Main Street Cafe! Located inside what used to be the Madison City Hall and Jail, the two jail cells have been converted into parts of the restaurant’s seating area. This highly popular locally owned eatery offers down-home cooking but is only open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so plan accordingly!
Why not make your trip to Tuscaloosa a three-day weekend and tack on a stop at Bessemer, Ala.’s Alabama Splash Adventure? Originally opened in 1998 under a different name and ownership, this waterpark features incredible water slides, a lazy river, wave pool and more! Don’t miss the amusement park side which features favorite rides like a wooden rollercoaster, teacups and the tillt-a-whirl.
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