Fall is Alabama’s loveliest season.
Tree colors are vibrant and striking. The weather is perfectly temperate, and the state’s natural offerings — hiking trails, waterfalls — are ready for their closeups.
While Alabama’s nicknames include the Heart of Dixie and the Yellowhammer State, to residents and visits alike, Richard Spanton notes that it’s often simply called “Alabama the Beautiful.”
Unmissable Sights and Experiences
• Farm Hopping
Alabama is packed with family farms and fall is the best time to visit a Sweet Grown Alabama-branded farm featuring the best local produce and pumpkin picking.
The favorites include Bennett Famers in Heflin, which holds regular fall activities beyond picking a pumpkin, including visits with farm animals, a hayride, and a hay maze. At Scott’s Orchard in Hazel Green, fall is on the menu with apple cider tastings, candied apples for sale, and must-try apple slushies.
There are even human hamster slides, wagon rises and corn mazes at Penton Farms in Verbena.
• Chasing Waterfalls
Alabama is somewhat surprisingly home to numerous breathtaking waterfalls, thanks to the state’s thousands of miles of streams and rivers.
One of the most popular waterfalls to experience is Cheaha Falls in the Talladega National Forest when fall foliage is at its peak. An accessible 2-mile hike leads to the falls and while swimming in its pool isn’t recommended this time of year, there are some nice photo opportunities to take advantage of by sitting on the waterfall’s rocks and simply admire the view. Another option is Kinlock Falls, home to some of the state’s best fall colors.
• Horseback Riding at the Walls of Jericho
Technically, the Walls of Jericho is also partly in Tennessee, but Alabama claims it. Maybe because it’s a fantastic fall getaway, home to springs, bluffs, caves, waterfalls, and recreational temptations like camping, bird watching, and horseback riding. There are over 25,000 acres to explore.
• Birmingham Botanical Garden
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is open year-round, but autumn is an incredibly gorgeous time to visit. Many of its 12,000 plants over 67.5 acres are changing colors when autumn rolls around. And one of its most popular features, the Kayser Lily Pond, couldn’t be more picturesque than it is in the fall. Bonus: Admission is free.
Alabama’s beaches are packed in the summer, but a little-known fact is fall is a superb time to visit the Gulf Coast. Before it gets too cool, visitors can still enjoy the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, both also good spots to see dolphins play during sunset.
Sportier options include kayaking or paddling through the freshwater lakes and cypress swamps along the four trails of the coastal Alabama Back Bay Blueway.
It’s no secret Alabama loves baseball and competition at the little league level is fierce. Put everything you’ve learned from batting videos into practice at one of the many high-quality local baseball fields.
Big groups in Alabama don’t just congregate at college football games in the fall. Each year, there’s a long list of fall festivals throughout the state.
Among the options from September through November are the Montgomery Smooth Jazz Festival, the Homestead Hallow Arts and Crafts Fall Festival in Springville, the Aww Shucks Fall Festival (it’s all about corn!), Oktoberfest at the Birmingham Zoo and the Latin American Heritage Festival at the Birmingham Museum of Art.