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On a motorcycle trip in Alabama during the fall
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  • States:
    Alabama

With its warm hospitality, historic landmarks and landscapes ranging from rocky hills to sunny beaches, Alabama offers diverse experiences in the U.S. South.

When you opt to explore by motorcycle, you’ll be treated to an insider’s look at everything that makes Alabama a top road trip destination: curvy roads, covered bridges, scenic outlooks, lush forests and vibrant towns full of character and history. Not a motorcycle enthusiast? Don’t let that stop you from visiting these exciting attractions throughout the state.

Outdoor Beauty in North Alabama

In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North Alabama, tour unique towns such as Mentone, Fort Payne, Scottsboro, Gadsden and Anniston. Soak in the views of the Talladega National Forest at Cheaha State Park, the state’s highest point at 734 meters. An hour away in Gadsden, walk under the 27-meter Noccalula Falls and enjoy the amenities at the overnight campground. Ride Northeast Alabama’s scenic roads past a distinctive rock outcropping nicknamed Mushroom Rock and explore Little River Canyon National Preserve. Stop to enjoy picturesque cascades at Grace’s High Falls, Little River Falls and DeSoto State Park.

Taking a break from the road to see Grace’s High Falls

Taking a break from the road to see Grace’s High Falls
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Snake Way: A Challenge with Epic Rewards

In the Scottsboro area, travel Jackson County Road 42 to Jackson County Road 39 and experience a portion of roadway nicknamed “Snake Way.” It’s the curviest and steepest road in Alabama with five hairpin turns and incredible elevation changes, all within a 3.2-kilometer section of pavement. Due to its technical nature, this route is reserved for experienced motorcyclists, especially during autumn when the prevalence of falling leaves reduces friction on the roadway. In the spring and summer, the road requires intermediate skill.

A gorgeous overlook along the route to “Snake Way”

A gorgeous overlook along the route to “Snake Way”
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Rockets and Rock ’n’ Roll

Visit Huntsville, home to the world’s largest space museum, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Here, see some (literally) out-of-this-world artifacts including a space rock. Nearby, music fans can rock out in Muscle Shoals, known as the "Hit Recording Capital of the World" – but locals just call it "The Shoals." Visit the historic FAME Recording Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where artists such as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and the Black Keys recorded. If visiting between the months of February and November, plan to stop by the Rattlesnake Saloon for a unique dining experience in this bar, restaurant and live music venue tucked into a cave. This portion of your trip follows the same route as the Trail of Tears annual motorcycle ride, which ends near the Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall a few steps from the Natchez Trace Parkway. These comprise some of the state’s most significant Native American historical sites.

Viewing exhibits, including a moon rock, inside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Viewing exhibits, including a moon rock, inside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
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Motor Museums in Birmingham

Ride through rolling hills, covered bridges and the wide-open roads of Bankhead National Forest as you make your way to Birmingham. Discover the world’s largest collection of motorcycles at Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and learn about the region’s aviation history at the Southern Museum of Flight. Other must-see motor museums in the area include Talladega Superspeedway’s International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Mustang Museum of America in Odenville and the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera.

An incredible array of cars and motorcycles inside the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

An incredible array of cars and motorcycles inside the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
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The Beaches of Mobile and Gulf Shores

U.S. Highway 31 runs parallel to much of Interstate 65 and is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to take the road less traveled. If you follow this route south from Birmingham, you can enjoy fresh seafood and sunsets in Spanish Fort at the mouth of Mobile Bay. Motorcyclists riding through this part of Alabama will find plenty to enjoy, including the Flora-Bama beach bar and the resort cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In historic Mobile, the birthplace of Mardi Gras, top attractions include the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Bellingrath Gardens and Home, and the Mobile Mardi Gras Museum.

Enjoying the white-sand shores of Orange Beach

Enjoying the white-sand shores of Orange Beach
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Getting There

International travelers can reach northern Alabama through Birmingham-Shuttlesworth (BHM) and Huntsville (HSV) airports. In the southern portion of the state, get a connecting flight to one of Mobile's airports, Mobile Regional Airport (MOB) or Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM).

You must have a valid motorcycle endorsement on your international driver’s license to rent a motorcycle in the USA. Eagle Rider Rentals, the exclusive U.S. provider of Harley-Davidson rentals, has locations all over the southeast including in Pensacola; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and New Orleans, Louisiana. You can reserve a motorcycle and take advantage one-way rentals between locations. Also check Riders-Share.com, which lists rentals available from private motorcycle owners. If renting through a private owner, you will need to arrange your itinerary to pick up and drop off the motorcycle at the same location. If you plan to explore by car, rental cars are readily available at international airports.

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