Alabama’s Spring Break destinations

Weary students and their equally winter-worn parents look forward to March and a little break from early classes, homework, projects, and deadlines. The pandemic has added stresses like virtual learning, quarantines, and limited extracurricular activities. With restrictions and safety recommendations limiting long-distance trips, Alabama has perfect Sweet Home getaways for spring break 2021. From the mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, here’s a roadmap (and a few tips for sneaking in some fun ways to learn something new) for the perfect spring break journey within a few hours’ drive.

The Beaches

Spring break and beaches are a perfect combination. If you’re looking for a lot of sand and some warm rays, Alabama beaches outshine their rivals. From Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island, there’s a perfect spot on the sand for your chair and cooler.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the spring break meccas for beachgoers and offer all the high-rise condos, beach bars, and amusements you could want. Make a point to visit the fully restored Lodge at Gulf State Park. It’s worth checking out how architects worked their magic to build an environmentally friendly resort that conserves the natural beauty of the beach.

Tip: Open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, the Gulf State Park Interpretive Center offers visitors a glimpse at how the park is preserving the environment and natural resources and what simple steps they can take to do the same when they return home.

Fort Morgan is a family-friendly beach community with a good mix of beach cottages and condos located on the Gulf or Mobile Bay. Once sparsely populated and miles from restaurants, Fort Morgan now has ample beachside and bayside dining. Dog-friendly beaches allow the family’s best friend to enjoy spring break, too.

Tip: Visit historic Fort Morgan located at the end of Alabama Highway 180. (You can’t miss it!) Built between 1819 and 1833, the fort played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864 and was used through the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. As a day trip, consider taking the Mobile Bay Ferry from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island. The island is home to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and its public aquarium.

Point Clear

On the eastern shore of Mobile Bay – about 45 minutes north of the Gulf beaches – sits what many call the jewel of Alabama’s resorts. The Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa, built in 1847, has been named on many national lists of best resorts with its tradition of southern hospitality that entices guests to return. Swimming (there’s even a beach), fishing, biking, fine and casual dining, kids’ activities, an award-winning spa, tennis, and golf are all part of the Grand experience. Shopping and lunch in the quaint nearby city of Fairhope is a fun excursion.

Tip: Visit the historic cemetery on the Grand Hotel property where both Union and Confederate soldiers are at rest. If you like unusual places, take a short drive to the Hermit House in Montrose, just outside of Fairhope. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the one-room, dome-shaped hut was built in 1928 by Henry Stuart, an Englishman, whose habits led to his title the Hermit of Montrose. The hut is located in the parking lot of an office complex at 22787 U.S. Highway 98 on property owned by Ashurst Niemeyer Real Estate.

City Lights

If the spring temps at the beach are not your style, Birmingham offers a great spring break alternative with fun attractions for kids young and old. Tripping.com lists the Magic city among its 8 Best Spring Break Destinations in Alabama. You’ll definitely find something to fit everyone’s idea of spring break fun at top-ranked hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

As you would expect in a big city, experiences are larger than life. Kids of all ages enjoy the McWane Science CenterBirmingham Zoo, TopgolfBarber Vintage Motorsports Museum, and Autobahn Indoor Speedway. After a busy day of spring breaking, the Magic City will tempt you with internationally recognized restaurants, fun pizza joints, and brewpubs. Treat yourself to a stay at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in nearby Mountain Brook for an out-of-the-ordinary experience. The hotel features an eclectic décor, an art gallery, a cooking school, and a spa.

Tip: Work in a little spring break history lesson by visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail – that features a rendition of a segregated city from the 1950s, a replica of a Freedom Riders bus, and the actual door from the jail cell that held Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mountain Views

Alabama’s mountains are known for attracting “leaf peepers” in search of autumn color, but spring is the best time for cool-weather hikes to explore the peaks. From Monte Sano Mountain near Huntsville to Cheaha Mountain in east Alabama, you can climb every mountain your energy level will allow. Cheaha is the state’s highest point at 2,407 feet above sea level and is part of the Talladega National Forest. Cheaha State Park accommodations include a lodge, cabins, chalets, and campgrounds.

Mentone is a popular spot for outdoor mountain fun. Located in Alabama’s northeast corner, this resort town is on the rim of Lookout Mountain. Visitors enjoy 104-foot DeSoto Falls in DeSoto State Park where there is camping, biking, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and rappelling.

Off the beaten path near the northwest Alabama town of Phil Campbell is Dismals Canyon. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975, the canyon has a 1.5-mile hiking trail at its floor where you discover grottos, caverns, and waterfalls. After dark, a guided flashlight tour of the canyon reveals bioluminescent creatures called dismalites that light up the canyon walls. The Dismals Canyon also contains one of the oldest primeval forests east of the Mississippi River.

Tip: If you’re driving between Birmingham and the north Alabama mountains on a pretty day, take a side trip through Blount County to see three of Alabama’s 11 remaining covered bridges. Old Easley, Horton Mill, and Swann covered bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Yes, you can drive across the bridges, but very slowly. 

Whatever route you take, Alabama’s spring break destinations are sure to lead you to discover there truly is no place like Sweet Home Alabama. Enjoy the journey.

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

3 hours ago

Huntsville City Schools will go on with its vaccination clinic for minors without parental consent

Americans have been bombarded with requests, pleas, shaming and excoriations about how you must get vaccinated.

I bought in, and I think I may have even jumped the line accidentally. I also have a three-year-old, and I don’t envision a scenario where I rush him out to get a vaccine. If he were 14, 18 or 24, I wouldn’t pressure him to get vaccinated. If he were over 18, what could I do?

But if he were 14? That’s a no from me.

Schools in Alabama disagree, and at least one school system doesn’t care what you think.

Madison, Birmingham and Huntsville schools have all taken up the task of vaccinating your kids even though doctors, pharmacies and Wal-Mart have vaccines readily available.

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In the coverage of the Huntsville vaccinations, the Alabama Media Group article specifically states that Huntsville City Schools will not require parental consent for those over 14.

Students under 14 must have a parent or guardian accompany them for the vaccine, according to the announcement on the Huntsville schools website. Everyone receiving the vaccine must present a legal form of identification including a driver’s license, passport, non-drivers ID, or a birth certificate. Participants must sign a consent form prior to receiving the vaccine and must register online in advance to receive the vaccine.

To put it simply — your 14-year-old can decide to take an experimental vaccine without your knowledge.

This is a betrayal of parents by Alabama schools.

They don’t care.

Keep in mind that this is happening as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still looking at the impact of the vaccine on young people.

Even the World Health Organization thinks this is a bad idea.

Some Alabama lawmakers are taking note.

State Senator Sam Givhan appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” and suggested the school systems should hit pause.

Explaining that just vaccinating everyone who shows up without parental consent is just a bad practice, Givhan said, “They don’t have everyone’s full medical history, and they don’t know the unique situations from certain kids. … And I just don’t think the high school should be giving these shots when, you know, you could actually cause someone to have medical problems from this, and then they’ll hide behind their state immunity shield and say you can’t sue them.”

Obviously, it is entirely possible that no children have been vaccinated without parental consent, but how would we know?

Huntsville City Schools seems hell-bent on continuing this. Attempts to speak to the school board we unsuccessful.

The board said in a statement, “We appreciate the invitation. Please see the information below surrounding the vaccine clinic. We have nothing more to add at this time.”

The gist is this: “Sorry, not sorry. We will vaccinate your kids without your permission. What are you going to do about it?”

The answer is people with means are going to either change these schools or flee American schools more than they already have.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

5 hours ago

Guest opinion: ‘For the People Act’ was always a bad idea

For months, we have been inundated with stories of a federal proposal named by the Democrat Party as the “For the People Act.” Upon closer examination of this mammoth piece of legislation, it should be renamed the “From the People Act” because this legislation clearly seeks to take the election process out of the hands of the American people. As a former probate judge, I see this for what it is – a federal attempt to take over our elections in violation of the United States Constitution.

The number of things wrong with this “Act” could fill a novel, but the most troubling aspects of this historical attempt to alter our elections and change the fabric of our nation include:

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Automatic voter registration — The bill mandates that individuals who have interaction with certain government offices would be automatically registered to vote, but there is no mandate in the bill to only limit that registration to American citizens with the right to vote. Therefore, an individual who goes to the DMV for a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote, even if a felony has eliminated their right to vote or if they are not a citizen of the United States. The same holds true for those interacting with other government offices for assistance with a variety of services. Democrats argue that is not the intent of the provision but still refuse to establish any voter eligibility verification requirements in their proposal.

Funding of political campaigns — This act would divert money collected from fines of corporations from the nation’s general budget to a fund that would be specifically earmarked for the funding of political campaigns. This newly created “Freedom From Influence Fund” will serve as the exclusive source of funds for all federal public financing programs of political candidates. The idea that this bill increases funding for political campaigns from our government’s coffers is sickening. Our government has a gargantuan debt but this bill seeks to collect fines and, rather, than devote them to paying down that debt, diverts them to the accounts of political candidates. Absolutely mindboggling.

The list of problems with this proposal goes on and on and, although the proposal appears to be at a dead end now, it will rear its ugly head again. “We the People” must remain aware of attempts, such as these, to undermine our Democracy and we must oppose such measures at every turn.

Wes Allen currently represents Pike and Dale Counties in the State House of Representatives.

9 hours ago

Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Regions has added Joia M. Johnson to its board of directors, according to a release from the company.

Johnson will serve on the boards of Regions Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, Regions Bank, beginning on July 20.

She arrives at her new responsibilities having recently retired as chief administrative officer, general counsel and corporate secretary for Hanesbrands Inc., a leading apparel manufacturer and marketer.

Charles McCrary, chairman of the Regions Financial Corp. and Regions Bank Boards, believes Johnson’s experience will be a valuable addition to the board.

“Joia’s leadership experience, both at the corporate level and in various board roles, will add greater depth and insights to the Regions Board of Directors as we advance policies and strategies to benefit our customers, associates, communities, and shareholders,” McCrary explained.

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Johnson added that she sees that experience as an asset in assisting the company achieve its vision for growth.

“I believe the breadth of my corporate experience and civic engagement will complement the additional experience and skills reflected throughout Regions’ current directors,” she stated. “As the company focuses not just on continuous improvement but also on long-term, sustainable growth, I am thrilled to become a part of building on Regions’ history of success – while also defining a very bright future for the organization and the people and communities we serve.”

McCrary also noted the alignment between Johnson’s unique skill set and the company’s mission.

“The Regions mission is to make life better for the people we serve, and we accomplish that mission by creating shared value for all of our stakeholders,” he remarked. “With her passion for strong governance and strategic community engagement, Joia will help us build on our progress and reach new heights in the years to come.”

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Duke University, Johnson earned a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Johnson’s financial services experience includes on the board of Global Payments Inc., a Fortune 500 payments technology company and eight years as a board member for Crawford & Company, which specializes in insurance claims administration.

Upon her installment, Johnson will serve on Regions’ 13-member board which will consist of 12 independent outside directors.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

9 hours ago

State Rep. Oliver: Combatting Critical Race Theory in Alabama is ‘the way we stand up to woke-ism’

Republicans have made taking on so-called Critical Race Theory a priority in recent weeks claiming such philosophies are an effort to undermine cultural norms and indoctrinate in a way that benefits the Democratic Party.

Florida, Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma have banned the theory from their public school classrooms. Many would like to see Alabama follow suit, and there have been bills filed for the legislature’s 2022 regular session to do as much. One of those bills is being brought by State Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville), who takes it beyond the classroom and applies restrictions throughout state government.

Oliver discussed the bill during Tuesday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show” on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5.

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“[I]’ve got a bill that’s fairly unique, and we expect it to go through the state government committee,” he said. “My bill actually covers any state agency, its contractors and subcontractors, to include schools. We felt like it was important to address this issue with a holistic approach.”

“The first thing is deciding what you don’t want taught,” Oliver continued. “That’s the most important piece. And I would like to say, this bill, it absolutely describes what we don’t want taught — it doesn’t mean that you can’t teach inclusion or diversity. It means you can’t teach some things as fact and then we’re not going to teach our kids that one sex or race is better than another. And in a nutshell, that is the crux of it.”

The Tallapoosa County lawmaker said his effort could serve as a bulwark against a creeping effort to indoctrinate.

“[I]t’s the way we stand up to woke-ism,” Oliver declared. “If we’re ever going to draw a line in the sand, Critical Race Theory is it. I say that not because I’m the smartest guy in the world or this is something I’ve thought all my life, but I’ve got a child that goes to a major university in the state. And I am absolutely appalled by what I’ve witnessed there the last three years with my child. If you don’t think universities are indoctrinating your kids, everybody needs to wake up.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

10 hours ago

Manufacture Alabama backs Ainsworth for reelection

As Alabama maintains its status among the top states in the nation for manufacturing, the industry’s dedicated trade association has made its choice for lieutenant governor.

Manufacture Alabama has given its full support to Will Ainsworth in his bid for reelection to the office, according to a release from the group.

George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama, cited Ainsworth’s background in manufacturing and knowledge of its key issues in announcing the endorsement.

“Manufacture Alabama is endorsing Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth for reelection due to his commitment to maintaining a business-friendly environment in Alabama,” Clark said. “Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth grew up in the manufacturing industry and understands firsthand that our members are the backbone of the state and nation’s economy. He is a friend to our association and a tireless advocate for manufacturers across Alabama. In his leadership role, it is clear that he is dedicated to serving his home state with enthusiasm and integrity. We are proud to give him our full endorsement for the reelection of Lieutenant Governor.”

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Ainsworth, who has now picked up a string of endorsements from trade associations, believes the state’s successes in manufacturing are something that can continue.

“I am proud to have the endorsement of Manufacture Alabama,” he stated. “Our tremendous manufacturers are sources of good-paying 21st century jobs for hardworking Alabamians, and the goods and materials they produce are integral across a broad range of sectors. Alabama is open for business, and I’m firmly committed to making our state the workforce engine of the Southeast so we can continue to grow jobs through expansion and recruitment. Working together, I am confident we will build an even stronger Alabama for our children and our children’s children.”

The manufacturing industry employs more than 250,000 people in Alabama, a figure which makes up a double-digit percentage of the state’s workforce.

Ainsworth announced his reelection campaign earlier this month.

Since that time, he has received the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association, the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers Association and U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Ainsworth: Huntsville preferred location for Space Command ‘based on merit and based on policies’

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia