Who says you have to travel far to have an awesome vacation? Alabama is filled with cool cities bursting with awesome attractions; check out our list of the seven Alabama cities you need to visit this summer--no plane ticket required!

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1. Fairhope

You could say that Fairhope is one of Alabama's best-kept secrets. Don't let the city's small-town feel fool you--there is plenty to do in Fairhope. Dining, shopping, craft beer, swimming, music, and more--it's all happening in Fairhope!

Fairhope has its own French Quarter; you'll need to stay all day to check out the many unique boutiques and art galleries. You can even enjoy fresh beignets at Panini Pete's, one of the city's best restaurants.

Check out 5 Rivers, a nature reserve where all 5 of Alabama's Rivers meet as they flow into Mobile Bay. You'll also find breathtaking views of the bay at Fairhope's Municipal Pier, an area that also boasts swimming and picnic areas, marina, walking trails, and a rose garden.

Your trip to Fairhope wouldn't be complete without a visit to Fairhope Brewing Company. Swing by their taproom and enjoy one of their delicious craft brews (I'm a big fan of their "Judge Roy Bean," a particularly awesome stout). Check out their website for more info or to schedule a tour.

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2. Montgomery

Most students visit the state capitol as part of their Alabama History class--but have you been to Montgomery since 5th grade? If the answer is no, you're missing out! You need to take a trip to "The Gump" this summer.

Where else can you ride on a river boat, watch a baseball game, visit the zoo, see history come to life, AND go ice skating in the mall--all in one city?

Montgomery has an incredible arts scene: catch a play at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and tour the city's amazing Fine Arts Museum. Music lovers need to check out the Hank Williams Museum, and literature buffs will need to make a trip to the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, too.

Montgomery's rich history makes for a can't-miss destination: tour the Capitol Building, the Judicial Building, see the many antebellum homes and the Governor's Mansion. Make your visit even more memorable by checking out the Southern Poverty Law Center's Civil Rights Memorial, the Freedom Riders Museum in the city's historic Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Rosa Parks Museum.

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3. Muscle Shoals

Make this the summer that you visit the home of the "Muscle Shoals Sound." The list of artists who've recorded in The Shoals reads like a who's who of music: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Otis Redding,The Black Keys, Wilson Pickett, Lynrd Skynrd, Etta James, The Drive By Truckers, and so many more... While the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio Museum is currently closed for renovations, FAME Music is open and available for tours. Tours of Cypress Moon Studios are available by request, and you can also check out the Alabama Music Hall of Fame while you're in Muscle Shoals.

Make the drive to Tuscumbia to eat at the Rattlesnake Saloon--it's a restaurant INSIDE A CAVE. You'll also want to check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum in Florence, and good news for golfers: they're sure to love the Shoals Golf Club, part of Alabama's famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Nearby Tuscumbia hosts the Helen Keller Festival in June, and Florence hosts the W.C. Handy Festival in July.

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4. Gadsden

Gadsden is a quick trip up I-59, and the city is home to the beautiful Noccalula Falls. Make the trip to see the breathtaking waterfall in person and stay to check out the many attractions the campground has to offer. They have camping sites and cabins available for rental, and the park has an animal habitat, a Pioneer Village, playground, Mini Golf Course, and more--you can even take a train ride to tour the entire park!

Downtown Gadsden has become famous for its renaissance--the area has seen tremendous economic growth and revitalization. Check out one of the many cool shops and stores located downtown and stay for supper--there are so many awesome restaurants you'll have a hard time deciding which one to visit first! Make sure you stop by Back Forty Beer, the Gadsden Craft Brewery that's made a name for itself nationally with beers like their Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale and Trade Days Cuban Coffee Stout.

Other Gadsden sites you don't want to miss: Imagination Place, an interactive learning center for kids, Silver Lakes, and the legendary Top O' The River.

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5. Selma

Selma is a Civil Rights landmark, and one of the most important places in our nation's history. There are few things in the great State of Alabama quite as powerful as standing on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site where, on March 7, 1965, 600 brave men and women were brutally beaten by police and others opposed to the idea that all men and women deserve to be treated as equals.

Selma is home to the National Voting Rights Museum, a special museum devoted to the bravery of the men and women of the Civil Rights Movement, and its sister museum, the Ancient Africa, Enslavement, and Civil War Museum. You can also visit the historic Brown Chapel AME Church and experience the Selma's history in the Voting Rights Movement with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Street Historic Walking Tour.

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6. Huntsville

Make the trip north this summer to check out the Rocket City! Huntsville earned its nickname by helping to put a man on the moon, and it's now home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, one of Alabama's top destinations. Tour the museum to learn about the history of the United States' Space Program and check out a movie in the IMAX Theater. Thrill seekers will flip--almost literally--for attractions like the SlingShot, G Force Simulator, Mars Climbing Wall, and Kid's Cosmos Energy Depletion Zone. If you think the fun's limited to just kids, you're wrong--the Center hosts a Biergarten every Thursday!

Since we're talking about beer, you should know that Huntsville's craft beer scene is growing exponentially. There are seven breweries in the Rocket City--that's enough for Huntsville to have its own beer guide!

Huntsville also boasts a beautiful Botanical Gardens, the Lowe Mill arts & entertainment district, and the Bridge Street Towne Center, one of the coolest shopping centers in the state. Huntsville has a vibrant downtown scene, too--it's filled with cool shops, awesome restaurants, and places to check out live music.

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7. Childersburg 

Did you know that Childersburg, Alabama is the oldest city in America? It's the oldest continually inhabited city in the U.S.A.--dating back to 1540. Brush up on Childersburg's fascinating history and make plans to visit this summer!

Childersburg is home to DeSoto Caverns, a series of underground caves that you just have to see in person. The main room of DeSoto Caverns is twelve stories high and longer than a football field and filled with striking natural formations--in fact, DeSoto Caverns has some of the world's longest continuing accumulations of stalagmites and stalactites. DeSoto Caverns also boasts a Family Fun Park with so many attractions you'd need several days at the park to check them all out; they've got gemstone panning, a 3/4 acre maze, wall climbing, bumper cars and go-karts, a squirt gun maze, a foam falls, a butterfly house, and so much more.

Childersburg is a fisherman's paradise; the city has 570 miles of shoreline on two lakes and the Coosa River. The city is located 30 minutes south of Birmingham; it's a quick trip down US 280.