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Hartselle Enquirer

This fall, see all Alabama has to offer

By Staff
Rep. Ronald Grantland, Guest Columnist
Relief from the heat is in sight. Temperatures are slowly dropping and by the end of the month, it should feel great outside. With the pleasant change in the temperature comes the opportunity to get out and enjoy another beautiful Alabama autumn. Even though the Labor Day holiday has come and gone, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a nice weekend get-away or experience all that our state has to offer.
Each year, the Alabama Department of Tourism and Travel has a theme to highlight key areas that make Alabama unique. This year has been dubbed “The Year of Outdoor Alabama,” and with good reason. The fact is that Alabama offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, and what better time to take advantage of it than in the middle of the gorgeous fall weather.
Our state is only beginning to harness all of the resources it has been blessed with and is creating its own homegrown tourism industry. And tourism dollars translate into a better Alabama. Almost every penny generated by tourism tax revenue goes to the General Fund and helps improve our highways, pay our state troopers, and fund important services such as Mental Health, and the Department of Human Resources.
Whether it’s natural phenomena, such as the Moundville Archaeological Parkon the banks of the Black Warrior River or De Soto Caverns in Childersburg, many attractions offer a nice blend of fun and learning for the entire family. For those who enjoy outdoor festivals,Alabama offers plenty. From the annual Jubilee Festival in Baldwin County to the Big Spring Jam in Huntsville, a wide variety of festivals will be taking place across the state all month long.
Our state also offers a wide variety of events for the sports enthusiast. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, funded by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, is a series of world-renowned public golf courses throughout the state and offers first-class golf at a reasonable price. The rest of the country has taken notice and praised our “highways to fairways” plan. In fact, the New York Times described the Trail as “some of the best public golf on earth.”The courses are located throughout the state in Mobile,Dothan,Greenville,Prattville, Auburn-Opelika, Anniston-Gadsden,Hoover,Birmingham,Huntsville, and Florence. None of the sites on the trail is more than few hours apart, and all are located on or near a major interstate or highway.
However, golf isn’t the only thing for sporting and wildlife lovers. Whether you’re a serious fisherman or just looking for an enjoyable way to spend a fall afternoon, the Alabama Bass Trail offers some of the best fishing and can provide memories that will last a lifetime. If watching wildlife is more your speed, the Alabama Coastal Bird Trail provides 50 sites throughout the coastal region around Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and offers the chance to see both rare and magnificent birds that are indigenous to Alabama.
More importantly, the attractions don’t end any time soon. Throughout the fall, many other events will be taking place in the state such as the National Shrimp Festival in early October, the Kentuck Arts Festival in Northport in late October, and the well-renowned National Peanut Festival in Dothan in early November.
Although it may not feel like it, soon the leaves will begin to turn. Fall is a wonderful chance to experience Alabama's beautiful fall foliage, which is also some of the best anywhere in the nation. Beginning October 1, the Department of Tourism will begin updating the leaf conditions in most of Alabama's state parks on their website, www.800alabama.com.
Whether helping provide jobs to over 150,000 across the state, or generating billions for the state economy, tourism is very important to Alabama. By vacationing in state, and getting the word out about all that Alabama has to offer, you can do your part in helping provide a better Alabama for us all.

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