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Southeast Alabama Culture, Arts, Heritage Appeal to Newcomers

Attractions such as the Dothan Opera House, George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum, Wiregrass Museum of Art, the U.S. Army Aviation Museum and the Pioneer Museum of Alabama contribute to Southeast Alabama's cultural attractions.

By John Fuller on October 14, 2014

Southeast Alabama is beautiful on the outside, and it is also full of museums and many other cultural draws that bring people indoors for entertainment. Popular attractions include the Wiregrass Museum of Art, the Dothan Opera House, the George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum, the U.S. Army Aviation Museum and the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

The region also offers a low cost of living, housing affordability, family-friendly communities, progressive local leadership, strong schools, a warm climate and close proximity to the beach.

Cities such as Dothan, Enterprise and Troy have growing retail and restaurant scenes and are concentrating on downtown revitalization. Annual events like the Eufaula Pilgrimage celebrate azaleas, dogwoods and the beauty of Southeast Alabama and its historic homes.

Fresh Air

Natural attractions and recreation activities for outdoor lovers are easy to find, including hiking opportunities at nature preserves like Florala Wetlands Park and Frank Jackson State Park. For hunters, rural Bullock County affords opportunities for tracking deer, fox, wild hog, dove and turkey. Union Springs has even been tabbed Field Trail Capital of the World for welcoming hundreds of bird hunters and their dogs to the region each year. Bullock County also offers good fishing at Wehle Nature Center.

Several lakes are known for their bass fishing, including Sherling Lake in Greenville and the 45,000-acre Lake Eufaula on the Alabama-Georgia state line in Barbour County, which hosts numerous fishing tournaments. Geneva State Forest is the largest state forest in Alabama and welcomes anglers to its 100-acre lake. Pike County Lake, as well as Geneva County Lake, are known for bass fishing, along with bluegill, catfish and crappie.

The nonprofit Alabama Black Belt Adventures promotes outdoor recreation and tourism in the state’s 23-county Black Belt region, which encompasses six counties in Southeast Alabama.

The Black Belt is named for its dark, rich soil that produces nutrient-rich vegetation to support wildlife, and when people mention fishing and hunting in Alabama, they often think of the Black Belt region, says Pam Swanner, director of Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association.

“We brand the region to avid sportsmen and are a key contributor to the economy, with an annual $1 billion economic impact and 11,000 employees working in the Black Belt,” she says.

Swanner says Alabama Black Belt Adventures also markets other outdoor-related activities in the region, including canoeing, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking.

“There are 52 hunting/fishing lodges in the Black Belt, and we have a database of 130,000 people who are kept informed about upcoming events along with outdoor news and activities,” she says. “B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott once described the Black Belt region as a hunter’s paradise, and he added that the fishing is world class. That is certainly true.”

The Club Scene

Also contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Alabama is the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which operates 26 championship courses at 11 different sites throughout the state, including courses in Dothan and Greenville. Over the past 10 years, RTJ Golf Trail has boosted Alabama’s tourism industry revenue from $2.5 million annually to its current $9 million a year.

In Dothan, Highland Oaks on the RTJ Golf Trail features three nine-hole courses named Highlands, Magolia and Marshwood, plus a nine-hole Short Course that has all par 3s. In Greenville, the public is welcome to play a trio of nine-hole RTJ courses named The Loblolly, The Canyon and The Sherling.

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