Alabama gives away exotic getaways

If you have a preconceived notion of what the state of Alabama is all about, you’re probably wrong. And the Alabama Tourism Department has launched a promotion to prove it.

Some years ago, I spent several weeks in Mobile while working with the federal government’s disaster relief effort following a series of hurricanes. This born-and-bred Yankee was honestly surprised by how urbane and interesting the city was compared to my preconceived notions. Now, you have a chance to find out for yourself.

The rich history of the South
From now through August 24, the Alabama Tourism Department is running a Road Trip Giveaway and will award prizes of six road trips, each highlighting a different aspect of the state.

The trips include a family fun package in Huntsville, a beach getaway to Gulf Shores, a romantic escape to historic Mobile, a chance to rock out at Muscle Shoals, the opportunity to eat your way across epicurean Birmingham, or play as much golf as you can squeeze into two days in Montgomery.

Golf in Montgomery
“This road trip promotion is designed to highlight the variety of travel experiences available in Alabama,” Lee Sentell, state tourism director, said in the statement announcing the promotion.

Each trip has a specific entry period. Entries for the family fun vacation will be accepted through July 20, followed by the beach getaway from July 21 through 27, the romantic escape from July 28 through Aug. 3. Entries for the rock ‘n’ roll vacation will be accepted Aug. 4 through 10, the epicurean experience Aug. 11 through 17, and the golf vacation Aug. 18 through 24.

Rock 'n' roll at Muscle Shoals
In addition, the grand finale will be the awarding of a Grand Prize: the opportunity to plan a customized Alabama road trip with the assistance of an Alabama-based travel agent.

Each of the six road trips includes a $750 gift card to cover transportation expenses, two nights' lodging at upmarket hotels, admission to various attractions and, in many cases, gift cards to local specialty shops and stores.

Entries for the grand prize drawing will be accepted from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1. The winner will have the opportunity to create their own perfect Alabama road trip, with a value of just shy of $5,000. Winners have one year to complete the travel or will forfeit their prize.

If you’re interested, mark your calendar (OK, set a reminder in Outlook or on your smart phone; who uses calendars any more?) and enter during the period specified.

Prize package descriptions, complete rules and instructions on entering are available at

Good luck!

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Photos courtesy Alabama Tourism Department
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