Alabama both is and is not the place you might expect. This is demonstrated by the fact that both country-music singer Hank Williams Sr. and the U.S. space program originated there.

On one hand, Alabama retains a rural and distinctly southern character. It embraces classic traits of the Deep South, including a love of country music, stock-car racing and antebellum history. The state's past is on display in everything from Native American burial mounds to sprawling mansions to museums and monuments that commemorate the struggles of the Civil Rights movement.

On the other hand, Alabama has several modern attractions that set it apart from some of its neighbors. Huntsville is home to the U.S. Space Camp and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center—both of which spring from the city's key role in NASA space explorations. And the renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a string of courses spanning the state, has made Alabama a must-play destination for golfers who love challenging holes and beautiful scenery.

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