Darley walks over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma
Darley walks over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma

Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail Itinerary

5 days/ 4 nights. Montgomery/ Selma/ Birmingham. Talk with our Preferred Travel Advisor to book this trip or customize it to fit your needs or that of your group!

We recently filmed along Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail for two half hours of our PBS series “Travels with Darley.” With our insider’s knowledge of this important route, let us pair you with the best guides who lived through the Civil Rights Movement to make the most of your adventures along this epic trail. Many of these tour guides were child foot soldiers at the time and participated in the movement, making their stories especially poignant.

Let our preferred Virtuoso travel agent help you with this Darley Vacations booking or have her customize it to meet the needs of you and your group or family.

5 days/ 4 nights $720 USD per person based on double occupancy

Daily inclusions listed below. We are happy to customize this itinerary for you!

Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail Itinerary

We hand-curated this Alabama Civil Rights Trail vacation itinerary based on Darley’s experiences filming for her Emmy Award-nominated PBS series, “Travels with Darley.” The tours, restaurants, hotels and activities are top notch, as is the travel agent putting this together. For travelers who want to take this itinerary and customize it further, we’ve got you covered. This trip will give you personal insights into Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail and its rich history. 

Darley walks over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma

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Darley walks over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma

Day 1: Travel to Montgomery, Alabama

Travel to Montgomery, Alabama and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. You’ll want rental car for this vacation**. Montgomery is just a two hour and twenty minute drive from Atlanta. 

Option 1 Check in at DoubleTree by Hilton*
Option 2 Check in at Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa (**with additional cost)

Dinner Recommendation: Dine tonight at Central Restaurant**, located in the heart of Montgomery’s Downtown entertainment district. Central is proud to be the #1 rated restaurant in Montgomery, AL on Trip Advisor. Local and seasonal ingredients utilizing fresh Gulf seafood, local meats, greens and more, offering a unique approach to comforting classics. Depending on the weather, there may be indoor or outdoor dining options here. 

Day 2: Montgomery Civil Rights Trail

Montgomery City Civil Rights Private Tour Experience* starting at 8am
After breakfast, meet your guide Wanda Battle in the lobby of your hotel. Battle is an inspiring woman, who as a child used to sing during Civil Rights rallies with her sister. Follow Wanda Battle on a tour of the major sites of the Civil Rights Trail featured on “Travels with Darley: Alabama Civil Rights Trail, Episode 2,” such as: 

  • The former Montgomery City Jail
  • First Baptist Church
  • Alabama State Capitol
  • Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
  • Dexter Parsonage Museum
  • The Harris House
  • The Ben Moore Hotel/The Malden Brothers Barber Shop
  • Rosa Parks Apartment
  • Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Holt Street Baptist Church
  • Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

The Legacy Museum** 10:00 am – Central Time – 2 hours
Continue on your own to explore The Legacy Museum (admission not included in package).

Lunch recommendation**: We recommend Pannie George’s Kitchen for Southern style meat and vegetable cuisine. (not included) 

The Memorial for Peace and Justice** or The Freedom Rides Museum at 1:30 pm – Central Time
Take the free shuttle from The Legacy Museum** to The Memorial for Peace and Justice** (runs every 10 min- admission not included in package). Feel like exploring by foot? It is a short 20-minute walk through historic Montgomery from the museum to the memorial. While walking through Montgomery, check out the Black Lives Matter artwork surrounding the fountain, which is just down from the Alabama State Capitol. The Museum and Memorial are two separate sites. The Legacy Museum is an indoor narrative museum with audio, exhibits, art, videos, and comprehensive content about the legacy of enslavement through contemporary issues of mass incarceration. The National Memorial is an outdoor memorial situated on a 6-acre space where visitors walk a path through our history of racial injustice.

The Freedom Rides Museum, located in an old segregated Greyhound Bus Station, is also worth a visit. In 1961 groups of volunteers made history by challenging the practice of segregated travel through the South. They called themselves Freedom Riders as they crossed racial barriers in depots and onboard buses. The 1961 Freedom Riders did not begin or end their journey in Montgomery, Alabama, but their arrival changed the city and our nation.

Michelle Browder Guided Tour: 3:00 pm – Central Time – 2 hours
Join Black artist and activist Michelle Browder and her dog, Nick (featured on “Travels with Darley: AL Civil Rights Trail, Episode 2”) on a path through the history of Montgomery and the Civil Rights Movement. Michelle’s aunt was Aurelia Browder, the plaintiff in the 1956 U.S. District Court case Browder v. Gayle, in which bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional.

Darley with artist and activist Michelle Browder at her mural at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Darley with artist and activist Michelle Browder at her mural at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Some sites on this insider’s tour include:

  • Michelle Browder’s Mural at the Alabama Institute for Social Justice Riverfront Park
  • The Indian/The slave/The colonizers
  • History of Montgomery’s Foundation
  • Hank Williams/ Nat King Cole
  • Civil Rights Memorial
  • Sims Hospital where enslaved women were used as experiments
  • The King’s Canvas
  • The Mothers of Gynecology Monument
  • The Club From Nowhere Art Gallery featuring art by Michelle Browder and women local artists.

Includes Darley’s Vacations special tour souvenirs

  • Michelle Browder’s signature red glasses
  • Art by Michelle Browder
  • Art by Kevin King

Dinner recommendation: Tower Taproom (not included)

Day 3: Selma, Alabama

Check out at your hotel. Drive from Montgomery to Selma 50 min (49.9 mi) via US-80 W.
 
Option 1
Civil Rights Driving/ Walking Tour on your own**

Explore more of Selma on your own. Locations of interest featured on “Travels with Darley: AL Civil Rights Trail, Episode 2.” See and visit some of the sites related to the Civil Rights Movement.
 
We recommend grabbing a coffee at The Coffee Shoppe at 308 Broad St. (say hi to owner Jackie Smith) and walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in your own reenactment of the start of the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March.
  • Brown Chapel AME Church
  • George Washington Carver Homes
  • First Baptist Church
  • Historic District of Selma
  • Edmund Pettus Bridge
  • Tabernacle Baptist Church, at 1431 Broad St.
  • Old Depot Museum at 4, Martin Luther King
  • St. St James Hotel at 1200 Water Ave.
  • Carter Drug Co. at 133 Broad St.
  • Selma Interpretive Center at 2 Broad St.
  • National Voting Rights Museum and Institute at 6, US Hwy 80 East
Lunch Recommendation:
Lunch on own Lannie’s BBQ**, (not included) featured on “Travels with Darley: AL Civil Rights Trail, Episode 2.” This BBQ place is legit!

Option 2 (additional cost)
Meet JoAnne Bland for a guided tour**. Choose from a 1.5 hour tour or a 2.5 hour tour. Bland lived through the Civil Rights Movement and participated as a child foot soldier, including the Selma to Montgomery March over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Don’t miss the opportunity to stand in the footsteps of the ordinary people who not only changed Selma, but this nation. Accompany Bland to visit the last piece of cement left from where marchers gathered on March 7, 1965, known today as “Bloody Sunday.” 

Some sights on this guided tour with Bland include:
● George Washington Carver Homes
● First Baptist Church
● Good Samaritan Hospital
● R. B. Hudson High School
● Selma University
● The Jackson Museum
● Historic District of Selma
● Live Oak Cemetery
● Brown Chapel AME Church

Lunch with a History Maker at McRae-Gaines Learning Center**
The History Makers Lunch is an excellent addition to your journey. All of the History Makers were participants in the Civil Rights Movement and have a wealth of history to share. I do not recommend more than 2 additional History Makers as time will not permit. McRae Learning Center provides lunch. This is a school run by Mrs. JoAnne Bland’s Sister, Mrs. Sadie Moss. The children at McRae test higher than any other students in the state. It is a private school that doesn’t receive much funding, but because Mrs. Moss doesn’t turn any student away, they are constantly scraping for cash. Having lunch at McRae is just one of the ways that Journeys For The Soul supports the school and the community and that you can, too!
Trying good BBQ at Lannie's in Selma.
Trying good BBQ at Lannie’s in Selma.

 

At your convenience, drive to Birmingham. Travel duration: 1 hr 42 min (86.9 mi) via AL-22W and I-65N
 
Check in at Embassy Suites By Hilton Birmingham* (Included)
Option 2 Check in at Redmont Hotel** (with additional cost)
 
Evening on own at leisure. Relax and get ready for tomorrow’s Birmingham Civil Rights District.

Dining recommendations**: Head to the Avondale neighborhood in Birmingham for pizza Post Office Pies and ice cream post dinner at Big Spoon Creamery. For those who like BBQ, check out SAW’s Soul Kitchen. Craft beer lovers may want to have dinner with a view of historic Sloss Furnaces at Back Forty Beer Company

Day 4: Birmingham, Alabama

Explore Birmingham on your own. Spend some time at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a museum that charts the history of the Civil Rights Movement and is located in Birmingham’s Civil Rights District.

These three sites are located across the street from each other.

  • Kelly Ingram Park—Site of 1963 Children’s Crusade
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute** / Civil Rights Museum: this museum is worth at least 2 hours of your time
  • Sixteenth Street Baptist Church**—Site where 4 little girls lost their lives in a tragic bombing on Sunday, September 15, 1963 (make sure to go to the basement to see the clock, pictured below)
    **Entrance fees not included
At the 16th Street Baptist Church, head downstairs to see the clock that stopped at 10:22.
At the 16th Street Baptist Church, head downstairs to see the clock that stopped at 10:22 on the day of the bombing in 1963.

Enjoy lunch on your own at The Pizitz Food Hall** where various food stalls offer Korean, American, Mexican and more. Take a walk through Birmingham’s historic theatre district and Fourth Avenue Historic District. This was the historic black business area and in its heyday, there were more than 27 theaters within a five-block radius. Snap some photos outside of the Carver Theatre, an Art Deco-style theater located at 1631 4th Avenue and home to Alabama’s Jazz Hall of Fame (under renovation), Lyric Theatre and see the iconic Alabama Theatre.

Other Afternoon Recommendations:
Vulcan Park**
Railroad Park- a 19 acre green space in downtown Birmingham that’s great for a stroll

Dinner Recommendations**: Have drinks and dinner with a view of historic Sloss Furnaces at Back Forty Beer Company. If you didn’t visit the Avondale neighborhood last night, consider Post Office Pies and ice cream post dinner at Big Spoon Creamery. For those who like BBQ, check out SAW’s Soul Kitchen.

Day 5: Birmingham Breakfast & Home

Check out at your hotel.

We recommended taking a walk through Railroad Park this morning, a revitalized green space in downtown Birmingham and visiting Hero Doughnuts**, featured on “Travels with Darley: AL Civil Rights Trail, Episode 1.”

Trip Prices & Inclusions

5 days/ 4 nights $720 USD per person based on double occupancy

Daily inclusions listed below. We are happy to customize this itinerary for you!

 
PACKAGE INCLUSIONS FOR 2*
Accommodation
Hotel Embassy Suites Hilton Birmingham
Hotel DoubleTree Hilton Montgomery
Activities
Day 2 Wanda Battle Tour of Montgomery 2 hrs
Day 2 Michelle Browder Tour of Montgomery 2 hrs
Misc.
Civil Rights Trail Certificate & Souvenirs
Meals
Daily breakfast for 2
Taxes and fees
 
PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS**
Optional Tours as Listed with **
Any meal and entrance fee not showing in the inclusions
Gratuities
Personal expenses
Travel Insurance
Airfare and Rental Car Transportation