Alabama Travel Council


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Travel to the Southern United States - Learn More!

Are you ready to get away from it all, travel to a wonderful destination that offers unmatched hospitality, delectable cuisine, first class hotels and resorts, and internationally recognized attractions, festivals and events?! Alabama awaits you!

From the mountains and lakes of North/Central Alabama to the sugar-white beaches lining Alabama's southern Gulf Coast, Alabama offers you an unforgettable dream vacation at an affordable price! Whether you are thinking of a weekend get-away or a two-week excursion, take a few moments and discover why you should treat yourself to an Alabama vacation!


The Alabama Travel Council (ATC) serves as the official private sector representative of Alabama's hospitality and tourism industry. Founded in 1945 as a non-profit trade association, ATC has played, and continues to play, a major role in the growth of the state's number one industry, tourism! Tourism is big business in Alabama. According to the latest Economic Impact Study by the Alabama Tourism Department, more than 22.4 million people visit the state each year, generating over $9.3 billion in expenditures within Alabama and helping to provide more than 169,000 jobs for Alabama families.

Leo Schwaiger stands beside the newly added shrine, Our Lady of Good Help at Ave Maria Grotto

Grotto dedicates new shrine


Cullman, AL  Ave Maria Grotto recently added and dedicated  The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help – Champion, Wisconsin, during a dedication ceremony  at  the 4 acre garden park nestled among the grounds of Alabama’s only Benedictine Abbey, St. Bernard Abbey,  in Cullman.

Ave Maria Grotto  was originally created by Br. Joseph Zoettl, featuring 125 replicas of famous religious shrines from around the world  from an array of items such as:  cement, shells, ceramic tiles, cold cream jars, colored glass, costume jewelry and even marbles .  It  has been a destination stop in Cullman for the past 80 years to thousands of tourist from around the world.

Since the opening of the grotto on May 14, 1934, a local resident and stonemason has added additional shrines to compliment the work of Br. Joseph.    Leo Schwaiger, a longtime employee of St. Bernard Abbey, has spent countless hours maintaining the intricate shrines and tinkering in his workshop to create additional pieces which have been added to the gardens.

While sitting at  a church mission at [Read More]

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