If you’ve ever met anyone from Alabama, you know the kind of local pride that seems to resonate with its natives. It’s a place with delicious local foods, hot summers, and an abundance of southern hospitality. In general, Alabama residents are known to be friendly and welcoming to outsiders. All of this is especially true in the city of Dothan.
Nestled in the southeastern corner of the state, just miles from the borders of both Florida and Georgia, Dothan offers the convenience and amenities of a larger city while still retaining that special small-town charm. As of the 2020 census, 71,072 people called Dothan home, making it Alabama’s eighth-largest city. It’s an attractive place to live. The cost of living in Dothan is 19.8% lower than the national average, and the median home price is still very affordable at $147,600.
Dothan is great for businesses with friendly tax codes and a central location. With a bustling artistic community, it’s also known as Alabama’s Mural City. And since a quarter of the United States peanut crop is produced in the area, Dothan has been nicknamed “The Peanut Capital of the World.”
A city with all these things going for it is bound to have a diverse array of fun and exciting things for people to do while in town. Downtown festivals, nature reserves, caverns, and amusement parks all help to make Dothan a fun place to be.
Here are 23 of the most fun and exciting things to do in Dothan, Alabama.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Visit Dothan Headquarters
- 2. Peanuts Around Town Tour and Scavenger Hunt
- 3. The World’s Smallest City Block
- 4. National Peanut Festival
- 5. Downtown Murals
- 6. Poplar Head Farmers Market
- 7. George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum
- 9. Wiregrass Museum of Art
- 10. VIP Star-Lite Drive-In
- 11. Southeast Alabama Community Theater
- 12. Dothan Opera House
- 13. Music South
- 14. Cowboys Live Country Music
- 15. Adventureland Theme Park
- 16. Ravenwood Sporting Clays
- 17. Rip Hewes Athletic Complex
- 18. Fun Zone Skating Center
- 19. Water World Water Park
- 20. Landmark Park
- 21. Eufaula Wildlife Refuge
- 22. Majestic Caverns
- 23. Dothan Area Botanical Gardens
1. Visit Dothan Headquarters
For planning a Dothan itinerary for a day of sightseeing or a full week’s vacation, the local tourism office is the place to go. Here you’ll meet a friendly staff who can provide you with all the information, brochures, and maps you’ll need to get started. It’s the best way to make the most of your Dothan visit. You can’t miss the building, either; there’s a giant golden peanut statue out front!
2. Peanuts Around Town Tour and Scavenger Hunt
This has to be one of the most unique ways to get to know the layout of a city. As a tribute to Dothan’s heritage, 50 statues are strategically placed in various places around town. Each four-foot statue is sculpted into the shape of a character – with a twist. They’re all peanuts! There’s a peanut designed to look like Elvis, a shopper peanut in the downtown commercial district, a wise old man peanut, and so many more. See if you can get a picture with all of them!
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3. The World’s Smallest City Block
It won’t take all day to see, but this is a quirky little attraction for road trips. This little square is recognized officially by the Guinness Book of World Records and is nothing more than a few street signs and a granite marker commemorating the site. Still, it’s fun to check out a source of civic pride.
4. National Peanut Festival
Way back in 1938, the Dothan community gathered on a cold November day to hear a speech from Dr. George Washington Carver. He was viewed as a local hero. After boll weevils had destroyed the cotton crop, Carver saved local agriculture by introducing peanuts to the area. Ever since then, the annual peanut festival has brought pride and mirth to the community. It’s held over two weeks each year, featuring rides, contests, beauty pageants, live music, and an inclusive atmosphere for all. It’s the comprehensive celebration of Dothan and the peanut production that helped it thrive.
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5. Downtown Murals
Dothan is known as the Mural City for a reason. The downtown neighborhood features around 20 murals on the walls of local buildings and businesses. One of the perks of the murals is that they are free to view and you can even take the route of the old Mural City Artwalk that used to be held as a community event.
6. Poplar Head Farmers Market
Every Saturday during the summer months, the local farmers converge downtown to sell their fresh, locally-grown produce. It’s certainly better than a grocery store and it’s a great way to support the local farmers that help fuel the Dothan agricultural industry.
7. George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum
In the heart of the city in a building that was once the local bus station, The Carver Museum was founded to celebrate the rich history and contributions of the African American community. The staff here aims to provide an inclusive experience while spreading knowledge to all who visit.
In addition to the artifacts and exhibits, the museum also holds special events like lectures, and the venue is available for rent. While they’ve been closed to the public since the start of the Covid pandemic, private groups can still book tours every day of the week.
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8. U.S. Army Aviation Museum
The American military has a rich history in aviation. The U.S. Army Aviation Museum is about a 40-minute drive from Dothan in Fort Rucker and is considered the premier collection of aircraft exhibits across the entire south. The exhibits chronicle the history of flight with a special focus on how the military has helped to develop and evolve the technology of the industry.
There are sections focused on aircraft for troop and cargo transportation, medical evacuations, armed helicopters, and many more aspects of air travel. Here you can see snapshots of the different eras and feel like you’re experiencing the world of aviation!
9. Wiregrass Museum of Art
Visual art is meant to inspire, challenge, and spark inspiration. A city the size of Dothan will always need its own local art exhibition hall. The Wiregrass Museum has prolific community contributors. There is always something going on here, from family days to classes and workshops, to camps for children and toddlers. They have plenty of parking and are always free to the public. Come marvel at the beauty and talent of Dothan’s artists.
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10. VIP Star-Lite Drive-In
Known for years as the Continental Drive-In, the facility closed down for a few months in 2020 without explanation from the owners and as a great disappointment to the locals. But it was quickly purchased by a company called VIP Cinemas and renamed. Today the drive-in shows movies all year round and can hold up to 800 cars in the facility. It’s perfect for a romantic evening or a family night out on the town.
11. Southeast Alabama Community Theater
The Southeast Alabama Community Theater was founded in 1974 by a group of live theater performers with a mission to serve the community through the performing arts. They wanted a venue where all the talented individuals had an opportunity to perform live for a real audience. Each year, all year, they run theater classes for children and adults alike. Their shows are running constantly, and they even host an annual drama festival. Break a leg!
12. Dothan Opera House
This opera house was built in 1915, and is so well-constructed that the Atlanta Symphony uses it as their recording studio! It’s on the National Register of Historic Buildings, and hosts dance recitals, community theater, business events, and whatever else the community might need to use the facility for. The theater holds 950 people, and it’s no wonder that the Dothan residents have now been enjoying live performances here for over a century.
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13. Music South
What does a city do when the nearest live symphony is over 100 miles away? They form their own of course! Music South is a nonprofit that started in the late 1970s to bring symphony music to the Dothan area. They are the only such group in the city run completely by volunteers who work hard to organize great shows for the people of Dothan and their guests.
14. Cowboys Live Country Music
Yee-Haw! Cowboys have long been considered one of the best country music venues in the entire south! They have a capacity of 350 people, 4 bars, pool tables, and a giant dance floor for a boot-scootin ‘great time. They opened in 1956 and have hosted some legendary country stars over the years from Merle Haggard to Billy Ray Cyrus. It’s a great time for all!
15. Adventureland Theme Park
Who doesn’t love the excitement of a great theme park? Take a trip to Adventureland to experience a ride on the go-karts or bumper boats, challenge friends to a round of miniature golf, work on hitting a fastball at the batting cages, and always enjoy a priceless afternoon of fun with friends or family. The excitement will last all day!
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16. Ravenwood Sporting Clays
Work on your shotgun aim while getting a dose of friendly competition! Ravenwood is just a short drive away from Dothan and is much more than just normal skeet-shooting. Instead, it’s been described as “golf with shotguns.” The clay discs mimic the movements of birds so that sharpshooters can hone their skills for the real thing.
17. Rip Hewes Athletic Complex
If there’s one thing everyone knows about southerners, it’s their dedication to high school football! Rip Hewes is the home stadium of multiple middle schools, prep schools, and high school football teams. The main gridiron has a capacity of 10,000, along with six tennis courts, two softball fields, and a baseball field.
18. Fun Zone Skating Center
The vintage roller rink is a staple of 1970s and 80s America. Fun Zone is here to keep that tradition alive. In addition to the classic skating rink, they also have a rock-climbing wall, laser tag, bumper cars, and a full arcade with both modern and vintage games. So, bring a sense of competition to your day after a fun round of skating. Win some great prizes and bragging rights over your friends!
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19. Water World Water Park
Water World is nicknamed “Dothan’s most exciting beach” for a reason! Sure, it isn’t a beach, but it might as well be one! They have a giant riptide wave pool, multiple water slides, including the popular “Storm Bowl,” and a safe kiddie corner for young kids to enjoy the refreshing water experience. Be sure to rent out one of their cabanas to keep it private for the day.
20. Landmark Park
Landmark Park is not your run-of-the-mill neighborhood park. Sure, there are plenty of open-air and scenic places to stroll, including on a raised boardwalk, but so many unique features. One of the most exciting is a living history farm, displaying what life was like for Dothan residents in the 1890s. While you’re there, you may also want to visit the planetarium, gift shop, or even purchase a yearly membership to enjoy the facility whenever you like.
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21. Eufaula Wildlife Refuge
The Eufaula Wildlife Refuge is about an hour’s drive north of Dothan, but well worth the trip. Wintering birds and wildlife find refuge here across all types of wetlands, forests, grasslands, and open water. The area supports over 300 species of birds and many other animals from mammals to reptiles and amphibians. Nature photographers will have a field day here.
22. Majestic Caverns
Experience the wonder of a beautiful underground cave with hanging columns of natural onyx, sprawling rock, and a natural waterfall! Majestic Caverns does more than just take guests through a tour of the caves. They host live shows, panning for gems, a train ride, and a giant wooden lost trail maze that will keep everyone entertained for hours.
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23. Dothan Area Botanical Gardens
This place is a breath of fresh air. With 50 acres of lush beautiful gardens and a walking path that goes over bridges and serene rivers, you’ll feel relaxed just being here. The impeccably maintained gardens showcase the natural beauty that exists in Dothan. They are open every day during the summer. Come to check out their recently opened butterfly house.
The Peanut Capital of the World is so much more than that. For a medium-sized city like Dothan, there sure are a lot of exciting attractions and activities to keep residents and visitors alike occupied for weeks on end. For a little southern hospitality, strong history, civic pride, and excitement, Dothan is a great destination for all.