City Escape: Muscle Shoals, AL

City Escape: Muscle Shoals, AL

Motor out of Muscle Shoals, AL, for this musical motorcycle tour. This outing takes you to two famous recording studios to see where dozens of artists—perhaps even some of your favorites—have recorded hundreds of songs. You’ll also visit a space museum to see what Major Tom got up to in his tin can.

Zipping between the locations, you get to enjoy rural Alabama roads and riverside riding with gorgeous views of the Tennessee River. The ride back west to Muscle Shoals takes you to SR 99, a short but pleasant road with a couple of decent corners. Some of the backroads may have substandard pavement and encroaching gravel. This is a longer route with places to see, so allow a whole day for it.


Approximately 173 miles

Lunch Stop

Stovehouse is a venue built into an old stove factory with various small eateries for many tastes and local crafts shops. You may even catch a musician playing live on stage. Find it at 3414 Governors Dr, Huntsville, AL, (256) 801-2424.

Points of Interest

Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Active at this location between 1969 and 1978, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios was unique as the only recording studio owned by its session musicians. Such names as Simon & Garfunkel and Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded songs here. The studio is now active in a different location and this venue has been turned into a museum with tours. Find it at 3614 Jackson Hwy, Sheffield, AL, (256) 978-5151

FAME Studios

FAME Studios (where the musicians of Muscle Shoals Sounds Studios got their start) has operated continuously since the late 1950s. Although small and far away from major recording locations, the studio has produced many famous artists, from Aretha Franklin to Greg Allman. Find it at 603 East Avalon Ave, Muscle Shoals, AL, (256) 381-0801.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center hosts the most comprehensive collection of American manned spaceflight equipment. On display are such rarities as the Apollo 16 command module, the first American satellite, and the Pathfinder space shuttle. Find it at One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL, (256) 837-3400.