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What’s a shoal? Plus other frequently asked questions about Florence, AL and the Shoals.

What is Florence, AL and the Shoals known for?

Our area is best known for its place in music history. Many famous musicians, including W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” came from Florence and the Shoals. Florence, Sheffield, and Muscle Shoals are also home to several world-famous recording studios that pumped out hit records and took over the radio waves in the 1960s with the “Muscle Shoals Sound.”

In addition to music history, Florence and the Shoals offer plenty to do and see from outdoor recreation and arts and culture to history and ongoing events and festivals.

What is a shoal anyway?

A shoal is another word for the ridges or banks of sand that build up in bodies of water. The Tennessee River that winds through our area is known for developing these unique, and beautiful landforms.

How did Muscle Shoals get its name?

The town of Muscle Shoals was incorporated on March 7, 1923, but no one really knows how the city got its unique name. Here are a few popular theories:

  • The name Muscle Shoals may refer to the piles of mussel shells commonly found along the shoals of the Tennessee River.
  • The name could refer to the shape of the river, which resembles a flexed arm muscle.
  • The name Muscle Shoals might come from the very difficult task of navigating upstream against the current on the Tennessee River, which requires a lot of “muscle."

What are the top must-see attractions in Florence and the Shoals?

If you are only here for a few days, then some of the top, must-see attractions include:

There’s so much more to discover here too! So check out all the amazing things to do, including suggestions for free and low-cost activities.

What are the best transportation options for getting to Florence, AL?

Florence, AL is within convenient driving distance of several major Southeastern U.S. cities and airports. View our helpful driving directions from nearby cities and also the best airports for flying to Florence and the Shoals.

If you need additional help planning your visit, request a copy of our free visitors guide or stop by our visitors center for help from a local expert!

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Florence & The Shoals