Introduction to Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Muscle Shoals, Alabama, in Colbert county, is 40 miles W of Decatur, Alabama (center to center) and 110 miles SW of Nashville, Tennessee. Part of the surrounding Florence metro area, the city is not an isolated city. Muscle Shoals is home to some 11,924 residents.

Muscle Shoals History

Muscle Shoals was first inhabited by the Indians. The city is so named because piles of mussel shells were found in the area. However, some believe the shape of the Tennessee River looks like the muscle of a man's arm. It was originally a farm land. In the early 1900s, a few houses were built in the cotton fields. The construction of the Wilson Dam started in 1918. The area was incorporated on April 24, 1923, and George McBride was the first Mayor of Muscle Shoals.

Muscle Shoals and nearby Attractions

  • Funland Water Park
  • Victory Missionary Baptist Church
  • Shoals Plaza Shopping Center
  • North Alabama State Fair Park
  • Riverfront Park
  • Children's Museum of the Shoals

Things To Do In Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals organizes several annual events such as the Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride, Recall LaGrange, Helen Keller Festival, W.C. Handy Music Festival, and Alabama Renaissance Fair. The city is home to the latest edition of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. You can also visit the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Ivy Green-Home of Helen Keller, Natchez Trace Parkway, Indian Mound, and the Birthplace of W.C. Handy. Muscle Shoals also offers great fishing opportunities because it is surrounded by Pickwick Lake, Wilson Lake, and Wheeler Lake.

Muscle Shoals Transportation

The nearest airport is Northwest Alabama Regional Airport.

Muscle Shoals Higher Education

Northwest Shoals Community College, University of North Alabama, John C. Calhoun State Community College, and other colleges and universities offer higher educational facilities.


Total Population 13,492
Male Share of the Population 48.7%
Female Share of the Population 51.3%
Senior Citizens 16.4%
Employed Population 16+ 5,687
Age of the Population 41


% of people married 54%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 27.8%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $60,851
% Above Poverty Level 89.3%
% Below Poverty Level 10.7%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 20 minutes
% Working from Home 2.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 0.7%
% Using Public Transportation %


People Living Alone 28.9%
Median Gross Rent $643
Median House Value $128,700


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 33.3%
US/American 0%
English 6.3%
Irish 10.1%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Muscle Shoals Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 40 miles W of Decatur, Alabama (center to center)
Nearest Large City 110 miles SW of Nashville, Tennessee
County Colbert
Metro Area Florence
Standard Zip Codes 35661
P.O. Box Zip Codes 35662
Phone Area Codes 256
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 34.744
Longitude -87.667

Muscle Shoals Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 3.9 miles
Jan Temp 31 to 49 F
Apr Temp 49 to 72 F
Jul Temp 70 to 91 F
Oct Temp 49 to 74 F
Annual Precip 55.8 inches
Distance 16.2 miles
Jan Temp 28 to 50 F
Apr Temp 44 to 72 F
Jul Temp 66 to 90 F
Oct Temp 45 to 74 F
Annual Precip 57.2 inches
Station ATHENS 2
Distance 39.1 miles
Jan Temp 28 to 48 F
Apr Temp 47 to 71 F
Jul Temp 67 to 90 F
Oct Temp 47 to 73 F
Annual Precip 58.3 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Florence 39,855 $51,713
Killen 1,177 $61,974
Leighton 859 $32,778
Sheffield 9,074 $41,922
Town Creek 998 $38,250
Tuscumbia 8,537 $53,941

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Muscle Shoals Public Libraries

Muscle Shoals Public Library
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
(256) 386-9212

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Muscle Shoals Hospitals

(Government - Hospital District or Authority)
(256) 386-1601
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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Muscle Shoals High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 710 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.4

A Vocational School

Muscle Shoals Colleges

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