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Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a family vacation, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of outdoor adventures in Alabama.
Frank Jackson State Park in southern Alabama is a popular spot for fishing at Lightwood Knot Creek. In the central part of the state near Pelham, Oak Mountain State Park offers 51 miles of hiking trails and 29 miles of biking trails. Joe Wheeler State Park, west of Athens, is known for watersports at Wheeler Lake and the 18-hole General Golf Course. Gulf State Park boasts two miles of sandy beaches, hiking trails, and a fishing pier that extends over 1500 feet into the ocean. Wind Creek State Park, near Opelika, provides access to Lake Martin and some of the best fishing in the state. Meaher State Park is a favorite of kayakers.
Experience more than 30 miles of trails surrounded by majestic pine trees at Lake Guntersville State Park. In winter you may catch a glimpse of American bald eagles soaring overhead. Cheaha State Park boasts the state’s highest point and several challenging hiking and biking trails. Tuskegee National Forest in Southern Alabama is a prime spot for fishing and observing wildlife. Enjoy boating, swimming and fishing at Lake Tuscaloosa. Anglers love the reservoir for its abundance of largemouth bass, catfish and carp. Monroe County Lake is known for channel catfish, bass and bluegill.
Climbing enthusiasts love Horse Pens 40 near Steele. The nature park spans 115 acres and offers a variety of formations and cliffs ideal for rock climbing. Cherokee Rock Village near Leesburg features stunning views of Weiss Lake from Lookout Mountain. View natural arches, sandstone boulders, caves and slot canyons, or test your endurance on rock climbing and nature trails.
Alabama offers a variety of watersports activities. Explore the Alabama Scenic River Trail and navigate through 631 miles of picturesque scenery. Famous as the longest water trail in the United States, the trail begins at the Georgia/Alabama state line and ends at Fort Morgan. As it winds across nine beautiful lakes, seven rivers and two creeks, the scenery changes from soaring stone cliffs to backcountry bayous.
Bird watching enthusiasts have a wide choice of sites to visit in Alabama. Visit the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island or explore the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. The looping trail winds past the most popular bird watching sports on the Gulf Coast. The North Alabama Birding Trail spans 11 counties and includes 50 prime bird watching sites.
Bankhead National Forest in northern Alabama offers some of the most scenic biking trails in the state. Take a ride past the trees in the fall and enjoy a spectacular display of colorful foliage. Bridgeport Beach attracts dirt bikers for its challenging white sand dunes.
The Gulf Shores area is an outdoor paradise. Play award-winning golf courses, tour wildlife preserves or book a deep-sea fishing trip. Enjoy beach activities on 32 miles of sugar-white sand, try parasailing, or test your surfing skills. The back bays and rivers of Foley are popular for kayaking and canoeing. Enjoy a fun day on the water and a feast of fresh-caught seafood for lunch or dinner. Dauphin Island, three miles south of Mobile Bay, is a 14-mile long barrier island accessible from a high-rise bridge. Featuring 137 acres of maritime forests, marshes and dunes, it also offers a lake, swamp and a beach. Hike the National Recreational Trail and catch glimpses of birds migrating from Central and South America in the spring.
Blount County is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama. Swann Covered Bridge is the longest in the state with a span of 324 feet. It sits above the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River and it is accessible from SR-75, five miles north of Oneonta. Built in 1935 and soaring 70 ft. above the Calvert Prong of the Little Warrior River, Horton Mill Bridge is one of the highest covered bridges in the United States. It’s located west of Cleveland off SR-79. Coldwater Covered Bridge, situated at Oxford Lake Park in Oxford, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it’s the state’s oldest covered bridge. Be sure to follow local rules for pedestrians and motorists when visiting the historic bridges.
When it comes to outdoor adventures, Alabama offers so many fun activities for all ages and interests, you may want to extend your stay.
Set on Highway 63, Plymouth Lighthouse is found at Children's Harbor – a non-profit organization located in southern Alabama. A retreat facility for special needs families, Children’s Harbor is set on Lake Martin – host to the historic lighthouse at Providence Point.
A replica of the famed New England lighthouse of the same name, Alabama’s Plymouth Lighthouse was built in 1989 – and dedicated to Adelia M. Russell in 1990. Set near the Kowaliga Bridge, Plymouth Tower clocks in at approximately 36 feet, with a 39-foot focal plane.
Children’s Harbor is open year 'round, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.
This preserve spans nearly 14,000 acres and offers an array of activities for a day-long excursion. The Northern Alabama destination is situated 40 miles from Gadsden with easy access from SR-35. Go horseback riding in the backcountry or explore the variety of hiking trails, each offering unique views and experiences. Take photos at Little River Falls, a 45-ft. waterfall, or plan a picnic and an afternoon of bird watching. The preserve is home to more than 145 bird species. The Muscle Shoals Heritage Area is worth a visit for Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve. Spanning 713 acres, it’s a fun spot for picnics, hikes and bird watching. Hike to a 60-ft. waterfall, explore 19 historic churches along the Amen Trail, or take a driving tour of the Athens-Limestone County Civil War Trail.
Alabama’s state parks offer a wide choice of outdoor activities for residents and visitors. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park spans 1500 acres in three counties. Enjoy hiking trails that retrace historic routes used by ore miners and furnace workers. Many of the trails lead to historic buildings like the grist mill, cotton gin and pioneer farm. Tour the Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama or enjoy fishing at two creeks stocked with rainbow trout and brim. The park is located off I-59, just 30 minutes from Birmingham.