With 22 state parks across the state, Alabama state parks are outstanding locations for a fun and relaxing getaway. Stay a day or stay a week, there are locations and activities for everyone, close to everywhere.
Alabama's state parks feature beaches and mountains, rolling hills, rivers, forests, lakes, and historical areas. The state parks in Alabama are family friendly - many parks have playgrounds and picnic areas, as well as developed and electric campsites. Some of the activities you can enjoy in the parks include: biking, hiking, boating, camping, swimming, fishing, golf, horseback riding, family fun, and relaxation! Use this guide to plan your next adventure in your own backyard!
The Alabama Parks app includes these awesome state parks:
Bladon SpringsBladon Springs was named for the original patentee of the property, John Bladon. James Conner opened the property to the public as a spa in 1838 after the mineral springs' "curative" properties began to become well known in the area. The springs were analyzed by a state geologist in 1845 and found to contain sulfur, iron, magnesium, and calcium. By this time the grounds contained many small cottages, with a capacity for 100 guests.
In 1846 a grand Greek Revival style hotel with a two-story veranda across the full length of the front was constructed as the center piece of the spa. The hotel's two main floors were supported by a full raised brick basement level. The hotel had a capacity for 200 guests. It was one of the largest wooden hotels ever built in Alabama. The hotel featured such amenities as a large ballroom, a bowling alley, a billiard room, a hotel bar in the basement level, and even a skating rink. Surrounding the hotel was a latticed pavilion over the principle spring, bath houses, a large latticed pergola, and croquet grounds. The springs, along with the hotel and spa, earned Bladon Springs the nickname "Saratoga of the South."
In time a small town, also named Bladon Springs, developed around the hotel and spa. It featured many large homes built as summer residences by people from other parts of the state and elsewhere. The hotel continued to operate, though limited in scope, during the American Civil War. By 1870 it was once again in full operation. After the turn of the century, when mineral springs began to diminish in popularity, the hotel and spa fell on hard times and eventually closed. The empty hotel was used as sleeping quarters for logging crews and others until 1934 when the state purchased the property. The state then converted the hotel into apartments for use by state employees, until the hotel burned down in 1938. All of the cottages were eventually demolished or moved. The pavilion over the main spring was the only structure remaining by 1960. Today the only reminder of the site's history is the springs themselves.
Blue SpringsBlue Springs State Park is a 103 acres (0.42 km2) Alabama state park 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Clio. The centerpiece of the park is a clear blue underground-fed spring in which visitors can swim.
Buck's PocketBuck's Pocket State Park is located on Sand Mountain in the northeast of the U.S. state of Alabama near Grove Oak, Alabama and Guntersville Lake. This secluded 2,000 acre (8 km2) park is in a natural pocket of the Appalachian Mountain chain, on an upstream tributary of Lake Guntersville. The park's picnic area has a canyon rim natural vista into the pocket below, and the park has an improved campground, complete with tables, grills, shelters, laundry, comfort station, playground and hiking trails. A boat launch and fishing area are also provided seven miles downstream at Morgan's Cove on Lake Guntersville.
Cathedral CavernsCathedral Caverns State Park is located in northern Marshall County, Alabama, southeast of the town of Woodville. The cave was first developed as an attraction by Jay Gurley in the late 1950s. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in June 1972.
The Cathedral Caverns entrance opening measures 128 feet (39.0 m) wide and 25 feet (7.6 m) high. The Caverns is approximately 11,000+ feet (3,350 m+) surveyed and explored cave with 8 feet (2.44 m) wide concrete walkways that are wheelchair accessible.
Cathedral Cavern is a Karst cave and has a large stalagmite forest. The cave system holds 4 world records.
The cavern claims numerous notable features:
- the widest entrance of any commercial cave in the world - 25 feet tall and 128 feet wide.
- the largest column in the world. Goliath measures 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference.
- the largest flow stone wall which is 32 feet tall and 135 feet long.
- the most improbable formation in the world. A 3 inch diameter stalagmite rises at a 45 degree angle from a rock formation to the cave ceiling 25 feet above.
- a Big Room, which is 792 feet long and 200 feet wide.
The Mystery River flows through the cavern. Due to limited outflow, the cave is subject to flooding after heavy rain.
Mr. Gurley maintained the cave as a tourist attraction from 1959 to 1974. The cave was sold in 1975 at an auction. The State of Alabama bought the cave in 1987 with the intent to reopen the site as a state park. After funding delays, restoration work actually began in 1995. In May 2000, the Cavern re-opened to the public.
In 1995, Cathedral Caverns provided the cave settings for the Disney Studios film Tom and Huck especially where the vicious Injun Joe (Eric Schweig) falls into an enormous chasm.
Archaeological excavations at the mouth of Cathedral Caverns have indicated occupation by Native Americans 2,000 years ago, and perhaps as early as 8000 B.C.
CheahaCheaha State Park is a 2,799-acre (11.33 km2) state park in Alabama, located in northern Clay and southwestern Cleburne counties. Park facilities include a lodge, restaurant, general store, campsites, hiking trails (the Pinhoti Trail system weaves its way through the Talladega National Forest to Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama.), and other amenities. It is Alabama's oldest continuously operating state park.
The park was first opened to the public in 1933, after the state acquired the property. Although it was open, the first six years saw a joint effort by the state and the National Park System that allowed for construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps of Cheaha Lake and its stone bath house, eleven stone cabins, two stone pavilions, Bunker Tower, and the Bald Rock Group Lodge. This first phase of construction was completed in 1939. A new hotel, restaurant, and five chalets were added in 1973. These facilities were restored and renovated in 1997.
Cheaha features a variety of campsites. It has 73 modern campsites that include water, electric, sewer hookup, a picnic table, grill, and bathhouses. It has 11 semi-primitive campsites with picnic tables, grills, and a bathhouse. In addition there are primitive campsites near Cheaha Lake. The park includes day-use areas for picnicking, fishing, and hunting. Cheaha Lodge has 30 hotel rooms with a swimming pool. The stone Bald Rock Group Lodge is used for conferences and weddings.
The highest point within the park is marked with Bunker Tower, a stone building with an observation deck on top. Near the peak is Bald Rock, which was recently improved with a wheelchair-accessible wooden walkway that provides an overlook of the surrounding region.
ChewaclaChewacla State Park is a 696-acre (2.82 km2) state park in Auburn, Alabama. It is located just south of Interstate 85 in Lee County, Alabama.
Chewacla State Park has eight hiking trails in varying degrees of difficulty, a mountain bike trail, and a tree identification trail.
The Sweet Shrub Trail features some interpretative displays and begins at the Lower Shelter, makes a loop and returns to the Lower Shelter. The Boy Scout Trail begins on the west side of the stone bridge and runs into the Sweet Shrub Trail. The Troop 30 Boy Scout Trail begins on the north side of the stone bridge on Murphy Drive. This trail follows Moore’s Mill Creek to the boundary of the park. It may be followed to the park boundary or the creek may be crossed on one of the rock dams to follow the trail back to Murphy Drive. The Eagle Scout Trail branches off from the Troop 30 Boy Scout Trail on the east side of Chewacla Lake and terminates on the logging road across from the Walnut Shelter. The Deer Rub Trail features steep terrain and begins at the Upper Pavilion and follows Chewacla Creek to the Walnut Shelter. The Loop Road Trail leads to Chewacla Falls and is a paved trail. The Mountain Laurel Trail begins at the Upper Pavilion area, goes down to Chewacla Falls and then follows Chewacla Lake. The Mountain Bike Trail loops around the upper portion of Murphy Drive.
The park has six renovated Civilian Conservation Corps-era stone cabins. feature hardwood floors, stone fireplaces, bathrooms, and modern kitchens. Cabins have central heating and cooling systems. The cabins are available year around and require reservations.
ChickasawChickasaw State Park is a 520-acre (2.1 km2) state park in Marengo County, Alabama. It is located 3 miles north of Linden, Alabama. The park is midway between Tuscaloosa and Mobile.
The park features hiking trails, a wading pool for children, playground equipment, and restrooms. Picnic facilities include a barbecue grilling pavilion, other large pavilions and scattered picnic tables. The park adjoins a handicapped-accessible, state-operated hunting facility.
DeSotoDeSoto State Park is located near in Northeast Alabama, near Fort Payne. Named after Hernando de Soto, it was developed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps after the Great Depression. The park's natural scenery includes more than 3,000 acres (12 km2) of forest, rivers, waterfalls, and beautiful mountain terrain. Its services include a lodge, cabins, a restaurant, modern chalets and campsites, a picnic area, swimming pool, tennis courts, nature center and miles of hiking trails.
DeSoto borders the Little River, the longest flowing mountaintop river in the United States. Nearby are Little River Canyon National Preserve, historic Mentone, and Desoto Falls, a 104-foot (31.7 m) waterfall below historic A.A. Miller Dam.
FloralaSituated on Lake Johnson, this park offers 40 acres of awesome outdoor activity:
- Water Skiing
Frank JacksonSituated around Lake Jackson, Frank Jackson State Park features a 1000 acre lake fed by streams. This lake provides awesome fishing and camping as well as picnic areas along the shoreline. RV sites with cable TV hookups are available, as well as a bathhouse. Be sure not to miss the natural island, accessible by boardwalk and walking path.
GulfGulf State Park is a 6,150-acre (24.9 km2) state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama in southern Baldwin County. The park property fronts the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf State Park has weathered several hurricanes but was largely devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Major renovations are underway due to damage and it is back up to full capacity as of 2010.
The park features 2 miles (3.2 km) of white sand beaches on the Gulf, modern and primitive campgrounds, rental cottages, nature trails, golf, and fishing. There are 496 campsites. The modern campsites features 50 amp electrical service, water, and the RV sites feature sewer hook-ups. The park also contains an 18 hole championship golf course that is open seven days a week and includes a proshop and snack bar. The park also boasts the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico (1,540'). Security is provided around the clock by Park Enforcement Rangers.
Joe WheelerJoe Wheeler State Park is located on 2,550 acres (10.3 km2) along Wheeler Lake in Northwest Alabama, USA. The park includes a resort lodge, full service convention facilities, restaurant, campground, a marina with 140 boat slips, a 2.5 mile looped trail for hiking and biking, and an 18 hole championship golf course.
The park property adjoins that of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Wheeler Dam. TVA has an scenic overlook of the dam near the state park's cabin area.
Lake GuntersvilleLake Guntersville State Park is located in Northeast Alabama, just outside Guntersville in Marshall County, Alabama.
The park overlooks the 66,500 acre (269 km2) Guntersville Lake, and contains 5,600 acres (23 km2) of natural woodlands. It includes a resort inn, restaurant and convention complex on the pinnacle of Taylor Mountain, lakeview cottages and a campground on the lake. The park also has an 18 hole championship golf course, hiking trails, fishing center, beach complex, and a day use area.
Lake LurleenLake Lurleen State Park is a state park in Alabama. The park is located west of Northport, Alabama on U.S. Highway 82 in Tuscaloosa County.
The state park has 1,675 acres (6.78 km2) and includes a 250-acre (1.0 km2) lake, 91 campsites, a nature center and nature trails. A multi-use trail is designed for both foot traffic and mountain bike riding. The park is open year around.
The park is named for the late Lurleen Burns Wallace, (September 19, 1926 – May 7, 1968) a former Governor of Alabama and wife of the late George C. Wallace, also a Governor of Alabama and presidential candidate. She remains the only female Governor in Alabama state history. The female Wallace was born in Tuscaloosa County, attended public schools there and met her future husband while working in a local department store. She succeeded her husband in office in 1967 because he could not run for a third concurrent term. She died in office a year later.
LakepointSituated on the banks of Lake Eufaula, a 45000 acre lake known as the bass capital of the world. This park features a golf course, marina, cabins, cottages, campground and brand new swimming pool.
MeaherMeaher State Park is a state park located in Spanish Fort, Alabama. The park is accessed from the Battleship Parkway, also known locally as the Mobile Bay Causeway. The 1,327-acre (5.37 km2) facility is located on an island located at the north end of the bay and surrounded by wetlands of the Mobile Bay estuary.
The park is available for day use or camping. The camping area has 48 individual campsites. The park also features picnic areas, two nature trails with a boardwalk through the wetlands, a boat ramp and a fishing pier.
Monte SanoMonte Sano State Park is a 2,140-acre (866 ha) mountaintop retreat combining the history of the park's 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps era cottages with the convenience of a city park. In the midst of Huntsville, Alabama, one can enjoy scenic hiking trails, picnic areas, modern campsites and quaint, rustic cottages with a memorable view. The park officially opened August 25, 1938.
Monte Sano State Park occupies the eastern portion of the top and slopes of Monte Sano Mountain. The park was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on June 19, 1996.
Oak MountainOak Mountain State Park is Alabama's largest state park at 9,940 acres (40.2 km2). It is located in Pelham, Alabama and is convenient (via a short drive on I-65) to Birmingham, Alabama's largest city.
Activities at the park can include hiking, mountain biking, golf, swimming, camping and fishing which can be done daily. One can go horseback riding at specific times on the weekend which have to be planned in advanced. Paddle boats and canoes are available for rent. Day hikes range from easy to moderate. One of the hikes includes an elevated trail from which one can view large cages containing birds such as owls and buzzards. Oak Mountain is also home to the Alabama Wildlife Center, Alabama's largest wildlife rehabilitation facility. The center treats more than 2,000 injured animals per year.
There are many improved campsites with water and electricity. Some backpacking and back country camping is allowed for a small fee. Campers at back country camps are not allowed to have fires. Deer are commonly seen in the park—particularly at dusk and on the golf course. There so many deer in fact, that special permits have recently been issued to bow-hunters who are allowed to take deer within the park's boundaries.
There is also a fee to get into the park, $3.00 for adults, and $1.00 for Juniors(3 to 11) and seniors 65 and older.
Beach/Day Use area - Double Oak Lake has many shaded picnic areas as well as covered pavilions for rent. The beach is a public swimming area with some volleyball courts.
Fishing - Oak Mountain Fishing Center is located at the north end of Oak Mountain State Park, just inside the park's back gate, a half-mile from State Highway 119, five miles east of Interstate 65 and three miles west of US 280.
Oak Mountain offers two 85-acre lakes stocked with largemouth bass, bream, catfish and crappie. Both lakes are fertilized and maintained, and open year-round. No gasoline motors are allowed, but electric trolling motors are welcome, and john-boats are available for rent. Private boats may be launched from either lake.
- Bait is for sale at the Campground Country Store, at the Back Gate and the Fishing Center store.
- Flat bottomed fishing boats that hold 4 people are also for rent at the Back Gate. The rates are $15 per day and $7.50 for Seniors.
State Law requires fishing licenses for both Alabama residents and non residents. Licenses are available at the Fishing Center Store and Park Headquarters.
Golf - Oak Mountain Golf Course is a public, 18-hole championship course (par 72) designed by Earl Stone. Repeatedly rated by Golf Digest to be among the top 50-75 public courses in the United States, Oak Mountain has hosted qualifying rounds for the Alabama Open.
Tee times should be reserved five days in advance beginning at 9 a.m. Please make separate reservations for each foursome. Tee times are not accepted on same day of play (walk-ons are welcomed).
Oak Mountain Golf Course features a fully-stocked pro shop and an on-course snack bar, Bermuda greens and tees, and a driving range, chipping green, and practice green open year.
- Blue course: 6842 yards, USGA rating 71.7, Slope 120
- White course: 6341 yards, USGA rating 69.5, Slope 116
- Water on 9 of 18 holes, tree-lined fairways
- 6 holes dogleg left, and 7 holes dogleg right.
- Course record (blue) 64, scored April 17, 1978.
- Toughest hole: #9, 382 yards, par 4.
- Easiest hole: #17, 141 yards, par 3.
Mountain Biking - The Red Trail is the park's 21 mile long, purpose built mountain biking trail. This trail is maintained by a local group of volunteers called the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers. It features 1600 total feet of climbing, one large 600 foot climb, fast downhills and technical features for all levels of riding. There is no night riding allowed except for designated nights during the winter. The signature area of the trail is Blood Rock, a 20 yard long very rocky descent crossing a small water spring. Facilities to wash bikes and change room are located at the south trail head in the day use area. Riders are strongly recommended to wear helmets and yield the trail to pedestrian traffic.
- Bump N' Grind mountain bike race (one of the largest in the southeastern US)
- Oak Mountain 50K trail run
- Xterra Southeast Championship off-road triathlon.
- Southeast Regional BMX Event at the Oak Mountain BMX Track.
Paul M. GristThe Paul M. Grist State Park is a fantastically peaceful 1080 acre park enveloped in a relaxing atmosphere and featuring a 100 acre lake. Options for fun things to do there include:
Rickwood CavernsRickwood Caverns State Park is a state park located in Warrior, Alabama, near Birmingham, Alabama. Featuring 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish, and an underground pool, Rickwood Caverns is a recognized member of the National Caves Association, and offers more than a mile of living geology.
Described as "mysterious and beautiful", the caverns feature guided tours of the so-called "miracle mile" of active "living" formations, spring-fed pools, and other curiosities. The park surrounding the caverns features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, picnic area with shelters, hiking trails, playground, campground, plus a snack bar and a gift shop.
Roland CooperRoland Cooper State Park is a 236-acre (0.96 km2) state park in Wilcox County, Alabama. It is located six miles northeast of Camden, along the 22,000-acre (89 km2) William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir.
The park features a nine hole golf course with a clubhouse. The golf course was built in 1972 and is a 9-hole regulation length golf course with a driving range.
The park also features vacation cottages, a modern campground with electrity and a bathhouse, laundry and camp store. There is a scenic picnic area with tables, grills, pavilions and a comfort station. The park also provides boat launching facilities. The Dannelly Reservoir is notable as a regional fishing ground. The reservoir contains white crappie, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, blue catfish, and channel catfish.
Wind CreekWind Creek State Park is a state park in Alabama. The 1,445 acres park is nestled into the 41,000-acre clear-water reservoir called Lake Martin. Wind Creek is the largest state owned park in the United States. It contains over 600 camping sites, and 7 cabins that are available year around. They are also a number of islands just off the shore-line that are available to camp out on. Wind Creek offers unique sights, attractions, and events year around. However what makes Wind Creek, so great is that your not far from other state parks such as Horseshoe Bend National Military Park and Cheaha State Park.
There are many different attractions to keep one busy at Wind Creek. Bragging about having one of the cleanest lakes in Alabama, Wind Creek offers swimming, boating, fishing, and playgrounds. Wind Creek puts on several different events throughout the year.
- Fishing - Wind Creek holds a number of fishing tournaments such as American Bass Angler Association Fishing Tournament, Georgia Glenn AT&T Pioneer Fishing Tournament, and many others.
- Events- They hold many other events such as Indian festivals and skiing/wake-boarding shows.
- Playgrounds and activities - The park itself contains six playgrounds and a number of other sights such as a lighthouse. They even have several activities to keep kids entertains. These activities normally are some sort of craft.
- Geocaching - There are also a number of geocaches around Wind Creek on Lake Martin.
- Hiking and biking - Wind Creek has two hiking trails for a total of 8 miles. However with the lack of bike trail, Wind Creek is an excellent place to teach children to ride a bicycle with its open fields and smooth flat roads.
- Cliff Jumping - Chimney Rock is an excellent place for cliff jumping; it is positioned about 20 minutes south of Wind Creek and is only accessible by boat. There are many other places to cliff jump within 30 minutes of Wind Creek.
There are many different attractions within driving distance of Wind Creek, such as:
- Cheaha State Park - The highest point in Alabama. It offers many hiking trails, geocaching spots, and beautiful scenary
- Horseshoe Bend- Horseshoe Bend has a rich heritage belonging to the Creek Indians. Here you can encounter the famous Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
- Children's Harbor- The beautiful campus located 12 miles south of Wind Creek is built around a picturesque New England seaside village motif and features the Plymouth Lighthouse and a charming little early American church, Children's Chapel. The Children's Harbor is a campground that helps sick kids enjoy life.
- Lake Martin Amphitheater - home of the Russell family fourth of July fireworks show, one of the best firework displays in the state of Alabama. This amphitheater also contains a number of other events, the proceeds of most of the events go to the Children's harbor.
* In 2005, Wind Creek had the largest of hurricane evacuees living in trailers provided by FEMA. About 500 trailers are parked there and about half are occupied by evacuated residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.