There are so many things to do in Alabama. It is an absolutely gorgeous state with rich history and friendly people. Don’t just drive by this state. Stop in and visit the many natural and man made landmarks. So far we have visited these places:
- Dismals Canyon
- Cheaha State Park
- Orange Beach
- DeSoto State Park
- Fort Payne
- Natural Bridge
Dismals Canyon is a National Natural Landmark and is privately owned. We stayed in one of their dog friendly cabins for two nights for $556 in March, 2021. The grounds were well groomed and you could see they were in the middle of some major improvements. The cabin was clean but slightly dated. There is no food on the grounds so we brought our own as we had no plans to leave after driving so long.
There is a 1.5 mile interpretive trail loop around the canyon. You can pick up a self guided brochure at the visitor center highlighting the natural history of the canyon as well as the impact humans have had on the canyon. There are a couple of stream crossings so be prepared to get your feet wet! There were very few people when we visited. On the second night, we went on a night tour with one of their guides to view bioluminescent creatures called Dismalites. The glowworms require a specific habitat to survive and are only found in a few places in the world including Australia and New Zealand. We were at the beginning of their peak so the canyon was not totally lit up with them but we did see quite a few.
We found Alabama’s Natural Bridge through the Roadtrip America app in March 2021. The bridge is the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies. We hiked for about an hour including a hike to the bridge and a short walk to a rock that looked like an Indian face. They had an interesting gift shop with rainbow unicorn tee shirts which I was tempted to buy and other oddities that looked like they had been sitting there since the 80’s. It’s worth a stop. It’s privately owned.
Cheaha State Park
We rented a cabin at Cheaha State Park in March 2021. The cabin was minimal but clean and had a great view. There are no pots/pans, or a stove. Only a microwave and coffee pot was available so we had to buy a few staples at the park store to cook our food over the fire. There is a Bigfoot Trail at the park for children and adults who still think they are children. Along the trail there are several bigfoot cutouts peaking behind trees for you to spot. At the end of the Bigfoot Trail was Alabama’s highest peak where you could go up into a building and get a panoramic view of the area. We also explored the Bald Rock Boardwalk Trail which was ADA accessible and led to another scenic overlook. I had wanted to get a good sunset picture during our travels and the Pulpit Rock Trail behind our cabin offered this opportunity. The view was amazing and there was only a couple other people there offering serenity and peacefulness. This is one of our favorite parks in Alabama.
Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area
Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area is in Talledega National Park and is a short drive from Cheaha State Park. We did some hiking and saw a small waterfall and the lake. There is a trail you can take around the lake as well as fishing opportunities.
DeSoto State Park
We stayed at DeSoto State Park campgrounds in October 2020. As soon as we got there, we were welcomed by friendly campers. The campgrounds were well maintained with very clean bathrooms. Almost all of the spots were filled and I was happy I booked a site ahead of time. Most of the campers were RV’s which was another plus b/c the bathrooms and showers were barely used. After we set up our tent, we set off to explore the area around the park. We went to Desoto Falls and Little River Canyon National Preserve, the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi. After lunch, we went hiking in the park near our campsite. The trails are well marked and there were several to choose from. We chose to hike the waterfall trail which had a couple small waterfalls along the way.
We explored Fort Payne. Alabama in October 2020 while we were staying at DeSoto State Park. Joe is a big Alabama fan so we visited the Alabama Fan Club Museum. The members of the band are from Fort Payne. There are several indications that they have had an influence on this small town including life size statues and parks named after them. We were told that they contribute money to the town to improve parks and other amenities. The confederate history of this area was also evident as a statue and memorial was located within the town’s park.
In November, 2017 we took at trip to Orange Beach and New Orleans. We fell in love with Orange Beach, Alabama. It is fairly low key with some commercial development but not over the top. We stayed at an adult only B&B right on the beach called the Romar Bed & Breakfast Inn.
The beach is pristine, bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
There’s also a wonderful park called Gulf Shores Wetlands Nature Park across the street where you can rent bikes.
More Things to Do in Alabama
There are still a couple more things to do in Alabama that are on my bucket list including: Monte Sano State Park, Sipsey Wilderness Area, Muscle Shoals, Lake Guntersville State Park, and Noccalula Falls.
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