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Alabama State Parks

photo by Bob Macinnes

When many think of Alabama they don’t often think of nature, but Alabama is one of the most beautiful states in America. With miles and miles and rolling hills and natural green spaces it is a real hidden treasure. Experience the natural world at its best at one or more of Alabama’s State Parks.

If you’re a fan of national and state parks be sure to visit the Georgia State Parks as well.

Rickwood Caverns State Park

Alabama has been able to hold onto many rural and natural areas making it a prime destination for those that feel at home in the world as it should be. Below are a few of the best state parks located in Alabama.

The Caverns, located about 20 miles outside of Birmingham, is a 380 acre state park that the whole family will enjoy. Rickwood Caverns has an Olympic sized swimming pool and a children’s pool, a playground, miniature golf, a train ride and tours of the cave where you can see ancient limestone formations. There are trails for hiking, primitive and RV campsites, picnic areas for large and small groups a concessions area and a gift shop.

370 Rickwood Park Rd., Warrior, AL 35180
Open year round, but hours may vary

Buck’s Pocket State Park

Located outside of Guntersville, Buck’s Pocket is rumored to be the place where defeated public official go to rejuvenate. The 20,000 acre park is part of the natural pocket of the Appalachian Mountain chain and offers plenty of opportunity for getting back to nature. You can go fishing, hiking, boating or enjoy RV camping as well as set up tent under the stars. The park’s picnic area provides a canyon rim view into the pocket below. Also available are grills, shelters, laundry, concessions and a playground.

393 Co. Rd. 174, Grove Oak, AL 35975
Open year round, but hours may vary

Oak Mountain State Park

While in the Birmingham area, be sure to visit the Oak Mountain State Park. Here you will find Peavine Falls and Gorge, along with two beautiful lakes and some of Alabama’s most rugged mountains. The 9,940 acre park’s lakes give opportunity for swimming, fishing, and boating (there is a ramp, a marina, and rentals available). You will find the many hiking, back packing, and horseback riding facilities to provide invigorating outdoor fun! You can picnic at the shelters which are complete with barbeque pits and fireplaces, play a round of golf, or have a tennis match. Other facilities are concession stands, rental cabins, tent and RV camping. There is a demonstration farm, a playground, and convention and meeting rooms.

200 Terrace Dr., Pelham, AL 35124
Open year round, but hours may vary

Lake Guntersville State Park

Photo by Hot Roder Guy
photo by Hot Roder Guy

Located northeast of highway 227 on the Guntersville Reservoir, Lake Guntersville State Park is a 5,909 acre park with scenic ridges and peaceful meadows. You can pitch your tent in the primitive camping sites, stay at the resort on Taylor Mountain, or reserve a lakeside cottage or chalets. You can enjoy water sports like swimming at the beach, skiing, fishing and boating. For the nature lover, there are hiking and bicycling trails, nature programs and numerous picnic areas and a playground. If you love to practice your swing, then check out the 18 hole championship golf course or tennis courts. There are also concessions, convention rooms, and interpretive programs. Nearby area attractions include Buck’s Pocket State Park, High Falls, Cathedral Caverns and the shopping outlets in Boaz.

7966 AL Hwy. 227
Guntersville, AL 35976
Open year round, but hours may vary

De Soto State Park

In the mountains of northeast Alabama is 5,000+ acre De Soto State Park. The park is home to Lookout Mountain, Little River Canyon and De Soto Falls and Lake. It is an area rich in Cherokee history and legends, has been a military operations base and ultimately a part of the Trail of Tears.

If you love spending time exploring nature, then you will find the variety of plant life (rhododendrons, wild azaleas, and mountain laurel), the beautiful songbirds and the 20 miles of hiking trails which cross the mountain top to be a great way to spend a day (or more). There is a nature center, a picnic area, and a playground. Other outdoor activities include a swimming pool, fishing, boating, tennis courts and camping and rental cabins. You may choose to stay at the De Soto State Park lodge which has a restaurant, and meeting rooms available for weddings, parties or business meetings.

13883 County Road 89, Fort Payne, AL 35967
Open year round, but hours may vary

Confederate Memorial Park

In Clanton, Alabama (approximately 40 miles north of Montgomery) is Confederate Memorial Park. Here you will find two Confederate cemeteries with 313 graves where the Confederate Soldiers of Alabama were once located. There is a museum which showcases Alabama Civil War memorabilia, artifacts, records, documents, and photographs. You will also find picnic shelters and hiking trails.

Open year round except Christmas and New Years day.

Cheaha State Park

Comprised of over 2,700 acres, the rolling foothills and rugged forest is home to Mount Cheaha (2,407 feet), Alabama’s highest point. You can climb to the top of the observation tower and see for miles around, hike the Odum Scout Trail along the mountain’s ridge or you may chose to go swimming in Lake Cheaha. There is also a sand beach, a wading area, fishing and boating, as well as a bathhouse and swimming pool. You can bring along a picnic lunch or sit down at the park’s restaurant. Want to spend more than a day? Then you can reserve a room, rent a cabin or pitch a tent, so you can enjoy a longer relaxing stay.

19644 HWY 281, Delta, AL 36258

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

Just 12 miles north of Dadeville on Highway 49 is the 2040 acre Horseshoe Bend National Military Park which commemorates the battle between the Creek Indian nation and the US government. Here you will find wooded hills with nature trails, a picnic area, and on the Tallapoosa River there is a boat ramp. You can go on a 3 mile road tour with 7 interstate makes throughout the battle area. There is a museum at the visitor center which shows the battle through slide presentations and an electric map exhibit.

11288 Horseshoe Bend Rd., Daviston, AL 36256