State parks in Alabama feature everything from hiking trails and rock climbing to swimming pools, museums, and even stalagmite forests! In fact some of the best state parks the country has to offer are right here in beautiful Alabama. No matter where you are in the state, you’re bound to find the perfect state park for you!
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Best State Parks in Alabama
Whether you’re looking for a laid back vacation or an active trip, all nature lovers will find a state park to their liking in Alabama. The ones listed here are spread out all over the state. That means no matter where you’re located or whatever time of year you’re planning to make your trip, I’m pretty certain you’ll have plenty of choices!
Chewacla State Park
The entrance to Chewacla State Park might have you fooled with its location in the residential parts of Auburn, Alabama. Upon entering, however, you’ll see just how otherworldly it is! Both its man made wonders like the famous masonry waterfall and lake, as well as its natural beauties like the unique large rock formations along its CCC Trail make this one of the best state parks in Alabama.
Its location on Lee County’s highest point causes many elevation changes in the terrain making it perfect for mountain bikers of all expertise levels. Furthermore, its 15 miles of single tracks, 30+ miles of hiking trails, swimming, fishing, camping, and boating areas make Chewacla State Park perfect for every type of nature enthusiast.
Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park, the largest of all the state parks in Alabama, is best known for its assortment of daytime activities. Located in Pelham, this state park offers more than 21 miles of hiking trails, nearly 50 miles of mountain biking trails, and an endless list of serene spots with views.
Make your trip here an overnight one and stay in one of the RV or tent camping sites located within the state park. Due to the endless activities which include water paddling, horseback riding, golfing, BMX riding, a wildlife rehabilitation center, and the Interpretive Center, there is enough to cover a couple of days, at least!
Peavine falls is one beautiful, classic spot you must visit while in Oak Mountain State Park. Multiple trails end at the waterfall’s parking lot but the Green Trail is the shortest (and steepest). Do check in advance which route is best for you.
Cheaha Mountain State Park
Located in Delta, Alabama, Cheaha State Park is arguably one of the best parks for history buffs with a penchant for action. The park offers breathtaking views of the Talladega National Forest, camping areas, activities such as gem mining, hiking, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking. It also has two museums that are worth checking out.
One museum is dedicated to the CCC, the organization that built the state park and the other is the Walter Farr Native American Relic Museum. It has all sorts of artifacts that allude to the lives of Native Americans that lived on the very same land so much earlier.
DeSoto State Park
Situated atop Lookout Mountain with views for days is the beautiful DeSoto State Park. It has the best of everything when it comes to state parks in Alabama – lush landscapes, famous waterfalls, and tons of activities!
The relatively easy terrain of this park along with its well-marked trails will be what ropes in novice hikers. For the more experienced adventurers, scenery is sure to be the draw. For example, the falls alone are quite the reason to visit the park. These include the famous 107-foot DeSoto Falls, Laurel Falls, and Lodge Falls just to name a few.
Other activities include camping, wildlife watching, paddling, rock climbing, and mountain biking. With its ten trails adding up to nearly 25 miles for hiking and biking, it’s a sure-shot when it comes to feeling satisfied with your nature trip!
Cathedral Caverns State Park
Cathedral Caverns is unique compared to the rest of the state parks in Alabama because of one pretty obvious reason – it’s underground! Located just 30 minutes outside of Huntsville, this subterranean haven houses some pretty spectacular geological formations.
During your visit you will get to see “Goliath”, a 45-foot-tall stalagmite which is one of the largest in the world. The mysterious “Frozen Waterfall” is another wonder to see. A hint though, it’s not actually a waterfall at all.
There’s also a stalagmite forest stretching out over nearly 3 acres in addition to so many other things! Don’t worry about missing out on any of the learning because the only way through this state park is by a guided tour.
This relatively small state park still manages to offer campsites for accommodation along with some family-friendly recreational activities such as gemstone mining. It also features marked hiking trails outside the actual cave for those looking for even more action the tour.
Monte Sano State Park
Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama, is one of the best state parks to just kick back and take in the great outdoors. Its name actually means “Mountain of Health” in Spanish. With twenty miles of hiking and biking trails, you’re almost certain to leave feeling slimmer than when you went in!
An 18-hole disc golf course, picnic areas, rustic cottages, planetarium, zen garden, an outdoor amphitheater, and a camping area are some of the things the park offers its visitors for their pleasure and comfort. It also features a playground and recreational fields so kids have a fun place as well.
Bucks Pocket State Park
Bucks Pocket State Park is located in a natural pocket of the Appalachian Mountains on Sauty Creek. Situated at the intersection of the three counties of DeKalb, Jackson, and Marshall, the park offers beautiful views and gorgeous waters to swim in.
These are accessible through its 20 miles of hiking trails and 6 miles of equestrian trails. Some activities the park offers are birding, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and modern camping.
Catch glimpses of its birds, wildlife, scenic vertical bluffs, and creeks before making your way to the best view in the park – Point Rock. The view from here during fall is something right out of a fairytale!
Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park is much like the place it’s located in – the Gulf Coast of Alabama! Laid back and slow, or fast-paced and active, it really is what you make of it.
For the people looking to make the most of their trip, the park offers 28 miles of paved trails, a golf course, overnight accommodations, three interior lakes, swimming pool, beaches, fishing, and even a butterfly house. Of course you could just as well choose to kick back and sunbathe till the sun sets too!
Wind Creek State Park
Wind Creek State Park checks all the boxes when it comes to both recreation and relaxation. Furthermore, it being located right next to Lake Martin makes it one of the best state parks in Alabama for a lakeside retreat.
The park has 586 campsites covering everything from full hookups to laundry service. It is, in fact, one of the largest state-operated campgrounds in the United States. The best way to experience Wind Creek State Park is to set up camp on a beautiful lakefront spot while the family partakes in all the activities!
Features include two hiking trails, horseback riding, mini-golf, fishing, birding, wildflower spotting, boating, and panoramic views of the lake. What’s not to love?
Lake Guntersville State Park
Overlooking the serene waters of Lake Guntersville in Marshall County sits Lake Guntersville State Park. The large park consists mainly of woodlands and includes lake view cottages, campgrounds on the lake, a restaurant, and a resort inn.
Well, I hope from reading this list you have found one of these state parks in Alabama to be a good fit. It’s no doubt that there truly is something for everyone in Alabama the Beautiful!
Have you already been to any of these state parks? Which ones? Tell me all about your experience and if you have anything to add!
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