Photo credit: Alabama State Parks
No matter if you’re planning a spring break vacation as a college student or for your family or a group of friends, this is the perfect time of year to get outdoors and enjoy our natural surroundings. Before you make plans to drive or fly out of the state in search of that perfect getaway, consider escaping to one of these top 5 outdoor destinations — right here in Alabama.
1. Cheaha State Park
Enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty at Cheaha State Park, home to Cheaha Mountain, Alabama’s highest point above sea level. Surrounded by the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park is a 2,799-acre mountaintop resort that offers a wide range of accommodations and outdoor activities. Choose from a stay at the luxurious Bald Rock Lodge, a number of chalets and cabins or even primitive campsites located along mountainside trails. Guests can also even enjoy delicious country-style dining at Cheaha Restaurant, located within the park.
2. Gulf State Park
Alabama has some of the country’s most pristine beaches, and there’s no better place to explore the Gulf Shores than at Gulf State Park. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, you’re likely to enjoy it all surrounded by white sandy beaches and the sounds of the nearby water. Unwind with your toes dipped in the warm sand anywhere along the park’s two miles of beach property, take advantage of playing a round of golf on the championship golf course, zip over land and water, fish for both saltwater and freshwater fish, or simply take a stroll along the park’s fishing pier, which extends 1,512 feet into the Gulf waters. With dozens of outdoor activities from which to choose, Gulf State Park is one of the best in-state travel destinations for spring break.
3. Lake Guntersville State Park
Head to the Northeast of Alabama to Lake Guntersville State Park and enjoy the benefits of inland waterways. Located along the banks of the Tennessee River, Lake Guntersville State Park is home to Alabama’s largest lake and is another resort style park offering the best of outdoor recreation and natural surroundings. Among activities, guest can choose from hiking or biking along 36 miles of trails, fishing, horseback riding, and even boat rentals. You won’t want to miss enjoying time spent at the park’s beach complex or outdoor nature center. Lake Guntersville State Park also offers several on-site dog-friendly accommodations.
4. Oak Mountain State Park
As Alabama’s largest state park, Oak Mountain State Park is one of the most visited parks in the Southeast. Indulge your sense of adventure with an afternoon spent on the water cable skiing or deep in the woods bike riding along one of the park’s nationally recognized mountain biking trails. Oak Mountain State Park is also home to the Alabama Wildlife Center, the state’s oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation facility. Visitors can enjoy viewing resident birds while on the Tree Top Nature Trail, an elevated boardwalk winding through a secluded woodland valley.
5. Desoto State Park
If you’re seeking a higher level of outdoor adventure, Desoto State Park is the ideal outdoor destination for you. This 3,502-acre park offers guests a range of outdoor recreation including kayaking, biking, hiking, and rock climbing. Overnight Adventure Packages include lessons on rappelling, bushcraft making, and even wilderness survival for families. Enjoy a restful night’s sleep in one of the park’s cabins or camp in a primitive camping location.
For more information and to begin planning the perfect outdoor getaway this spring break, visit Alabama State Parks at www.alapark.com.