So spring break 2018 is coming. As much as we look forward to that break from school, it can also be a scary thought. Expensive, time consuming and though a “break” it also can be exhausting. But don’t sweat the vacay plans!
Check out our guide to some short day trips and overnight getaways that aren’t too far from home. Some are educational, some are cool adventures and of course the perfect BEACH GETAWAY. These won’t kill your budget and might just recharge you and your family.
Right here around the ‘Ham
Oak Mountain State Park: Check out the Alabama Wildlife Refuge Center.
The Wildlife Center: Located in Oak Mountain State Park is the largest wildlife rehab center in Alabama. More than 2,000 injured and orphaned wild creatures are cared for each year. Visitors can view the rehabilitation process and learn about native species. Plan to camp or stay in a quaint cabin.
Ruffner Mountain: One of the largest privately owned urban forests in the US, Ruffner is a 1,040 acre urban nature preserve right here in Birmingham. They’ve got a brand new nature center and wooded trails galore. Find some Pinterest posts with cool picnic ideas then make them, grab the family and head out.
Wherever you set out, plan to hike, eat and lay back on a soft blanket with a good book. Take a sketch pad and if you are with kids, encourage them to draw their surroundings. Start a leaf collection, pick up cool rocks, then stop off at Hobby Lobby afterwards to buy an album to press those leaves in.
Southern Museum of Flight by the Birmingham Airport: Check out the exhibits. Plan a photography scavenger hunt with your kids. On the way home stop off at any drug store or Staples and print out the photos right from your phone. Have a photo album ready.
Express Oil Change will get your car ready for the drive, from an oil change to tires or a tune-up.
Did you know Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers has over 300 locations in 15 states? Being one of the leading automotive service providers in the South, you can trust their tune up before hitting the road!
Just a short drive from Birmingham
Little River Canyon: in Fort Payne is a nature lovers’ paradise. 1 h 42 min (97.2 mi) via I-59 N from Birmingham. Hike down to the bottom of the gorge to see the impressive falls and enjoy spotting some majestic birds. You might see hawks, eagles, vultures and falcons from the overlooks. Find the perfect flat rock for a picnic.
Moundville Archeological Park: Just 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa on the Black Warrior River, 800 years ago, Mississippian Indians constructed 28 massive flat-topped earthen pyramids arranged around a vast central plaza at this 326 acre park. Make sure to do some research before you go.
Dismals Canyon: Located in Northwest Alabama, near the town of Phil Campbell only 1 h 46 minutes from Birmingham (100.4 mi) via I-22. Dismals Canyon is a privately owned National Landmark. It’s still not well-known, which makes it a hidden gem for nature lovers.
From the easily walkable canyon with gorgeous waterfalls and cool caves, the mysterious glowing microscopic creatures that show up at night, to the huge ferns and lush plant life, Dismals is like another world. There is a cool general store and two really swank cabins to rent and plenty of camp sites. Book early!
Mt. Cheaha: Just 1 h 24 min (80.1 mi) via I-20 E. The tallest point in Alabama, Cheaha Mountain has a lodge, restaurant, camping facilities and quaint cabins and chalets. Most of their amenities are being renovated to be completed by March 8. while there head out Bald Rock trail to a gorgeous overlook and see the majestic views from the highest spot in the state.
All this nature have you a little overwhelmed…check out some cute southern towns.
Florence, AL: Less than two hours from Birmingham overlooking the Tennessee River, there is a lot to do in the area. Great shopping, dining, a fun bar scene (Florence is home to UNA) and a charming downtown.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed an Alabama house.
Got a future architect in the family? While you are in Florence visit the Rosenbaum House, the only Alabama home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Afterward, check out the really cool downtown Court Street in Florence, closed to traffic on first Friday evenings, for music, food and vendors.
A favorite Florence restaurant, Odette is right on Court Street, and believe it or not Odette rivals quite a few Magic City restaurants. Make reservations!
Helen Keller’s home Ivy Green is only a short drive away from Florence in Tuscumbia, AL. See the water pump where Helen first grasped the concept of language. There is also a really funky, laid back watering hole under a giant rock with a menu of appetizers, burgers & sandwiches called the Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia.
Just in case… be aware of the many AFC clinics across the country! You know, it’s spring break …what could happen?!
“American Family Care is the nation’s leading provider of urgent care, with more than 180 clinics, caring for more than 3 million patients a year. AFC strives to provide the best healthcare possible, in an economical manner, at convenient times and locations to the patient”
Fairhope, AL: This small Baldwin County town, on the Eastern shore of the Mobile Bay, is so beautiful and quaint it looks like a movie set. It is just 4 h 16 min (262.3 mi) via I-65 S from Birmingham. Spending time there is like stepping back in time. Great shopping, dining and photo ops!
The sandy beaches of the Emerald Coast!
And it wouldn’t be a true Spring Break guide if we didn’t mention a sandy white beach on the Emerald Coast. We love the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, a spectacular 2,400-acre destination resort in Miramar Beach, Florida with so many great activities.
Atlanta, GA: Want to explore our neighbor to the east? Just 2 h 19 min (148.8 mi) via I-20 W, you can visit the other large south-eastern city.
While in Atlanta, take in the Georgia Aquarium. It is home to more than a hundred thousand animals and represents several thousand species, all of which resides in 10 million US gallons of marine and salt water. It’s a fun day and nearby you’ll find The World of Coca-Cola, the museum showcasing the history of The Coca-Cola Company.
Something a little different : The Atlanta History Center is located in one of Atlanta’s most vibrant neighborhoods. DIscover a 33-acre experience featuring award-winning exhibitions, historic houses, enchanting gardens, interactive activities and a variety of year-round adult and family programs.
Chattanooga, TN: Just 2 h 10 min (146.9 mi) via I-59 N from Birmingham. Chattanooga is another southern city that has seen revitalization in recent years. The downtown area has lots to do. Plan a trip to the Tennessee Aquarium, IMAX 3D Theater and the Creative Discovery Museum. See Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline Railway.
What are some of your favorite Spring Break destinations?