4 summer drives to take for an exciting day trip within an hour of Birmingham


Grants Mill Road, Birmingham, AL. Photo by Patience Itson for Bham Now

Where can you go for an exciting road trip close to Birmingham? Put the pedal to the metal on your way to these four summer-friendly spots within one hour of Birmingham.

1. Red Mountain Park

Vulcan Materials Zip Trip. Photo via Red Mountain Park’s Instagram page

Is nature calling your name? Then take a short, carefree drive to Red Mountain Park. This escape into nature is centrally located to Birmingham and its surrounding communities and features a vast 1,500 acres of land along the Red Mountain Ridge.

Within its lush vegetation, you’ll find an abundance of exciting and adventure-filled attractions, including:

  • Over 15 miles of trails featuring two city overlooks
  • Three treehouses
  • Rock climbing
  • Vulcan Materials Zipline
  • Kaul Adventure Tower
Remy’s Dog Park at Red Mountain Park. Photo via Red Mountain Park’s Instagram page

Be sure to bring your pup along for the ride because Red Mountain Park is also home to Remy’s Dog Park. With over six acres of green space, this is the largest dog park in Alabama.

Distance from Birmingham to Red Mountain Park: About 15 minutes via 1-65 South
Set your GPS: 2011 Frankfurt Drive, Birmingham, AL 35211

2. Grand River Drive-In Movie Theater

What better reason is there to spend time in the car than to head to the drive-in for a movie? You can find one just a hop from Birmingham at the Grand River Drive-In in Leeds.

How do you get there? While there are a handful of different routes you can take to get to Leeds from Birmingham, my favorite is via Grants Mill Road off Highway 119. This route will take you on twisting, winding back roads with lush greenery all around. There is also a rustic red bridge that overlooks Lake Purdy that is sure to make you smile.

Grants Mill Road, Birmingham, AL. Photo by Patience Itson for Bham Now

Formerly known as the Coyote Drive-In, this outdoor theatre is gearing up for its grand re-opening on July 3 for a summer of family-filled fun.

Distance from Birmingham to Grand River Drive-In: About 22 minutes via I-59 North
Set your GPS: 6200 Grand River Parkway, Leeds, AL 35094

3. Orr Park

Orr Park, Montevallo, AL. Photo by Patience Itson for Bham Now

I don’t know about you, but I love learning about hidden treasures in all different towns and cities. So I’ll let you know about one of my favorites—Orr Park in Montevallo.

As an alumna of the University of Montevallo, I spent a large part of my student days at this unique spot.

Along with having a huge paved walking trail that wraps around an enormous green space, it is also home to two unique features:

1. A large creek that’s shaded for the perfect summer cool-off spot where you can dip your toes and find cool rocks and stones. Kids and dogs love to splash and swim in it, too.

Orr Park, Montevallo, AL. Photo by Patience Itson for Bham Now

2. Carved trees that will impress you for a lifetime. Carved into many of the parks trees, you’ll find interesting faces and animals peering at you. They are totally amazing, humorous and perfect for a fun-loving photoshoot.

Distance from Birmingham to Orr Park: About 41 minutes via 1-65 South
Set your GPS: 277 Park Drive, Montevallo, AL 35115

4. DeSoto Caverns are COOL, literally!

DeSoto Caverns. Photo via DeSoto Caverns

Looking for a fun way to cool down this summer? During an easy drive down 1-20 East, you’ll happen upon the perfect place to do just that—DeSoto Caverns.

DeSoto Caverns is a great place for family fun, adventure and some incredible history. Best known for its beautiful and historic caves, you can go on an hour-long cavern tour where you can learn about:

  • Prehistoric Native Americans who lived and died in the caves
  • Confederate soldiers who mined gunpowder
  • Early Native American traders who visited the cave and surrounding areas
  • And more!
Experience the sound, laser, light and water show at DeSoto Caverns. Photo via DeSoto Caverns

A cave tour is also the coolest way to beat the summer heat because the caves stay a perfect 60 degrees year-round. Ah. So refreshing.

Tours of the caves are pretty stellar, too, because they feature a sound, laser, light and water show.

Learn more.

Distance from Birmingham to DeSoto Caverns: About 1 hour via Hwy 280E
Set your GPS: 5181 DeSoto Caverns Parkway, Childersburg, AL 35044

Get there in Style

What will make your summer drives even better? May we suggest a new ride from Driver’s Way.  And, yes, it will have well working air conditioning. Located off I-65 in Pelham and on Highway 280, they will give you a great deal on your vehicle of choice from their huge pre-owned selection.

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