July 19 is your chance to explore nature at Alabama’s state parks for free. Our state boasts some beautiful parks, and many of them aren’t too far from Birmingham.
Alabama turns 200 later this year. In honor of the state’s bicentennial, the Alabama State Parks Division is providing free admission to parks across the state. They’re also offering free parking and 20 percent off overnight stays (with a couple of exceptions).
Below are some park highlights:
Closest to Birmingham: Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain is one of my favorites. It’s also the largest state park in Alabama, featuring hiking, boating, fishing, mountain biking and more. If you’re up for a hike, there’s a beautiful overlook called King’s Chair (pictured above) that is definitely worth checking out. The view is stunning. It’s where my husband proposed to me, so I might be a little biased.
While you’re there, you and the fam can also check out the inflatable water park and escape the heat (a separate charge will apply).
Location: 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham, AL 35124
Oldest state park still in operation: Cheaha State Park
I’m embarrassed to say that after five years in Birmingham I still haven’t been to Cheaha. Just look at that photo! July 19 might be the day I go explore this beauty. Cheaha Mountain is the highest point in the state, and Outside Magazine named it the best vista in Alabama. Cheaha is only a little over an hour from Birmingham.
Location: 19644 Hwy 281, Delta, AL 36258
State park on the beach: Gulf State Park
This one is a little farther from Bham at 4.5 hours, but I’d say it’s worth it for this view. Gulf State Park is a great place to sit on the beach and relax. Aren’t we lucky to have mountains and beaches so close to home?!
Location: 20800 E. Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, AL 36542
More state parks to explore:
- Bladon Springs State Park
- Blue Springs State Park
- Buck’s Pocket State Park
- Cathedral Caverns State Park
- Chewacla State Park
- Chickasaw State Park
- DeSoto State Park
- Frank Jackson State Park
- Joe Wheeler State Park
- Lake Guntersville State Park
- Lake Jackson RV Park At Florala
- Lake Lurleen State Park
- Lakepoint State Park
- Meaher State Park
- Monte Sano State Park
- Paul M. Grist State Park
- Rickwood Caverns State Park
- Roland Cooper State Park
- Wind Creek State Park
Know before you go: the Bicentennial overnight stay discount doesn’t apply to Bladon Springs, Chickasaw, Paul Grist, and Roland Cooper state parks or the Lodge at Gulf State Park.
Which is your favorite park? Let us know @Bhamnow.