You’re on a boat. No, really, four places you can rent a boat near Birmingham.

Boats to rent on Lake Purdy.
Boats on the shore of Lake Purdy. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

I don’t know about you, but July 4th makes me want to get on a boat. So, I checked out places near Birmingham where you can rent a boat. Read on for all the juicy details.

You’re on a boat . . .

Anybody remember the Old Spice guy, that your guy could smell like? He’s here for a little comic relief.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about (or need a refresher), watch the video.

Now, back to our topic.

Lake Purdy—Let’s Go Fishing

The scenery on Lake Purdy is stunning.
Thunderstorms over Lake Purdy on Father’s Day. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Though I grew up sailing on Logan Martin, this has become my favorite grown-up place to get on a boat. Lake Purdy is the main water lake for Birmingham, which means there are no houses on it. Which makes it feel like it’s a million miles away, even though it’s a short drive from 280.

My favorite is renting a flat John boat without a motor, $18 for the day. They have a bunch of other options, too, including paddleboards. Plus, some people are all about rowing on Lake Purdy.

Address: 3780 Boat Launch Rd, Birmingham, Alabama 35242
Phone: (205) 991-9107
Hours, options + prices: check here for details.

Smith Lake—Land + Lure Boat Rentals + Guide Fishing

Smith Lake is just stunning. Deep, clear water, and lots and lots of fish. Bonus: it’s less than an hour’s drive from Birmingham, which means it’s totally day-trippable.

Address: 288 County Rd 4010, Crane Hill, Alabama 35053
Phone: (205) 530-0276
Hours, options + prices: Open 7 days a week 9AM-5PM. They have a number of fishing trip options, pontoon and ski boat rentals, as well as ski equipment. Check here for details.

Oak Mountain State Park

Oak Mountain State Park Marina is a good place to rent a boat.

Oak Mountain is a great place to go if you’re wanting to rent a canoe, kayak, pedal boat or paddleboard. You can also camp, golf or check out rehabilitated wildlife. In addition, of course, to hiking.

Address: 200 Terrace Dr, Pelham, Alabama 35124
Phone: (205) 620-2520
Hours + prices: $14-22, in addition to the price of admission to the park. Must be 16 or older to rent boats, and must have someone 16 or older on each boat. Marina is open 9AM-6PM (last boat rental at 5PM) Saturdays and Sundays. Click here for more details.

Logan Martin–River’s Edge Marina

River's Edge Marina on Logan Martin is a good place to rent a boat.
River’s Edge Marina on Logan Martin is a good place to rent pontoon boats.

Logan Martin holds a special place in my heart, for all the time I spent sailing out there as a kid. While it’s hard to find places to rent sailboats, you can rent fancy pontoon boats here.

Address: 79 Rabbit Branch Circle, Cropwell, Alabama 35054
Phone: (205) 525-5562
Hours + prices: a range of options between $150-$325. Check here for all the details.


If you’re itching to get out on some water but don’t own a boat yourself, now you can pretend like you do. With a little planning and a little (or a lot of) money, you, too, can be out on a lake. Remember your sunscreen and your life jacket, and have a lot of fun.

Now we want to hear from you: where’s your favorite place to rent a boat near Birmingham?

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference