4 holiday trips to take within 2 hours of Birmingham, including Little River Canyon


Birmingham, DeSoto Caverns
Photo via DeSoto Caverns’ website

The holiday season is alive in the Magic City. If you’re looking for the perfect way to get into the spirit, consider these day trips within two hours of Birmingham. 

2019 Galaxy of Lights: Walking Nights – Huntsville, AL

Grab your walking shoes and favorite person and experience the Galaxy Light Show. Photo via Huntsville Botanical Gardens

It’s hard not to be drawn into the magical twinkle of Christmas lights. So when that holiday spirit kicks in this season, take a trip to the Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. 

During your visit:

  • Experience up close the wonder of almost 200 larger-than-life light displays. (That’s around 2,000 luminaries!)
  • Walk through the snow falling inside the twinkling icicle forest.
  • Sip hot chocolate.
  • Visit with Santa.

But the best part, of course, is ooo-ing and aah-ing at all those beautiful lights. 

Birmingham, Huntsville Botanical Gardens, Huntsville
Someone’s ready for dog night at the Galaxy Light Show! Photo via Huntsville Botanical Gardens on Facebook

Are you a dog lover? Then you’ll love this! On November 25 only, dogs are allowed to attend the Galaxy Lights: Walking Nights event. So dress them in their warmest holiday sweaters and bring them along on this exciting day trip. You know you’ll want to capture those sweet puppy smiles!

Birmingham, Huntsville Botanical Gardens, Huntsville
Larger-than-life lighting displays are the perfect way to feel the holiday spirit. Photo via Huntsville Botanical Gardens on Facebook

Where: Huntsville Botanical Gardens. 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805.
When: Nov. 15-18, 21-26
Time: 5:30-8:30PM
Price: Adults – $12; Kids (Ages 3-15) – $6; Kids (Ages 2 and under – FREE); Dogs – $3 (Valid Nov. 25 only)

Distance from Birmingham to Huntsville Botanical Gardens: 1 hour 21 minutes via 1-65 North.

Little River Canyon – Fort Payne, AL

Birmingham, Little River Canyon
Incredible views at Little River Canyon. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

The holidays can be stressful, so if you’re in need of the peace and beauty only nature can provide, make plans to visit Little River Canyon.

Located just outside Fort Payne—and under two hours from Birmingham—you’ll be swept away by the beauty. 

You’ll discover:

  • Incredible views of rushing water falls, the river and more.
  • Activities like hiking, climbing, kayaking, biking, hunting, fishing and horseback riding.
  • The Little River Canyon Center with local makers.
  • And more!

Be sure to have your camera handy because there will be tons of spots to snap gorgeous and memorable photos. Hey, you may even end up with the perfect photos for your yearly holiday card. 

Where: 4322 Little River Trail NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967.

Distance from Birmingham: 1 hour 40 minutes via 1-59 North 

Christmas on the Coosa – Wetumpka, AL

Birmingham, Christmas on the Coosa, Wetumpka, Coosa River
Christmas on the Coosa is Sat., Dec. 14 in Wetumpka, AL. Photo via Christmas on the Coosa on Facebook

If you’re looking for a day trip this holiday season that will offer a jam-packed schedule of things to do, then consider a ride down 1-65 South to Wetumpka, Alabama for the annual Christmas on the Coosa event on Saturday, December 14.

Birmingham, Christmas on the Coosa, Wetumpka, Coosa River
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there to greet you in downtown Wetumpka, AL. Photo via Christmas on the Coosa on Facebook

Here’s a look at the schedule of events:

7:30AM & 9AM: The day’s celebration starts out with a bang with an annual Character Breakfast. Perfect for those of you with starstruck little ones at home. 

9AM: Following the breakfast, browse and shop the many Arts and Crafts vendors and food vendors who will be set up all day long. 

Birmingham, Christmas on the Coosa, Wetumpka, Coosa River
Discover lots to see and do during Christmas on the Coosa in Wetumpka, AL.

2PM: Find the perfect viewing spot and watch the parade as it marches through downtown Wetumpka. Be on the lookout for Santa and Mrs. Claus in their brilliant red sleigh!

4PM: Find a spot to settle in along the Coosa River for an exciting wakeboarding show. Stay put because Santa skis across the Coosa at 6PM, followed by an amazing fireworks show. 

Birmingham, Christmas on the Coosa, Coosa River, Wetumpka
Enjoy a spectacular fireworks show over the Coosa River. Photo via Christmas on the Coosa on Facebook

Where: 212 S. Main St., Wetumpka, AL 36092
When: Saturday, December 14
Time: 7:30AM-6:30PM
Price: FREE

Distance from Birmingham to Wetumpka: 1 hour 27 minutes via 1-65 South

Christmas at the Cave – Childersburg, AL

Birmingham, DeSoto Caverns
Santa loves the caves! Photo via DeSoto Caverns’ website

For an easy drive that leads to a family-friendly destination, take a ride to DeSoto Caverns. 

While DeSoto Caverns is an exciting day trip any time of year, if you visit during December, you can take part in their holiday event—Christmas at the Cave. And believe me when I say, it will be an unforgettable experience. 

Throughout the park, you’ll find all sorts of activities, such as:

  • Storytelling with Ole’ Saint Nick
  • Caroling shows and sing-a-longs
  • Rides in the Destiny Express train
  • Delicious holiday treats like lattes and fudge
  • And more!

What’s especially exciting about a trip to DeSoto Caverns is the chance to venture inside the cave for an epic Christmas show with lights, music and talented entertainers. Plus, you’ll get to take in the pure beauty of the cave itself. 

A cool fact about the cave: it stays 60 degrees year-round—the perfect temperature to stay warm during cold weather.

Birmingham, DeSoto Caverns
Discover characters, costumes and more during Christmas at the Cave. Photo via DeSoto Caverns’ website

Where: DeSoto Caverns. 5181 Desoto Caverns Pkwy., Childersburg, AL 35044
When: Fri.-Sat. Dec. 13-14; Fri.-Sat. Dec. 20-21
Time: 5-9PM
Price: Complete Experience: Adults – $34.99, Kids – $29.99, Kids 3 and under – FREE; VIP Experience: Adults $64.99, Kids – $59.99, Kids 3 and under – FREE

Distance from Birmingham to DeSoto Caverns: 53 minutes via US-280 East

Before You Hit the Road

Make sure you have the perfect car to get you to your destination. Visit Driver’s Way in Pelham and off Highway 280 in front of Lee Branch shopping center for all your automotive needs. 

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