13 last-minute outdoor adventures to get in before summer ends

summer white water rafting
Talk about rapids. (Smoky Mountains Outdoors Rafting / Facebook)

Birmingham, pack your car because the summer isn’t over yet. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or someone who prefers a slow stroll down main street, we found destinations and activities for you and the whole family to end summer with unique adventures you’ll remember long after pumpkin spice latte season kicks in. Keep reading for more details.

1. Skyride—DeKalb County, Georgia

stone mountain park
A beautiful view. (Stone Mountain Park / Facebook)

Located in the Greater Atlanta area, DeKalb County has so many hidden outdoor gems. Stone Mountain Park is a must-see when visiting this county. With trails, rope courses, skyride, mini golf, interactive dinosaur exhibit and a historic square, there’s excitement for the whole family.

2. Building sand castles—Gulf Shores, Alabama

Adults can build sandcastles too. (Sand Castle University / Facebook)

It’s probably pretty obvious that we had to include a beach destination for your summer trip. What’s better than a beach in our wonderful state of Alabama? While we hope you spend some time relaxing on the sand, make sure you build some sandcastles with Sand Castle University at Gulf Shores:

  • Where: Locations at beaches in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan
  • When: Times and dates available online, classes are offered year-round
  • Register online for a group for $150-250
  • Website | Facebook

3. White water rafting—Hartford, Tennessee

Thrill-seekers, we found the perfect activity for you. It’s time to see if you can endure the wild rapids with Smoky Mountains Outdoors Rafting.

4. Museum walking trail—Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson Mississippi
Bringing the outdoors + museums together. (Museum Trail / Facebook)

The “City With Soul” should be the city with you. Jackson, Mississippi offers a museum trail for you to walk on through the city to explore art, museums and civil rights history.

5. Hattiesburg, Mississippi

summer walking
Grab your walking shoes and explore downtown Hattiesburg. (Downtown Hattiesburg / Facebook)

Feeling like visiting a true, Americana city this summer? Well, the words in and Hattiesburg, Mississippi may just be the place for you with their historic downtown walking tour.

  • Location: Buildings and places downtown Hattiesburg
  • Hours: Daily from 9AM-3PM
  • Tickets: Book your tour by calling 601-296-7475, tickets cost $15 per person

6. Historic national park—Vicksburg, Mississippi

national park
It’s not every day that you get to walk through history. (Vicksburg National Military Park / Facebook)

Vicksburg was coined the name the “key to the South” during the Civil War. You may or may not have known this fact, but what you should know is it’s one of the best places to visit to learn about the Civil War. Get ready to spend some time outdoors traversing through history at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

7. Paddleboard—Panama City Beach, Florida

summer beach
What’s your favorite way to enjoy the clear, blue water? (Visit Panama City Beach / Facebook)

Pack your towel, sunscreen and swimsuit because it’s time to drive down to the beach. We know paddleboarding is one of the best ways for you to splash around in the water at Panama City Beach. Check out Paradise Adventures to see how you can rent a paddleboard and their other fun water activities like dolphin tours and snorkeling.

8. Feed a giraffe—Montgomery, Alabama

Screen Shot 2022 07 18 at 12.26.59 PM 13 last-minute outdoor adventures to get in before summer ends
You know you want to visit this furry friend. (Montgomery Zoo / Facebook)

No matter if you have kids or not, I think it’s fair to say that a day at the zoo is the definition of summer fun. You don’t even have to leave Alabama to visit one of the best—we’re talking about Montgomery Zoo. Do you want to get up close to the wildlife? Make sure you check out the zoo’s animal encounters, ranging from feeding a giraffe to watching lions go through training exercises.

9. Flower walk—Huntsville, Alabama

botanical garden
Picture-perfect. (Huntsville Botanical Garden / Facebook)

Just a short drive from Birmingham, Huntsville is growing, growing, growing. We know of something else growing in the city. You can’t miss seeing the beautiful flowers at Huntsville Botanical Garden.

10. Cave concert—Pelham, Tennessee

concert cave
Best concert ever. (Bham Now)

We found the coolest concert venue ever—it’s a cave. You have to experience The Caverns—the most unique way to rock out to your favorite artist or band.

11. Ski mountain coaster—Gatlinburg, Tennessee

See the stunning views from the Aerial tram as well. (Ober Gatlinburg / Facebook)

Gatlinburg, you’re the only ten I see. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US, but there are many other thrilling activities to try out while you’re there. While you’re in Gatlinburg, witness the breathtaking views from Ober Gatlinburg’s ski mountain coaster.

12. Hang gliding—Rising Fawn, Georgia

Screen Shot 2022 07 18 at 2.54.04 PM 13 last-minute outdoor adventures to get in before summer ends
The best view in town. (Lookout Mountain Flight Park / Facebook)

Ready to soar to new heights? We think you should try out hang gliding to soar over some of the most beautiful mountains with Lookout Mountain Flight Park.

13. Wilderness training—Watkinsville, Georgia

Impressive skills. (Georgia Bushcraft / Facebook)

Do you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness? Learn all of the fundamentals—tool making, fire and shelter making, animal tracks and more—with Georgia Bushcraft. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures after you learn these amazing skills.

Where are you going for your last trip of the summer? Tag us @bhamnow on Instagram + Facebook to let us know!

Reviewed by Sharron Swain.

Selah Vetter
Selah Vetter
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