Dreaming of lower temps and crisp fall days? While Fort Payne is only an hour and a half from Birmingham, it feels like a world away. We’ve got nine reasons for you to plan to visit Fort Payne this fall.
1. The great outdoors is truly great in Fort Payne
If you love being outside, you’ve got plenty of hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls to see. Here are some can’t-miss highlights:
- Buck’s Pocket State Park—once upon a time, the French used to grow coffee and olives in this pocket canyon, just upstream from Lake Guntersville. Now it’s a great place to camp, fish or ride off-road vehicles—just don’t forget to bring your helmet.
- DeSoto State Park—be sure to check out Legends on the Lookout to learn more about the history of this area, including the Welsh Caves.
- Little River Canyon National Preserve—DYK that Little River flows along the top of Lookout Mountain? The canyon is truly a sight to behold.
- Waterfalls—no trip to Fort Payne is complete without a visit to some of the state’s most stunning waterfalls, including:
- DeSoto Falls
- High Falls
- Little River Falls
- And more
2. The foliage is stunning
So many beautiful views of Little River Canyon in the fall (l—James Burton, r—DeKalb Tourism)
Even if you’re more of the drive-to-see-beautiful-things kind of person, you don’t have to go as far as the Smokies to see gorgeous fall foliage.
Drive through DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon around the first week of November (depending on Mother Nature, of course) and prepare to be amazed.
3. You might see a bear in Fort Payne
Okay, we get that this may not be a plus for everyone, but look at how cute Alabama’s official state mammal is. I mean, those baby black bear cub feet…
4. Mentone Colorfest is Oct. 15-16
This annual festival has been going for 40+ years, on the third weekend in October, and you’re invited. For the first time ever, this festival will be held at a new location.
- What: an annual festival presented by the Mentone Area Preservation Association (MAPA), featuring hand-made arts and crafts booths, festival food, live music, kids activities, a scarecrow contest and a costumed pet parade.
- Where: Moon Lake Village, 5866 East River Road, Mentone, AL 35984
- When: Saturday, October 15, 10AM-5PM | Sunday, October 16, 10AM-4PM
- Cost: $5 parking donation
5. Canyon Fest is Nov. 5
Jacksonville State’s Little River Canyon Center Canyon Fest is a great day for families, including pets on leashes.
- What: Expect art demonstrations + sales, live animal shows, kids activities, music, food + fun for the entire family.
- Where: Little River Canyon Center, 4322 Little River Canyon Rim Parkway, Fort Payne, AL 35967
- When: Saturday, November 5, 10AM-3PM
- Cost: free
6. You can check out the Alabama Fan Club + Museum + City Park
If you’ve ever sung along to “Dixieland Delight” at an Alabama game, you need to check out the Alabama Fan Club and Museum + City Park in downtown Fort Payne.
- What: You’ll see over 50 years of country music memorabilia in the museum. In City Park, you can see statues of the band, and there are swings to keep the kids happy for a while.
- Where: Museum–101 Glenn Boulevard SW, Fort Payne, AL 35967 | Park—401 Gault Ave N, Fort Payne, AL 35967
- When: Museum—Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM | Sun 1-5PM, closed for major holidays | Park—daylight hours
- Cost: Museum—$10 per person, senior + military discounts | Park—free
If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll want to head over to the Alabama Walking Park, which has two fantastic playgrounds, one for littles and one for bigger kids.
7. You can stay in a loft above a historic building in downtown Fort Payne
This gorgeous loft is just above The Spot in downtown Fort Payne. (Holly Houston)
Check out this one above The Spot Coffee Shop—a local favorite. You can walk anywhere in the Main Street District.
8. Eat + grab a beer at Vintage 1889 Restaurant
Big Mill Co. is an antique mall and artist center where artists, antiquers and craftsmen gather. It’s located in the former Davis Hosiery Mill.
ICYMI, Fort Payne is known as the “Sock Capital of the World,” because it’s been making socks since the early 1900s—the town even supplied the socks for American soldiers during WWII.
Vintage 1889 Restaurant, located inside Big Mill Co., is home to one of the area’s largest beer selections, plus they’ve got tasty food. Eat in or eat in the open-air Courtyard beneath the old water tower.
- Where: 151 8th Street NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967
- When: M-W 11AM-3PM | Thurs-Sat 11AM-12PM | Sun closed
9. There are more than 200 rental cabins on Lookout Mountain
If you’re looking for a true getaway, there are lots of cabins and bed and breakfasts where you can stay in Fort Payne. If you want to go even more rustic, check out DeKalb County’s campgrounds.
Plan your fall getaway to Fort Payne today.