Virtually covered with lush wilderness, Alabama is a paradise for those who love the great outdoors. We have some of the best hiking, biking, bird-watching, paddling and camping in the Southeast.
With endless riverways, 22 million acres of forests, and diverse vistas that range from Gulf Coast beaches to Appalachian cliffs, Alabama is home to an incredible wildlife population that includes 414 bird species. Best of all, almost all of our pristine wilderness is open to visitors, allowing you to set off in almost any direction and create your own adventure.
Whether you prefer camping in your air-conditioned RV or hiking deep in the woods to find an isolated spot to put up your tent, Alabama has the right place for you. With more than 100 campgrounds ranging from private and state parks to national forests, you're sure to find the perfect spot to sleep under the stars.
Alabama's location at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain gives visitors the unique chance to hike in some of the most diverse and beautiful woodlands in the nation. Tall pines line more than 30 miles of trails at Lake Guntersville State Park, where a lucky visitor may see the American bald eagle as it makes its winter home. Cheaha State Park, Alabama's highest point, offers a variety of hiking and mountain bike trails, while Tuskegee National Forest in South Alabama is equipped with fishing ponds and wildlife viewing areas on many of its trails.
Detailed hiking trail information and maps are available from the Alabama Hiking Trail Society at www.alabamatrail.org/hikingAL.
With forests, mountains, meadows, swamps and beaches defining the state's landscape, a plethora of avian habitats awaits birders. From the majestic bald eagle to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, more than 400 species of birds can be found across Alabama by those with the patience and curiosity to spot them.
Marked trails throughout the state make the experience even more enjoyable. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, arranged as a series of loops, combines the birding spots most frequented by Alabama birders in the Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, the North Alabama Birding Trail includes 50 sites and spans 11 counties. Species seen at these sites include sandhill cranes, hummingbirds and large concentrations of migratory waterfowl.
Several locations in Alabama showcase unique rock formations and steep cliffs that climbers travel hundreds of miles to experience. Horse Pens 40, a 115-acre historical park, is perfect for climbing. Native Americans took advantage of the natural rock shelters for thousands of years, and visitors today can feel the experience for themselves. Located in central Alabama, it is just one of many places in Alabama where visitors may find gigantic boulders and scenic cliffs.
Alabama has dozens of splendid public and private gardens where you can stroll amongst camellias, azaleas, dogwoods, daylilies, hydrangeas, mums and rare native species.
Festivals offer exceptional opportunities to see and sense botanical varieties at their peak. Visit Bellingrath Gardens during the Azalea Festival, catch a butterfly at Huntsville's Botanical Garden, glean inspiration from the 37 acres of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, or hone your knowledge of Alabama plant varieties at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens. Stroll through unique garden shops and nurseries for plants, decorative items and expert advice.
Alabama is home to some of the most peaceful and serene boating waters in the Southeast. Whether you are water skiing, wakeboarding, pulling a towable or just seeking a restful day on the water, our pristine lakes are ideal for boating. You'll find more than 1 million acres of lakes ready for your enjoyment.
Several places, such as Doublehead Resort in North Alabama, provide a place where you can enjoy the day boating or just hanging out at one of the waterfront cottages. For those who wish to leave the boating to the experts, the Bama Belle Riverboat, modeled after the grand paddle-wheelers of the 1900s, may provide the perfect getaway. For a special treat, sail on the Daedalus, which breaks shore from Orange Beach every day for swimming, sightseeing and sunset excursions.
Depending on the season, Alabama's 1,600 miles of rivers can be peaceful and picturesque or wild and woolly. There are numerous kayaking/canoeing/rafting locations in our state, ranging from Class I to Class VI.
The Alabama Scenic River Trail is the longest water trail in any single state in the country. Beginning at the Georgia state line, paddlers can wind their way through 631 miles of gorgeous scenery.
Take a trip to any of Alabama's parks and woodlands, and you will find some of the best biking trails in the South. Bankhead National Forest in North Alabama is the ideal place for taking a bike ride along scenic wooded areas filled with natural foliage and breathtaking beauty. For those who prefer the sand under their toes, we recommend one of the many trails along the sugar-white dunes at Bridgeport Beach. Another favorite for bike lovers is Kiesel Park, which is also home to the annual Auburn CityFest, held each April.
Whatever your interest, go ahead and take the adventure you have longed for with confidence. When you explore the wide variety of outdoor activities available in Alabama, let a local outfitter help you with your journey. Whether you are looking for a great fishing spot, the best whitewater run or a horse ride through the woods, there's an outfitter who can help make your vacation become a memorable experience. From providing rental equipment and advice to the full services of a guided tour, their years of personal experience will help you on your way.