A New Twist on Spring Break Travel – Alabama Style
March 10, 2022
Alabama’s reputation as an exciting and affordable spring break destination is known far beyond its borders. That’s why it’s not uncommon on Alabama highways to see license plates from Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan and other faraway states. From white sand beaches along the Gulf coast to mountain-top chalets among the foothills of the Appalachians, a “Sweet Home Alabama” spring break offers something for everyone and every budget.
With rising fuel prices, more than ever it makes sense to keep spring break local. Many families have their favorite spring break spots, but here are some twists on spring break to consider this year.
It’s Glamping – Not Camping
Sleep in a tent? Reimagine camping in a tent as “glamping.” The term, a mash-up of glamorous and camping, describes luxuriously appointed bell-shaped tents – called yurts – with hotel-like features including baths, kitchens, air conditioning, hot tubs and traditional furniture. Alabama has begun to embrace the glamping craze with primitive glamps near beaches, fancy yurts in forests and near lakes, lakeside floating cabins, treehouses and even Airstream trailers.
Alabama boasts 21 recreational parks across the state offering hiking, swimming, horseback riding, fishing, camping, concert venues, zip lining, rock climbing, mountain biking, golfing and a wide variety of educational programs and special events. After a day of adventures, rest and unwind in a lakeside cabin, mountain chalet or campsite. Some state parks have lodges with dining facilities for guests. Hint: If you’re active military or a veteran, park admission is free.
Source: Alabama State Parks
Newly renovated Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores sports two miles of beaches, a fabulous lodge and hotel, 20 cabins, RV hookups and campsites. Other favorite state park destinations include: Wind Creek State Park on beautiful Lake Martin near Alexander City; Cheaha State Park (Alabama’s highest point) located at the southernmost tip of the Appalachian mountains, near Munford; Desoto State Park atop Lookout Mountain near Mentone with its gorgeous waterfall; Lake Guntersville State Park on the scenic Tennessee River in Guntersville; Oak Mountain State Park – Alabama’s largest – near Birmingham. Visit Alapark for more information about these and other parks. Reservations for chalets, lodges and campsites are available up to two years in advance.
Hit the Trails
Spring break is the perfect time to explore one of Alabama’s tourism trails. Some focus on history and culture while others are oriented toward outdoor activities like hunting and fishing. History buffs will enjoy the Alabama Civil Rights Trail with stops in Montgomery, Selma, Tuskegee and Birmingham. Five Civil War Trails stretch across the state from Fort Morgan on Mobile Bay to the Tennessee Valley in north Alabama. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is the 631-mile Alabama Scenic River Trail featuring seven rivers, nine lakes and a couple of creeks. Six pristine gardens from Huntsville to Mobile make up the Alabama Garden Trail. Bird peepers can watch for more than 400 species of birds along the Birding Trail.
For a list of all Alabama tourism trails visit Alabama Travel Trails.
If you can only invest a day (or two), make it memorable with one of these spring break destinations:
American Village in Montevallo, where you can step back in time to experience the making of America’s journey to independence. The beautiful campus includes Washington Hall, inspired by George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon; the Colonial Courthouse; the Colonial Chapel, inspired by one of America’s oldest churches, Bruton Parish Church of Williamsburg, Virginia; and a full-sized replica of the Oval Office, including an exact replica of the Resolute desk used by most Presidents since Rutherford Hayes. The newest addition to campus is the National Veterans Shrine and Register of Honor, dedicated to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Costumed interpreters bring life to the buildings and the lessons. A spring bonus is the annual Festival of Tulips featuring colorful blooms through March.
McWane Science Center in Birmingham, where unique exhibits and hands-on education, experiments and programs engage children and adults as they explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The multi-story science center, children’s museum, natural history museum and aquarium also features an IMAX theatre, shark and ray touch tank, weather lab and other fun hands-on permanent collection experiences.
Alabama Safari Park in Hope Hull (near Montgomery) is a drive-thru zoo where kids of all ages enjoy an up-close look as they feed animals like lemurs, llamas, giraffes and zebras. The park’s Village Walk-About sports a petting area, lemur island, sloth exhibit and kangaroo Walk-About. Take an eye-level selfie with a giraffe at the covered giraffe tower.
Whatever route you choose, Alabama has your perfect spring break.