If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and taking the road less traveled. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to share your own off-the-beaten-path stories. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, with GPS coordinates.
We’ve driven through Alabama so many times, and it was always on the way to somewhere else. It was finally time to stop and take a look around Alabama. What a beautiful destination that so many people forget about. Here are some favorite hidden gems we found! UPDATED 2021
Litter River Canyon
This beautiful nature preserve protects approximately 14,000 acres of land at the top of Lookout Mountain in Fort Payne, AL. Little River Canyon is sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” And it’s also one of Alabama’s most beautiful waterfalls. Yet you won’t find much traffic here. This 1.4-mile hike is easy and is a spectacular hike with waterfalls, canyon rims, and sandstone cliffs.
Neversink Pit – Fackler
Oh, how I’d love to have enough courage to repel to the bottom of this place. This natural wonder drops 16 stories straight down through rare flora and streaming waterfalls. Somewhere between a sinkhole and a cave, the remarkable pit known as Neversink in northern Alabama is a geological wonder that inspires photographers and climbers in equal measure. This picture is not my own. I would love to have gotten in but the only way in is to repel. No. Thank. You.
Located in northwest Alabama, in a town called Campbell. This 85-acre natural conservatory features several campsites, a hiking trail, beautiful waterfalls, and dismalites – which are rare glow-in-the-dark insects. Dismals Canyon is one of Alabama’s most beautiful nature spots. A true hidden gem!
Ave Maria Grotto
Located in Cullman, AL – This four-acre landscaped park is located on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey, and it features 125 miniature replicas of famous religious structures. This is so unique and different to explore.
Capitol Park – Tuscaloosa
We really love to explore ruins. This was such a beautiful area with such a sad story. From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as the state capital. Its once beautiful capitol building was completed in 1829, three years after Tuscaloosa was designated as the capital. It was an impressive sight; an architectural jewel that stood tall and proud for anyone passing by to admire. People salvaged what they could from the ruins. Bricks were plucked from the ashes and used to construct homes around the city. Other more decorative scraps were used to adorn people’s yards, but fortunately, bits of the building remained in their original spot. It’s now a public park that offers a peaceful respite from city life. As a bonus, the ruins also make a fantastic backdrop for photos.
Unclaimed baggage. Yes, this is where it goes! There is a huge store that receives unclaimed or lost baggage to sell. This is one of Alabama’s top shopping and tourist attractions, hosting nearly a million visitors each year. With thousands of items arriving in their store every day, you never know what you’ll find! We did not go here, but everyone talks about it. We personally do not need any stuff, but as we drove out of Alabama, I thought it might have been fun to just wander through. So if you go, you must share some pictures!
Alabama’s Natural Bridge
Another rock bridge that both defies gravity and is just a natural, beautiful thing to see. Just outside William Bankhead National Forest, the overpass spans a small cave area with a curved rock formation 148 feet long and 60 feet high. Just a short walk from the bridge, is a mysterious carving of an Indian head, similar to that on the buffalo nickel.
Kayaking – Alabama Bartram Canoe Trail
The only official state canoe trail. The Trail, which traverses the swampy, marshy landscape of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, is navigable for more than 200 miles and offers great opportunities for nature viewing, bird watching, and exploration. The main attraction is Mound Island, home to 18 Native American earthen mounds of the Bottle Creek archaeological site. One of south Alabama’s best-known trips is the 11.5-mile loop for canoeists and kayakers on Rice Creek. While you’re out there in the Delta be sure to visit Alabama’s Grand Champion Cypress, this cypress measures 27 ft around at its base and is Alabama’s largest cypress.
Rikard’s Mill Historical Park
Owned and operated by the Monroe County Heritage Museums. The park is located on Flat Creek near Beatrice, AL in Monroe County. The main feature of the park is Rikard’s Mill which is a water-powered grist mill. But there is so much more to see here. An old syrup mill, A covered bridge gift shop, an old cabin, a blacksmith shop, and an old barn exhibit just to name a few. Just a really historic place to spend an afternoon. Great place for family pictures for sure!
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Harmony Park Safari
Perfect place for our current social distancing going on. Harmony Park Safari, located in Huntsville and is a drive thru petting zoo that features an array of exotic and endangered animals. These animals include zebras, giraffes, ostriches, buffalo, deer and so much more. As you make your way through the preserve, these animals will come to your window to be fed. Super fun for the kids!
Boondocking in Alabama
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