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Birmingham South Campground
As we plan our trip through Alabama, one thing we can count on is the fact that Alabama is warm and sunny for most of the year, making it a great place to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, hunting, water sports, hiking and mountain biking. The wooded areas and lakes are some of the most picturesque in our nation. Alabama is also well-steeped in U.S. history, and has many museums and historical sites for those interested in seeing where many significant events in our nation’s past took place.
We start by exploring our origin point of Birmingham, a city home to all manner of fantastic year-round events and attractions. One thing not to miss is Vulcan Park, which is situated atop Red Mountain and offers incredible panoramic views of Birmingham. It also possesses the world’s largest cast iron sculpture, a 56-foot high rendering of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge. It’s really got to be seen in person to be believed. Prepare to be impressed!
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute offers self-guided tours that depict the spirit and drama of the Civil Rights Movement, and is located in the historic Civil Rights District, near the also not-be-missed Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
Birmingham also has one of the finest sports history centers; the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, which spreads across 33,000 square feet and presents over 5,000 sports artifacts. Five out of the top fifteen athletes found on ESPN’s Greatest Ever List are in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, including Carl Lewis, Hank Aaron, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis and Willie Mays.
As we leave Birmingham, we access the northbound I-65 en route to Huntsville. Approximately 80 miles from Birmingham, we exit the I-65 and take the I-565 east for another 20 miles, which brings us right into Huntsville.
One of Huntsville’s distinctions is that it’s Alabama’s first English-speaking city. Also, it’s where famed German rocket scientist Werner von Braun’s team developed the first rocket that put a satellite into space, followed by creating the means of putting the first men onto the Moon. One can tour the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Alabama’s most frequently visited tourist attraction, and can take part in sample astronaut training activities, such as experiencing the massive G-forces created by liftoff.
Huntsville is the starting point for the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the largest golf construction project anywhere in the world. It encompasses eight cities and has 378 holes, with varying degrees of difficulty to accommodate any golfer’s skill level.
The nearby Flint River is an ideal place to go rafting, canoeing or inner tubing. You can also explore the area around the river from horseback, riding through a 500-acre preserve that parallels Flint River.
It’s time to continue, so head south via the 431 for a little more than seventy miles, to the town of Gadsden. This is a perfect place to pull over to stretch the legs, and check out the breathtaking 90-foot Noccalula Falls. While they can be viewed from afar, the recommendation is to enter the state park and hike the 1.5 mile trail to the foot of Noccalula Falls. The best time to visit is through the fall/spring seasons, when annual rains fill Black Creek – the source of the falls – and they’re at their most dynamic.
Getting back on the 431 and continuing south, we roll into the city of Anniston. The Berman Museum of World History is here, with more than 8,000 oil paintings, jade sculptures, modern and ancient weapons, as well as Frederic Remington bronze sculptures. New acquisitions arrive all the time, so investigate their website at
. Another place of interest is the Anniston Museum of Natural History, where you can see displays of 2,000 year old Egyptian mummies, dangerous predatory animals of Africa and North America, as well as dioramas featuring life-size models of various dinosaur species. Admission is reasonable, and traveling exhibits change the action up a bit. Definitely worth a look as we pass through town.
Once we’re ready to hit the road, we catch the westbound I-20 and aim for our final destination city of Talladega. Talladega is one of the cities well-known to NASCAR fans, being the home of the Talladega Super Speedway, the biggest and fastest motor sports facility in the world. World records for competition and speed have been established here, witnessed by more than 140,000 attendees. Record holders include Pete Hamilton, Buddy Baker and the late Dale Earnhardt. The area surrounding the Super Speedway is abundant with natural parks, making it a perfect place for the racing fan to camp out during the competition season. The Speedway is surrounded by the Talladega National Forest, which offers opportunities for hiking and biking along its many trails.
Cheaha State Park is roughly 20 miles from the city of Talladega, playing host to Cheaha Mountain, which at 2,400 feet is the tallest peak in the state. The state park makes an excellent place to swim, camp, or hike. Treat yourself to dinner at the Cheaha Restaurant, which hangs out over the mountain and offers an eye-popping view of the Talladega National Forest. For a complete racing schedule as well as other visitor info, look up their website at
With its many opportunities for outdoor recreation, culture and world-class racing, Alabama makes for a great place to point the RV and let the cruising begin!
Other Area Sponsors in Alabama:
Huntsville Convention & Visitors Bureau
Little Mountain Marina Camping Resort
Noccalula Falls Park & Campground City (City Park)
Northshore Campground at the Big Rock
Shady Acres Campground
South Sauty Creek Resort