The 4 Best Camping Spots to Enjoy the Fall Around Tuscaloosa

Take advantage of scenic camping spots like Oak Mountain State Park this fall.
Take advantage of scenic camping spots like Oak Mountain State Park this fall. Rian Castillo
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Fall is one of the best seasons for camping in the state of Alabama. The fire-like hues of hardwoods coupled with the moderate temperatures make this an ideal season to find oneself in the great outdoors, in general. Whether sitting by a campfire and roasting marshmallows with friends and family, or seeking the solitude that awaits any solo adventurer, these four camping spots are sure to please any and all would-be campers.

1. Lake Lurleen State Park

Lake Lurleen State Park offers an extensive trail system for hikers. Michael Lambert

This park, named after the first and only woman to have served as state governor, aims to please. The result of Lurleen Wallace’s dedication to bettering the lives of people who inhabit and visit the state, this park has something for everybody. A family-friendly environment that is welcoming to children and seniors alike (even the dog), as well as a trail system known for sapping even the hardiest of hiking legs—Lake Lurleen State Park is the place you’ve always been looking for while simultaneously, miraculously, being situated only a short distance from home.

2. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park offers a glimpse into 19th Century life in Alabama. Michael Lambert

With more than 1,500 acres set aside specifically for camping, hiking, mountain biking, birding, and similar activities, Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is a must-see for anyone who happens to find themselves in relative proximity to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Visitors are met with a full spectrum of possible activities and attractions, ranging from hiking and birding trails to a blast furnace that was quite literally built in 1830 and later used to supply Confederate troops with iron goods and products. Check out the gristmill, country store, blacksmith, or any other of a long, long list of possible sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. This park is particularly well suited to history buffs seeking the often sordid and spooky artifacts from southern states.

3. Deerlick Creek Park

The tree-covered trail at Deerlick Creek Park. Michael Lambert

One of the often-overlooked gems of the greater Tuscaloosa area, Deerlick Creek Park is nestled on the shores of Holt Lake and offers the unique quietude only found in locations less traveled. One particularly unique feature that one finds at this park is the meticulous labeling of 17 state-specific variety of flora. From Red Maple to Loblolly Pine, Deerlick Creek will bring out the botanist in visitors of all ages as they walk along the trails replete with handmade wooden signs that illuminate the common names of certain plant species.

If, however, plant life is not your thing, you might find the plentiful vistas, fishing areas, paved biking trails, and many hiking paths more palatable. Not to mention the most important detail—46 electrified campsites of both primitive and RV varieties.

4. Oak Mountain State Park

Oak Mountain State Park features more than 50 miles of trails for hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. Alby Headrick

Oak Mountain is by far the largest state park in the “sweet home” state, though it also happens to be the farthest from Tuscaloosa on this list. However, for those intrepid travelers seeking the finest in topographical variation and are attracted to a park that boasts 10,000-plus acres (and who wouldn’t be?), Oak Mountain is an ideal location for the next big camping trip.

Fifty-one miles of well-maintained and interconnected trails make for a venue well suited to hikers, runners, and mountain bikers alike. Maximalists rejoice: the attractions here vary from kid-friendly petting zoos to an 18-hole golf course to canoe, paddleboard, and paddle boat rental. Like to ride horses? Oak Mountain has you covered—equestrian specific campsites and 14 miles of trail specifically dedicated to those larger four-legged friends. If there ever was such a thing as a state park that has seemingly thought of everything, this is it.

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