The people's voice of reason

Alabama the Beautiful

The beginning of summer is approaching and we are nearing my favorite time of the year. Summer in the south brings with it vacations, weekends spent outside, outdoor activities, and a multitude of other opportunities. It is a great chance to get out and enjoy our wonderful state parks. I am certainly biased to Alabama but some of the world’s most beautiful natural sites can be found within our state and many of those are at Alabama state parks.

Alabama is home to 22 state parks, each having an individual flavor. There are many things that you and your family can do at these parks. Those include golfing, fishing, hiking, bicycling, swimming, and many others. Quite often you will also find that a state park offers a great place to stay during your visit. Some parks have resorts while others feature cabins, cottages, or excellent campgrounds. In fact, Wind Creek State Park, located on Lake Martin, has one of the largest state-owned campgrounds in the entire country. I urge you to find out about the different ranger-led events that many of our state parks regularly offer. These events present outstanding opportunities to go on hikes, make crafts, listen to an educational presentation, or even watch a movie. A park employee is always on hand to make sure that everyone has a great and safe time. Most of these events will fit every budget because they are free. What a wonderful way to spend time with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime!

At the risk of causing you to not think about other parks, I would like to highlight a few of them. In northeastern Alabama you will find Cathedral State Park, an unbelievable natural phenomenon. Inside this mammoth cave you will find “Goliath”- one of the largest stalagmites in the world. It measures 45 feet tall and 243 feet in circumference. Those of you living in central Alabama should take advantage of Oak Mountain State Park, the largest of our state parks. There you can rent boats, hike, or ride your bicycle on one of the BMX courses. And, of course, in the southern part of our state you will find Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. There you can enjoy the stunning white sand beach while you watch the surf and seagulls. Again, please don’t think that these are the only state parks you can visit. Contact the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to find out more about the others.

I truly appreciate the great outdoors and realize how fortunate we are to live in a state that is home to these marvelous examples of God’s handiwork. I hope that you and others in our state take advantage of these parks by visiting them soon and often. Whether you’re on a day trip or a weekend getaway, there’s something for everyone at an Alabama state park. Get outdoors and enjoy Alabama the Beautiful!


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