Sunday, February 28, 2016

4 Outdoor Jewels in Alabama

Our Frugal Family Travelers love exploring locations on and off the beaten path!  Many times when planning a trip, we look for smaller outdoor gems that may typically be overlooked when traveling to an area/city with a bigger attraction.   Those reading this post who travel with kids know that staying active is the key to a successful trip!  We typically like to combine a big attraction with a small one to provide a variety of adventures when  traveling.  Outdoor gems, like the ones reviewed in this post, can certainly be combined with other family plans to satisfy this need and will also provide lasting memories.

So, whether you are planning an entire trip to Alabama, or just passing through, the 4 locations showcased in the post are worthy of your attention for both the unforgettable scenery and the history!

Note: The following locations are only a short driving distance of one another! 

Moss Rock Preserve 

With its beautiful waterfalls, rock formations and nearly 12 miles of hiking trails to explore, Moss Rock Preserve is a place that tips the travel scale and is certainly one our Frugal Family Travelers plan to visit again! There are 3 trail heads in the preserve, at different locations, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the trail map before departing.  It is important to note that the area is managed and owned by the city of Hoover, so familiarize yourself with the rules before entering.   We arrived at the preserve late in the day and therefore choose to explore the Boulder Field Trail Head for its popularity with the locals.  It did not disappoint!  With a short hike, we experienced beautiful rock formations and with an additional short hike we were able to explore beautiful streams and waterfalls.  The pictures below are certainly worth a thousand words!  

Boulder Canyon Nature Area

Directions: 1221 Montgomery Hwy, Vestivia Hills, AL 35216, Trail entrance is behind the Vestivia Hills Library.  Park in the library parking lot.  You can enter the library and take the trail out of the back of the young adult section of the library or walk around to the back of the library on the outdoor path.

Cost:  Free

Our Frugal Family Travelers stumbled onto this little wonder in Vestivia Hills, AL.    It is an awesome example of how community spirit, local government and the public school system can join forces to create a natural oasis for learning and respite from the fast paced world in which we live.  The nature area encompasses approximately 20 acres owned in part by the elementary school and local government.  The land and trails by the stream were originally cut by the Cub Scouts in the 80's with subsequent scouting groups adding to the trail which now extends behind the AMAZING Vestivia Hills Public Library. Our Frugal Family Travelers highly recommend exploring the trail and then the library!  You may want to bring your own book and read at one of the outdoor benches or by one of the massive boulders you will encounter by the Patton Creek watershed. 

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

Directions: 12632 Confederate Pkwy, McCalla, AL 35111

Cost:  Adults $2; Children $1; Seniors $1

Hiking, history, cabins, camping and a train all come to mind when recalling our Frugal Family adventure at Tannehill!   Although, we did not stay in the park, it is certainly an option and one on our bucket list when visiting the area again!   Our day here consisted of a picnic by the stream, hiking and exploring the rich history to be found here.  Be sure to visit the Tannehill website for current museum times, train schedules and admission prices!  

Oak Mountain State Park

Directions: 200 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124

Cost:  Adults $5; Children $2; Seniors $2

Oak Montain State Park is truly a one stop shopping place when traveling.  One could certainly stay here for numerous days!  With clear lakes, boating/fishing opportunities, beautiful mountain biking trails, hiking trails, horseback riding, golf course,  a waterfall and a bird hospital/sanctuary, there is not a reason in the world anyone would ever be bored while visiting Oak Mountain State Park.  Furthermore, the cabins and camping opportunities are amazing!  

This happens to be the second time our Frugal Family Travelers have visited Oak Mountain!  We spent our time during this visit hiking to Pevine Falls as well as touring the bird sanctuary.    Check out our pictures below to capture a glimpse of this jewel! 

Hike times vary for those of varying age and skill - factor in extra time.   Never enter a long trail at dusk! Pack a first aid kit, water, bug spray and snacks! Sometimes cell service is limited or unavailable on hiking trails so let someone know when you enter and depart a trail. 

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