National Historic Sites to Visit by RV—Birmingham Civil Rights and Freedom Riders Monuments

In a previous post, we mentioned that four new National Historic Sites had been recognized by the National Park Service this year. That earlier post offered RV campers the details for visiting Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland. This week, we’ve got the details on two new historic sites that tell the story of the American Civil Rights Movement. An important lesson in history and excellent RV camping nearby—isn’t it time you took the trip?

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Both RV travel stops in today’s post are in Alabama, at the heart of the American Civil Rights movement. Challenge your fellow campers to read ahead of time about the role Birmingham, Alabama played in the early days of the struggle for racial equality in America.

The new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument isn’t yet fully developed, but there’s plenty to explore when you visit. These sites are currently designated within the Monument:

  • G. Gaston Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other early leaders in the Civil Rights Movement met to plan non-violent protests and other actions to end segregation.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located adjacent to the AG Gaston Motel. This museum and interpretive center can give you the background you’ll need to begin your tour to the other sites that make up the national monument.
  • 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of the horrific bombing in 1963 that killed four young girls and lit the spark for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Bethel Baptist Church, a short drive from the other sites, was bombed three times during the early years of the struggle for racial equality and served as the home of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
  • Kelly Ingram Park, captured in history by photographers at the non-violent protests that were disrupted by violent police action.
  • 4th Avenue District, an historic neighborhood once the site of blacks-only restaurants and shops during the days of segregation. 

Freedom Riders National Monument

Two hours east of Birmingham on I-20 in Anniston, Alabama you’ll find another newly-designated National Historic Site. The Freedom Riders National Monument is dedicated to the integrated group who boarded a bus bound for the Deep South in 1961, intent on testing a court decision that had found segregated transportation unconstitutional.

In Anniston, AL, you’ll find the Greyhound Bus Station where the group was attacked by segregationists, as well as the site six miles down the highway where the bus was stopped and firebombed by a mob.

While visiting these two designated sites within the National Monument, take the time to follow the Anniston Civil Rights Trail, a walking tour that highlights the importance of this small Eastern Alabama town during the Civil Rights Movement.

Birmingham Area RV Camping

Where to camp in this historically rich area? Oak Mountain State Park, just south of Birmingham off I-65, offers Alabama RV travelers a wonderful place to recharge. With both 30-amp water and electric sites and primitive campsites, you can choose your setting while enjoying the numerous amenities this park features. Two recreational lakes with cable skiing and boat rentals, a golf course and miles of hiking and biking trails are just the beginning of the ways you’ll find to unwind while camping in the Birmingham area. If you’re up for a climb, the state park’s Peavine Falls is a photographer’s dream.

Make an RV trip to Alabama to find the roots of the American Civil Rights Movement, and to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Birmingham area campgrounds. We can help with an RV rental, and we hope our posts inspire you to seek out the places that tell the story of our nation’s past.

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Southern RV Comfort—Three Trips You’ll Want to Take

Visiting the American South by RV always delivers the unexpected. Whether you’re chasing warmer temps in winter or a balmy lakeshore in July, there’s a southern RV adventure with your name on it.

To whet your appetite for sweet tea and southern RV comfort, we’ve chosen three special places that welcome campers with the attractions, amenities and authentic southern charm.

Auburn, Alabama

Travel south on I-85 from Atlanta, Georgia, and you’ll find a place where farmer’s markets offer abundance year-round, waterfalls splash into crystal clear pools and Auburn Tigers football reigns supreme.

Even more enticing are the options for RV camping in this eastern Alabama playground. From a cozy, farmstead campground beneath the trees to a large, first-class resort with every amenity an RV camper could want, there’s a place for every style camper in Auburn. You’ll also have the chance to visit one of the prettiest state parks in the South. Just a short drive from Auburn, Chewacla State Park offers a full-service campground, picturesque swimming beach and a rocky waterfall worth the hike to discover.

While in the town of Auburn, be sure to visit the many farmer’s markets for a taste of natural Alabama. RV travelers also list the vintage town of Opelika as a must-see attraction while in the Auburn area. And don’t miss the live music venues that keep the nighttime sizzling downtown in both Auburn and Opelika.

Give yourself the gift of visiting the Auburn area by RV. Here’s a link to Alabama RV campgrounds to assist your planning.

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

RVers who travel the South frequently are familiar with a vibrant town on the Mississippi coast where historic sites, casinos and Gulf Coast outdoor recreation deliver the best in vacation fun.

Bay St. Louis is surrounded by scenic blueways where you can paddle through the bayous and along the Pascagoula River. Nature trails dot the landscape on public lands preserved for future generations. The coastal plain makes a fascinating classroom, filled with plant life, animals and birds in stunning varieties. Local outfitters can plan a tour by land or water that will suit the interests of your entire group.

Prefer to spend your days in town? In Old Town Bay St. Louis, you’ll find the perfect place to enjoy a jazz brunch, to purchase unique gifts made by local artisans and to soak up the charm and culture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There’s even a self-guided walking or biking tour that celebrates the town that’s stood the test of three centuries.

We can’t discuss the attractions of the Gulfport-Biloxi area without mentioning casinos, two, in fact right in city of Bay St. Louis. Casinos don’t just mean gambling, either; they feature world class entertainment, upscale shops and luxury spa services, as well. Check with your campground hosts about the local shuttles that ferry gaming enthusiasts to area casino action.

Speaking of campgrounds, when it’s time to set up camp in Bay St. Louis, you won’t be disappointed. There are hundreds of campsites within easy driving distance of Bay St. Louis attractions, in the city itself as well as in surrounding towns like Gulfport, Pass Christian and Kiln. Use this handy list of Mississippi RV campgrounds, and be sure to make reservations…this region is famous with RV campers.

Blairsville, Georgia

If a tiny mountain town surrounded by national forest sounds like the ideal place to go RV camping in the South, it’s high time you came to Blairsville, Georgia. An hour and a half north of Atlanta in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this alpine hamlet is the hub for a wide variety of outdoor recreation.

Cabin in Vogel State Park

Cabin in Vogel State Park

Camp in nearby Vogel State Park in Chattahoochee National Forest, and then find the trails that lead past mountain peaks, quiet hollows and hidden lakes rich with wildlife. Be sure to experience the views from Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. Keep your eyes open for waterfalls along the way, as well.

When you’re ready for a bit more civilization, take a trip into the towns of Blairsville and Suches, where year-round festivals add even more flavor to your Blue Ridge Mountain experience. One more note for paddling enthusiasts—three lakes in surrounding Union County give plenty of blue water possibilities.

RV camping in the South is a different experience everywhere you stop and every time you come. If you’re looking for authentic Southern RV comfort and charm, you can’t go wrong by choosing one of these three destinations. And, because we’re here to help, be sure to let us know if an RV rental will help make the trip your reality.

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An Alabama Caving and Camping Vacation

If your family loves to get underground and explore, two caves in northeast Alabama should be your next RV camping destination. Only fifty miles apart, Russell Cave National Monument and Cathedral Caverns State Park will teach the kids about ancient civilizations and also thrill them with first-class natural wonders. Use our handy guide to camping and caving to plan your trip.

How to Get There

Russell Cave National Monument, in Bridgeport, Alabama, is a 45-minute drive from Chattanooga, TN on I-24W. It’s also only 2 hours south of Nashville on I-24E. Once you’ve explored to your heart’s content at this cave, head one hour south to Grant, Alabama on AL-2 and US-72 to find Cathedral Caverns.

What Will We See?

The attraction at Russell Cave is history! North America’s earliest inhabitants left clues to their cultures in this large shelter in the rocky face of Montague Mountain. The visitor center and museum houses excellent exhibits of the prehistoric artifacts archaeologists have unearthed on-site. The cave tour itself is restricted to the shelter just inside the cavern’s entrance, but it’s an easy hike and well worth the trip.

Russell Cave National Monument

Russell Cave National Monument

Take the time to take the cavern tour, check out the exhibits and videos at the museum and have a picnic on the park grounds. Teach the youngsters even more about nature with a hike along the North Alabama Birding Trail and a stroll through the park’s Wildflower Meadow. If the kids haven’t entered the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program at another national park, this would be a great place to start.

When you head south to Cathedral Caverns State Park, get ready to experience a wonderland of giant rock formations. From the enormous cavern entrance to record breaking collections of stalactites, stalagmites and other structures formed over the eons, there’s plenty to see and enjoy throughout the cave. Cave tours run seven days a week, every two hours beginning at 10 a.m. Young ones may also want to try their luck at finding gems in the ‘mining’ area and hiking the trails throughout the park’s picturesque setting.

Where to Camp?

There’s nothing quite like coming home to RV comfort after an exciting day of exploring underground! If you arrive early in the day at Cathedral Caverns, you may be able to snag one of the first-come, first-served water and electric campsites at the park. There are also several campgrounds within easy driving distance—Lake Guntersville State Park, just thirty minutes away, has a large RV campground and reasonable rates. You’ll find more information here about Alabama RV campgrounds.

Bonus Tip: Other Northeast Alabama Caves

Did you know that the rugged mountains and hollows of Alabama have more caves per mile than just about anywhere in the US? It’s true, and that’s why we wanted to give you more ideas for extending your Alabama camping and caving adventure.

If you’re camping at Lake Guntersville, take the Cave Trail to find a cozy little cavern along the way. For families on an extended trip, head south two hours to DeSoto Caverns Family Fun Park for a day of adventure and a night of full-service RV camping on the grounds. Rickwood Caverns State Park near Birmingham also offers a small on-site campground and a cave tour that takes you and the youngsters seventeen stories below ground!

A trip to visit the caves of northeast Alabama means family fun time in exciting natural settings. Camping in an RV means comfort, safety and convenience while you’re there. Start planning this year’s caving and camping trip now and don’t forget to post your memories here in our comments section!

Photo credit:  nps.gov

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An RV Trip to Talladega National Forest is the Perfect Winter Getaway

Cheaha Lake in the Talladega National Forest

Cheaha Lake in the Talladega National Forest

At this time of year the weather seems to like to play a few tricks on us. It can make you think it is almost springtime. However, winter is still upon us. Right now is the perfect time for going on a winter RV getaway to beautiful Alabama and Talladega National Forest. You will miss the cold winds blowing and you won’t have to shovel snow off the sidewalks. You are headed into the real South!

Talladega National Forest is a place of such beauty, deep in the South’s heartland with mountain terrain and wilderness landscapes. Outdoor activities are abundant with recreation for the whole family. RV camping can be found at Cane9Creek RV Park and Campground in Heflin. This RV camping spot offers all the amenities you need and makes for easy access to the forest and surrounding attractions.

The first thing to do is drive the Talladega Scenic Byway where you can enjoy some spectacular scenery and get your bearings as you arrive in this huge forested paradise. From this drive you can get to your next stops in Talladega National Forest, including, of course, the highest mountain in Alabama.

You are going to love visiting Mt. Cheaha with an elevation of 2407 feet, making it Alabama’s highest point. Go right to Bunker Tower which gives the best views of the forests and Cheaha State Park below. There is an observation room at the top of this amazing stone tower which you get to by climbing an interior staircase.

In the Talladega Ranger District you’ll discover Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area, with a lovely lake and plenty of picnicking, fishing and hiking. Here you can take to the Chinnabee Silent Trail and hike. It is twelve miles round-trip from the recreation area to the top of Talladega Mountain and back. There is also a nearby trail for mountain bikes, ATVs and motorcycles – Kentuck ORV Trail.

The Coleman Lake Recreation Area is a quiet and peaceful place tucked into the Talladega Mountains and providing plenty of outdoor fun for visitors. You’ll find camping here too, and a 21-acre lake. Hike the famous Pinhoti Trail as it winds through this area. Another recreation area within this national forest is the Payne Lake Recreation Area. There is an even larger lake here where you can boat or fish.

Cheaha State Park is a place where more recreation opportunities await. The most popular attractions in this section of Talladega are the fabulous waterfalls. You can reach Cheaha Falls, Devil’s Den or High Falls by taking some short hikes. The park also boasts Depression-era stone structures which are a little bit of history for you.

More history of a little different kind is waiting to be discovered at the Overlook at Bald Rock. During the Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps wanted to develop this area so visitors could benefit from the spectacular views. Doug Ghee Accessible Trail was created and is a wonderfully smooth boardwalk, an easy trail that leads to the observation platform. You will want to stop here before heading home. It will be a fitting end to a most exciting RV winter vacation.

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An RV Excursion along the Selma to Montgomery March Byway

Celebrate that historic time in our country’s past when voting rights demonstrations and the Selma to Montgomery March became news around the world. The Selma to Montgomery March Byway offers an RV excursion that is hard to beat in reliving a vital time in America’s history. You can follow the route of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he led the way on the Road to Freedom.

Beginning on the 7th of March 1965 in Selma, Alabama, the Selma to Montgomery March wound its way through Selma, marking the start of something big for America. As you follow this trail all the way to Montgomery, you will visit key spots along the way. The route is 54 miles long and, depending on how often you stop, can take from one hour to a full day. RV campgrounds can be found near Selma and in Montgomery. One great park is the Montgomery South RV Park with large pull-through spaces.

Brown Chapel in Selma, AL

Brown Chapel in Selma, AL

Your visit should start with the First Baptist Church where Dr. King spoke often to others of the Civil Rights Movement. He also would gather youth together here to enlighten them on the struggle. Then you can stop at the Brown Chapel, another major attraction on the byway. This church also housed many civil rights activities in the county. This is the location where the march actually began.

Cecil B. Jackson Public Safety Building was the City Hall in old Selma and held the jail where King and other protestors were imprisoned for their protests. You can stop here and visit and get the feeling of the vital spirit of those days. While others were still in jail, marchers would file past and sing loudly to give them hope.

Jesse Jackson crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge on 29th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Jesse Jackson crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge on 29th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

The scene of Bloody Sunday was located at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On March 7th, as the marchers moved across this bridge, they were stopped and driven back by troopers and sheriff deputies as well as a posse on horseback. The unarmed marchers were attacked – beaten and gassed – which shocked the nation. The bridge became a symbol of all the changes taking place in America and communities around the world. On one shore you can go to a park which commemorates the site of Bloody Sunday.

Further along you will find the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. This museum will give you a full overview on the struggle for equal voting rights, with first-hand stories about this historic march. As you travel on the route taken by the marchers, you will see a number of campsites where they spent the night. Be sure to stop when you see one to get more of the history of the times.

The City of St. Jude was one major campsite of the marchers on March 24th. The site of their camp was the athletic field and marked the last night on the march to the capital. Many celebrity singers came to celebrate, including Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary and Sammy Davis Jr.

The end of your trip will be in Montgomery, Alabama, the same ending for the marchers on this particular quest for freedom. Visit the Alabama State Capitol where King delivered one of his most famous speeches. Your RV trip is over, but the memories made from this journey will never be forgotten.

Photo credits: The picture of Brown Chapel is copyright © 1996 Selma to Montgomery March Byway. It is used here in accordance with their terms and conditions. The picture of the Edmund Pettus Bridge is copyright © 2001 Selma to Montgomery March Byway. It is also used here in accordance with their terms and conditions.

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Birmingham, Alabama is the Destination for a Dynamic RV Vacation

Birmingham, Alabama is in the very heart of the South, a lovely city in Jones Valley. This metropolitan area became the focus of national and even international attention when the civil rights struggle for African-Americans began. Now you can experience the feel of days gone by, as well as take part in great family activities when you come here on an RV getaway. There are spots for RV camping near Birmingham where you can settle in before beginning your adventures.

A must-see, of course, is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute where the special events and numerous children’s activities make it a great place to go. This museum expresses the truth of the civil rights movement in a way that is healing and educational. Every American should visit this facility which memorializes our civil rights history.

Getting outdoors and soaking up the sun is an important part of a visit to Birmingham. Be sure to stop at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and stroll through acres of unique gardens and original sculptures. There is free admission! Look up all those hard-to-find facts about your garden at home in the largest horticultural library in the United States. See the traditional tea house in the Japanese Gardens.

If anyone in your family is a science buff, the McWane Science Center is a must to put on your itinerary. Even if you aren’t a true fan of science, you will be by the time you finish touring here. There are numerous interactive exhibits as well as an aquarium, playgrounds for the kids and dinosaur fossils to examine. Don’t neglect to see a film at the IMAX theater.

At Birmingham Museum of Art you will discover one of the finest collections of art around. See a diverse representation from many different cultures, including African, Asian, American, European and Native American. For a change of pace, make your way to the Vulcan Park and Museum. This is the home of the world’s largest cast iron statue and Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti created it from local iron way back in 1904.

For an animal encounter, nothing can beat the Birmingham Zoo! See the sea lions put on a famous show, explore the Trails of Africa to see giraffes, zebras and bull elephants. Do you love those crazy ole rhinos? Experience their antics at the Rhino Encounter. Young and old love to visit the zoo, and the animals will love it if you do!

Tour downtown to make some lasting memories of your trip to Birmingham. Buy some hot peanuts, just like residents did over 100 years ago on these very streets. You will visit sites on your walking tour that hold a place in the hearts of all those who fought for civil rights. The next place to go is the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. More history of a different kind awaits you here. Learn more about Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. Find out how boogie woogie began.

Before heading home, stop in Railroad Park and celebrate your visit to this city by attending one of the great events or concerts happening here. When you leave Birmingham, you know you will have enjoyed the best of what this southern city has to offer.

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Stop at Huntsville, Alabama on Your RV Vacation for Space Exploration

As you move through the lush countryside of Alabama on your RV vacation, you may not realize that the opportunity to explore the wonders of space is nearby. In Huntsville, AL you will find amazing museums and centers that give you just that chance. Of course, there are many more things to do in this great Alabama city, so it is an ideal spot to put on your itinerary.

Rockets at the United States Space and Rocket Center

Rockets at the United States Space and Rocket Center

You won’t find any lack of amenities in Huntsville. You can arrive, get settled and get busy with your adventure. First stop is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, one of the most comprehensive museums covering manned space flight around. You can see the restored Saturn V from the Apollo era at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. Learn about the Space Shuttle program, trace the evolution of our ventures into space. This is an incredible experience you can’t pass up.

If you make a little effort, you can get a bus tour of the Marshall Space Flight Center. This center is not one where the general public can come, but if you apply for a bus tour you will be able to see the Historic Redstone Test Stand where rocket engines were tested and the Payload Operations Center where activities on the Space Station are coordinated. To get on the bus, you will need picture ID, have no outstanding warrants, and not carry large bags with you.

Next door to the Space and Rocket Center you can change your view as you shift over to Earth’s natural wonders. Huntsville Botanical Garden is a lovely and inspiring place of natural beauty. You can see thousands of butterflies, many little turtles, frogs and many other critters that make their home here. You will thrill to the Garden Railway, a popular miniature display with a European village, ponds, waterfall and forests. Also be sure to enjoy the Washio Ishii Bonsai Display.

Now it is time for some history. The complex of EarlyWorks Museums will fulfill your quest for historical moments. The EarlyWorks Children’s Museum is perfect when you have the kids with you. There is not a child who doesn’t have a ball when coming here. At the Historic Huntsville Depot you will learn all about life on the rails in the mid-1800s. Alabama Constitution Village holds fascination for all ages. Experience the village where the daily tasks proceed just as they did two centuries ago.

A stop at the Sci-Quest Science Center offers many hands-on displays and exhibits that make learning fun. Located on Wynn Drive, you need to make it a point to get over there with the young ones. When you need a little air and want to stretch those travel-weary muscles, go to Blevins Gap Preserve for some hiking. There are numerous trails where you can get in some time in Alabama forests and lush landscapes. Or take off over to Ditto Landing for some fishing or boating. You’ll find RV camping at Ditto Landing Recreational Complex & Marina.

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Five Reasons RV Campers Love Oak Mountain State Park

Central Alabama is a favorite destination among RV campers, with plenty of reason. The old growth pine forests and rocky hillsides just south of Birmingham inspire campers to park the RV and explore. One great place to do just that is Oak Mountain State Park. Here are just five of the reasons RV campers have come to treasure this Alabama outdoor playground.

  • Year-round RV camping tops the list of reasons why motorhome campers love Oak Mountain State Park. The mild winter temperatures annually draw thousands of RV camping enthusiasts to the large, pine-forested campground at this state park. Reserve improved campsites here and then make plans to enjoy your stay in any season.
  • Park your RV at the campground and then lace up those hiking boots; there’s a discovery waiting to inspire you on the trails. Although this park is just a short drive from the city, its nine thousand acres of forests, streams and lakes yield wonderful hiking opportunities. Fifty-plus miles of trails, from steep and rocky to smoothly sloping, allow hikers of every age to enjoy the pine forests, rocky ridges and scenic waterfalls within the state park’s boundaries.
  • RVers who are also avid mountain bikers will appreciate the Double Oak Trail, a twenty-mile-plus combination of double and single track challenges through diverse trail conditions. Bring your mountain biking gear and plan to take the challenge when you camp at Alabama’s Oak Mountain State Park. This trail and several others will furnish plenty of adrenaline-spiking action on your vacation.
  • The Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is another fascinating reason RVers enjoy a stay at Oak Mountain State Park. With more than a thousand sick and injured birds treated and released annually, there’s always something to learn when you visit the center. Come see why this privately operated animal rehab center is so important to the species who call the state park home.
  • And what’s a trip to Alabama without fishing? Two small lakes make up the Oak Mountain Fishing Center and promise lively competition with bream, bass and crappie. Bring or rent a john boat or fish from the bank; a day on the water will add fond vacation memories of Alabama.

These are just five of the ways Alabama RV campers can enjoy the attractions at Oak Mountain State Park. If you’re looking for back to nature fun, the tree-lined hills and stone-studded valleys of this central Alabama state park are sure to deliver.

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Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway by RV

Shrimp Boats in Bayou La Batre

Shrimp Boats in Bayou La Batre

Mobile Bay, on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, is an extraordinary setting for an extended RV vacation. One special route, Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway, takes travelers through the history, cultural attractions and natural beauty of the Bay. Start your journey four hours south of El Monte RV Rentals in Birmingham in the city of Spanish Fort and you’ll soon know why RV travelers flock to Mobile Bay.

Coastal Connection Byway Highlights
Begin your RV trip along Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway with a stop at Blakeley State Park, where you’ll find a preserved Civil War battlefield, an on-site RV campground and miles of trails to hike or bike. The park is located in Spanish Fort, at the north end of Mobile Bay, and was the scene of the last major Civil War battle.

While at the park, you can also learn about the plants and animals that live within the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta by taking a ride on the Delta Explorer. Another exciting way to experience life along Mobile Bay is by hiking all or a part of the Eastern Shore National Recreation Trail. Stretching past some of the Bay’s finest attractions, this foot or bike trail runs from Spanish Fort to Point Clear.

South of Point Clear, US-98 (also known as the Coastal Connection Byway) turns inland to Weeks Bay. This is a great place for young travelers to learn why estuaries are crucial to Gulf Coast life. The Weeks Bay Reserve Interpretive Center (PDF) features trails, gardens and displays that highlight life within coastal wetlands.

Our route continues its rush to the beach, with excellent views of the Bay as we go. West of Weeks Bay, between Foley and Elberta, you can choose to head south on the Foley Beach Expressway to reach Orange Beach or visit Elberta first before turning south on County Road 83 and merging with the Expressway.

Orange Beach, located on the Gulf, is an ideal stop for enjoying sun and sand. Just west of Orange Beach, Gulf State Park offers not only white sand beach front but also a fishing pier, nature trails, a lake and a popular RV campground. With miles of beach beckoning, you may decide to linger here before picking up the trail again.

When you’re ready to continue along the Byway, go west on Hwy 182/180 through the seaside town of Gulf Shores to Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Experience the dunes, the coastal forest trails and the abundance of wildlife before continuing west on the peninsula to another fascinating spot, Fort Morgan State Historic Site. There’s plenty to discover at this nineteenth century brick fortress that served our nation through four wars. Did we mention the photo opportunities alone are worth the trip?

From Fort Morgan, the mode of transportation is a real treat! The Mobile Bay Ferry connects Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island, a pleasant barrier island that’s home to an Audubon Bird Sanctuary. If you love birds, this is the premier coastal birding spot! Walk the boardwalks through tupelo swamp and around the lake to spot dozens of migratory bird species, including the Alabama Osprey. Another interesting stop on Dauphin Island is Fort Gaines, significant in the Civil War Battle of Mobile Bay.

You’re going to want to plan time to savor the flavors of the Gulf in Alabama’s fishing capital, Bayou La Batre. Follow Hwy 180 into this quaint fishing village, and by all means, enjoy some great seafood, but take a side trip to Theodore, AL for a visit to Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Open to the public since the 1930s, it’s a favorite spot year-round for gardeners and history buffs.

And so we end our trip back on Hwy 180 in the town of Grand Bay, a lush southern oasis just south of I-10. Breathe in the scent of magnolia and pine and spend the night at Grand Bay RV Park before ending your Alabama Coastal Connection Byway tour.

Southern charm and coastal beauty combine to make this byway a favorite with our Alabama RV rental customers. Come south for the winter! There’s nothing quite like an RV vacation on Mobile Bay.

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Ten Places RV Campers Love in Birmingham

Take a trip to the heart of Alabama and you’ll find Birmingham, gateway to a wide range of outdoor recreation. All it takes for weeks of outdoor activity is a cleared calendar and an RV Rental. Here are ten place RV campers have told us they love to visit near Birmingham:

  1. Birmingham Zoo – A favorite of RV camping families, the Birmingham Zoo features more than one hundred acres of animals, birds and reptiles. Ride the carousel, enjoy the sea lion show and photograph dozens of species of birds in their exciting aviary environment.
  2. DeSoto Caverns – An hour south of Birmingham in Childersburg, DeSoto Caverns delights visitor of all ages. With tours of the giant underground caverns as well as a wide variety of family-friendly attractions, this is a must-do for campers with kids. Pan for gemstones, play Wacky Water Golf, watch the laser light show and, by all means, plan to spend the day discovering the wonders of DeSoto caverns.
  3. Weiss Lake in Northeast Alabama is just an hour and a half from Birmingham and a thirty-thousand acre water wonderland. Fishermen in your RV camping crew will soon find out why this is the “Crappie Fishing Capital of the World.” Hikers and mountain bikers will also want to hit the trails around this lake in the Southern Appalachians. Surrounded by waterfalls, streams and other mountain wonders, a stay at Weiss Lake RV Park in Leesburg is the key to an exciting outdoor adventure.
  4. Little River Canyon National Preserve, just north of Weiss Lake, should definitely earn a spot on your Birmingham RV camping itinerary. Follow this river from its start at the top of Lookout Mountain through a canyon filled with such scenic wonders as Little River Falls and Eberhart Point Overlook (there’s a scenic drive in between for those who’d rather not hike!)
  5. Oak Mountain State Park, just twenty miles south of Birmingham, offers enough outdoor activity to keep RV travelers busy for days! A ten-thousand acre day use area includes two fishing lakes, hiking and biking trails and a larger lake with boat rentals and a swimming beach. There’s also a very nice, full-hookups campground if you’d like to stay and play longer.
  6. Point Mallard Park – Decatur – Where have you visited lately where a golf course, indoor ice rink, waterpark and campground are all found in the same complex? Point Mallard Park in Decatur draws RV travelers from all over, thanks to the amazing variety of outdoor play possible. Don’t forget to book a campsite reservation for your active family—they won’t want to leave Point Mallard Park!
  7. Rickwood Caverns State Park, just thirty minutes north of Birmingham, is another Alabama wonder offering excellent activities for the entire family. Tour an underground mile of caverns, pools and even cave wildlife and then stay to camp, swim and picnic at this nicely-planned family attraction.
  8. Russell Cave National Monument – Definitely take the time to travel two hours north to the Alabama/Tennessee border to Russell Cave National Monument. This prehistoric cave shelter was an important center of life for Alabama’s ancient inhabitants, and there’s so much to learn on the Ranger-guided tour, in the museum and through fascinating interpretive activities.
  9. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, an enormous complex of stacks and furnaces tells the story of the industry that built Birmingham after the Civil War. Take one of the self-tours or cell phone tours to learn how the pig iron furnaces at this historic treasure made Birmingham one of the centers of American industry.
  10. Vulcan Park and Museum – Travel to the top of Red Mountain in Birmingham to see one of the wonders of the South, the five-story statue that sparked a civic movement. Built in 1904, this awesome cast iron statue inspired local volunteers to not only restore the statue to its former glory but also create a complex that includes a museum and park.

RV camping in Birmingham, Alabama will be the start of an exciting outdoor adventure. Use these tips for ten places RV campers love in Birmingham and then chart your own Birmingham RV camping experience.

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