Experience the best that summer has to offer in Alabama
Words by Paige Townley
There’s no season quite like summer, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than Alabama. The state was made for summertime with its picturesque cities and towns, warm weather, and all-around southern charm. So whether you prefer a day on the beach with your toes in the sand, enjoying water sports out on the lake, or having a leisurely yet delicious culinary experience, Alabama has it—and so much more. Here are four of our favorite summer experiences you can’t get anywhere else.
Summer simply isn’t complete without a visit to the beach, and Alabama’s Gulf Coast provides sugar white sand and those beautiful blue waters. For a truly authentic coastal Alabama experience, there’s nothing quite like Dauphin Island. A quaint and quiet town, Dauphin Island sits at the southernmost point of Alabama, three miles south of Mobile Bay. Easily accessible via ferry yet feeling so secluded and tucked away, the barrier island is only 14 miles long and less than two miles wide at its widest point. Dauphin Island actually boasts a strong marine culture—fishing is obviously a favorite pastime here—and all sorts of unique and historic attractions, such as Fort Gaines, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Interspersed with these offerings are a mix of locally-owned shops and galleries for finding the ideal souvenirs for everyone in the family, as well as restaurants serving up fresh, locally-harvested seafood. Topping off each day spent in Dauphin Island is the sunset, which is so spectacular that it has led to Dauphin Island being known as the “Sunset Capital of Alabama.”
OWA Parks & Resort
Just a short drive from Alabama’s pristine beaches is a unique amenity for a coastal destination: OWA Parks & Resort. A fun and fabulous activity for any day of the week, OWA features a range of entertainment. The cornerstone of the property is Tropic Falls, an award-winning theme park that houses 23-plus rides and attractions and even an indoor waterpark. The whole family will find their favorites, one of which is sure to be the surf simulator, Coastal Curl. When it’s time for the adventure to be over, OWA continues on with Downtown OWA, where there are a variety of stores and restaurants to complete the day.
Lake Martin is a sought-after destination any time of year, especially each summer. A man-made reservoir, Lake Martin boasts nearly 900 miles of picturesque shoreline. Between enjoying the views and the water opportunities, a brief interlude must be included for a visit to Kowaliga Restaurant, where you’ll find the ultimate in lakeside dining. Visitors can dock their boat at the restaurant and proceed to enjoy southern comfort food at its finest, from seasonal local fish to grilled Conecuh sausage and pimento cheese.
Lake Guntersville State Park
Stunning views and water fun are also found all throughout Lake Guntersville State Park. In addition to some of the very best bass fishing opportunities you’ll find—not to mention water sports of all kinds—Lake Guntersville State Park features an 18-hole golf course, 30-plus miles of hiking trails, and vistas for viewing wildlife, including the American bald eagle. Staying on site is easy too thanks to its 112-room lodge, chalets, cottages, and campsites.
Ready to plan your next getaway? Visit alabama.travel.