Alabama, the “Heart of Dixie” state, has winding mountain roads, breezy beach roads, long open highways and beautiful country roads perfect for cruising. There are a multitude of biker-friendly businesses all across Alabama offering southern hospitality. The following five destinations provide awesome cruising opportunities in the “Heart of Dixie.”
- Cheaha State Park: From Birmingham travel I-20 to Oxford, take Exit 188 to AL-281 and follow the signs to Cheaha State Park. Regardless of the departure point, once a biker hits the winding hills and mountain roads of Cheaha State Park, stress is left behind. Bikers wishing to stay a few nights will enjoy the magnificent lodge, a serene log cabin or pack a tent. Reservations should be made in advance for the lodge or cabins; however, camp spaces in the primitive campground are usually available. The park features a lake for fishing or swimming and gourmet meals in the restaurant.
- DeSoto Caverns Park: The awe inspiring caves of DeSoto Caverns may be reached from Highway 280 leading to Childersburg from Birmingham or Sylacauga. Riders should turn on to 76 in Childersburg and follow the signs. The centrally located park and easy highway miles convert to a day trip from most departure locations in Alabama. Riders may pack a picnic lunch or a tent for overnight camping. Visitors are treated to a laser light show and dancing water fountains to enhance the awesome caverns. Visitors may enjoy bumper cars, a game of cannon wars, panning for gemstones, shoot bow and arrows, race through a trail maze or those brave at heart may try the GyroXtreme.
- Gulf Shores: To reach the beautiful white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores State Park, riders should travel I-65 to I-10 in Loxley. Travel approximately 24 miles on I-10 and then follow the Foley Beach Express and AL-59 to State Park Road 2. The trip is almost a straight shot from Birmingham, Alabama. Pack your swim trunks and watch out for alligators! The park offers beautiful beaches, a zipline, a championship golf course, freshwater and saltwater fishing and hiking. RVs and tents are welcome. Reservations for cottages and cabins should be scheduled months in advance.
- Guntersville State Park: Riders may travel AL-79 from Birmingham to Guntersville and rather watching for turns, enjoy the scenery along the roadside. Guntersville State Park provides 6,000 acres of natural woodland for visitors to explore, a beautiful lake for fishing, swimming or watching sunsets and an 18-hole golf course. The park welcomes bikers to stay overnight in the cabins, chalets, lodge or modern campgrounds with bathhouses for overnight stays. Reservations are recommended due to the number of park guests year round.
- Little River Canyon: Little River Canyon is a scenic trip along I-59 from Birmingham to AL-35 in Fort Payne. Experienced riders will enjoy the mountainous terrain and winding roads that lead to Little River Canyon. The park boasts a waterfalls, canyon rims, well-preserved natural forests and a river. There is a $3 fee per vehicle for day use of the facilities at the mouth of the canyon. Little River Canyon offers swimming, hiking, picnic tables, grills and restrooms. No overnight camping is allowed. The picnic tables and grills are claimed on a first come basis.
*Photo courtesy of Flickr’s Creative Commons.