Best Outdoor Winter Activities in Alabama
Winter in Alabama
The official start of winter is almost here! Alabama still experiences cooler temperatures, but has much milder winters than most states. This makes winter a great time to get outside and explore all the fun activities this state has to offer! Listed below are some of our favorite "must do's" this season.
Obviously, camping is one of our favorite activities! We especially love camping during the winter season, though. There is just nothing better than be bundled up by the campfire, making s'mores and drinking hot chocolate! Some of our favorite camping recipes are also best made for a chilly winter evening.
Alabama has many great camping spots, including Bankhead National Forest, Cathedral Caverns State Park, Cheaha State Park, DeSoto State Park, Oak Mountain, Deerlick Creek Park, and Gulf State Park.
@n0rdan on Instagram
Again, the cooler temperatures makes fall and winter our favorite time to go hiking in Alabama! You can explore for longer periods of time without getting too sweaty or worrying about overheating. There are also less bugs and we love all the fall colors!
Our top hiking spots include: Cherokee Rock Village, Monte Sano State Park, Moss Rock Reserve, Bankhead National Forest, and Cheaha State Park! You can learn more about each one here!
Photo by Open Minded in Alabama, Flickr - Taken in Cheaha Wilderness
3. Climbing and Bouldering
Alabama might not be the first place you think about when you want to go climbing or bouldering, but this state actually has several great spots for trad and sport climbers alike! Most climbing spots here are sandstone, but a few offer a mix of sandstone and conglomerate.
Some of the best climbing spots include: Jamestown, Sand Rock, Griffin Falls, Moss Rock Preserve, and Horse Pens 40. Fall and winter are the absolute best times to visit these places! To learn more, click here!
Photo by Steven Sloan, Flickr - taken at Horse Pens 40
Believe it or not, Alabama has a place to go skiing and snowboarding! Cloudmont Ski and Golf Resort is located atop Lookout Mountain near the Georgia border. This resort offers several slopes that are sure to give beginner and advanced skiers/snowboarders a thrilling winter experience! Skis, boots, poles, and snow boards are available for rent in the Ski Lodge, so there is no need to own any gear. Click here for the details!
Cloudmont Ski and Golf Resort Facebook Page
5. Ice Skating
What is more festive than ice skating during the holiday season? Luckily, there are several outdoor ice skating rinks in Alabama. Our favorites are the Railroad Park Ice Rink in Birmingham, AL and the Big Spring Park Ice Rink in Huntsville, AL. Both offer a fun and active outdoor experience for adults and children alike!
Skating in the Park Huntsville Facebook Page
6. Eagle Awareness Weekends
Eagle Awareness this year takes place on weekends from Friday Jan.25 through Feb.17 in Lake Guntersville State Park. There will be birds of prey presentations, guided tours with experienced park personnel, and activities for all ages. This is a great way to get the whole family outdoors and it allows you to see and learn more about eagles! Click here to learn more!
Marshall County Alabama Facebook Page
Markets, Craft Shows, and Festivals
Another great way to spend the winter months in Alabama is to walk around all the holiday markets, craft shows, and winter festivals! Luckily, there are plenty to choose from, but here are just a few of our favorites!
1. Mobile Night Markets
The Mobile Museum of Art hosts monthly night markets and they are a great way to enjoy a winter evening this season! Their Holiday Night Market will be held on November 29, and it is their biggest night market of the year. There will be everything from craft beer, handmade kitchenware, jewelry, soaps, to fine art and décor. This is also a great way to support local businesses.
2. Opelika Christmas Market
This Christmas Market will be held on November 29 - December 1, 2018 at the Bottling Plant Event Center in Opelika, AL. The vendors will be showcasing and selling a variety of high quality, festive items. The best part is that a portion of the proceeds from this three day holiday shopping event will go to support BigHouse - which aims to impact the lives of children in foster care in a positive way through meeting their needs and serving their foster families. Click here for more information!
3. The Santuck Winter Flea Market
The Santuck Flea Market will be held on December 1, 2018 in Wetumpka, AL. Walk around on this chilly morning and try delicious food and drinks and get some holiday shopping done! There will be arts and crafts, jewelry, woodwork, and many more unique vendors!
4. Scottsboro Holiday Market
This event will be held on December 1 from 9-4pm and December 2 from 12-4pm at Arrow Farms in Scottsboro, AL. There will be door prizes, live entertainment, pictures with Santa, a petting zoo, food trucks, and much more. Click here for details!
5. Fairhope Christmas Bazaar
The Christmas Bazaar will be held at the St. Lawrence Catholic Church on December 1 and 2 from 9am-3pm both days! There will be silent auction, various gift baskets, Santa's workshop, a bake sale, jams and jellies, pictures with Santa, Christmas cafe, homemade meals and much more!
6. 36th Annual Christmas Fest
This outdoor event takes place in Balckburn Park, Bay Minette, AL on December 7-8! There will be arts and crafts vendors, live music, food vendors, kid's activities and the annual Christmas parade! Be sure to check out the special Friday evening tradition: Ping Pong Ball Drop! There will be many wonderful prizes to win! Click here for details.
7. CahaBazaar Holiday Market
This holiday market is hosted by the Cahaba Brewing Company on December 8 from 12-7pm in Birmingham, AL. There will be local vendors, great beer, and delicious food! This event is family friendly and includes pictures with Santa and Mrs. Clause, a kid's craft area, and a coffee and hot chocolate station!
8. Christkindlmarket Huntsville
Mark your calendars now! A traditional Bavarian Christmas market will be held at One Tranquility Base in Huntsville, AL on December 15, from 4:30-9:30pm! Highlights include a live German band, handcrafted Christmas gifts and German street food! That means gluhwein, local brews and beloved Christmas sweets. Click here for more information!
9. North Alabama Winter Flea Market
You never know what unique finds will be discovered at the North Alabama Winter Flea Market! It will be held on December 15-16, 2018 in Muscle Shoals, AL. Vendors will be featuring antiques, clothing, arts and crafts, furniture, vintage items, sporting goods, cosmetics, jewelry, yard sale items, delicious food and so much more!
10. Beaks and Barks Winter Festival
Every day from mid-January to the end of February, the Botanical Gardens in Huntsville invite you and your furry friends to celebrate in their Beaks and Barks Winter Festival! Enjoy a stroll along the dedicated pet-friendly paths or run free with your pup and other pet parents in the "leash free zone." This festival is also a great time for birding enthusiasts to visit the Gardens because the annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be going on! Click here for the details!