Four Hidden Outdoor Spots on Alabama’s Coast
Lower Alabama is home to some of the best-kept secrets and most eclectic sites in the state.
If you’re a nature lover or an enthusiast for the unique and bizarre, you’ll love these four gems hidden away in coastal Alabama.
Graham Creek Nature Preserve
Graham Creek Nature Preserve is a short drive from Gulf Shores, near the neighboring city of Foley, AL. The preserve’s nearly 500 acres of habitats includes a canoe/kayak launch and hiking and biking trails. Spend a few hours or an entire day exploring this serene getaway. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, and there are restroom facilities nearby. You can also challenge your fellow explorers to an 18-hole game of disc golf at the preserve.
While on the Gulf Coast, make the drive to Barber Marina in nearby Elberta. On the way, you’ll find an enchanted forest filled with beasts that once roamed the Earth. A dinosaur crossing sign lends a clue to what lies ahead. You’ll want to spend some time taking selfies with the T-Rex, exploring Alabama’s version of Stonehenge (Bamahenge) and posing for a photo with a giant spider.
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Encompassing more than 9,000 acres of protected estuarine habitat in Fairhope, AL, sits the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The reserve is a public research and educational facility with indoor displays, live animals and an extensive boardwalk trail system. One of the most popular sites at the reserve is the pitcher plant bog. Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants that attract and drown their prey with tubular leaves.
Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Meaning “safe harbor,” the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 for the protection of neotropical migratory songbird habitat as well as threatened and endangered species. The area is a stopover point for hundreds of species of migratory birds during the fall and spring, so numerous trails exist for birdwatching and sightseeing. In addition, various species of sea turtles nest here between May and October each year.
Whatever activities you choose, be sure to bring along a hat, sunscreen and bug repellent, especially during the summer months.