By Alli Hill
State parks are among the best, most unique features of every state, especially if you happen to be in Alabama. It’s an inexpensive activity that offers more for your dollar than anywhere else. From hiking and biking trails to swimming, camping, and adventurous cave explorations, Rickwood Caverns State Park brings you closer to nature.
Located in the heart of Alabama, Rickwood Caverns State Park is a truly unexpected find. Entry to the park is just $3, with swimming and trips inside the cavern available a la carte. The cave is the main focal point of the park and has set a theme throughout its ground, with activities like gem mining and geocaching abounding. There’s a little something for every age and preference here, whether you’re an avid camper or hiker or simply like to be surrounded by nature every once in a while.
This short one-mile loop is a must-do if you’re visiting Rickwood Caverns State Park. The easy-to-moderate trail winds its way through forests and past beautiful rock formations. Look closely and you’ll see where the trail gets its name—seashell and leaf imprints are often visible on the rock surfaces.
Most folks come here to see the caverns, and for good reason: they’re simply breathtaking. The rock formations within the giant cave were created more than 260 million years ago. The cave maintains a comfortable 58-62 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it the perfect spot to warm up in the winter or cool off in the summer while you trek 175 feet below ground. Cave tours are $17 for adults and $8 for children ages five to 12.
If you’re looking to make the most of your visit, consider extending your stay by camping on site. You can bring an RV or trailer, or rough it the traditional way with a tent. Campsites offer access to 24-hour security, as well as restrooms and a dump station. As a camper, you can get a discounted rate to the caverns.
While you’re in the area, explore some of the fun sights and activities outside of the state park. The Birmingham Zoo is only a 40-minute drive away, and displays over 800 animals. They’re open year-round and feature plenty of side activities for guests of all ages, including the zoo train, animal feedings, behind the scenes tours, slide, and zip-lining.
This peaceful park is a gem in the bustling big city. Nestled along the water, the park is mostly used for recreation and events. It was constructed to help preserve some of the city’s heritage, and even reuses some of the rocks unearthed during the park’s development as seating and walls. Highlights include a skating area, .75-mile trail, playground, and outdoor gym equipment.
Extend your nature-based fun with a trip to Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Over 65 acres are filled with beautiful blooms in thematic gardens, along with pristine landscaping and the beloved Moon Tree. You can explore the indoor Garden Center or conservatory for more information on the plant life in the gardens.
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