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Best Alabama State Parks to Visit in the Spring


Best Alabama State Parks to Visit in the Spring

DeSoto State Park, photo by Ken Thomas, courtesy of Alabama State Parks

The Top Three Choices Offer Opportunities to View Wildlfowers, Rent a Pontoon Boat, and Enjoy Fishing at One of Alabama's Largest Manmade Lakes.

DeSoto State Park

Located in the mountainous region of Northeast Alabama, DeSoto State Park was developed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps after the Great Depression. The park includes more than 3,000 acres of forest, rivers, waterfalls and beautiful mountain terrain. It also features 12 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as an ADA accessible wooden boardwalk. DeSoto State Park’s Lodge is an original CCC structure, featuring a gift shop and restaurant that are open year round. Chalets, log and rustic cabins and 25 motel rooms are also available. The park's campground offers 58 water/electric sites, 20 full hookup sites, and a separate primitive area, as well as a country store, gift shop, and nature center with live animals.

Spring and summer at DeSoto bring a profusion of rare and beautiful wildflowers. The park hosts an annual Wildflower Saturday the first Saturday of every May with a wildflower breakfast buffet, naturalists/ranger led hikes throughout the day, and ending with a special presentation in the evening. DeSoto State Park also teams with Jacksonville State University Field School in an effort to educate the public about nature. Interpretive programs, hikes and workshops are held throughout the summer and fall. Campfire programs every Friday and Saturday nights cover a variety of subject for adults and kids alike.

DeSoto borders Little River, which is the longest flowing mountaintop river in the United States. Other nearby areas of interest include Little River Canyon National Preserve, Historic Mentone, and Desoto Falls, a 104-foot waterfall below historic A.A. Miller Dam.

Joe Wheeler State Park

Situated on Wheeler Lake, Joe Wheeler State Park offers visitors with an array of recreational opportunities. Guests can rent a pontoon boat, fishing boat or jet ski from the marina to get out and enjoy the lake, or relax by the pool. Accommodations at Joe Wheeler include a lodge with 75 lakeside rooms, each with a balcony facing the lake, as well as cabins, located on the south side of the Tennessee River near Wheeler Dam. A large picnic area offers access to the Tennessee River and has a sandy swimming beach, large picnic pavilions, public fishing pier and large play areas.

Guests in RV’s and tents can enjoy the 116-site campground complete with full hookup sites. Fishing is a favorite passtime, with excellent opportunities for catching crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and catfish. Birders can enjoy the park's many trails as well as two of the sites on the North Alabama Birding Trail. Park also features an 18-hole golf course within walking distance of the lodge.

Wind Creek State Park

Located seven miles southeast of Alexander City, Wind Creek State Park spans 1,445 acres of pine and hardwood ridges on the shoreline of Lake Martin. The park provides something for all ages, from fishing to swimming to camping under the stars. Wind Creek’s campground offers 626 campsites spread over 320 acres, with each site providing a picnic table, grill, water and electricity. Park facilities also include a marina with boat ramps, camp store, pavilions for picnicking, and a 210-foot fishing pier.

The park’s main attraction is the beautiful 40,000-acre Lake Martin, one of Alabama’s largest manmade lakes, which offers excellent sport fishing for largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish, crappie and hybrid bass. Wind Creek State Park is an ideal place to visit in the spring time. The park includes two hiking trails that allow visitors to view the blooming dogwoods and other wildflowers, and parts of the north picnic trail offer spectacular views of Lake Martin.

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