What You Need to Know about Yoga

The yoga lifestyle has flooded from the exercise scene to the fashion scene… And we love it! With its rich history and famed popularity, it’s no wonder people want in. This is what you need to know about yoga to get you started.

FOUNDATION:

Yoga in Ancient India

The first evidence of yoga could be as early as 500BCE in India. Ancient texts elaborate on the benefit of harmony between mind and body.

The practice of yoga began as far back as 500 BCE in Ancient India – that’s 2,500 years ago! It closely ties to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Yoga was practiced as a form of religious meditation meant to “yoke” the mind and body. This “yoking” is achieved through the harmony of relaxing, breathing, stretching, posing, and meditating. There are similarities between ancient and modern versions, but today it is frequently performed as a healthy exercise. Yoga became popular in the United States in the 1890’s when intellectuals became interested in the subject. There was a second boom of interest in the 1980’s. Since then, millions of people have taken up the activity in the United States.

 

FORMS:

Modern yoga has taken on many forms in recent years – Hot, Hatha, Laughing, Prenatal, Power, Men’s Only, Women’s Only  – the opportunities seem endless. We’ve even heard of one form called “GLOWGA” that features black lights, lasers and high energy music! Yogatrail.com has come up with a funny, but useful guide to find the form of yoga that suits you best.

Yoga Chart

Choosing the right form of yoga is the best way to get the most out each session you invest in.

FITNESS:

Yoga on Rock

The benefits can be profound when practiced regularly.

Physical, mental and spiritual benefits have been studied on people who practice yoga. Among the many benefits are:

  • Increased Balance and Flexibility
  • Healthier Heart
  • Stress Relief (and the laundry list of the negative effects of stress is a long one)
  • Relief of Minor Aches and Inflammation
  • Happiness and Tranquility

 

FASHION:

Yoga is HOT right now. From doing yoga to dressing yoga, its popularity has grown tremendously. Women’s everyday attire has become yoga pants and an athletic top. Any woman who lives an active life can be found wearing this lifestyle clothing. Even though we’ve all seen the typical black, elastic, three-quarter length pant, it’s still as stylish as ever. And it’s easy to keep your active-wear wardrobe fresh. Find the little distinctions that make each pair unique. Some are tight, some are loose. Some flare at the bottom, others hold form. One has a wide waistband, the next is narrow. And with the introduction of new colors and prints, the yoga style has leapt from casual to classy! Find the hottest yoga attire from brands like Lole and Lucy at Alabama Outdoors.

Park Bio: Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park Vista

One of the beautiful vistas found in Red Mountain Park. Seen here is a view of Downtown Birmingham from “Grace’s Gap”.

 

How great would it be to have acres of woodlands, hiking trails and zip lines in your own backyard? It seems like that could only be an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream, but our friends on the Red Mountain Park Commission, Friends of Red Mountain Park and the Red Mountain Park Staff have made all of that, and more, a reality! Dive a little deeper and see what it is that makes Red Mountain Park a “gem” of the Birmingham community.

 

 

HISTORY

Red Mountain has a rich history that began with its wealth of resources. The mountain was the home of a highly technical mining outfit that was overseen by US Steel. Over the years, cheaper ways to mine became available, and after nearly 100 years of mining operations on the mountain, US Steel officially closed the doors to production in 1962.

The land then sat virtually untouched for nearly 50 years. Having been stripped of most of its greenery and woodlands, the land needed time to repopulate its habitat and wildlife. To the benefit of the mountain’s vitality, the area flourished. In 2007, with the help of the Freshwater Land Trust and other devoted parties, US Steel made one of the nation’s largest corporate land donations in U.S. history. They sold the approximately 1,200 acres of land to the Red Mountain Park and Recreational Area Commission at an extremely discounted price and then provided an additional $1 million dollar donation. Since this point in time, Red Mountain Park has become an outdoor playground for outdoor enthusiasts. On the doorsteps of downtown Birmingham, the park offers 11 miles of hiking and biking trails, the Red Ore Zip Tour, the Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest, several mining ruins, 3 treehouses, the Remy’s Dog Park, and the Kaul Adventure Tower that is currently under construction and slated to open this Fall.

COMING SOON

Remy’s Dog Park (Opening September 6th, 2014)

Remy's Dog Park Map

The official rendering of Remy’s Dog Park.

Remy’s Dog Park is the culmination of gracious donations, dedicated volunteers, and community involvement. Over 250 community volunteers cleared 6 acres of land to allow for the three separate “bark park” areas, including spaces for small dogs, large dogs and special needs dogs (elderly, shy, injured or recovering). This makes Remy’s Dog Park the largest of its kind in the state! Each designated off-leash area hosts shaded areas, open fields, and water sources making it the perfect pet friendly environment. Remy’s Dog Park is set to open Saturday September 6, 2014. The park will allow visitors at 9am and a special ribbon cutting ceremony with donor Ken Jackson and Mayor William Bell will begin at 11am.

Entrance to Remy's Dog Park

A sneak peak of the entrance sign to Remy’s Dog Park.

Remy's Dog Park paths

The paths leading to the unique small dog, large dog, and special needs dog park areas.

 

Kaul Adventure Tower

Kaul Adventure Tower Plans

The official rendering of the Kaul Adventure Tower plans. The new project will feature several climbing lanes, 2 rappelling stations, and a superman zip line that measures 1,600 feet in length.

Bringing a whole new level of high flying, treetop fun! The Kaul Adventure Tower project that is currently under construction will deliver a climber’s paradise. An 80ft tall structure will feature 8 climbing lanes, some peaking at 72ft! You can rappel down from 72ft and 36ft, or zip your way down superman style. Prepare yourself for another awesome adventure at Red Mountain Park.

Kaul Adventure Tower Stage 1 Construction

The beginnings of construction and raising the support beams for the Kaul Adventure Tower.

Kaul Adventure Tower Phase 2

Halfway there! Additions being made to the Kaul Adventure Tower. Construction is due to be completed in October 2014.

CURRENT ACTIVITIES

Red Ore Zip Tour

Red Ore Zip Tour

Flying high on the Red Ore Zip Tour!

A high-flying adventure through the treetops! The Red Ore Zip Tour offers a bird’s eye view of the wilderness, mining history, and 3 treehouses as it crosses the park. Hike, Sky Bridge, zip line, rope swing & rappel through the park with nothing but the wind in your hair and the trees at your back.

 

Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest

Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest | Miner's Walk

Known as the Miner’s Walk, this is one of the 20 unique high ropes course challenges featured in the Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest.

This high ropes adventure course offers 20 unique treetop obstacles ranging from tight ropes to climbing walls to swinging bridges. Whether you like a good challenge or you’re a bit of a daredevil, this course will surely keep you on your toes.

 

Hiking & Biking, Mine Ruins & Mountain Tops

Red Mountain Park Trail Map Aug 2014 with Remy's Dog Park

The Trail Map of Red Mountain Park’s number trails, viewpoints, and special sites.

You can’t go wrong with 11 miles of hiking trails, 7 miles of biking trails and 2 miles of flat trail terrain ONLY 15 MINUTES from downtown Birmingham. It’s like having a personal forest in your backyard! Beautiful vistas at Grace’s Gap and Ishkooda Overlook frame the city and Jones Valley while a series of hiking trails take you past old mine ruins and natural features. It is no wonder that Red Mountain Park has contributed so much to helping Birmingham get named one of the “greenest” cities in the nation.

Directions to Red Mountain Park here.

SEASONAL EVENTS

Tuesday Night Trails

Tuesday Night Trails

Tuesday Night Trails with Alabama Outdoors. The weekly summer trail run features different pace groups and distances. Wow! These guys are truckin’!

This event is one of Alabama Outdoors’ own partnerships with the folks at Red Mountain Park. Every summer for the past 3 years, RMP and AO have offered up a FREE opportunity for runners of all skill levels to join in trail running the scenic trails at Red Mountain. Camaraderie, perspiration, and laughter are just the tip of the iceberg at this weekly Tuesday night event. Prepare yourself for the numerous trail races around Birmingham, or just come out for fun! The free trail runs start up in late spring (March/April) and finish up around Labor Day (September).

 

Summer Camp

Summer Camp at Red Mountain Park

These campers are having a blast at Red Mountain Park’s summer camps this past summer!

Archaeological digs, zip line tours, overnight campouts, creating artwork, and survival skills are just a few activities that filled Red Mountain Park’s various summer camps. This past year 4 different week long camps were featured: Adventure Camp, Archaeology Camp, Art Camp, and Nature Camp. Each week gave the campers a different opportunity to learn specialized (and fun!) skills. There is a place for everyone to learn something new!

 

Red Mountain Park truly is a valued member of the parks located in and around Birmingham. They have already contributed so much and yet they consistently have been striving to provide more accessibility and activities to the area. It is an incredible pleasure to be able to partner with Red Mountain Park and all that they represent in the outdoor community!

Find your next adventure at Red Mountain Park!

 

Explore Nature! Win a Car

PrintFrom ocean shores to mountain trails, there is much to explore in the Yellowhammer state. To encourage local Alabama residents to explore nature this summer, one of our partners, The Nature Conservancy, has launched the Natural Treasures challenge, sponsored by Honda. One grand prize winner chosen at random will receive a new Honda Civic Hybrid!

Participating is as simple as taking a “selfie.” For a chance to win, residents of Alabama, Indiana and Ohio must visit one or more designated Natural Treasures locations, photograph themselves there, and upload the photo to Nature.org/NaturalTreasures.

Participants can receive one contest entry for each official Natural Treasures destination where they take a photo. They can also receive one contest entry for a photo taken at a Personal Natural Treasure, which could be a favorite place to hike or bike in the outdoors.

Alabama’s designated Natural Treasures locations, listed below, were selected by the Conservancy because of their importance to people and nature. Have you ever been to any of them? Well, get your cameras ready because you could be the lucky one to win a brand new Honda Civic Hybrid!

Kathy Stiles Freeland Bibb County Glades Preserve

kathy-stiles-freelandThis site is the most biologically diverse piece of land in Alabama. “A Botanical Wonder,” The Nature Conservancy’s preserve in Bibb County is home to 61 rare plant species. The Little Cahaba River, which flows through the preserve, harbors dozens of rare aquatic creatures. The preserve is also the site of Brighthope Furnace, the earliest ironworks built in Alabama.

 

 

Cane Creek Canyon Preserve

cane-creek-canyon-nature-preseThis 700-acre site is a privately protected scenic area. It serves as a sanctuary for native plants and animals and offers 11 miles of hiking as well as camping, picnicking, and creek wading. This remarkable area of natural beauty is still unspoiled largely due to an equally remarkable couple, Jim and Faye Lacefield. The retired educators bought a 40-acre tract of land in 1979 and have gradually added to that original purchase, keeping the land in its natural state.

 

 

Splinter Hill Bog Preserve

splinter-hill-bog-preserve-larThis preserve is home to more than 12 species of carnivorous plants, including five species of pitcher plants, two species of butterworts and several species of sundews. Rare animals including Bachman’s sparrow, Florida pine snake and gopher tortoise have also been spotted.

 

 

 

Keel Mountain Preserve

barn-owl-keel-mountainAs you step onto the trail at Keel Mountain Preserve, you are immediately immersed in a forest of oak, hickory, smoketree and cedar. Ruggedly beautiful limestone bluffs are spotted with sinkholes and glade-like openings. The creek beds at this preserve can run high or become dry very quickly depending on local rainfalls. A small waterfall flowing into a sinkhole has been dubbed the “lost sink” by local residents.

 

 

Roy B. Whitaker Paint Rock River Preserve

paint-rock-riverThis preserve is an ideal destination to experience north Alabama’s scenery and wildlife. Wildlife is sometimes easier to spot on the open fields of the preserve, and even the untrained eye can see many birds that hunt and nest in the prairie. Colorful wildflowers also dot the grasses, and a shaded trail runs alongside Cole Springs Branch.

 

 

 

Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve

ruffner-mountain-largeThe third largest urban nature preserve in the United States, Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve includes 1,038 forested acres nestled in Birmingham, Alabama. The preserve protects over 550 species of plants and 450 species of animals and is an important stopover for migratory birds.

 

 

 

Pratt’s Ferry Preserve

the-cahaba-river pratt ferryPratt’s Ferry Preserve is located along a rocky limestone slope on the south bank of the Cahaba River in Bibb County. The area is lush in the spring and summer with a variety of wildflowers. The site also offers an ideal location to put in or take out a canoe on the Cahaba River.

 

 

 

Talladega National Forest

talladega-national-forest-largThe spectacular southern scenery of the Talladega National Forest covers 392,567 acres at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Before the land was bought by the federal government in the 1930s, the area that comprises the Talladega was extensively logged and was some of the most abused, eroded wasteland in all of Alabama. The pine forest regrowth now hosts a diverse ecosystem, beautiful views and a peaceful natural resource for Alabama.

 

 

Fireworks Over Alabama: How Will You Celebrate?

Each year thousands of patriotic Americans gather in the spirit of our nation’s independence to wonder at the spectacle of mammoth fireworks shows. We, as Alabamians, also hold that tradition dearly. Stretching from the North to the South, fireworks extravaganzas have found homes in most all cities across the state. To find the best location honor our nation and gaze into the sky, first you need to know where the fireworks and festivities are going to be. We’ve gathered some details on this year’s Fourth of July fireworks celebrations spanning four of our state’s biggest cities.

Oak Mountain’s Fireworks over Double Oaks Lake:

fireworksOakMountainFor those of you who are looking for a sneak-peak fireworks preview or want to celebrate all weekend long, Oak Mountain State Park has the events for you as well! This July 3rd, the Park has prepared an evening of music, food, water sports, beer, and fireworks over Double Oaks Lake. The revelry will begin around 6pm, with an entrance fee of only $3 per individual, or $5 per carload. Johnny Ray’s BBQ will have food catered for the event, and music will be staged on the terrace by the Main Office. Over the lake will be a wakeboard and jetski demo (featuring competition jetski rider Peter Waldron!) that will certainly be making a splash from 7-8pm. This demo will serve as a teaser for the big show and grand opening of the OMSP Wakeboard Cable Park on Saturday, July 5th. And don’t forget, the Peavine Falls BTC Trail Run will be racing at 7am on July 4th. Oak Mountain State Park definitely will set the tone for your July 4th weekend with these spectacular events!

Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center:  Huntville rocket fireworks
With an entire evening of jubilee planned, Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center will also be hosting the city’s biggest fireworks display again this year. The fun starts at 6pm and carries on until 10pm this July 4th. The fireworks are set to erupt at 9pm with plenty of activities, food and beverages, and live entertainment to fill your night leading up the grand finale! Each vehicle parking pass is only $20 so you can bring the whole family in for fun and fireworks, but keep in mind you’ll need to purchase your pass in advance.

Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium and Riverfront Amphitheater:

Fireworks overMGM
With these two prime viewing locations nestled side by side on the scenic Alabama River, you’re sure to enjoy this year’s Fourth of July MAX Fireworks Spectacular. Inside of the Riverwalk Stadium, be sure to catch an American pastime and the hometown favorite Montgomery Biscuits baseball team as they take on the Mississippi Braves starting at 7:05pm. Or, just around the corner at the Riverfront Amphitheater indulge in three bands, a water slide, the Splashpad, food vendors, and a riverboat fireworks cruise. The Amphitheater festivities get started at 6pm, and each of these two events will come to a wrap with the MAX Fireworks Spectacular debuting immediately after the baseball game. You’ll be sure to celebrate our nation’s independence in style with either one of these two exciting events located in downtown Montgomery.

Mobile’s USS Alabama Battleship Park:

mobile-fireworksUSSALABAMA
Few things trump the powerful presence of the beautiful and historic USS Alabama. With the ship’s storied history and scenic location, you couldn’t ask for a better place to view the fireworks show than from Battleship Park. The park will be open on Friday, July 4th starting at 8am, with parking becoming available at 4pm for just $2. After 5pm, the price rolls up to $5, but you will be just in time to enjoy a concert by the Mobile Pops starting at 7pm. As the sun sets and 9pm ticks ever closer, you can expect nothing less than an explosive display of fireworks to illuminate over the waters of Mobile Bay.

 

 

Birmingham’s Thunder on the Mountain 2014 at Vulcan Park & Museum:

Thunder-On-The-Mountain-1
Having built up a lasting reputation as one the grandest fireworks shows in Alabama, Thunder on the Mountain 2014 boasts a 4th of July fireworks display to solidify their past celebratory merits. The show is free to the public, and you can expect to see (and hear) the skies above Red Mountain and the Vulcan Statue booming with vibrant colors and sounds. The show will last about 20 minutes, kicking off at 9pm to a soundtrack that will embody American patriotism and popular music. Do be aware that patrons viewing the fireworks show will not be admitted into Vulcan Park after 6pm, but not to worry because the display will be visible from multiple viewing areas around the city.

For those of you who are seeking an exciting show of lights, a night of revelry, and American nostalgia, look no further! One of these cities will be glad to play host as your Independence Day celebration!

Play Outdoors: Gearing Up for an Alabama Summer

It’s officially summertime in Alabama! The kids are out of school, college students are home for the summer and it’s time to head to the beach, get on the lake or hang out by the pool. Here’s your guide to summer gear for enjoying the outdoors, rain or shine!

Lake Eufaula, Alabama - Photo by Norman Hildrum

In this life there are few guarantees, but when it comes to Summer in Alabama, you can assume a few things… It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be humid and it’s probably going to rain somewhere in the afternoon.

Summer is the time to break out the sandals, put on some shorts, grab a short sleeve shirt/tank top and live life outdoors. But, what about the rain? Just because we’re older, doesn’t mean that we can’t play in the rain.

Remember as a kid, how much fun it was to run around in the rain on a summer day? Jump in puddles? Let’s make this summer about enjoying ALL the outdoors has to offer here in Alabama.

The Facts

Just ask Alabama’s favorite meteorologist, James Spann, “it rains just about everyday in the summer…” Where it rains is usually difficult to determine and these showers pop up all over the place at random times. The best way to handle the summer rains? Be prepared!

hunter boots

The Gear

Hunter Boots – Who ever said that rain boots were just for the rain? These boots are the perfect accessory for your outfit and provide that little bit of “stand out in the crowd” you’re looking for this summer. With many styles, heights and sizes, Hunter Boots are great for parents and kids alike. As a bonus, if it rains, you have an excuse to enjoy it in style.

Shop for Chaco sandals at Alabama Outdoors.

Chacos – A must have in the summer months for outdoor adventure. Some people even choose to strap them on over a pair of Smartwools and rock their Chacos. Perfect for a game of ultimate frisbee in an afternoon storm, or a beautiful day on the lake, these sandals can take all you throw at them. Check out all the different strap designs and styles today!

 

A solid rain jacket - The ultimate necessity for playing in the rain. The things to look for in a rain jacket: is it breathable? is it versatile? is it durable?  A great rain jacket provides the opportunity to shield yourself from the elements and enjoy the experience all at the same time. With brands like Patagonia and North Face, Alabama Outdoors can help you find the perfect rain jacket to carry with you everywhere.

What are your favorite gear finds for summer weather in Alabama? Let us know!

Check out the great selection of Hunter Boots, Chaco Sandals, Patagonia and North Face rain jackets at Alabama Outdoors online store or in one of our locations today!

Alabama’s Best Outdoor Towns

Where you need to be in Alabama to make the most of the outdoors.

Whether you like to hike, bike, camp, run, hunt or fish, if you live in Alabama, you probably have a favorite outdoor spot. Here is a list of the top 5 Alabama towns to be in for guys and girls that like to spend their time outdoors.

5. Tuscaloosa, AL

outdoor towns in alabama

When most people think about being outdoors in Tuscaloosa, it’s Saturdays in the Fall, but this town has much more to offer.

Get in touch with the West Alabama Mountain Biking Association for weekly rides at Sokol Park. Head to Downtown Northport for Art Nights and Festivals. Choose from parks, such as Deer Lick and Lurleen Wallace State park with campsites and trails for an adventurous weekend. Get outdoors and hit one of the 4 lakes close by for a great day of fishing with friends and family. With so many options, it’ll be hard to choose, but the city of Tuscaloosa makes enjoying Alabama’s Outdoors easy.

Team up with the University of Alabama Rec Center to rent some gear for the day or bring your own.

4. Auburn, AL

outdoor towns in alabama

In Auburn, Chewacla State Park has invested in over 15 miles of single-track, mountain bike trails, as well as a 26-acre lake, waterfall and modern campsites. The Forest Ecology Preserve is supported by Auburn University and geared towards families and children of all ages, committed to environmental education.

With around 10 large parks, the Tuskegee National Forest and Auburn University committed to the betterment of the outdoor experience, Auburn, Alabama is climbing its way up the list of Alabama’s best outdoor towns.

3. Birmingham, AL

Birmingham is known for being one of the largest and most populated cities in Alabama. It is a hub for commerce and is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast. Birmingham has an incredible restaurant portfolio, as well as 4 local breweries. What people don’t realize is how much there is to do outdoors in and around the Birmingham area.

outdoor towns in alabama

From Red Mountain to Oak Mountain, Birmingham has some amazing parks, with miles of trails to hike and bike. The Cahaba River flows right through Birmingham and is accessible to the public. Rent a canoe/kayak or float the Cahaba with friends on the weekend. Less than an hour away is Sipsey Wilderness. Located inside Bankhead National Forest, Sipsey Wilderness offers miles of trails, waterfalls, bluffs, and kayaking/canoeing.

Check out Tuesday Night Trails @ Red Mountain Park with Alabama Outdoors

 

2. Florence, AL

Listed as one of the top 8 southern towns by Garden & Gun magazine, Florence is truly an Alabama gem. Just across the river from Muscle Shoals, Florence is growing in popularity in the music realm with the W.C. Handy Music Festival every July. It’s a city that prides itself on being a small town and focusing on the revival of small business and sourcing product on a local level.

outdoor towns in alabama

There’s many stories about the “singing” rivers and woods around Florence, stick around long enough, you’re bound to hear a few. Check out the Natchez Trace Parkway and the campgrounds around Florence. See how many species of Alabama’s 397 species of birds you can spot along the North Alabama Birding Trail. Shoal Creek Preserve and Cane Creek Canyon are great spots to spend the day outdoors. Visit Florence, you just might find an excuse to stay.

1. Fairhope, AL/Mobile Bay

outdoor towns in alabama

Fairhope tops our list for the best outdoor towns in Alabama. There cannot be a list of Alabama towns and not talk about the gulf coast. Situated on the just across the bay from Mobile, Fairhope offers  the small town atmosphere, with a gulf coast feel.

Take a walk down the pier, or jump in a boat and enjoy the day catching Red Fish in the bay. Weeks Bay Reserve is over 6,000 acres of land and water protected by NOAA and Coastal Zone Management. It is an amazing place to spend an afternoon learning about the coastal environment surrounding Fairhope.

With the beaches less than an hour away, Fairhope is situated perfectly in Lower Alabama to take a long weekend and see where you end up… or you can just stay home. Either way, it’s a win-win.

These are just a few of the great towns committed to enjoying Alabama’s outdoors. If you live close by, check out one of the links and makes some plans for the weekend.

Be sure to visit Alabama Outdoors to pick up gear for the trip or to get advice on the best places to go.

Life Outdoors: Father’s Day

Gifts are great, but this year, make some memories that last forever. Share an experience with Dad this Father’s Day and who knows? It might become family tradition. Here are some ideas for ways to spend Father’s Day with Dad in Alabama’s outdoors.

Alabama Outdoors

Get Outdoors and Play

This weekend, you can afford to put off your chores. Mowing the lawn and washing the car can wait. There are a lot of families in Alabama who choose Father’s day to create tradition in which the family can all come together and spend time with one another. Also, if you have the means, pick up a gift that relates to the adventure you plan to take.

Take a bike ride.

Most Alabama towns are just a quick drive from some great trail systems. You can ride through downtown, along the river or up on the mountains. Here’s a link to some different Alabama bike trails close to you: Alabama Bike Trails

father's day

Visit a State Park

Alabama boasts 22 state parks, along with some other greats. Parks offer the opportunity to hike, swim or bike, as well as just spend some quality time relaxing outdoors with Dad. Alabama takes pride in its outdoor experience and these parks will not disappoint. If you’ve got the time, make camping reservations at one of the parks and plan an overnight or weekend trip.

Go Fishing.

fishing for father's day

From small ponds to lakes, there are many fishing holes in Alabama. With 47 large lakes, 23 state public fishing lakes and over 77,000 miles of river, we’re sure you can find the spot that’s just right for Dad. If freshwater fishing isn’t what you had in mind, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers up some of the best deep sea fishing out there. Grab the rods and reels and hit a new spot with Dad this weekend.

 Explore the rivers.

Jumping in a canoe or a couple of kayaks is a great way to explore the outdoors with Dad this year. The Cahaba River Society offers great insight on some of the best ways to explore the Cahaba River. Check out Alabama Outdoors’ favorite Cahaba to-dos. Schedule a group trip, or rent canoes and go out searching on your own. If you’re not into paddling, floating the Cahaba is also a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.

father's day sale at ao

Here at Alabama Outdoors, we are celebrating Dads this week with our annual Father’s Day Sale!

So, skip the same old Father’s Day gift and get Dad something he’ll really love. From Mountain Khakis and Kuhl, to ExOfficio and Coastal Cotton, Alabama Outdoors is the perfect spot to find Dad a great gift this year.

5 ways to enjoy the outdoors with mom

It’s time to give up the flower routine. Too often, we buy flowers or a gift for mom that has no sentimental value. Let’s make this year the one where we step outside of the box… literally. This is the year we make memories, we create moments and those moments are meant to be enjoyed outdoors.

Hiking With Mom

 

 

5 ways to enjoy the outdoors with your mom:

 

5. Take a day trip

Whether you are looking to get out of town, or just get out of the house, jumping in the car is a good start. Remember, this day is not about you, it’s about your mom, so make plans accordingly.

Alabama has many small towns and out of the ordinary places that make for great day trips. Towns like Florence, Mountain Brook, Tuscaloosa, Greensboro, Tuscumbia, Greenville, Muscle Shoals, Huntsville, etc., have a little piece of Alabama all their own. To truly experience the different cultures and what each city has to offer, take a trip with your mom.

***Extra Credit: Don’t forget to check the map for antique shops and general stores along the way.

4. Farmer’s Markets

 

If you’re in Birmingham, Saturday’s at Pepper Place Market are a great place to be outdoors and shop. The market is full of vendors from all over the state of Alabama with everything from vegetables and cheeses to ceramics and art. Farmer’s markets all over Alabama are a great way to spend time with your mom and experience Local Alabama in a different way.

Here is a map by county all Farmer’s Markets in Alabama. Click on a County to find our more information on Farmer’s Markets in your area!

 

3. Go for a hike/bike

For the more adventurous types, get out on the trails. Red Mountain Park offers miles of hiking and biking trials for your mom and the rest of the family to enjoy. Along with the trails, don’t forget to check out the zip line tour or hit the Beanstalk Forest ropes course.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic and plenty of snacks so you can enjoy all the park has to offer!

Alabama Outdoors and Red Mountain Park team up each week for Tuesday Night Trail runs starting in May. Check out Alabama Outdoors for more details.

 

2. Run a race

Each weekend across the state of Alabama there are opportunities to get out and run a 5K, 10K, or even a marathon/half-marathon. This weekend is the Cahaba River Ramble, hosted by the Cahaba River Society and sponsored by Alabama Outdoors! Check out some of the races coming up and get more information on how to register by clicking here.

For the athletic family that loves being outdoors, a race is a great way to enjoy a beautiful weekend with the people you love.

1. Cookout and Bonfire

friends gathered around a fire

The perfect way to end a great day. After a day filled with hikes, runs, trips or farmer’s markets, a cookout is the icing on the cake. Moms love the opportunity to gather family and friends to spend quality time with one another.

Grab the hamburgers and put some wood on the fire. Great friends gathered around the fire, sharing stories and enjoying each others company. Sounds pretty good to us!

New Product Spotlight: Bernie Mev Shoes

Alabama Outdoors is excited to announce a new product offering in stores and online! Bernie Mev Shoes has created a unique footwear line for women that is “the perfect blend of style and lifestyle”.

Totally unique footwear by Bernie Mev Shoes

Bernie Mev Shoes has been developing footwear products unlike any other since 1974. These shoes are stylish, adventurous, unique and affordable. For almost 40 years, Bernie Mev Shoes has been thinking outside the box to keep it that way.

Truly innovative design

The woven design not only allows for unique patterns and styles, but creates a comfortable fit that will not disappoint. The elastic woven material used to make the top of the shoe is complimented by not only a flexible sole, but a memory foam insole for ultimate comfort.

These shoes are perfect for the Spring and Summer months. With their lightweight design, these shoes can take you anywhere you need to go. bernie mev shoes

Comfort and style combined

From Wedges and Pumps to Sneakers and Flats, Bernie Mev shoes has created comfortable styles for all occasions. Along with being comfortable, these shoes are also created with the outdoors in mind. Bacteria resistant materials help combat any potential odors or problems while out on the trails.

These shoes are created with the “On-the-Go” woman in mind. Combining comfort and style, whether you’re walking around the city or spending the day on the lake.

bernie mev footwear

 

In stock now at Alabama Outdoors!

Alabama Outdoors is excited to begin offering Bernie Mev Shoes online and in our stores this Spring. Come by and give them a test drive. These shoes are sure to be a big hit this summer, get ahead of the game and stop by today to grab a pair.

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Uncharted: Cahaba River

 

To call the Cahaba River one of the most unique bodies of water in Alabama would be an understatement. The state’s longest “free-flowing” river is recognized worldwide for its biodiversity, harboring over 150 types of fish and dozens of mussel and snail species.

 

cahaba river

Stretching almost 200 miles, the river flows from the foothills of the Appalachians, through the heart of Birmingham, to just south of Selma, AL, where the Cahaba collides with the Alabama River. Now is the perfect time of year to plan a trip to the Cahaba River. As Spring continues to roll in, the river is up, flowers are ready to bloom and the wildlife is in full swing.

The Cahaba River Society provides canoe rentals and equipment, as well as guided group trips. There is a trip on average, once per week. Check out the schedule and find a good day for you and your friends to get on the water. Also check out, Five Ways to Float the Cahaba for a more casual trip.

More: The 2014 Party on the Porch, benefiting The Cahaba River Society

 

If dry land is preferred, the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place for a day hike, bird watching and snapping a few photos of nature with family and friends. Along with the CRNWR, there are many great parks and access points along the Cahaba.

A few of our favorites include:

Moon River Canoe Launch (coming Spring 2014) – The newest canoe launch/recreational site on the Cahaba. This is the first site developed as a part of the Cahaba Blueway Project. The project seeks to promote river access and continue improvement of the river.

canoe trips on the cahaba river

Oak Mountain State Park – The park boasts a large variety of trails including: Mountain Bike Trails, Hiking Trails and a Treetop Nature Trail. Camping, Fishing and a Petting Zoo are just a few of the other activities that Oak Mountain offers.

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park – Touted as Alabama’s first state capital, this park is a great look into Alabama’s past. Situated in the last bend of the Cahaba, just before it meets the Alabama River, Cahawba Park is becoming a must see in Alabama. Along with the old buildings and archaeological sites, the park also has a great bike trail and a “Haunted History Tour”. Afterwards, swing by Mark’s Mart in Selma, for a delicious chicken sandwich and grab a bacon-wrapped filet to cook when you get home.

More: CRS Earth Month Event Guide

 

If you have any questions about your Cahaba excursion, swing by any Alabama Outdoors location and we’ll be happy to help, or give us a call anytime.