The year was 1540 and Hernando Desoto and his Army of Spanish Conquistadors were on their way down the Chattooga River heading toward Cedar Bluff, Alabama. On June 4th, 1540 they arrived and camped for almost a month on an island. It was soon named McCoy’s island, ‘Chiaha” was the name given by Desoto’s historians.
As they arrived they found the beauty of the two rivers and the Coosa valley to be very pleasing. They decided to rest at McCoy’s Island to heal the men and horses. It was also very abundant in food and the perfect camp after a long hard journey through the Appalachian Mountains. A journey that was very difficult and a challenge for even the most experienced warrior!
There were rumors of gold to be found in the north and west hills of Lookout Mountain. So Desoto decides to send a small army of men led by lieutenant Vilabo and Silva. They departed on June 1570 and passed between Menlo, Georgia and Blanche, Alabama toward Desoto Falls near Mentone, Alabama! They decided to camp for a few days at the 104 foot waterfalls. It is located on the west fork of little river on Lookout Mountain.
For several days the troops searched the area for gold and other treasures and then proceeded to pass through Big Wills to Henagar Alabama. Here they found south Sauty Creek and followed it all the way to Buck’s Pocket State Park. It is said that the men were blown away by the view from point rock and did not find gold but found iron Oxide high in the cliffs around Buck’s Pocket! There is no historical evidence that says they went any further than Buck’s pocket or ever saw the Tennessee River!
From this point the party headed back toward McCoy’s Island and passed through the town of Sand Rock, Alabama. The men returned to Chiaha (McCoy’s Island) near Hokes Bluff. They arrived to discover that Desoto and the main party had set trail June 28, 1540 down the Coosa River. Desoto had left a few wounded men behind to wait for the Sand mountain crew to return. They departed to catch up with Desoto and arrived on June 18, 1540 only two days behind Desoto’s arrival on July 16, 1540. They camped at the mouth of the Talladega creek in Talladega County.
Many people say that Desoto discovered the falls but there is evidence that the area was used by Indians and even the Welsh! Located near 325 feet above little river are three caves that are interconnected by openings between the caverns. They are protected by the cliff and only a narrow trail leads the way to the Welsh caves. It is rumored that only a few men could fight off an army of troops. The trail was so narrow that only one man could pass at a time.
It is believed that the Welsh traveled to the New World over 300 years before Columbus and made 3 trips. They sailed into Mobile Bay and traveled to Lookout Mountain. The Indians of the time did not possess the skill of excavation and it is believed that the Welsh came and built the caves high above little river. There were also six skeletons found wearing brass armor with the Welsh coat of arms.
Desoto falls is an awesome waterfalls and seeing it in person is inspiring and beautiful. To see the foliage in the fall is breath taken and colors are super vibrant. I could not imagine what it would have looked like 500 years ago. The area is still very preserved and has an abundant supply of wildlife.
In the 1920’s Arthur Abernathy Miller and self taught electrical engineer built a twenty-foot high damn above the falls. Author built the damn to supply power to his hydroelectric generator on the west side of the gorge. There is still a square concrete slab where the generator one was. It supplied power for fort Payne, Collinsville, Mentone, valley head, Alabama and Menlo Georgia.. If it wasn’t for Miller’s genius many people in the area would have been without power.
Desoto State Park is one of Alabama most beautiful areas and has many things to do year around. They have cabins, chalets, swimming, picnic area, hiking trails, and many special events. You can’t forget all the waterfalls in the area either: Indian falls, Azalea falls, laurel, lost falls, Lodge Falls, and of course Desoto Falls! You could spend a week in Desoto state park just looking at waterfalls and hiking. Little river falls and many other falls around Little River Canyon are just a short drive away!
There are a few great trails, Wildflower trail that is perfect for you flower lovers. It is only 0.49 and begins and ends at the lodge! Looking for a longer hike you can take Laurel Creek Loop and is a total of 2.9 miles long. This is the perfect trail for you waterfall lovers and passes by laurel falls, lost Falls and azalea cascade. When it is dry you may not find Lost falls so be prepared! It also starts and ends at the same place making it a great trail for you hikers.
They have an awesome camping area with 58 water and electric sites and two comfort stations with restrooms with hot showers. You will want to make reservations, first come first serve. They also have 20 primitive camping spots and offer a group rate and a single person is $5.35 as of 2008. It is $3 per person with the group rate! You can also use the bathrooms and showers!
Need food, you have the Desoto State Park Mountain Inn cooking all the home classics. There are also places in Mentone like Cragsmere Manna Restaurant and Dessie’s Country Chef, just like mom used to make!
While you are in the area you must check out Little River Canyon National Preserve with great 700 foot cliffs and waterfalls along Lookout Mountain. Little River is a rock climbers paradise and also has white water for you water ducks out there. Come to Alabama and see the beauty of the mountain and lose yourself into nature. If you come in the winter time be sure to check out Cloudmont Ski and Golf. They start blowing Alabama snow as soon as it gets 28 degrees and the area gets an annual snowfall of 12 inches. Who would have ever thought it, Alabama snow!
Thanks for reading about Desoto Falls on Lookout Mountain. Come see Alabama and understand why they call it “Alabama the Beautiful!”
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From its northern mountains to every beach on its Gulf Coast, Alabama has mHi
any attractions and events for a vacation of fun: the beaches, golf, abundant natural wildlife, fishing and hunting, and above all, there is a wealth of history to explore in Alabama. The Civil Rights Movement that started in Alabama changed the world.
You can travel there simply for the shopping: Alabama has world-class malls, expansive outlet centers and antiques shops. For those on a family vacation, Alabamas Gulf Coast is renowned for its 32 miles of beaches, theme parks and playgrounds.
The hotels are as diverse as the attractions: from cheap hotels to top ranking hotels.
Birmingham rides the rich wooded foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Its year round entertainment, and especially its irresistible Southernness, appeals to vacationers. Two major attractions in Birmingham are Alabama Adventure, Alabamas first amusement park, and McWane Center, where science becomes an adventure. Birmingham is filled with stories from the history of African American citizens here.
Montgomery is the Mecca of the civil rights movement and visitors flock there to visit the state Capitol, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the First White House of the Confederacy and the Rosa Parks Library and Museum. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery is the fifth largest Shakespeare festival in the world.
Alabamas Gulf Coast Renowned for its 32 miles of beaches, theme parks and playgrounds, attractions here include Waterville USA , Pirate’s Island, Dauphin Island, and Historic Blakeley State Park at Spanish Fort, site of the last major battle of the Civil War.
Auburn/Opelika A walk along Auburn Avenue, Sweet Auburn, is to take a walk through a living museum of the legendary achievements of Black Atlanta.
A good spot to start in Auburn is the Museum of East Alabama, where there are hundreds of artifacts portraying life in East Alabama and the Southeast from the mid 1800s to the present. The Opelika Historic Railroad District includes the Lee County Courthouse, a working courthouse built in 1896. AUBURN HOTELS and OPELIKA HOTELS.
Other attractions include The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, the citys only antebellum mansion and now a decorative arts museum, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, a haven for railroad buffs, and the McWane Center, a state of the art science center with IMAX Dome Theater.
The history of Mercedes is showcased at the Mercedes Benz U.S. International Visitors Center at Vance. Factory tours originate from the center.
Still more attractions include the Riverchase Galleria with hundreds of shops and restaurants under the world’s largest skylight, Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the Treetop Nature Trail in at Oak Mountain State Park, and eight decades of aviation history at the Southern Museum of Flight. GREATER BIRMINGHAM HOTELS.
Alabama, nicknamed “The Heart of Dixie” is known for its heritage as a key southern state. Today the state contains an exciting mixture of old and new. From traditional agricultural events to high-tech rocketry, there’s something for everyone.
Some highlights to visit in Alabama include:
1. Ave Maria Grotto (in Cullman): Also known as “Jerusalem in Miniature”, and constructed by Brother Joseph Zoetti, a Benedictine monk, the Ave Maria Grotto is a 4 acre park containing 125 miniature reproductions of famous shrines and historical buildings from around the world.
2. Battleship Memorial Park (in Mobile): Home to the battleship USS Alabama, the submarine USS Drum, as well as many tanks and aircraft.
3. Bellingrath Gardens and Home (Southwest of Mobile): A beautiful 65-acre garden estate that offers walking tours, cruises on the Fowl river, and is home to an award-winning rose garden.
4. Birmingham Museum of Art (in North Birmingham): Contains an outstanding collection of over 21,000 works of art.
5. DeSoto Caverns Park (Southeast of Birmingham): offers guided tours through the state’s biggest cave which is 12 stories high and larger than a football field. There are also a variety of family attractions in the park outside the caverns.
6. Early Works Museum Complex (in Huntsville): An impressive complex of three history museums including a hands-on history museum for children and a railroad museum.
7. International Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum (in Talladega): This museum, next door to the Talladega Superspeedway records and celebrates the history of motorsports. Exhibits include the Budweiser rocket car which was the first car to break the speed of sound.
8. Noccalulua Falls Park (in Gadsden): A 250-acre public park containing a legendary waterwall, as wall caves, Indian and civil war carvings, a pioneer homesteed, a mini-golf course, a petting zoo, and more.
9. Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (throughout Alabama): A must for golf-lovers. The Trail is a result of the largest golf course construction project ever attempted. and contains over 400 holes spread across multiple sites around the state.
10. US Space & Rocket Center (in Huntsville): contains the United States’ largest collection space memorabilia and rockets including the Pathfinder shuttle simulator and a Saturn V moon rocket.
If you are looking for a place to visit that is packed with family fun, consider heading to Alabama. From the mountains to the city to the ocean, Alabama has a little bit of something for everyone. Many people don’t realize the abundance of activities available to enjoy in Alabama. Those who live in Alabama want to share the fun with you.
If your family enjoys hiking, then you need to visit the mountains in Eastern Alabama. You can stay in a cabin, go camping or simply hike a trail for the day. The views are spectacular, no matter what time of the year it is from the vibrant fall colors to the bright greens in the spring.
Cities such as Birmingham have a lot of cultural events open to families. Check out the many science museums in Alabama. There is also a Butterfly exhibit in Alabama that you can visit and walk among hundreds of butterflies that is very magical for kids. Don’t forget to head to Tuscaloosa to take in an Alabama football game. They are serious about football and the pre and post game activities are just as exciting as the game itself. Their rivals in Auburn, Alabama also put on a good game.
The beaches in south Alabama along the gulf coast are beautiful and the water is a magnificent color. Families can enjoy a fun day at the beach, building sand castles and playing in the waves. Play a round of miniature golf and eat some homemade icecream to round out the day’s activities.
There is so much to do in Alabama that you can’t get it all done in one trip. The family friendly atmosphere and hospitality will keep you coming back for years to come. From the mountains to the ocean to the many cultural and nature activities available in Alabama, there is something for everyone in this southern state.
Tired of driving all day long just to see one lackluster attraction? So was I, and I was skeptical when I heard about the Oakleigh Complex in Mobile, Alabama. But, wow was I wrong!
On the 3.5 acre a complex you’ll find the Oakleigh House Museum, the Mardi Gras Cottage Museum, and the Cox-Deasy Cottage. These magnificent examples of architecture, construction, and history are simply wonderful, and they offer numerous tours throughout the day for you and your family.
While on the complex you can see take a “day in the life of” tour, to really see what it was like to be a mid-19th century man or woman. Get a realistic view of the bygone society, family structure, and daily activities. It’s truly a memorable tour that I know you’ll love.
The Oakleigh House museum is the epitome of southern elegance and Greek revival architecture. The house is the official antebellum mansion of Mobile and for obvious reason, large and beautiful white columns, spiraling marble staircases, and detail work taken to the next level of experience and precision.
The museum is furnished with rare and unique antiques which would have been commonplace in the homes of wealthy 19th century families. Trust me, this is a tour you don’t want to miss, and the era-dressed guides are more than willing to show you some southern hospitality along the tour.
While you’re on the property make sure to stop by Cook’s quarters! These buildings once houses slavers on the property, but now they server as a reminder to America’s southern past. Though you won’t find any more forced labor going on, you will find a unique look into the past histories of Alabama and the plantation that once operated on these very grounds.
Take a look at how the slaves and servants once lived, and just how very different their lives were from those who lived in the Oakleigh House.
Finish your round with the Cox-Deasy home, which explains the historical significance and daily life struggles of the average working class in the mid 19th century. It’s not often that we can truly open the windows of time, but this museum truly does succeed and will give you a whole new respect for just how far humanity has come.
It’s easy to see why the Oakleigh Complex has become one of the most sought after historical sites in the country. With great historical significance, exciting architecture, antique buildings and furnishings, well it’s a no brainer to me! You won’t believe your ears and eyes along the tours and I know you’ll create memories that’ll last a life time.
In June of 1989 The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo opened its doors the public. The zoo beginning was a humble one and was the result of a donation by the Ward family. In 1991 the family donated 17 acres of prime gulf coast real estate for the establishment of the zoo. The gesture of unimaginable kindles launched the park into one of Alabama’s top tourist attractions, drawing children and adults alike to it’s plethora of animals
Over 300 species will entertain you and your family as you walk the recently expanded park trails and pathways. From bears and monkeys, to lions, lizards, and birds, you’ll find pretty much everything you’d want to see here at this quaint coastal zoo.
Over the course of its lifetime the zoo has survived many grave challenges. After a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan the zoo suffered over a half million dollars in damages. Though through countless hours of hard work and the dedication of dozens of zoo staff members and volunteers the zoo was fixed and reopened. Just as the zoo was returning to normal operation disaster struck again in the form of Hurricane Katrina, ravaging the zoo and its animal population. Though once again “the little zoo that could” survived, rebuilt, and is now reopened yet again!
The zoo is truly a testament to humanities generosity and love of animals. The small zoo, which started as nothing more than one family’s donation, has evolved into a fantastic attraction. From the hundreds of animals and family friendly walking trails to the stocked gift shop and bountiful variety of restaurants, well in short, you’re going to love this zoo!
Looking for fun in the sun? A thrill a minute and some family bonding time? Then look no further than Southern Adventures Amusement Park!
This is a great attraction for the whole family. The carnival on steroids is packed full of rides and attractions, from go-carts and bumper cars, to the Ferris wheel and two miniature golf courses.
I’ve always been a bit of a go-cart buff myself and I give this track my seal of approval. With over a quarter mile of paved track you can zip and weave all afternoon! Take part in your own personal Southern Adventures 500 and pit the family in a match of racing strength, either in single carts or doubles.
Can’t take all day in the heat? Me Either!
Southern Adventures is packed full of water rides. The central tower at nearly fifty feet talk will be your gateway for slip sliding fun. Hop on any one of the park’s 500 feet worth of slides. On top of the great slides there is a gigantic 2000 sq. ft. pool for just relaxing the day away. No need to worry about the kids, with a trained and well equipped lifeguard staff you and your family will be safe under the constant vigilance.
Ready for a bit of culture?
Ha! Ha! Well not quite, though the Aztec themed Amazon Café will offer you plenty of domestic delights to satisfy even the pickiest eater. From French fries to chicken strips, burgers to hotdogs, smoothies to shakes, you’ll find it all and much more at the café. So stop inside the beautifully themed and fully air conditioned facility and delight both your imagination and your stomach.
If you’d rather bring a picnic, feel free! There are loads of benches and covered areas for you and your family to have a great lunch along the beautiful Alabama terrain. With facilities large enough to house 200 people, the park is well equipped to handle large groups.
After an exciting day of Southern Adventures you’ll want to be sure to stop by the Birmingham Zoo. It’s a great place to simply stroll the day away while taking in the sights and sounds of the World’s critters.
If you’re planning your summer trip to Alabama, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be by now, then you absolutely must check out Southern Adventures. Great rides, great food, and an awesome place to make memories that’ll last a lifetime. Believe me; your kids will thank you.
Gadsden, Alabama, fifty miles northeast of Birmingham, is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It is divided between east and west by the Coosa River. Gadsden was founded by a captain of a steamboat that traveled the Coosa in the early 1800s.
Home to Cherokee and Creek native Americans before the white settlers arrived, many areas are in that part of the state are named for the tribes that once occupied northeast Alabama. Etowah and Cherokee counties are two examples.
Noccalula Falls and Park, one to the state’s top tourist attractions, is located on Lookout Mountain. The falls, which are part of Black Creek, plunge 100 feet to the gorge below. Visitors can take stairs down into the gorge and under the falls. The park is replete with a campground, pavilions, a miniature sightseeing railroad, pioneer homestead, petting zoo, and a miniature golf course..
The falls were named for an Indian princess, Noccalula, who, according to legend, was in love with a brave in her own tribe. When her father chose a brave for her to marry from a neighboring tribe, she became so distraught that she threw herself off the precipice of the falls to her death.
Other attractions in Gadsden include a cultural arts center with rotating art exhibits, music classes, a model railroad configured to resemble the town in the 1950s and 60s, and a children’s museum with hands-on learning exhibits. The city also boasts of two community theatre companies, a symphony orchestra, a youth orchestra, and a museum of art.
Broad Street runs the length of the downtown shopping district and has been retrofitted with street lights and stops lights of a bygone era. At night, the buildings on Broad Street are aglow with accent lights along the roofs.
On the first Friday of each month, Broad Street is blocked off in the late afternoon in order to host First Friday, an area-wide event featuring classic vehicles, musical acts, performers, and various food and merchandise vendors.
The Etowah (county) Youth and Strings orchestra has performed nationally including Carnegie Hall. The Theatre of Gadsden, formerly the Gadsden Civic Theatre, has showcased outstanding talent for more than sixty years. A recently-formed theatre troop, CharACTers, produces children’s and youth-oriented plays.
The City of Gadsden hosts local, regional and national softball tournaments at various fields and fishing tournaments on the Coosa River and Lake Henry Neely.
Neighboring Cherokee County is home to Weiss Lake, known as the crappie capital, and to Cherokee Rock Village where a portion of the movie, “Failure to Launch,” was filmed. Going north on 431, one finds Marshall County and the town of Guntersville with its several square mile lake, formed from the Tennesee River. At Guntersville State Park, bald eagle watching takes place every spring. At the Dot Moore Theatre, musicals, dramas, and comedies are performed year round.
Farther north on interstate 59 and highway 11 is DeKalb County with its splendid DeSoto Caverns and State Park. The county seat of Fort Payne is home to the megastar country music band, Alabama.
Looking for quality family fun, but don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to afford it? Then look no further than the glorious vacation awaiting you at Birmingham, Alabama!
The whole family will simply love the Alabama Adventure Theme Park. You’ll love the classic Ferris wheel, go-carts, and bumper cars, but if you’re a little more adventures you’ll want to check out Rampage, one of the largest, fastest, and most back-twisting fun you’ll find east of the Mississippi.
Don’t stop there though; there are loads of other rides including Zoomerang. This steel monster launches you around tight turns and huge hills. After an exciting ride on the Zoomerang go cool off with some slashing good fun on Alabama Adventure Theme Park’s numerous water rides. And what would a theme park be without food beyond your wildest dreams? Huge turkey legs, funnel cakes, ice cream, chicken fingers, cotton candy, and much more can be found along Celebration Street within the park. Take it from me, Alabama Adventure Theme Park is a great time, and I know your family will love it.
After you thrill seekers have been satisfied you should stop by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The 67 acres of trails are simply magnificent. Stop by the local café and get a drink before you take in the full beauty of the indigenous Alabama flowers, trees, and other plant life. While you’re meandering through the gardens make sure to check out the Japanese Garden. The very rare tea house is simply elegant and showcases the true beauty of Japanese culture.
If you’re into elegant old fashioned buildings then you’ll love the wide selection of Antebellum Homes available for tour in Alabama. Many of these Greek revival built homes are open for tour daily, allowing you to appreciate the architecture and construction of generations gone by. Be sure to check out the Weeden House Museum. The home turned museum houses the life works of Nationally renowned painter, Mrs. Maria Howard. The elegant buildings, furnishings, and delicate water colors of the Weeden House Museum are a worth attraction you shouldn’t miss.
So what are you waiting for?! With such a fun family-friendly environment it’s easy to see why more and more tourists flock to the attractions of Alabama every year.
Located west of Birmingham, the park encompasses many rides split into two fun filled sections, one for water, and the other for the dry rides.
Well, if it is the dry section you decide to start with, then make your first ride one of the most popular. One of the largest wooden roller coasters in the United States, the Rampage, is wickedly thrilling as you race up and down the hills taking each turn with blazing speed. You can feel your teeth rattle.
Still want more? Check out the next round of heart pumping action at Zoomerang! Zoomerang is a boomerang-style steel coaster, throw your hands up as the cars launch forward through a round of cork-screws and high speed turns.
Perfect for a family vacation, the Alabama Adventure Theme Park is a great vacation destination spot. Future plans include go-carts, a petting zoo, an indoor water park camp grounds and superb hotel accommodations.
You’ll want to make sure Alabama Adventure Theme Park is on your to-do list in the great Yellowhammer state.
Get ready to get wet, at Steel Waters, the park’s water rides section. Climb to the top of the water slide tower and hold your breath, because you’ll hit the water before you even know it. Grab a raft and relax in the wave pool, an attraction both you and the kids will love. No matter what you choose, it’s sure to be one that’ll soak you full of fun!
By now you appetite must be raging, so head over to Celebration Street and grab a Dippin’ Dots, the latest in ice cream rage, or you might enjoy a traditional funnel cake instead. Either way, you can’t go wrong. If the snacks don’t sound like what you are craving, then check out one of the many restaurants and enjoy a sub, pizza, hamburger, taco and even french fries.
And if you haven’t had enough of the theme park vacation, then think about heading on over to Huntsville, Alabama where you will find the Southern Adventures Amusement Park. Complete with more carnival-style rides, mini-golf, go-carts and even a water park. Of course you can also find even more shows and food galore.
The Alabama Adventure Theme Park, ranking in 2005 as Alabama’s second most popular attraction, is one Alabama adventure that both you and your children will be sure to enjoy. Wet rides, dry rides, carnival foods and shows galore, the Alabama Adventure Theme Park will keep you smiling all day long.