Summer Road Trips: Enjoy All Alabama has to Offer (Without Driving Too Far) Featured

17 Jul 2018 Faith Henley
Known as “Alabama’s Big Cave,” DeSoto Caverns is a marvel, and a great way to spend a day exploring with the family. Known as “Alabama’s Big Cave,” DeSoto Caverns is a marvel, and a great way to spend a day exploring with the family. DeSoto Caverns

The kids have been out of school for weeks now. They’re restless. For that matter, mom and dad are restless, too. And the family beach trip is still a month away. With weeks left in the summer vacation, what can you do?  

You can hit the road and enjoy some truly unique, one-of-a-kind adventures in places you’ll only find in Alabama. If you’re itching to get out of the house, here are a few places you might want to put on your short-term bucket list. And the best thing? They’re not too far from home!

A Five-Star Dinner in Birmingham

Okay, mom and dad: If you are looking for a luxury, five-star dinner, you don’t have to go far. Schedule a sitter and head to Birmingham - home of The James Beard Foundation’s 2018 most outstanding restaurant. Highlands Bar & Grill is also home to the Foundation’s most outstanding pastry chef, Dolester Miles. Known for fresh seasonal dishes made from regional ingredients and fantastic service, the worst part will be deciding what not to order. After dinner, take a stroll through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, or take in the art pieces at Kelly Ingram Park.  

Dolester Miles, Highlands’ award-winning pastry chef, holds her specialty coconut pecan cake.


DeSoto Caverns

For those looking to add a little family adventure to the summer, a day trip to DeSoto Caverns might be the answer. Located in Childersburg, DeSoto Cavern is the first recorded cavern on record, noted by President George Washington in 1796. Over the course of hundreds of years, the caverns have seen everyone from Native American Indians to Confederate soldiers. Since 1912, generations of the current family that owns the cavern have created a unique, lively experience for visitors of all ages.

Adult tickets start at $24.99 and child tickets start at $19.99. Packages are available that include access to the many attractions, including paddle carts, water golf, and more. Single attraction tickets start at $4.99.


A Monroeville Literary Experience

Fans of the literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Alabama native Harper Lee should head down to Monroeville for an experience that will bring the story to life. A walk around the historic small town, and visits in the local shops and galleries, will take you back to a slower time. The Monroe County Museum, located inside the old Monroe County Courthouse, takes you behind the scenes of Lee’s iconic book. The Courthouse itself was the backdrop for many of the scenes in the book. Visitors can also explore The Birdhouse Trail of structures built by locals that depict scenes from the novel. 

The Old Courthouse Museum Hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Museum is closed on Sundays and most holidays. Admission is $5. 


The Old Monroe County Courthouse’s courtroom is the model for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. It was recreated on a Hollywood soundstage for the 1962 movie.


Photos: Highlands Bar & Grill, DeSoto Caverns, and Monroe County Museum 

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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