Alabaster is a charming city, located in Shelby County, 24 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama. It’s the perfect place to get back to nature, with a selection of mountain parks, creeks, birdwatching and wildlife trails.
Alabaster is also close to the looped Alabama Wine Trail, where you can sample some of the region’s full-bodied reds and fragrant whites. Take a boat out on the lake, delve deep into the history of the Deep South, or take in a live outdoor music concert – whatever you want to do, you can do it all in Alabaster.
I’m an Alabama local and have visited Alabaster lots of times, it is very close to my hometown Birmingham. This is my list of the best things to do in Alabaster:
1. Buck Creek Trail
Buck Creek Trail connects two parks in the Alabaster area, Buck Creek Park and Warrior Park. With over 3 miles of cycling and hiking paths, Buck Creek Trail is the perfect place to get back to nature.
You can wander along winding pathways to the cascading waterfall behind the site of old Buck Creek Cotton Mill, admire flora and fauna, and enjoy relaxing with a picnic by the stream. There’s an abundance of wildlife to see, so I suggest bringing a camera or binoculars.
Throughout the year, myriad events take place along the trail, including live music, the annual Fall Fest and Trick-or-Treat Trail.
2. Siluria Brewing Company
If you enjoy sampling craft brews and having a good time just as much as I do, head for Siluria Brewing Company in Alabaster.
This small craft brewery located in the old Alabaster post office on 1st Avenue West, serves different kinds of beer, as well as wine. One beer that I particularly enjoyed was the Quarry IPA, which has a nice high hop bitterness with flavors of pine and grapefruit peel.
This is the ideal place to sample unique, delicious flavors, while making new friends.
3. American Village
If you want to learn more about America’s historic sites and see stories of past years come to life, then this interactive campus just south of Alabaster might be just for you.
As you walk through the village, you can view recognizable buildings and parks such as Liberty Bell Garden, the Oval Office, Founders Hall and Colonial Garden. Imagine how life was, the conversations which were held and life-changing decisions which were made in these buildings.
It’s a great place for adults and children to learn about American history, and if you time your visit right, you can see the story of the Revolutionary War re-enacted in the grounds.
Also see: 30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Alabama
4. Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve
If you’re a keen ornithologist and/or nature lover, then you will love spending a day hiking at Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve. The upland hardwood swamp is home to the Tupelo Gum tree and offers rich habitats for a variety of birdlife.
Whether you’re searching for Wood Thrushes, Red-headed Woodpeckers or the rare Glossy Ibis, you can do it all here. So bring your walking shoes, a picnic and binoculars, and enjoy a plethora of diverse wildlife.
5. Veterans Park
This pretty 90-acre park, 5 miles south of Alabaster, is a great place to visit on a family day out. With two miles of lit walking trails, an Arbor, bluebird trail and five baseball fields, there’s plenty of activities to entertain outdoor enthusiasts.
Stroll amongst flowers and trees to learn more about the wildlife on an educational Nature Walk. You can stop for a picnic, try your hand at baseball at the batting cages, or cycle along winding trails.
6. Central Alabama Paintball Park
If you’re travelling with friends or family, or just want to meet new people and want a fun, energetic day out, Central Alabama Paintball Park may tick all the boxes.
The paintball game format is for two teams to compete, with one team eliminating the competition by using strategy, team work and stealth moves. It’s a great day out for anyone over the age of 6, and the perfect substitution if you need a break from sightseeing.
7. Alabama Wildlife Centre
The wildlife rehabilitation facility just outside Pelham, provides care to Alabama’s injured and orphaned birds. The center, close to picturesque Double Oak Lake in Oak Mountain State Park, raises awareness with theme days and events, showcasing almost 100 different species of birdlife.
It’s home to almost 2000 birds in total, including owls, hawks and birds of prey, caring for them until they are fit enough to be released back into the wild. Visitors can enjoy a range of talks, nature trails and educational experiences throughout their tour.
8. Oak Mountain State Park
Alabama’s largest state park attracts visitors from all over south eastern USA. The park boasts a range of outdoor activities to suit all ages from hiking and mountain biking, to horseback riding, fishing and golf. There are over 50 miles of trails to explore, each with unique scenery and historic landmarks along the way.
Resident birds reside in the park too.They can be viewed along the impressive boardwalk which winds through the woodland.
If you fancy staying overnight at Oak Mountain, I suggest having a look at the several lakeside cabins that you can rent, and pavilions where you can hold family events.
More on Alabama: 15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Alabama
9. Corbin Farms Winery
Corbin Farms Winery in Calera was founded in 2005. It’s a popular winery on the Alabama Wine Trail attracting visitors from all over America and the rest of the world. The winery specializes in producing popular Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines.
You can also sample a selection of local Alabama fruit wines, including Orchard Breeze made from 7 varieties of apple and no grapes! You can tour the winery, sample a selection of wines and pair them with a delicious lunch in the charming on-site bistro.
10. Champy’s World Famous Fried Chicken
If you’re craving good old fashioned southern cooking like I did on my visit to Alabaster, this is the place to be. Champy’s prepares it’s mouth-watering crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside fried chicken to order, and with a selection of dishes ranging from delicious hot wings to southern-style fried green tomatoes, it’s no surprise it’s one of the hottest spots in Alabaster.
Vegetarians are catered for too. They can find solace in their fried okra, green beans and potato salad. With a range of family meals, snacks, best brews and a welcoming southern vibe, you should try to go when you’re next in town.
11. Limestone Park
Picturesque Limestone Park in rural Shelby County is home to over 100 acres of open grasslands, swamps and woodland trails. With a birding observation deck which is suitable for those with limited mobility, and over 500 species of plants, birds, reptiles, fish and wildlife, it’s a popular place for all nature lovers.
There are scenic picnic areas, and if you wish to admire the changing colors of the trees from a different perspective, you can take a boat out on the water.
12. Warehouse31 Haunted House
This spooky haunted house located in nearby Pelham comes complete with 3D visuals and actors trained to terrify. In fact, it’s known to be one of the scariest places in Alabama.
The haunted house is a frightening adventure for daring thrill seekers, and those who love horror movies. With everything from high-energy clowns in mazes, to Rigamortis experience and more, it’s no surprise it attracts visitors from all across the state.
Visit around Halloween for an additional scare factor, and don’t forget to get your ‘Freaky Photo’ taken with friends before you leave.
13. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Oak Mountain Amphitheatre is the largest outdoor music venue in Alabama. If you love those bluegrass riffs, country music or Mississippi Delta Blues, try to take in a concert during your visit.
The amphitheatre has three tiers of seating making for easy viewing, and each year between April and October some of the top artists in the world come to perform here. Famous bands and singers such as Lynard Skynard and the Counting Crows have graced the stage, and John Mayer even recorded his 2002 CD/DVD ‘Any Given Thursday’ here.
Combine your concert with a stay with friends in an Oak Mountain State Park cabin, and enjoy the natural beauty of Alabama.
14. Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington
A short drive from Alabaster is the Museum of George Washington in Columbiana. The museum displays over 1,000 pieces of artwork and artifacts dating back to the colonial era.
This exquisite, and surprisingly large collection, contains Washington’s prayer book, a selection of 18th and 19th century furniture, and well-preserved items from the family estate. You can view a vast selection of paintings, silverware, busts and letters, and the piece de resistance – a walnut games table featuring a beautiful rosewood and tulip inlay.
15. Shelby County Museum and Archives
If it’s your first time to Alabaster, or you have ancestors from Shelby County, you should take time to visit Shelby County Museum and Archives. Built in 1854, and located in the Old Shelby County Courthouse, the building showcases a great example of Jeffersonian style architecture.
The museum is home to several archives, dating as far back as 1790, so it’s the perfect place to trace your family tree if you are interested in genealogy.
What I really liked was the plethora of information relating to this region of Alabama, with photographs and artefacts, rare books, family histories and documents. Highlights include several Native Indian artefacts, and the Alabama railroad engine bell.