Alexander City was named in 1873 after railroad president Edward Porter Alexander.
The city is well known for its outdoor activities, and with woodland trails, riverside walks and lakeside recreation on offer, there’s plenty to occupy visitors.
Whether you wish to spend time boating on Lake Martin, fishing the Tallapoosa River, exploring subterranean caverns, or trekking through national forests, you can do it all from here.
In addition to outdoor pursuits, the city offers a superb range of shopping, dining and entertainment for all.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Alexander City:
1. Smith Mountain Fire Tower
Originally built in 1939, the Smith Mountain Fire Tower is a 90-foot fire lookout tower which was used for locating forest fires until 1980. You can hike half a mile to the tower and climb up to the cab to gain incredible panoramic vistas of Lake Martin and Tallapoosa County.
It’s the perfect place to watch a sunrise or sunset, and a great location from which to begin a hike through lush pine forests.
The state park is home to several rare bird species too, including Bachman’s Sparrow, Prairie Warbler, Great-horned Owls and the Pileated Woodpecker, so don’t forget your binoculars and a camera!
2. Wind Creek State Park
Wind Creek State Park consists of 1,445-acres of picturesque land sprinkled along the shorelines of Lake Martin.
It’s a popular place for camping, hiking and fishing, as the lake is well-stocked with striped bass, bluegill and crappie.
The park offers abundant attractions for visitors with an amphitheatre, wildlife management centre, hiking trails and a children’s harbour.
Whether you wish to spend a day fishing on Lake Martin, walking or cycling through woodlands, or renting a boat to sail on the lake, you can do it all from Wind Creek State Park.
3. Wellborn Musclecar Museum
Automotive enthusiasts visiting Alabama should spend a day exploring Wellborn Musclecar Museum.
This museum is housed in a restored 1940s car dealership in Alexander City and features one of the finest collections of Musclecars in the United States.
As you browse displays you will see the last Hemi Dodge Charger produced, Ford Boss Mustangs and a selection of Aero cars designed for NASCAR races.
The museum is decorated with vintage signs, car engines and there’s plenty of information on each vehicle.
If you are a fan of American cars and want to explore a rare collection during your trip, this is the place to be.
4. Dare Power Park
The 30-acre park operated by Alabama Power, is the latest recreational facility to be added near Lake Martin.
Popular with all ages, especially during summer months, the pretty park features two fishing piers, BBQ grills, and a white sandy beach for sunbathing.
Located on the eastern shores of the lake, it’s a great place for picnics and swimming, plus there are several forest hiking and birding trails nearby, so don’t forget your camera.
5. Lake Martin
Lake Martin is a huge reservoir close to Alexander City, with over 750 miles of woodland shoreline trails.
It’s one of the largest man-made lakes in America with swimming, water-skiing, camping, boating and golf courses.
Popular attractions include Chimney Rock – a huge rock formation with spectacular views over the lake and forests, Goat Island – home to a family of goats, and Wood’s Island with winding hiking trails.
There are sandy beaches, restaurants, camping areas, and an amphitheatre located around the lake which showcases summertime outdoor events.
6. Southern Star Farm
Southern Star Farm is home to over 35 alpacas, a llama and an assortment of horses, dogs and cats.
The gentle creatures roam the 132-acres near Alexander City, and their wool fibres help to make unique products which are sold in the farm craft shop.
There are specific days where you can meet the alpacas, so if you are travelling with young children, or simply love animals, pop along to Southern Star Farm and make some new furry friends.
7. DeSoto Caverns
The caves of DeSoto nestled in the Appalachian foothills, were first discovered in 1796 when Benjamin Hawkins noted them as the first caves in America.
Prehistoric Indians lived in the subterranean caverns, plus, they were used during the Civil War to mine gunpowder, and during the Prohibition era to make moonshine! The caves have a constant temperature of 60 degrees making them perfect to explore on cloudy days, and in addition to mystical stalagmites and stalactites which each tell their own story, there are also special rooms with their own unique atmosphere.
One of these is the ‘All Healing Cathedral’ – the largest room in the cave network, known by Native Americans for its calming and healing properties.
The caves also feature regular light, sound and water shows, which create a memorable experience for all visitors.
Above ground in the park, there are 20 more attractions geared towards families.
You can spend time navigating your way through the Lost Trail Maze, panning for gemstones, playing adventure golf or taking a ride on the Destiny Express Train.
Afterwards, relax in the scenic picnic area near waterfalls and streams, or browse the gift shop and café.
8. Tallapoosa River Canoeing
If you fancy a lazy day on the Tallapoosa River, you can hire a kayak, boat or canoe and glide along the water.
Depending on the type of experience you seek, you can drift along discovering wildlife and beautiful scenery, or kayak through rapids for a thrilling white-water experience.
There are several canoe and kayaking schools along the river, with one of the largest centres in Wetumpka 45 minutes’ drive away from Alexander City.
9. Talladega National Forest
Covering an extensive 613 square miles, Talladega National Forest is a beautiful area with pine forests, lakes, mountains, hiking and cycling trails.
The peaceful forest is abundant with wild game, cascading waterfalls and hiking trails, and it’s possible you may see coyote, black bear, rabbits and white-tailed deer on your travels.
The forest is filled with birdlife and rare plant and flower species, so put on your walking shoes and bring your camera to this wonderful scenic corner of Alabama.
10. Blue Bell Creameries Tour
Blue Bell Creameries opened its manufacturing plant in Sylacauga, Alabama in 1996. Since then, it has been offering guided tours to tourists offering them an opportunity to see how delicious ice cream is made.
You can book an appointment in advance, take a tour and sample some scrumptious ice cream flavours afterwards.
There’s a gift shop where you can purchase sweet treats, and even take some away as souvenirs of your visit.
11. Dine at SpringHouse
SpringHouse Restaurant is located 14 miles south of Alexander City, Alabama.
This stunning restaurant with its Gothic-style chandeliers, exposed stone, mezzanine balcony and pretty gardens focuses on serving rustic, local cuisine.
You can arrive by boat from Lake Martin at sunset or drive from nearby Alexander City.
Their Sunday Brunch is legendary, and their farm-to-table menu ticks all the boxes, with a range of delicious dishes to suit all.
Try the red snapper croquettes, crispy speckled trout or stuffed peppers, but remember to leave room for their mouth-watering rich desserts.
12. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
Horseshoe Bend was the site of the final Creek War battle which took place here in 1814. Today, the park preserves the site with monuments and signs which explain each area and events which occurred there.
The visitor centre is informative, and the loop trail around the park is ideal for a leisurely stroll.
The trail takes you along the riverbank, past the battlefield and the site of the ancient Red Stick Village.
It’s advisable to take additional information with you so you can gain a full understanding of events which happened, or you can simply use your imagination to bring this period to life.
13. Willow Point Golf Course
Willow Point golf course with its gentle rolling hills and breath-taking views sits on the tranquil shores of Lake Martin.
The picturesque links course features challenging fairways and well-manicured greens, and during the final six holes you play alongside the lake.
The course is suitable for all skill levels, but is more suited to intermediates and skilled players, with the first hole beginning with a relatively difficult par-4. Take your time playing each fairway and admire the stunning scenery, before you arrive at the club house for a sociable meal with family and friends.
14. Russell Forest Trails
If you love being at one with nature, Russell Forest Trails, 11 miles south of Alexander City, caters to your every outdoor need.
This area has over 100 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, offering a wealth of flora, fauna and historic sites around each corner.
You can stay in cabins by the lakeside, or head for the stables and ride through this verdant wonderland.
15. Sho’Nuff Bar-B-Que
You can’t visit Alabama and not sample some delicious BBQ cuisine in Alexander City.
Sho’Nuff Bar-B-Que offers a wide selection of generously filled sandwiches, stews, catfish, pork and shrimp dishes.
Vegetarians are also catered for with a 4-veggie plate with cornbread muffins and tomatoes.
Popular specials with locals include the large BBQ sandwich, superhog sandwich and the generous rib-eye.
This is a laid-back BBQ joint suited mainly to visitors who like their meat, and it’s open most days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.