The city of Chelsea, Alabama is situated in a scenic area of Shelby County between Birmingham and Talladega National Forest.
Since its incorporation in 1996, it has become one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities, and popular with families seeking a tranquil, friendly location in which to live.
There is much to see and do in and around Chelsea, with Alabama wine trails, ornate gardens, state parks and amphitheatres all on your doorstep.
If you seek further cultural pursuits, museums, shopping and dining, the bright lights of Birmingham are just 25 minutes’ drive away.
1. Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain was established in 1927 and has grown to become one of Alabama’s largest state parks.
With 9,940-acres of green space and a vast array of activities to enjoy, this park is sure to appeal to all ages.
There are abundant nature trails to trek along, plus you can view the state park’s myriad birdlife from elevated boardwalks.
Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to the Alabama Wildlife Centre which cares for native, injured animals and educates visitors about indigenous species.
If you prefer more energetic pursuits, there are over 50 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails to enjoy.
Water sports enthusiasts will relish a day of cable skiing, swimming and boating, but if you prefer to remain on dry land you can indulge yourself with a round of golf, a family picnic or an hour or two of horseback riding.
2. TreeTop Family Adventure
If you seek a fabulous day out with family and friends head for TreeTop Family Adventure just outside Chelsea, Alabama.
You can challenge each other to an adrenaline fuelled game of laser tag, play 18 holes of miniature golf, race around the go-kart track or enjoy retro games in the arcade.
Young children are catered for in the Kid Zone – a 3 storey indoor playhouse which will keep little ones entertained for hours.
3. Cat-n-Bird Winery
If you enjoy sampling local wines wherever you travel, be sure to check out Cat-n-Bird Winery in Chelsea.
Whether you enjoy a glass of dry Pinot Grigio with crisp overtones of melon, honey and herbs, or the spicy plum taste of a Zinfandel, you can find them all here.
Visit with friends for a wine and cheese pairing afternoon, and don’t leave before trying a deliciously refreshing Peach Bellini or FRose wine slushie!
4. Aldridge Gardens
You can spend tranquil days amongst nature at beautiful Aldridge Gardens.
The 30-acre woodland garden with a six-acre lake and walking trails is sprinkled with Frank Fleming sculptures, outdoor exhibits and myriad plants and flowers.
There are over 90 species of birdlife in the gardens which can be viewed as you stroll through lush woodlands.
Don’t leave without seeing the native flower of Hoover city, the Snowflake Hydrangea – a delicate, ethereal flower which offers a superb backdrop for nature or celebratory photographs.
5. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Oak Mountain Amphitheatre is a three-tiered amphitheatre located in Oak Mountain State Park.
As the largest outdoor music venue in the state it has hosted some of the biggest names in music such as Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Mayer.
If you can time your visit right you may be able to catch your favourite artist and afterwards, it’s possible to camp overnight in the state park under the stars.
6. Statue of Liberty Replica
When you’re travelling along the I-459 southeast of Birmingham near Vestavia Hills, look up and you’ll see a familiar sight – a replica of the world-famous Statue of Liberty! This replica is one-fifth of the original scale statue, surrounded by verdant trees and flanked by the American flag.
At night, Lady Liberty is even more spectacular as she lights up with a continuously burning flame.
7. Pursell Farms
With the Appalachian Mountains as its backdrop, Pursell Farms is a spectacular location in which to spend a day or three.
The resort is home to the only research and demonstration golf course in the world, and you can enjoy 18-holes on the award-winning FarmLinks golf course.
The course was originally built to market slow-release fertiliser products to local farmers and businesses, but now it’s one of the most popular courses to play in this region of Alabama.
It is suitable for all levels of expertise with elevation changes, pristine fairways and manicured greens, but if golfing isn’t your thing, don’t despair, the resort offers spa treatments, clay shooting and more.
There are also three dining facilities on-site – Old Tom’s Pub – a Scottish-American gastropub, Arrington – an upscale farm-to-table restaurant, and The Clubhouse Grille, perfect for brunch before you begin your game of golf.
8. Lake Purdy
Just 10 miles north of Chelsea, Alabama sits picturesque Lake Purdy.
Beautiful in any season, this 990-acre reservoir provides Birmingham’s drinking water.
It’s surrounded by lush woodlands and is a popular birding destination for enthusiasts.
Whether you wish to take a boat out to try to hook your catch of the day or want to hike woodland trails to spot Hooded Mergansers, Osprey and Bald Eagles, you can do it all at Lake Purdy.
9. Shelby County Museum and Archives
Shelby County Museum and Archives is the perfect place to discover your Alabama family history or learn about the county’s heritage.
Located in an old court house dating to 1854, the museum hosts a collection of information and artifacts ranging from the Indian era and World War II to the present day.
There are a few highlights to explore, including wooden cars from the Confederate Gurnee Coal Mine, a bell from Alabama railroad engine and an 1884 Kimbrell organ.
Take a moment to admire the exterior before you leave, as the building is a fine example of Jeffersonian architecture and has been listed as a historic landmark.
10. Good Ole Boys BBQ
In the heart of Chelsea Alabama lies the Good Ole Boys BBQ restaurant.
Popular with locals and visitors to the city, Good Ole Boys specialises in delicious southern comfort food for all tastes and budgets.
Their salads, sandwiches, ribs and burgers can be eaten for lunch or dinner, or you can take away and dine in your home or accommodation.
They cater to families, groups and large parties with slabs of St. Louis Ribs and huge trays of Jumbo Wings, and you can even buy their home-made mouth-watering Good Ole Boys BBQ Sauce by the gallon.
12. Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington
In nearby Columbiana is a museum dedicated to all things relating to George Washington and his descendants.
The museum’s focus is on artwork and artifacts dating from the Colonial period to 1865. With writing instruments and tools which belonged to the man himself, plus porcelain, jewellery, sketches and busts of family members, there’s plenty to see.
Don’t miss the coin-silver utensils which were once used at Mount Vernon, and a unique walnut games table with rosewood inlay dating to the early 1800s.
13. The Local Kitchen & Ale
The Local Kitchen & Ale is a new restaurant in the historic city of Columbiana.
With a vast craft beer menu, a full wine list and delicious, flavoursome food on offer, you will certainly be spoiled for choice.
Whether you fancy a plate of Pulled Pork and Chilli Cheese Fries or a portion of 12 Kickin’ Bourbon Wings you can find them all here.
It’s a perfect stop-off point for lunch or dinner if you have been visiting the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington or Shelby County Museums and Archives.
14. Veteran’s Park
If you’ve been sightseeing for days and seek a day of relaxation or slow-paced activities, you can find everything you need at Veteran’s Park.
Not only does this pretty park just outside Hoover have 5K of cross-country trails, there’s also a four-acre lake and beach on-site.
You can stop at the Veteran’s memorial to pay your respects to those who lost their lives in conflict, or simply relax on the grass with a picnic with friends and enjoy basking in the Alabama sunshine.
15. A Day Trip to Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama is a fascinating place to visit.
With Civil Rights Trails, world-class science museums and art galleries, waterside parks and superb restaurants and entertainment, there’s something for all to enjoy.
For the best panoramic vistas, head for Vulcan Park and watch the sunset over the city, to delve deep into local history venture to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and if you want to learn about the city’s industrial past, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark is the place to be.