The charming city of Eufaula lies on the Alabama/Georgia state line on the shores of Walter F. George Lake.
When Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Cusseta in 1832, they gave up most of their land east of the Mississippi River to the United States – this treaty then allowed settlers to buy land from the tribe.
Most land in this region of Alabama had been purchased by 1835, mostly by a man named William Irwin, and the area became known as “Irwinton”. Later as the city grew it was renamed Eufaula after a Native American tribe which lived in the area.
Today, when you visit modern day Eufaula, you can still see historic districts, mansions and wander Indian Creek Trails, plus, there’s a wealth of heritage to discover in surrounding parks, by lakes and in monuments around the city.
1. Walter F. George Lake (Lake Eufaula)
Named after a U.S senator from Georgia, Walter F. George, the lake sits between the states of Alabama and Georgia.
More recently, it has also become known as Lake Eufaula after a Native American tribe of the same name.
The tranquil lake stretches for around 85 miles and includes a dam and lock.
It’s a popular place for fishing and boating, or hiking, camping and picnicking, offering several protected areas abundant with flora and fauna.
The lake is known by anglers as the “Big Bass Capital of the World” giving you an insight into the type of fish you can catch here! It’s a great day out for anyone who wants to get back to nature, and if you’re staying in Eufaula, it’s right on your doorstep.
2. Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge
Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide a safe, protected habitat for resident wildlife and migratory birds.
The main section is located along the Chattahoochee River around 7 miles north of Eufaula.
With a patchwork of wetlands, fields, grasslands, woodlands and open water, it provides a unique habitat which supports around 40 mammals, reptiles, fish and over 300 species of bird.
If you are venturing to the area, bring your camera or binoculars and look out for American Alligators in the wetlands, white-tailed deer in woodlands and fields, and Great Blue Heron in the wetlands and waters.
3. Fendall Hall
Fendall Hall was built by Edward Brown Young, an entrepreneur from New York who became a prominent member of the community in Eufaula.
He was the man credited for the city’s name change from Irwinton to its present-day name, and the impressive mansion is named after his wife, Ann Fendall Beall of Georgia.
It was constructed between the mid-1850s and 1860 in an Italianate-style with a crown cupola and spacious villa style layout.
Visitors can venture inside this characterful house and take a guided tour to learn more about the families, artwork and artefacts which brought it to life.
4. The Tree that Owns Itself
In Eufaula in 1935, a local garden club president asked the mayor to protect one of the city’s trees – a 200-year-old, 65-foot tall oak which was situated near the centre of town.
Mayor Graves decided that as the tree was a gift from God, it could hold itself, along with branches, trunks and roots and therefore “own itself”. The community erected a wrought iron fence around it and placed a plaque to inform all visitors of the tree’s achievements.
Then in 1961, a storm brought the oak tree down, and townsfolk were upset to see their natural landmark was no more.
Fortunately, a local business stepped in to save the day and planted a new oak tree which now has the same ownership rights as the last.
You can see The Tree that Owns Itself on the corner of Highland Avenue and Cotton Avenue in Eufaula.
5. Seth Lore and Irwinton Historic District
Before it became the city of Eufaula, the settlement went by the name of Irwinton, and today, there are still remnants of the early settlement to discover in Seth Lore and Irwinton Historic District.
With over 700 architecturally significant buildings, the district showcases a collection of beautifully preserved, homes, stores, churches and more.
Most of the buildings span time periods between 1825 to 1949, and it’s possible to view Late Victorian, Greek Revival, Classic Revival and Gothic Revival architecture.
Take a walk to East Broad Street, North Randolph Avenue and North Eufaula Avenue to see some amazing examples.
6. Manny the 12-Foot-Tall Fish
Eufaula and its surrounding areas claim to be the “Big Bass Capital of the World”, and what better way to celebrate this achievement than by constructing a huge 12-foot-tall statue of a Largemouth Bass on East Broad Street! The statue is named “Manny” after lure-maker Tom Mann, in honour of his contributions to bass fishing around the globe.
The statue may be new to the city in 2018, but it is already attracting out-of-town visitors.
The hope is that this giant open-mouthed fish can spark a hashtag trend on social media and bring more anglers and tourism to the city!
7. Florence Marina State Park
Once home to Native Americans, this beautiful state park sits on the northern shores of Walter F. George Lake.
It’s abundant with natural beauty, offering a whole host of forest walking trails and a deep-water marina perfect for fishing.
Whether you wish to take a boat out onto the water, or discover local history of Native Americans, you can do it all here.
It’s also a popular haven for bird-watchers, as it’s possible to see bald eagles, egrets and herons around the park, and if you fancy spending an evening with family and friends underneath the stars, you can bring a tent or rent a cottage on the water’s edge.
Whatever you decide to do, Florence Marina State Park allows you time to relax and unwind in a picturesque setting on the Georgia/Alabama border.
8. Providence Canyon
While Arizona has the Grand Canyon, the city of Lumpkin in the neighbouring state of Georgia has its own version, albeit much smaller.
Providence Canyon State park is just 22 miles from Eufaula, making it an easy day trip for all the family.
It may be much smaller than its Arizona cousin, but this scenic park has several canyons to explore.
The pink, purple, white, red and orange soil hues make this a spectacular place for photography or landscape painting, and it’s also good for hiking with over 10 miles of trails lying close to the forested canyon edge.
Astronomy programmes are organised throughout the year, and there’s a seasonal visitor centre and museum where you can learn more about early inhabitants of the region.
If you enjoy spotting rare species of flora and fauna, this is the only place you can find the Plumleaf Azalea which blooms in the height of summer.
9. Superior Pecans and Gifts
If you’re seeking a unique keepsake or gift of your stay in Eufaula, you should visit Superior Pecans and Gifts in the city’s historic district on East Broad Street.
With a unique “Pecan Handstack” gift, plus a range of spiced, roasted, coated and candy pecans, you are sure to find the perfect present for a loved one.
They have an on-site café which serves gourmet milk shakes, coffee and ice cream, and you can also ship your package home directly from here too! Whether you’re looking for jams and jellies, brittles and candies, or a huge stack of coated pecans, you can find them all, and ship them all from this store!
10. Shorter Mansion
The original Classic Revival mansion house in Eufaula was constructed in 1884 by Eli Sims Shorter II. The version you see today was rebuilt in 1906 after a fire destroyed the original property.
Today, the mansion, which was passed down through generations of the family, is on the National Register of Historic Places and showcases life in the late 1800s and the 1900s in the city.
You can take a tour of Shorter Mansion with its well-manicured grounds, exquisite architecture and charming interior which features displays of period costumes, Civil War artefacts and photographs.
For anyone interested in delving into local history, Shorter Mansion is a must-visit.
11. Yoholo Micco Indian Creek Trail
Yoholo Micco, was a Creek Indian Chief of Eufaula who was driven from the area in 1836, along with his people.
They followed the trail out of Eufaula, which became known as the “Trail of Tears” and finally settled in the state of Oklahoma.
If you wish to follow in the footsteps of Yoholo Micco and his tribe, you can begin your hiking, biking or jogging expedition from Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce in Eufaula.
This pretty trail transports you along winding pathways through woodlands and forests, across the lake via the railroad track to the site of an ancient Indian village.
12. Barb’s Country Kitchen
Barb’s Country Kitchen is a popular restaurant in Downtown Eufaula, Alabama.
The laid-back diner serves good ole’ fashioned comfort food in a lively atmosphere.
Choose from buffet-style dishes like fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens and meat and vegetable platters.
Service is friendly and welcoming, prices are reasonable, and don’t forget to leave room for a slice of the scrumptious fruit or pecan pies before you leave.
13. Donut King
If you love a sweet treat every now and again, head for Donut King in Eufaula.
Set in a quaint timber building on the corner of South Eufaula Avenue and West Washington Street, this hidden treasure is filled with deliciously scrumptious donuts in all shapes, sizes and flavours.
Whether you fancy donuts dipped in chocolate and covered with sprinkles or filled with cream or custard, you can find them all here.
It’s the perfect place to stock up for a lakeside picnic, or simply to treat yourself with a cup of coffee.
14. Lakepoint Resort State Park
Located on the shores of Lake Eufaula, this is a picturesque recreational space where locals and tourists can mingle together in the great outdoors.
The state park has plenty of accommodation with a hotel, RV site, cottages and a camping ground, making it perfect for a trip with friends and family.
You can enjoy a spot of hiking, play tennis, cool off in the swimming pool, or even go fishing or bird-watching.
If you need a few days off from travelling and sightseeing, Lakepoint Resort State Park 9 miles from Eufaula ticks all the boxes.
15. Fairview Cemetery
It may seem strange to put a cemetery onto a list of places to visit in Eufaula, but this is a cemetery with a difference.
Not only does it have a unique setting, on a bluff overlooking the river, it also contains information, statues and tombstones of many people who shaped Eufaula.
The cemetery was designed by legendary park planners the Olmsted Brothers in 1868, and is also home to hundreds of different plant, flower and tree species.
Many of these species have been catalogued extensively, and throughout the year, walking tours of the grounds can be taken to explore them further.