Huntsville Residents Enjoy Fishing, Boating and Camping
Parks, lakes and rivers lend themselves to families yearning to get outside and play.
Plentiful Places to Play
One place to start is with The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama, which maintains and protects more than 4,000 acres of open space. The properties include the 600-acre Monte Sano State Preserve, the 500-acre Wade Mountain Preserve and Three Caves Quarry to go spelunking in.
Families also can enjoy a number of public parks in and around Huntsville. Big Spring International Park is the center of downtown activity and is ideal for relaxing strolls, picnics or just feeding the ducks. A block away is Bicentennial Park, dedicated in 2005 to mark the 200th anniversary of the area’s founding by pioneer John Hunt.
Brahan Spring Park is known for its wide range of recreational opportunities, from tennis to Frisbee golf.
Judy Ryals, president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, says that the area’s geographical location along the southern foothills of the Appalachians opens the door for many outdoor activities. For solitude, she recommends the 72-acre Madison County Nature Trail atop Green Mountain or the 2,000-acre Monte Sano State Park.
Water enthusiasts can take advantage of boating and fishing on the Tennessee River, less than 10 miles from downtown Huntsville. Ditto Landing has a busy marina and full camping facilities. The scenic Flint River, meanwhile, is ideal for float trips and kayaking.
Madison County is also home to five of the 50 sites on the newly dedicated North Alabama Birding Trail, including Monte Sano State Park, Hays Nature Preserve, Madison County Public Lake, Blackwell Swamp and Alabama A&M’s Winfred Thomas Research Station.
Be a Good Sport
For the avid sports fan, the city hosts professional minor league team sports in baseball, hockey and arena football, in addition to sports at two local universities.
Huntsville residents have been enjoying the Stars since 1985, when they began play in the Southern League as the AA affiliate of the Oakland A’s. They’re now the AA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Though the Stars may be the bellwether for minor league sports in Huntsville, they’re not the only game in town. Indeed, sports enthusiasts in the Tennessee Valley can find a team to support throughout the year.
Area hockey fans have a choice of both pro and college games. The Channel Cats are the latest version of minor league hockey in Huntsville, having debuted in 2003-04 as a member of the newly formed Southeast Hockey League.
For the Young’ns
Madison County’s artful, scientific and sporty threads make it a place where children can weave dreams of skateboard tricks, soccer goals and space odysseys.
Youth program offerings include basketball, baseball, softball, football, soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, tennis, dance, and swimming, as well as programs for special-needs children. Young skateboarders can hone their skills at the Huntsville Skate Park, which opened in 1999.
The Huntsville American League, one of 11 youth leagues under the recreation services umbrella, plays at Fern Bell Park and offers baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball and cheerleading.
The abundance of recreational activities in Huntsville attracts throngs of kids, parents, teens, young adults and senior citizens to Huntsville year round. Both residents and tourists enjoy activities that are family-centered. But then again, could you expect anything else from Alabama?