Tannehill State Park is one of our favorite places to camp any where. There is plenty to do without ever leaving the campground, but Birmingham is only 45 minutes away if you want to see more great places.
My eleven year old son’s favorite things about Tannehill are the iron works museum, wading in the bubbling springs, and hiking to the old iron works (it’s about a 300-400 yard walk from the campground). He recommends picking up some of the old fashioned candy in the General Store on site.
My three year old loved the same things, but her favorite part of our trip were the Halloween decorations. They encourage campers to decorate their sites (as long as you follow the rules) and they shut down all traffic for kids to trick or treat. We didn’t stay over Halloween because our town was hosting it’s first Harvest Festival and we wanted to be part of it. It was still great to walk around and see how creative the campers were.
There is an old train there, as well, right by the bubbling springs. It’s an old barrel train that the kids love getting pictures with. There are also a few waterfalls to look at as you hike to the historic sites that aren’t big, but they’re still worth getting pictures. Back in the woods is an old cemetery that we haven’t visited yet (I’m terrified of snakes), but I’m planning to when we go back in the cooler months.
In the fall they host art’s and craft’s weekends inside the old cabins they relocated to the property. All of them were built in the Tennessee Valley during the 1800s, so they’re pretty cool to see. If you make anything you may want to look into being a vendor, you could easily earn enough to camp there for the whole weekend since it’s only $20 a night. Dates are listed under their Events page.
If that’s not enough to keep the family entertained, Birmingham has a zoo, Botanical Gardens, museums, and some of the best restaurants in Alabama. It is also home of The Irondale Cafe. If you’re a fan of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, it is the Whistlestop Cafe from the movie.
If you don’t want to drive into Birmingham, you can head over to Vance and see the Mercedes-Benz factory. The tour is temporarily canceled, but the visitor center is open and it’s free!
If you are a fan of the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!), be sure to visit the Bear Bryant Museum. It’s very inexpensive (the five of us can go for $3 total!) and definitely worth the drive. Plus you can eat at Full Moon Barbeque and try their famous white barbeque sauce. My oldest is picky and ate it off his fingers! Dreamland, which has been on Food Network many times, is also located there at a few different locations. We prefer the original that only sells ribs, but the ribs are worth the drive!
Camping here for a week is $120. If you visit all of the stuff I mentioned (go to the zoo on Tuesday, it’s half price!) you’ll need about $50 or so. Eating out shouldn’t be more than $150 for everyone, as long as you don’t eat out three times a day all seven days. We figure about $50 per sit down meal. The rest of the time you can eat at the campsite. Take some snacks with you to the zoo and such to save more money. You could easily do this trip for under $500, not including gas and a pet sitter, should you need one.
This place is truly great and we believe if you give it a shot, it will quickly become a favorite of yours, too! There’s plenty to do there and in the surrounding areas, so you shouldn’t hear, “I’m bored” at all. Even if it does rain.
Thank you for visiting and happy camping!