Looking for space?: Huntsville has the wide-open kind and the out-of-this-world kind
In these times of wanting to escape from the confines of the house to find some space, this city in Alabama has space in more ways than one.
As home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command, Huntsville knows all about space. The city’s slogan is “we’ve got space.”
Fill up the tank and blast some tunes as you get on the road again. You won’t want to miss what the Huntsville area has to offer.
• Roy B. Whitaker Preserve: This wildlife preserve offers visitors 323 acres of scenery to explore. Once a working farm, these acres of rolling pastures once were filled with cattle. This nature area is managed by the Nature Conservancy and is great for birding and hiking. Wildlife such as deer, snakes or coyotes are best spotted in the open fields. Wildflower and bird species are plentiful. The preserve is free, and directions are available at nature.org; search “Whitaker.”
• Green Mountain: There is plenty to see from your trusty automobile. If you feel the need to creep a little deeper into the landscape, hiking trails are available in this 72-acre park that offers quiet tranquility. Free to the public. Directions available at madisoncountyal.gov; search “Green Mountain.”
• Ditto Landing: Located at the southernmost point of the city, this is the gateway to the Tennessee River. There are plenty of water sports activities in this area, but for the Sunday drive crowd it offers a stunning view of the Tennessee River Greenway. Parking is available to take in the trail in this scenic area of Rocket City. Directions at dittolanding.org.
• Mooresville: Exit 2 off I-565 takes travelers to this village, a great place to find history while on a drive. Mooresville’s streets are lined with beautiful homes. Outside of town are historic farms and rolling hills dotted with sheep. On the northern side of I-565 travelers will find fields upon fields of cotton and soybeans. Continue to travel west or north to find communities such as Grant, New Hope, Triana, Belle Mina, Elkmont and Harvest. Two-lane roads are endless to explore outside the city.
• Historic Huntsville: Downtown streets in Old Town, Five Points and Twickenham host quaint and picturesque antebellum homes. At huntsvillehistorytours.org travelers will find a digital walking tour, or enjoy the history from your car.
• Lookout Mountain Parkway: Although this scenic drive spans three states, some of the most beautiful parts are in Alabama. The 93-mile route through the state takes road trippers past waterfalls, vistas, fun and interesting towns, canyons, parks and more. In August, this highway is also part of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, as more than 5,000 sales are set up along US 127 for 690 miles of bargains. Lookout Mountain explorers will also find national preserves, golf courses and ski resorts. Go to visitlookoutmountain.com for directions.
• Alabama’s Coast: Coastal Alabama is a short distance from Huntsville and offers a beautiful 130-mile drive. Wildlife seekers will pass through preservations and protected lands with many species of plants, birds and other animals. Opportunities are available to hop on a boat to take in the Gulf Coast or walk for a while and watch an Alabama Coast sunset. Towns offer overnight accommodations and interesting places to eat. Visit alabamascoastalconnection.com for an interactive map.
• Talladega Scenic Drive: Route 281 is a shorter drive yet offers those on the road more scenery and nature than imaginable while cruising through rural Alabama and viewing the mountains. Continue the drive to Cheaha State Park and eventually on top of Cheaha Mountain, the highest peak in Alabama. Visit alabamabyways.com for a map.
If you make your sweet home in Alabama or are planning a visit, take in some of the beauty of state. For more information on the Huntsville area visit huntsville.org.
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