Play Outdoors: Gearing Up for an Alabama Summer

It’s officially summertime in Alabama! The kids are out of school, college students are home for the summer and it’s time to head to the beach, get on the lake or hang out by the pool. Here’s your guide to summer gear for enjoying the outdoors, rain or shine!

In this life there are few guarantees, but when it comes to Summer in Alabama, you can assume a few things… It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be humid and it’s probably going to rain somewhere in the afternoon.

Summer is the time to break out the sandals, put on some shorts, grab a short sleeve shirt/tank top and live life outdoors. But, what about the rain? Just because we’re older, doesn’t mean that we can’t play in the rain.

Remember as a kid, how much fun it was to run around in the rain on a summer day? Jump in puddles? Let’s make this summer about enjoying ALL the outdoors has to offer here in Alabama.

The Facts

Just ask Alabama’s favorite meteorologist, James Spann, “it rains just about everyday in the summer…” Where it rains is usually difficult to determine and these showers pop up all over the place at random times. The best way to handle the summer rains? Be prepared!

The Gear

Hunter Boots – Who ever said that rain boots were just for the rain? These boots are the perfect accessory for your outfit and provide that little bit of “stand out in the crowd” you’re looking for this summer. With many styles, heights and sizes, Hunter Boots are great for parents and kids alike. As a bonus, if it rains, you have an excuse to enjoy it in style.

Chacos – A must have in the summer months for outdoor adventure. Some people even choose to strap them on over a pair of Smartwools and rock their Chacos. Perfect for a game of ultimate frisbee in an afternoon storm, or a beautiful day on the lake, these sandals can take all you throw at them. Check out all the different strap designs and styles today!


A solid rain jacket – The ultimate necessity for playing in the rain. The things to look for in a rain jacket: is it breathable? is it versatile? is it durable?  A great rain jacket provides the opportunity to shield yourself from the elements and enjoy the experience all at the same time. With brands like Patagonia and North Face, Alabama Outdoors can help you find the perfect rain jacket to carry with you everywhere.

What are your favorite gear finds for summer weather in Alabama? Let us know!

Check out the great selection of Hunter Boots, Chaco Sandals, Patagonia and North Face rain jackets at Alabama Outdoors online store or in one of our locations today!

Alabama’s Best Outdoor Towns

Where you need to be in Alabama to make the most of the outdoors.

Whether you like to hike, bike, camp, run, hunt or fish, if you live in Alabama, you probably have a favorite outdoor spot. Here is a list of the top 5 Alabama towns to be in for guys and girls that like to spend their time outdoors.

5. Tuscaloosa, AL

When most people think about being outdoors in Tuscaloosa, it’s Saturdays in the Fall, but this town has much more to offer.

Get in touch with the West Alabama Mountain Biking Association for weekly rides at Sokol Park. Head to Downtown Northport for Art Nights and Festivals. Choose from parks, such as Deer Lick and Lurleen Wallace State park with campsites and trails for an adventurous weekend. Get outdoors and hit one of the 4 lakes close by for a great day of fishing with friends and family. With so many options, it’ll be hard to choose, but the city of Tuscaloosa makes enjoying Alabama’s Outdoors easy.

Team up with the University of Alabama Rec Center to rent some gear for the day or bring your own.

4. Auburn, AL

In Auburn, Chewacla State Park has invested in over 15 miles of single-track, mountain bike trails, as well as a 26-acre lake, waterfall and modern campsites. The Forest Ecology Preserve is supported by Auburn University and geared towards families and children of all ages, committed to environmental education.

With around 10 large parks, the Tuskegee National Forest and Auburn University committed to the betterment of the outdoor experience, Auburn, Alabama is climbing its way up the list of Alabama’s best outdoor towns.

3. Birmingham, AL

Birmingham is known for being one of the largest and most populated cities in Alabama. It is a hub for commerce and is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast. Birmingham has an incredible restaurant portfolio, as well as 4 local breweries. What people don’t realize is how much there is to do outdoors in and around the Birmingham area.

From Red Mountain to Oak Mountain, Birmingham has some amazing parks, with miles of trails to hike and bike. The Cahaba River flows right through Birmingham and is accessible to the public. Rent a canoe/kayak or float the Cahaba with friends on the weekend. Less than an hour away is Sipsey Wilderness. Located inside Bankhead National Forest, Sipsey Wilderness offers miles of trails, waterfalls, bluffs, and kayaking/canoeing.

Check out Tuesday Night Trails @ Red Mountain Park with Alabama Outdoors


2. Florence, AL

Listed as one of the top 8 southern towns by Garden & Gun magazine, Florence is truly an Alabama gem. Just across the river from Muscle Shoals, Florence is growing in popularity in the music realm with the W.C. Handy Music Festival every July. It’s a city that prides itself on being a small town and focusing on the revival of small business and sourcing product on a local level.

There’s many stories about the “singing” rivers and woods around Florence, stick around long enough, you’re bound to hear a few. Check out the Natchez Trace Parkway and the campgrounds around Florence. See how many species of Alabama’s 397 species of birds you can spot along the North Alabama Birding Trail. Shoal Creek Preserve and Cane Creek Canyon are great spots to spend the day outdoors. Visit Florence, you just might find an excuse to stay.

1. Fairhope, AL/Mobile Bay

Fairhope tops our list for the best outdoor towns in Alabama. There cannot be a list of Alabama towns and not talk about the gulf coast. Situated on the just across the bay from Mobile, Fairhope offers  the small town atmosphere, with a gulf coast feel.

Take a walk down the pier, or jump in a boat and enjoy the day catching Red Fish in the bay. Weeks Bay Reserve is over 6,000 acres of land and water protected by NOAA and Coastal Zone Management. It is an amazing place to spend an afternoon learning about the coastal environment surrounding Fairhope.

With the beaches less than an hour away, Fairhope is situated perfectly in Lower Alabama to take a long weekend and see where you end up… or you can just stay home. Either way, it’s a win-win.

These are just a few of the great towns committed to enjoying Alabama’s outdoors. If you live close by, check out one of the links and makes some plans for the weekend.

Be sure to visit Alabama Outdoors to pick up gear for the trip or to get advice on the best places to go.

Life Outdoors: Father’s Day

Gifts are great, but this year, make some memories that last forever. Share an experience with Dad this Father’s Day and who knows? It might become family tradition. Here are some ideas for ways to spend Father’s Day with Dad in Alabama’s outdoors.

Get Outdoors and Play

This weekend, you can afford to put off your chores. Mowing the lawn and washing the car can wait. There are a lot of families in Alabama who choose Father’s day to create tradition in which the family can all come together and spend time with one another. Also, if you have the means, pick up a gift that relates to the adventure you plan to take.

Most Alabama towns are just a quick drive from some great trail systems. You can ride through downtown, along the river or up on the mountains.

Visit a State Park

Alabama boasts 22 state parks, along with some other greats. Parks offer the opportunity to hike, swim or bike, as well as just spend some quality time relaxing outdoors with Dad. Alabama takes pride in its outdoor experience and these parks will not disappoint. If you’ve got the time, make camping reservations at one of the parks and plan an overnight or weekend trip.

Go Fishing.

From small ponds to lakes, there are many fishing holes in Alabama. With 47 large lakes, 23 state public fishing lakes and over 77,000 miles of river, we’re sure you can find the spot that’s just right for Dad. If freshwater fishing isn’t what you had in mind, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers up some of the best deep sea fishing out there. Grab the rods and reels and hit a new spot with Dad this weekend.

Explore the rivers.

Jumping in a canoe or a couple of kayaks is a great way to explore the outdoors with Dad this year. The Cahaba River Society offers great insight on some of the best ways to explore the Cahaba River. Check out Alabama Outdoors’ favorite Cahaba to-dos. Schedule a group trip, or rent canoes and go out searching on your own. If you’re not into paddling, floating the Cahaba is also a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.

Here at Alabama Outdoors, we are celebrating Dads this week with our annual Father’s Day Sale!

So, skip the same old Father’s Day gift and get Dad something he’ll really love. From Mountain Khakis and Kuhl, to ExOfficio and Coastal Cotton, Alabama Outdoors is the perfect spot to find Dad a great gift this year.