My Journey to Guyana: Our Final Day

By Kylie Purdyguyana-journey-church benches

(Earlier this year Trussville native Kylie Purdy spent several days in Guyana and Brazil as part of an immersion program through Spring Hill College in Mobile. Kylie, who also is a team member in our Mobile store, shared some of her experiences. This is her third and final blog in the series.)

On our third day in the village, we attended church. It was one of the most beautiful services I have ever been to, with the mountains in the background and goats roaming around. I felt very grounded at this moment. Following the church service, we went to the school nursery. We danced and played with about 40 young kids from the village, cherishing their smiles. 

Visiting a school

After visiting the children, we assisted with the construction of a church in the village. We spent about an hour moving bricks and rocks to help level the ground. We then went to the secondary school in the village. 


It started with grade 2 and went up to grade 10. We were told that after grade 10, the children can choose to continue their studies by preparing for national exams. Walking into these small classrooms made me feel awkward because children just stared and seemed very shy. 

guyana-teacher-planting treesHowever, the fifth graders responded really well to our visit. We split them into teams and played a trivia game. I noticed diagrams depicting agriculture and mechanisms on their walls. I liked that the school focused on subjects that would most benefit them. At one point, a few of us met with the grade 10 teacher. He and his students were planting trees, one for every child born in the region where they live.

We left the school to return to St. Ignatius Village at the same time as school dismissal. We noticed that many of the children walked home on open dirt roads. Some of these kids are very young and walk miles to school every day.

Swim to Brazil!

We had some time before our next activity, so what did we decide to do? Swim to Brazil, of course! In fact, Brazil was just a hop over a fence and a quick swim across the river. 


The river is about the length of a large swimming pool. It took about 10 minutes to get across and step onto Brazilian land. The water was cool, so it was a nice break from the dry heat of the day. 

Our final day 

On our final day in Lethem, we began our morning by traveling to the secondary school in town. It was much bigger than the school in the village, with a science laboratory, electrical engineering room, home economics, and even an art studio. 


We learned that some of the students actually live on-site, as they live too far away to commute each day. This made me think of the difference we saw at the village and how a lot of the kids walk miles to get to school, but they did not have the option to stay on site. 

After our time at the school, we went back to St. Ignatius to have lunch and relax before the final trip to Nappi. We prepared some songs and skits for the cultural exchange in the village that night. We were excited but knew that this was our last interaction with the villagers, so we had heavy hearts going into the night. 


The evening began with introductions of the villagers and what they would be sharing with us that night. We saw a variety of traditional dances, songs, and poems. One villager performed “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and we all sang along. As I looked up, the sun had begun to set, and it was the perfect ending to the week. 

We then ate BBQ chicken on a stick, chickpeas, rice, and juice. Then we played with some of the kids from the village. There was one point in the evening where I was kneeling down talking with the children as they stood by me, playing games. I looked up and saw an endless sky of stars over them. I felt a rush of emotion because I just felt so universally connected through nature in this very instant. We may come from different surroundings, but we share the same sky.

Our final goodbyes


We eventually had to say our goodbyes. Many of us got into the van with teary eyes. All of us were completely changed by the hearts and souls of the Nappi villagers. 

Our last drive back to St. Ignatius was incredible; The stars were shining in a way I had never seen. While I did not know what to expect out of this journey, I know that this experience gave me more than I ever could have imagined.





Let us help you prepare for your next adventure! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


My Journey to Guyana: Village Life

By Kylie Purdy

guyana-ignatius-front door-kylie-purdy( Earlier this year Trussville native Kylie Purdy spent several days in Guyana and Brazil as part of an immersion program through Spring Hill College in Mobile. Kylie, who also is a team member in our Mobile store, shared some of her experiences.)

The sound of roosters and the bustling breeze on my mosquito net woke me up around 5:30 a.m. We gathered under the benab (a palm-thatched shelter) for breakfast and ate an assortment of watermelon, toast with jam, and fresh juice.

Shortly after breakfast, we departed for Nappi village where we would be spending our week. The 35-minute drive took us through open savannah and rolling valleys, primarily on dirt roads. A few solitary homes dotted the landscape. The environment here was already the polar opposite of what we experience in our lives.

When we arrived at the village, we went to sit under the mango tree, which appeared to be one of the main gathering sites for the villagers. They welcomed us with open arms and shared some of their native songs and history with us. 

Only about 20 villagers greeted us, but it became clearer throughout the day that far more live there. In fact, they told us about 1,200 people live in Nappi Village.



Village gets few visitors

Guyana is home to nine Amerindian nations. Nappi Village is represented by the Makushi nation. When we first learned about this village, I envisioned the homes very close together in a small village. However, as we began our walking tour of the village, I realized this village is miles upon miles.

Our first stop included their governmental and legislative building. It was a small, open room housed in a white brick structure. We found a welcome book for all the visitors to sign and many maps of the area. I noticed the book contained only a few signatures from visitors in 2003. Not many people make the journey to this village.

Thanks to the maps, I realized the village is separated into zones. One zone is dedicated entirely to sustainable farming and utilization.  This meant that they were very aware of the need to look for more natural and greenways to produce their crops and materials that would not cause more harm to their local environment. Other zones included livestock rearing, homesteads, and tourism. 


Walking tour and cassava

We left the government building and made our way through the rolling hills to our first stop where we watched villagers make cassava being made. Cassava, which comes from a root of a tropical tree, requires careful preparation to get rid of any traces of the poisonous component, cyanide.

It became apparent at only our first stop of our walking tour that the people truly sustain themselves off the land. What was also noticeable that the younger girls of the family were the primary ones cooking and preparing the cassava. 




We also stopped at a woman’s house who specializes in cotton weaving. She explained that she uses the cotton to make hammocks where the kids sleep. She also makes traditional clothing.

We later stopped at a mango tree where we ate mangos and tried sweet limes, which were delicious. We trekked on with sticky fingers and happy hearts.



Walking with villagers

Throughout our entire two- to three-mile walk, the villagers traveled alongside us. They welcomed us with eager minds, ready to share how special their village and traditions were to them. I

talked with one woman named Bernadette who told me she had nine children, but none of them live in the village anymore. Many children leave for Brazil or Georgetown in search of jobs, usually in mining.

Another issue for the village: the decreasing interest in culture and preservation of the village. Many of the children aren’t showing as much interest in farming and cultivating the land, and the native language and dances are not being taught in schools. It was heartbreaking to hear.




After lunch, we left for St. Ignatius. In the afternoon, we drove over the border of Brazil for ice cream. It’s weird to be that close to another country and be able to drive over another country’s border within five minutes. Following a packed day, we retreated to our quaint guest house and relaxed for the evening. 


Let us help you prepare for your next adventure! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


Chacos: Here is the Lowdown on the Sandal

Man in hammock wearing Chacos

Chacos celebrated the 30-year anniversary of its popular adjustable, Z-strap sandals last year. The sandals, borne out of necessity by a whitewater/fly fishing guide in 1989, grown into a treasured accessory for everyday life in all seasons, everywhere. 

Fun Chacos facts:

  • Mark Paigen, the whitewater/ flyfishing guide that created the first pair of Chacos, said he wanted sandals that would provide the support and traction of a running shoe, but let his feet dry in the sun so they weren’t wrinkled liked raisins at the end of the day.
  • Originally the sandals were named after the gecko, lizards with toe pads that help them gain traction on any surface. ( The logo still incorporates the gecko.)
  • Gecko sandals later became Chacos, a name inspired by the Chaco Culture Historical National Park. 
  • Paigen said he worked with river guides and a German pedorthist ( a health professional trained to modify footwear and supportive devices) to develop the adjustable z-strap design of the Z/1. When they finally landed on the right design, Paigen’s best friend declared it was “Zee one!” Hence, the name.

Three friends rise off Chacos in outdoor shower

The everyday, everywhere shoe

Whether you are floating down the Cahaba, chasing waterfalls, or just hanging out, Chacos are an everyday essential for many.  These outdoor shoes are truly a year-round, all-season option. In the fall and winter, many members of Chaco Nation wear comfortable socks with their sandals to keep their feet warm and cozy.

Plus, they really are the camp shoe. In the spring and summer, people pull out their Chacos as their choice of shoe for almost any adventure.

So why Chacos?

To begin, These durable sandals hold up in various terrain, from rocky trails to rough waters. But if you are like the rest of Chaco nation and have a favorite pair that you have worn out, they will start to fade as anything will with use over time. When that happens, Chaco has you covered. The company offered a personalized repair service at an affordable price. 

Your favorite T-shirt, in shoe form

Like most shoes, Chacos need to be broken in. Once they’re broken in, though, you’ll find your Chacos mold to your foot. Plus if you use them for water fun as intended, your feet can dry in the sun!. 

One of our favorite things about Chacos? You can adjust the straps to suit your foot.  After one session using the adjustment guide, you will know what straps to tighten or loosen for the perfect fit. 


Looking for the perfect transition sport sandal? We can help! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Celebrate Our National Forests!

By Natalie Ferguson

(With a background in retail and a love for wellness, travel, and the outdoors, Natalie Ferguson joined Alabama Outdoors in 2016.)

Happy National Forest week! I’m not sure about you, but I look forward to and enjoy funny “holidays” like National Hamburger Day and National Take Your Dog to Work Day. I am pretty sure there are five national coffee days but, hey, sometimes we need a fun reason to celebrate something.

This week, however, is the best week of them all. It is National Forest Week. Yes, all week! As if we needed an excuse to go explore the great wonders of being in the woods; we didn’t. But, this gives us even more motivation to strap on our Chacos, throw on our backpack, and go out and relish in our magnificent national forests. 

Did you know that we have 668,000 acres of national forests in Alabama? Our national forests stretch across 17 counties and include some of the most diverse landscapes, species, and recreational activities.

Alabama’s national forests



William B. Bankhead National Forest is in northwest Alabama near Double Springs. Bankhead National Forest covers 181,230 acres and is home to one of three wilderness areas in Alabama, the Sipsey Wilderness. The Sipsey Wilderness is also known as the “Land of 1,000 Waterfalls.” Don’t-miss spots in Bankhead National Forest are: Kinlock Falls, Sipsey River Trail, Caney Creek Falls, and the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies.

Conecuh National Forest in Escambia County, near Andalusia and Florala, is the southernmost national forest in Alabama. It covers 84,000 acres along the Alabama and Florida border. One of the most popular trails, the Conecuh Trail, covers 20 miles of trail along the coastal plain. The national forest also has the Open Pond Recreation area, where you can enjoy your time bicycling, fishing, camping, and more. 




Talladega National Forest in Central/Eastern Alabama near Sylacauga and Talladega covers 392,000 acres, making it the largest national forest in Alabama. Talladega National Forest is also home to Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama at 2,411 feet, in Cheaha State Park. Bald Rock and Pulpit Rock also offer stunning panoramic views of the forest.

Tuskegee National Forest in east Alabama is the smallest national forest in Alabama and smallest in the United States, coming in at a mere 11,252 acres. Roots Rated said it best: “What Tuskegee lacks in acreage, it makes up for in history, recreational opportunities, and off-the-beaten-path solitude.”  While you are there, spend some time hiking the Bartram National Recreational Trail, mountain-biking on Pleasant Hill, and then call it a day at one of the park’s primitive campsites. 

National Forest Week activities

To honor National Forest Week, the National Forest Foundation is hosting virtual events and Instagram photo contests all week long. Check out the list of events below and remember to take only memories and leave only footprints when you go adventure in our beautiful forests this week! Click here for more information on all events listed below. 

  • Wednesday, July 15, 4 p.m. CST  Naturalist Chat with Keenan Adams from the U.S. Forest Service
  • Thursday, July 16, 11 a.m. CST  Live Forest Meditation with Jess Blackmun
  • Friday, July 17, 4:30 p.m. CST  National Forest Foundation Happy Hour
  • Saturday, July 18, 5 p.m. CST  Gourmet S’mores Cook Along with Endangered Species Chocolate
  • Sunday, July 19, 3 p.m. CST  Q&A with Chuck Leavell, Rolling Stone, author, conservationist, and owner of an award-winning tree farm in Georgia!

Find the best day hike gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Recreate Responsibly: Smart Outdoor Tips During Covid-19

By Natalie Ferguson

(With a background in retail and a love for wellness, travel, and the outdoors, Natalie Ferguson joined Alabama Outdoors in 2016. )

A national coalition launched earlier this year in Washington state wants to help you enjoy the outdoors responsibly as the nation grapples with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Recreate Responsibly coalition of nonprofits, outdoor businesses, and land managers is focused on developing, sharing, and amplifying common-sense guidance about getting outside during COVID-19.

“The overall RecreateResponsibly message remains simple: We all have a role to play in keeping people, places, and communities safe as we enjoy the outdoors this summer and beyond.”


Recreate Responsibly guidelines

  • Know before you go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a backup plan.
  • Plan ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
  • Explore locally: Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit.
  • Practice physical distancing: Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
  • Play it safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
  • Leave no trace: Respect public lands and waters, as well as native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
  • Build an inclusive outdoors: Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities

A lot of these steps may seem similar to the “Leave No Trace”  principles. However, if you aren’t familiar with those principles, check out our blog to learn about them. 

We are all in this together

I see this two ways: Recreate Responsibly and re-create responsibility. We need to be responsible for our health and actions as we partake in recreational activities around others, both indoors and outdoors.

However, we are also re-creating what it means to be responsible as we do enjoy these areas. Every day, our communities are recreating new ways for us to work, live, and be healthy, and we need to duplicate those efforts individually as we explore.

As you continue to #BeOutdoors, whether it be at one of our remarkable national forests, a park, or even your backyard, we encourage you to keep in mind the  Leave No Trace principles as well as the Recreate Responsibly guidelines. We are all in this together.

Find all your summer essentials aAlabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time.  Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup  #BeOutdoors

Gear Review: AFTCO Shorts are Durable and Versatile

Matt Stone is an Alabama Outdoors employee and an outdoor enthusiast in the Birmingham area.

Look, I’ll always tell it to you honestly. First impressions are usually not the right impressions. And that little life lesson plays right along with my product review of the AFTCO Fishing Shorts.

aftco-shortsIt was a few years back, and a new short had arrived at our store by a brand called AFTCO. I had personally never heard of this brand. But I saw them in our company warehouse being unboxed and prepped to send out to our stores. Some of the colors were a little brighter than I typically went for (everything in my closet is blue), but I walked over, glanced at them, and decided “not for me.”

Another factor in my ambivalence toward these shorts: they are called “fishing shorts,” and all of their marketing revolved around giant deep-sea fishing boats and the people who wore them while they caught 500-pound marlin. I live in Birmingham, Alabama.

Five-star reviews for AFTCO shorts

About three months went by, and I kept hearing coworkers talk about their AFTCO shorts. I kept seeing them on more people around town, which made me keep digging around at product reviews to see if I could find the real dirt on these shorts. Most customer reviews were five stars, and yes, even to this day, do a quick Google search on AFTCO Original Fishing Shorts, and more than likely, you see five stars.

I ended up purchasing my first pair of AFTCO Fishing Shorts in 2015, and I still wear them in 2023 simply because they are some of the most durable and well-built shorts I have ever owned. They make them with a DuPont™ SUPPLEX® 3-ply nylon (say that three times fast) that is pretty much tear-proof (so far) but is also very soft and comfortable.

I realized that I did not need to be near the ocean or a bay to appreciate AFTCO Fishing Shorts. I began wearing them around the house or out-and-about running errands in town. I also wore them on my hiking trips because they are so lightweight, comfortable, and well put together.

Plus, with seven pockets, there are plenty of places to store gear. AFTCOs also have a pocket for pliers, and since I do like to bass fish, this works out perfectly. But, this pocket also has come in handy for holding a multi-tool knife when I need it close by on a camping trip.

On some of these camping trips, I am usually taking a break sitting on abrasive rocks or logs or moving through the thicker brush. The DuPont Nylon and the double-reinforced seat panel come in handy during those times. I can’t tell you how often I have worn a pair of shorts out on an adventure only to get back home with small catches in the fabric from briars, etc. Not with the AFTCO shorts.

Good for fishing, hiking, and lounging

At the peak of summer, my AFTCO shorts do a great job of reflecting harmful UPF rays away from me, and since they wick moisture away from my skin, they keep me pretty cool. I have even jumped in the water in these shorts when I did not have swim trunks with me. They dry reasonably quickly once out of the water, and since they are stain-resistant, I never worry about mud or dirt.

Overall, I love these shorts when I am adventuring outside, but what truly makes me love them is that I am currently wearing them in my office while writing this review. They have made great lounging shorts and around-the-house attire. The versatility alone, and the fact they have lasted me five years, says it all when someone asks me if I like my AFTCO shorts. Plus, they are blue!

Find your favorite back-to-school apparel and gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

5 Best Backpacks For Hitting the Books or the Trails

Man and women on college campus with backpacks

For the adventurous student on a budget, finding an affordable, reliable, and versatile backpack can be tough. You want something that comfortably fits all your books but can also be the perfect daypack for a long hike or weekend trip. We’ve rounded up the five best backpacks that offer great, stylish support for hitting both the books and the trails!

north-face-borealisThe North Face Women’s Borealis Daypack 27L

This 27-liter pack is big enough to fit all of the essentials without weighing you down. The pack, made of lightweight but durable material, is easy to carry. Plus, there’s a 15-inch fleece-lined pocket for your laptop or tablet. This pack features straps specially designed to fit smaller-framed shoulders. It also has excellent lumbar support with added ventilation. The women’s pack has all of the same technical features of the top-rated Borealis pack, just with a slimmer design and slightly smaller capacity.

The North Face Recon Daypack 30L

This 30-liter pack is a fan favorite for commuters and day hikers alike. With a recent redesign, this pack is filled with even more ways to stay organized. While our favorite feature is the protective laptop compartment, the extra stash front pocket is what is setting this pack apart from the others. With a 30-liter capacity, stash front pocket, 360 degrees of reflectivity, and not to mention the FlexVent suspension system, you will be organized, safe, and comfortable while you are on the go.

chacabuco-backpackThe Patagonia Chacabuco Pack 30L

This backpack comes in a variety of colors and is perfect for all of your needs. This pack offers two main large compartments for all of your gear, from your school materials to your hammock for some after school hanging. Our favorite feature? It is equipped with a tube port, so the laptop sleeve doubles as a hydration reservoir when you leave your laptop at home. And it’s made from a durable, water-repellent material to protect your most precious belongings.

Patagonia Paxat Backpack 32L

The Patagonia Paxat 32 liter is the largest capacity pack on our top five versatile daypacks. Depending on what your day holds and where your travels take you, you may need a 32 liter. If you do, this is our pick due to its overflow of options and gear-holding possibilities. This pack has your standard large main compartment for any gear or a change of clothes and a smaller compartment with sleeves to hold a tablet and other items.

The Paxat is also perfect for traveling as the back-padded laptop compartment fully zips down and lays flat, making it TSAapproved and easy to breeze through security. There is also a stretch stash front pocket for quick access items and not to mention the side pockets are zippered making them versatile for cords or water bottles. 

Osprey Arcane Large Daypack 20L

osprey-arcane-toteThe smallest capacity pack on our list is the Osprey Arcane Large Daypack. Coming in at 20 liters, this pack embodies minimalism with its low profile design and simple lines. While it is only a 20 liter, this pack still is packed full of features and space for the essentials. The J-shaped zipper of the main compartment makes accessing your items easier with the wider opening. The main compartment comes with an internal padded laptop sleeve and other small sleeve and zip pockets for tablets, documents, and cords. We absolutely love the colorways, clean lines, and how comfortable and easy it is to trek around town with. This one is so sleek, it’s a head-turner. 

Find your favorite back-to-school apparel and gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Weekend

Alabama schools are announcing plans for the new school year, which means it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school gear. Alabama’s 15th annual back-to-school sales tax holiday is just around the corner! 

Man and women on college campus with backpacksEvery year on the third full weekend of July, the state of Alabama allows certain items that are typically purchased for the school year to be sold state tax-exempt for one weekend only.

The Legislature created the three-day sales and use tax holiday in 2006 to help trim costs for parents. Popular items include shorts, tee shirts, Birkenstocks, backpacks, and laptops.

See below for all of the details for this year’s sales tax holiday.

Back-to-school sales tax holiday details

Friday, July 17, 2020, at 12:01 am through Sunday, July 19, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

Throughout the state, businesses are required to participate in the state tax holiday if the county or municipality they are located in participate. Check out this comprehensive list of counties and municipalities that are participating this year. 

What supplies and products qualify: 

  • Clothing $100 or less per article of clothing
  • Computers and computer supplies, a single purchase of $750 or less
  • School and art supplies, $50 or less per item
  • Books $30 or less per book

Check out this list for a more detailed description of each category.

What you need to know

  • Check to make sure that the county or municipality you are shopping in is participating before you go.
  • Look over (or bring with you) this overview of items that are tax-exempt. While it says “clothing,” items like glasses, watches, and breathable masks are not included. 

Looking for back-to-school fashions? We can help. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

7 Tips for Outdoor Fun in Asheville

By Dana Jaffe

(Birmingham native Dana Jaffe is an experienced writer, editor, and hiker based in Asheville, N.C.)

As a Birmingham native and a current Asheville transplant, I love offering insider tips to Alabama adventure seekers looking to make the most of their visit to Western North Carolina. There’s a good reason why Asheville is a popular weekend getaway destination for outdoor enthusiasts in the Southeast. Hiking, cycling, kayaking, camping — we have it all, so you can choose your own adventure.

Here are my top 7 must-do activities for nature lovers:



Hike to the highest point east of the Mississippi

At Mount Mitchell State Park (elevation 6684 feet), you can take a 1/4-mile walkway to the observation deck for 360-degree mountain views. Then, I recommend taking the Deep Gap Trail to Mount Craig. You will enter a magical evergreen forest, complete with winding staircases and mossy pathways.

Gear tip: Higher elevation means lower temps. Though it is just 50 miles from downtown Asheville, it is often 10 to 30 degrees cooler there. Even during a summer visit, you may need a windbreaker. In the fall, be sure to pack a hat and gloves.


Chase waterfalls

 About a half-hour away from Asheville, Catawba Falls is a 3-mile round trip hike to a stunning 100-foot waterfall. If you are looking for a short hike that you can squeeze into a packed itinerary, this is it. The town of Brevard, nicknamed “land of the waterfalls,” is also a short trip from Asheville. In Brevard, you will find a breathtaking roadside waterfall (Looking Glass Falls), a natural water slide (Sliding Rock), and many other cascades.

Zipline through the Blue Ridge Mountains

I highly recommend the Mountaintop Tour at Navitat Canopy Adventures. Navitat offers an excellent guided hike, side-by-side zip lines so you can enjoy the ride with a companion and lengthy zips (including one 3/4-mile long) through the treetops at up to 65 mph. Navitat adjusted the experience to adhere to Covid-19 safety guidelines. Find out more about the changes here.

Gear tip: Navitat recommends closed-toe shoes and pants or longer shorts for comfort with a harness.

Visit High Falls on a water release day

On seven days each year, water is released from the Lake Glenville Dam, and High Falls becomes a paradise for waterfall lovers and whitewater kayakers. Hikers can stand on the boulders to view the thunderous falls, while experienced paddlers may opt to brave the waters. Get 2020 dates and details here.

Gear tip: Even for onlookers, this is a misty adventure that will likely leave you soaked, so water-resistant or waterproof apparel is recommended. For boaters, you will need a kayak suited for class IV rapids.


Set up a hammock at Bearwallow Mountain

This is a favorite hike away from the tourist traffic of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You will find cows grazing the wide-open bald in the summer. After a brief but strenuous uphill climb to the summit area, you can grab a hammock spot facing the grassy meadow.

Gear tip: I always pack my ENO DoubleNest Hammock so I can stay awhile to enjoy the views and mountain air.

Bike at Bent Creek Experimental Forest

If you want to bike without leaving Asheville, Bent Creek Experimental Forest is your place. This popular mountain biking spot includes 30 miles of trails, paths for all experience levels, and both single- and double-track options.



Camp at Max Patch

Find all-star vistas that will take your breath away, one hour away from Asheville at an elevation of 4,616 feet. There are 1.4 and 2.4 mile loop options. You can take in the views on a day hike, or make a night of it and camp at this popular spot along the Appalachian Trail. Watching the sunset here will leave you in awe.

Gear tip: Similar to Mount Mitchell, prepare for cooler temperatures, especially at night. Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.

Of course, traveling in 2020 is more complicated than in the past. So, make sure you devote a little extra time to planning where you will stay what you will eat, and how you will travel. Here are a few tips for safe travels this summer.


Find all your hiking and camping gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors



Go 4th and Celebrate Outdoors

With 4th of July events canceled or abbreviated for social distancing, this year’s Independence Day activities may seem limited. But you know what’s always open? The outdoors! We have a few suggestions on how you can get outdoors this holiday weekend and celebrate the wonders and beauty of nature.

Visit a field of sunflowers

sunflower-field-summerMake the trek to Autaugaville to see a field of sunny, cheery sunflowers. The field opens July 1 and you can cut your own flowers for a price. If you can’t make the trip this weekend, make time next week because the blooms only last about 10 days.

Do go chasing waterfalls

Alabama is blessed with an abundance of absolutely beautiful waterfalls across the state.  Explore one of our favorites listed here.

Go camping!

We have some diverse and wonderful camping areas across the state. Pack up your gear, or if you don’t have everything you need, check out our rental program, and explore one of these prime spots. Youtube sure to call first to make sure the campsite is open and has available space.

Take a hike

hiking-mom-kidsNot ready to commit to spending the night outdoors in July? Maybe you should plan a day hike instead. Alabama has more than 560 great hiking trails, but we narrowed down our favorites to a list of five highly rated trails that would be perfect for a day adventure.

Explore the past

Explore some of Alabama’s rich history and get some outdoor time, too. About 33 miles of the Natchez Trace, a historic forest trail, runs through Northwest Alabama. The area features hiking trails, natural springs, creeks, and the Tennessee River.

Hang out in a hammock

You can enjoy the outdoors without leaving your backyard if you want. Set up your hammock and start relaxing.Want to learn more about hammocks? Check out this gear review.

Watch some fireworks

Catch one of several fireworks shows around the state. We compiled a list of the biggest ones still in the works here.

The most important thing you can do this weekend is to spend time with your friends and family, try to relax, and stay healthy. Look for things to celebrate every day, like the outdoors.

Find all your summer fun essentials at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors