Chances are if you visit Alabama, you’re going to visit Birmingham, one of the state's largest cities. If you travel only 20 miles south, you’ll be well rewarded for your effort with Oak Mountain State Park. Its proximity to a metropolitan area means conveniences are within easy reach should you have an emergency or simply need to restock, but you'll also find plenty of other natural wonders nearby. Thirty miles to the west is the 1,500-acre Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Fourteen miles north is the 350-acre Moss Rock Preserve. Ruffner Mountain, Columbiana Mountain, Lake Purdy — the area surrounding Oak Mountain State Park abounds with natural landscapes, making it the ideal place to go camping in an RV.
Two points that really make Oak Mountain State Park stand out is its history and its size. In 1927, the State Lands Act set aside 940 acres in Alabama as designated parkland. In the years since, the park has grown to nearly 10,000 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in Alabama. Contained within this acreage are rivers, forests, rocky cliffs, and rolling hills. On its western half is Double Oak Lake, and further north is Old Lake. In the southern corner is the beautiful Peavine Falls.
There are, of course, several trails for hiking and biking, and rentals are available for fun on the water, but the diverse mix of activities doesn’t stop there. Keep reading to discover all the unique experiences you can enjoy while camping at Oak Mountain State Park.
In addition to being one of Alabama's oldest state parks, Oak Mountain also has the oldest running BMX track, which first got its start in 1979. For the uninitiated, BMX is a type of bike that can be used off-road and to perform different types of stunts. You can sign up to participate in a race, or if you aren’t the competitive type, you can always wait until the race is over and ride at your leisure.
Over 50 miles of trails weave through Oak Mountain State Park, all of varying difficulty. Many intertwine with each other, so you'll be able to decide on a route that suits your hiking abilities best. A popular trail at this park leads to Peavine Falls using the South Rim Trail. This hike will take most people half an hour to an hour and gives you a wonderful view of the falls.
Oak Mountain State Park is all about getting people outside. To encourage exploring and enjoying nature, this park permits geocaching. You can take whatever treasures you find, but you should replace your find with something of at least equal value. Oak Mountain State Park has its own rules and asks geocachers to log on to the official state park website to record their cache.
One point of pride for Oak Mountain State Park is the Alabama Wildlife Center. The wildlife center rehabilitates thousands of birds of dozens of different species every year. Staff and volunteers educate the public about the resident birds through educational programs. To book a tour, call the Alabama Wildlife Center and check for the availability of a trained program presenter.
Camping at Oak Mountain State Park
Once you book an RV in Shelby County, plan ahead and reserve your site at Oak Mountain State Park. More than 80 sites permit RV camping and come equipped with water and 30-amp electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. Over two-thirds of the available RV sites available at Oak Mountain feature full hookups. Visitors camping at Oak Mountain State Park will enjoy all the creature comforts, including clean restrooms, hot showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station. Be sure to rent a motorhome no longer than 60 feet, as this is the maximum site length at Oak Mountain.
If you're traveling with a furry companion, Oak Mountain State Park is pet-friendly as long as your pet is on a six-foot leash. If you'd like to camp outside the park, just over 10 minutes south is Birmingham South RV Park. Amenities include a pool, laundry, playground, Wi-Fi, game room, and dog-friendly sites.
Exploring the Area
With Birmingham only 30 minutes away, there are more than enough attractions and events to explore. One example is the annual Greek Festival that's been going for more than 40 years. During this festival, the local Greek community shares its culture, dance, and food with all who attend.
Not in town for the Greek Festival? Don't fret. Birmingham has all manner of museums. The McWane Science Museum is four stories tall and features several interactive exhibits as well as an IMAX theatre. If you really want to get to know Birmingham, visit the Vulcan Park and Museum. Not only will you have a wonderful view of the city from the museum, but you'll be able to learn about its history and the meaning behind the world’s largest cast-iron statue, Vulcan. Want to explore the area around Birmingham? Check out the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum a few minutes away in Leeds. True to its name, the museum has several vintage motor vehicles on display, as well as its very own race track.
Take a walk on the wild side and treat the kids to a fun day out at the Birmingham Zoo. This expansive zoo houses nearly 1,000 animals from all over the world, from bobcats to spider monkeys. After meeting the animals and learning how handlers care for the zoo's sea lions, take a train ride or a whirl on the carousel. To get even closer to the animals, book a behind-the-scenes experience to see areas that are usually off-limits to the public.
When you rent an RV near Oak Mountain State Park, you open yourself up to an array of fun experiences. And there's never a need to worry about finding a good place to eat or a gas station for your motorhome rental.