Skip to Content

Things to Do in Fort Payne Alabama: Top Attractions and Activities

Fort Payne, Alabama, a small town located in the northeast part of the state, offers visitors a range of activities that cater to various interests. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or looking for family-friendly activities, Fort Payne has something for everyone.

Fort Payne Alabama

The city is home to numerous outdoor attractions, such as Little River Canyon National Preserve, where you can find stunning landscapes, swimming holes, and hiking trails. In addition to its natural beauty, Fort Payne is rich in history and local culture, offering museums that showcase the area’s past, from the times of the Cherokee people to the present day.

Key Takeaways

  • Fort Payne offers a variety of activities for visitors, including outdoor adventures and cultural experiences.
  • The city is home to natural attractions like the Little River Canyon National Preserve, providing opportunities for hiking, swimming, and exploring the scenery.
  • Visitors can also learn about the area’s history through local museums and historic sites, adding depth to their Fort Payne experience.

Exploring Nature

Fort Payne, Alabama, offers a variety of opportunities for nature enthusiasts to explore and enjoy the outdoors. Located in the Appalachian foothills, the area is known for its picturesque landscapes, rich biodiversity, and exciting outdoor activities.

DeSoto State Park is a prominent attraction in Fort Payne, featuring numerous recreational options for visitors. The park is situated on Lookout Mountain and offers various hiking and biking trails for all skill levels. Adventurers can also try their hand at rappelling and bouldering on the park’s rock formations.

Little River Canyon National Preserve is another must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. The preserve, which covers over 15,000 acres, is home to the longest mountain river in Alabama and contains several beautiful waterfalls. Visitors can engage in activities like kayaking, fishing, and swimming in the area.

The Little River Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls found within the preserve, boasting a height of 45 feet. Other notable waterfalls include DeSoto Falls and Grace’s High Falls, the latter being the highest in Alabama at 133 feet. These picturesque waterfalls provide excellent spots for photography and picnicking.

Hiking enthusiasts can choose from various trails within the Little River Canyon Preserve. Some popular trails include:

  • Abrams Creek Falls Trail
  • Beaver Pond Trail
  • Eberhart Point Trail
  • Little River Falls Trail
  • Martha’s Falls Trail

Apart from hiking trails, visitors can also explore the park’s diverse flora and fauna. The region is known for its colorful wildflowers and indigenous species that thrive in the unique ecosystem.

In addition to DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne hosts numerous different parks and playgrounds. These parks often feature pavilions and picnic areas, making them family-friendly destinations for spending a day in the great outdoors.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Fort Payne, Alabama, has a rich history and a variety of cultural attractions that cater to visitors of all ages. One of the prominent attractions in the area is the Fort Payne Depot Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the town and highlighting key moments in the region’s past.

The museum is housed in a historic railroad depot and features a range of exhibits showcasing antiques, artifacts, and memorabilia relating to the Cherokee people, the Civil War, and the Trail of Tears. As you explore the museum, you’ll come across an impressive collection of artifacts that tell the story of Fort Payne and the surrounding DeKalb County.

A short drive from Fort Payne is the quaint town of Mentone, which offers its own historical charm. It’s worth paying a visit to get a glimpse of small-town life in this region of Alabama and to explore the local shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

The area is also rich in Native American history, particularly that of the Cherokee people. DeKalb County played an important role during the infamous Trail of Tears when the Cherokee were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. Take some time to visit historical sites and landmarks that delve into this significant period in American history.

Additionally, Fort Payne is home to several attractions related to the well-known country music group, Alabama Band. Visitors can explore the band’s history, learn about their musical journey, and even pay a visit to their fan club and museum.

Nature lovers should not miss the opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the area. The region is home to numerous species of plants and animals, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in observing and learning about the natural environment.

Art and Antiques

Fort Payne, Alabama, offers a variety of unique experiences for art and antique enthusiasts. One such attraction is Orbix Hot Glass, a gallery that showcases the works of talented local glassblowers. Visitors to this gallery have the opportunity to witness live demonstrations of glassblowing, participate in classes, and even have the chance to create their own glass pieces with the assistance of skilled artists.

Another exciting destination for art aficionados is the Big Mill Antique Mall. This spacious venue features an impressive collection of antiques and collectibles, ranging from vintage furniture and ornate glassware to quirky knick-knacks and rare treasures. The Big Mill Antique Mall offers hours of enjoyable browsing for antique lovers, allowing them to get lost amidst the vast array of items available for purchase.

In addition to these establishments, Fort Payne boasts several other galleries that provide a platform for local artisans to display their work. These galleries foster a creative and supportive environment, enabling artists to share their unique creations with the community and visitors alike. Showcasing a diverse range of styles and mediums, these galleries are a testament to the vibrant and thriving arts scene in Fort Payne.

Sports and Adventure Activities

Fort Payne, Alabama, offers a variety of sports and adventure activities for visitors and locals alike. If you’re seeking thrills and excitement, you’ve come to the right place.

True Adventure Sports is a popular destination for those looking for adventure in Fort Payne. Located just one mile from Little River Canyon National Preserve, this outfitter offers guided trips customized to fit the needs of individuals or groups, catering to various ages, group sizes, and abilities. They offer zipline and aerial adventure parks, attracting many families to experience a memorable day of excitement.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Fort Payne features an abundance of rock climbing opportunities. Cherokee Rock Village is a notable spot that attracts climbers who want to challenge themselves while enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. With numerous routes suitable for beginners and more advanced climbers, this outdoor haven is perfect for honing your skills and pushing your limits.

If you prefer water-based activities, head to the famous Hippie Hole. Tucked away in Little River Canyon National Preserve, this secret gem is a favorite among locals looking for a refreshing dip in pristine waters. Known for its picturesque waterfall and deep swimming hole, Hippie Hole offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whitewater rafting is another thrilling activity that can be enjoyed in the Fort Payne area. The nearby Little River Canyon provides excellent opportunities for those seeking the exhilarating rush of navigating through challenging rapids while enjoying the stunning beauty of the canyon. Rafters can expect an unforgettable experience as they journey down the river, tackling various levels of rapids, suitable for a wide range of skill levels.

Family-friendly Activities

Fort Payne, Alabama, offers a variety of family-friendly activities that cater to kids and adults alike. One such activity is visiting the Little River Canyon National Preserve, where guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. This National Park features canyon views where families can enjoy picturesque landscapes and even take a hike to Martha’s Falls for a scenic outdoor experience.

Another interesting spot to visit is the Sallie Howard Memorial Baptist Chapel, a unique architectural marvel built around a massive rock. The chapel is not only an excellent place for contemplation and reflection but also a fantastic location for family photos.

For families who enjoy leisurely strolls, the Alabama Walking Park is perfect, with its well-maintained paths and lush green surroundings. This park is ideal for kids to spend time outdoors while parents relax on one of the many benches throughout the park or enjoy a lovely picnic in the designated picnic area.

If you’re looking for an educational experience, visit the Jacksonville State University’s nature center, which features interactive displays, live animal exhibits, and meeting rooms for various programs. The center also offers picnic areas, making it suitable for families to spend a day exploring and learning about local flora and fauna.

Cloudmont Ski Resort provides a fun winter activity for the whole family. This resort offers skiing lessons for all ages, ensuring everyone has a chance to enjoy the slopes in a safe and controlled environment.

Lastly, the outdoor amphitheater in Fort Payne hosts numerous concerts and events throughout the year, offering families excellent entertainment options. From live bands to movie nights, the amphitheater creates an engaging atmosphere for everyone, making it an ideal family outing for Fort Payne visitors and residents alike.

Alabama Fan Club and Museum

In Fort Payne, Alabama, you’ll find the Alabama Fan Club and Museum, a must-visit destination for fans of the legendary country music group, Alabama. This museum showcases the band’s illustrious career, celebrating their numerous awards, achievements, and contributions to the world of country music.

Located at 101 Glenn Boulevard SW, the Alabama Fan Club and Museum is part of the group’s headquarters. It also houses the band’s promotion and production offices, as well as the fan club membership offices. Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the band while browsing through various memorabilia, collections, and exhibits that trace the roots of the band members and their journey to stardom.

Besides the rich collection of awards and accolades that Alabama has accumulated over the years, the museum also features a souvenir gift shop where fans can purchase a variety of Alabama-themed merchandise to remember their visit. This is the perfect way to take a piece of this legendary band’s history home with you.

As a testament to their success and enduring popularity, Alabama achieved an impressive 21 consecutive number one singles, a record that has yet to be surpassed. By visiting the Alabama Fan Club and Museum in Fort Payne, you can appreciate the hard work, talent, and passion that led to these accomplishments.

Food and Dining

In Fort Payne, Alabama, you’ll find a variety of dining options to satisfy your taste buds. The city offers various cuisines, from American to steakhouses, ensuring that everyone in your party finds something they’ll enjoy.

Santa Fe Cattle Co is a popular spot, known for its American cuisine and steakhouse atmosphere. With a diverse menu, you can expect perfectly cooked steaks and crisp salads, making it an excellent choice for a dinner outing.

If you’re craving some delicious barbeque, head over to Sally’s Smokin’ Butt BBQ. This quick bite American joint has garnered rave reviews for its brisket and slaw, chicken and baked beans, and mouthwatering BBQ sauces. The fantastic, home-cooked feel from this mom-and-pop establishment adds to its charm, making it a must-visit in Fort Payne.

Vintage 1889 is another local favorite offering American fare and a bar. With a unique menu and a welcoming atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with opting to dine at this restaurant.

For those who enjoy a good old-fashioned sports bar vibe, Jefferson’s Restaurant is the perfect place to go. Known for their plate-sized burgers and ice-cold beers, it’s an ideal destination for catching a game while enjoying a meal with friends or family.

Regardless of your palate preferences, these dining options cater to a wide array of culinary desires. Your visit to Fort Payne, Alabama, is bound to be a delightful gastronomic experience, leaving you wanting more!

Accommodations and Events

Fort Payne, Alabama, offers a range of accommodations to suit different preferences. For those who prefer the natural beauty of Northeast Alabama, luxury mountain chalets in DeSoto State Park provide a comfortable and scenic stay. These chalets are equipped with modern amenities and feature decks to enjoy the breathtaking views.

In addition, DeSoto State Park offers a modern campground for visitors who prefer a more rustic experience. The campsites cater to various types of campers with facilities including tent sites, RV hookups, and even cabins. Guests can immerse themselves in the area’s natural attractions while engaging in activities such as hiking and birdwatching.

For visitors interested in Fort Payne’s history, the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, located within DeSoto State Park, showcases the park’s development during the 1930s. The museum provides valuable insights into the work conducted by the Civilian Conservation Corps and pays tribute to the efforts of the young men who transformed the landscape.

When it comes to events, Fort Payne offers numerous venues for meetings and social gatherings. The city’s event calendar often features concerts, festivals, and other local events that cater to varying interests. Guests can experience the vibrant community life and immerse themselves in the local culture during their stay.

Unique Fort Payne Facts

Fort Payne, Alabama is not only a beautiful destination for nature lovers but also holds some interesting facts for visitors to discover. Nicknamed the “Sock Capital of the World,” Fort Payne once had over 100 sock mills, making it a significant contributor to the global sock industry.

Nature enthusiasts can explore Little River Canyon National Preserve, covering more than 15,000 acres, and witness one of Alabama’s tallest and most beautiful waterfalls, DeSoto Falls. DeSoto State Park itself is home to an abundance of fragrant wildflowers and scenic hiking trails, perfect for leisurely walks or more adventurous hikes.

For those interested in history and culture, Fort Payne offers a unique natural history library with classrooms and exhibits related to the Cherokee people’s history and local basketry. Visitors can learn about the area’s historical and cultural significance while immersing themselves in educational experiences.

Moviegoers can find entertainment at the 411 Drive-In Theatre, one of few remaining drive-in movie theaters in the United States. It brings a nostalgic atmosphere and showcases a variety of films for all ages, making it a fun and unique experience for visitors.

Wills Valley Recreation Center is another great spot for both indoor and outdoor activities. Here, you’ll find a variety of sports facilities such as basketball courts, baseball fields, and a playground for children to enjoy.