Camped in a tent in a power & water hook up site. Our site wasn't the greatest. It didn't have any trees and one very bright street light, however, it was close to the bath house and pavilion. We were with a SOTF group, so I could hang my hammock on a friend's trees. We hiked around the large lake. It's a beautiful park! The staff was very friendly, helpful and had a great sense of humor! There are lots of trails, several lakes, horse stables, golf course, and a wildlife rescue center that does tours. Oh and a beach and paddle boats to rent. Would camp there in a heartbeat!
This state campground in the Birmingham AL metro area is a quick getaway for city and suburban dwellers. We were looking for continued warm fall weather on a slow trip north; this met the warmth and fall criteria in late October. The proximity to the city made it a good choice for exploring Birmingham.
Campground as Hotel
We left in the morning and came back in the evening. Using the campground strictly for accommodations worked out well; it wasn't a place where we would have wanted to hang around the campground all day. The large RVs crammed on sites that weren't very large gave us a closed in feeling. We pulled down the shade in our teardrop to avoid the light pollution from the campers who leave ground lights and other decorative lights on all night. (Do they leave their outdoor holiday lights on all night at home?)
Tent Only Sites
The tent only sites are the best feature of this park. You can pitch your tent among the trees away from the RVs packed together in the rest of the park.
There's no power or water at these sites.
These sites are listed as tent only, but the park office attendant told us there were a few where we could fit our vehicle and teardrop. We declined because we thought we'd be too close to the road although we later saw several that would have been fine
Site 42B is the BEST SITE IN THE PARK! You walk down to the site from the parking area, and then there's a great view of the water. I took a photo looking back at the site from the beach area.
All sites not designated tent only have electricity and water. There are some sites with sewer hookup as well as 50 amp power. See site map photo.
Loop A's sites are more spread out than sites in Loop B.
Loop B: B33 was ok. I recommend sticking to the outside of this loop because there are two roads down the center where you'll have sites on both sides, across the road and behind you. Inside the loop seemed crowded because there were large RVs.
Several restrooms are spread throughout the park. They each have a couple toilets and a shower along with hot and cold water in the sinks. Restrooms are clean and a checklist indicates they're inspected 2 or 3 times per day. Everything works fine, but they could use an update inside. If the usage at the end of October is any indication of overall usage, this park is heavily used. It's close to Birmingham which has over a million people, one-fourth of Alabama's population. The state of Alabama should step up and do some renovation.
Site Taxes are HIGH
Be prepared for a significant jump to the cost when taxes are applied. Our campsite fee was a reasonable $22.65/night which included a 15% senior discount. Regular price is $26.65. Taxes and a $4.50 one-time fee were added for a grand total of $85.62 for 3 nights. If you're counting, that's 20+% in taxes.
Things To Do In The Park: boating, fishing, swimming, hiking. You can purchase a detailed hiking map for $1. If you aren't from the area and want to take in some Birmingham history, there are options.
Red Mountain Park has hiking trails along with old iron ore mines. There's an adventure park with zip lining, climbing, etc.
The base of Vulcan, Alabama's entry in the 1904 World's Fair, is the best place to see Birmingham. The museum next to the statue was well done; it provides a history of this steel city.
The park across from the 16th Street Baptist Church (site of the bombing on 9/15/1963 that killed 4 young girls) is a window into the sad part of Birmingham's history. There's also a civil rights museum nearby.
The craft breweries (Good People and Avondale) were good. And great barbecue at Saw. Pizza was good at Post Office Pies but they need to put more basil on a pizza advertised as a white basil pizza, not 5 little scraps.
I was very excited to visit Birmingham for my first trip. I didn’t know what to expect out of the city although I have heard several things about it’s long standing history.
One of the most attractive things about this location was that it was close to the Botanical Gardens which I had seen raved about and a lot of top magazines. Southern Living had featured them as one of their southern living gardens and I was very interested in seeing exactly just what that had in store.
Since I am a tent camper finding a location close to a city is sometimes somewhat difficult. However Birmingham location and proximity to this park are very close and that made for the best of both worlds.
While I was at the campground I enjoyed a wonderful tent site that was primitive. They have both primitive and improve sides at the campground and you can pick and choose from either. I enjoy the primitive sites simply because it does save a little bit of money while on one of my budget blog trips this stretches my dollars further and helps me go a little bit farther to the next location. I noticed that the RV sites were plenty long and could accommodate almost any size rig and still have space. There were both pull through and back and sides for both tent campers and RV campers.
The shower house although it was not the most improved our house I have been to was nice and the water pressure was strong. I enjoyed several hiking trails while out at the park during the day and then made my way into Birmingham for the evening.
The community of Birmingham it’s a wonderful place and I truly enjoyed this stop I only hope that I can explore it more on my next trip there. So many things to do while here it was hard to not have a bit more time here.
Update for recent visit: Check out my other reviews of Oak Mountain to get an idea of some of the amazing hiking and places to see views. This site is one of four backcountry sites that the park offers. I have been to this one twice now since it is the closest to a parking area so is the most forgiving if you get a late start. The major thing to be aware of is that they do not allow fires at any of these sites so keep that in mind and you will need to either bring in your own water or purify it from one of the small seasonal streams that runs near the site. Overall this is a nice large site and you will definitely have your privacy since they closely regulate who stays at these backcountry locations and only a single group is allowed at each at a time. It is a wonderful place to get away for a night and see the stars.
Update for most recent visit: This is by far the best place to camp near Birmingham and has many different options. I was just there this past weekend and it was so beautiful to see all the fall colors starting to show. My wife and I hiked up to the King’s Chair lookout on this visit and it was such an amazing sight. I would definitely recommend this time of year to visit the park. Make sure to check out my videos that show off some of the great features of the trails. The campground here has several different types of sites including walk in (tent only), RV, and even horse camping. Just make sure to check in advance if they have space since it can fill up in the busy season.
Stayed one night this week in my 16 ft camper. Campsites spread out so you have shaded privacy near magnificent Smith Lake. Downside is they close December to March. Large showers in very clean bathrooms. Very nice camp staff.
We went to Oak Mountain for a boy scout weekend camping trip. They have a bmx trail, nice places to fish and swim, shower houses, walking trails, you are able to build campfires. Our scouts and parents had so much fun.
This is a gem right in the Birmingham area! Oak Mountain is located in the suburbs of Birmingham, but it's surrounded by a vast natural area and a huge lake. I camped right on the lake and it was the perfect place for a midnight swim!
This campground was a great place to get away! There are a lot of tent sites that are back in the woods for quiet and solitude. The swimming area and dock were a short walk from our campsite. The kids loved it. There are many beautiful trails for hiking. We did the hike to peavine falls! Beautiful!
With the sites being inside Oak Mtn State park you get to enjoy the other attractions in the park which include Hiking, Biking, Petting Zoo, Horseback Riding, Lake, Swimming Beach, Wakeboard Course and BMX Track. They have a good number of site with a few having electrical hook up. They also have RV spots. They have a playground for the kids to play on. Several bathhouses spaced out over the camp ground. They also have a small convenient store located in the check in office.
We were stopping in Cullman County to be with family. Since we were driving through with our RV, we stayed at Smith Lake for the evening. It was ok. The pool was nice. The lake is always nice, but the camping area itself feels like more of a trailer park than RV Park. It looked like the majority of the campers there were for the long haul.
Beautiful historic buildings and a very cold spring fed creek. Great for kids bikes and swimming in the creek. Bathhouses need attention but overall very nice camping place.
Beautiful location but the bathrooms were dirty. It seems we went during a semi busy time. The have lots of spots and most are in the shade. There is a creek to splash in and lots of history to enjoy. There is a nice playground for the kids. Bring lots of bug spray.
For RV sites there is no shade. Your stacked up close and there is absolutely no privacy. There were 50+ kids running around in the few days we were there. The showers kept us away as they looked like they need some tlc, but the rest of the bath house was ok. For the price I expected more. Will not return.
My group goes to The Ridge the second weekend in November each year. There are dirt bike trails, a zip line, an air soft course, a pond, and stunning views of the valley below.
the staff brings around all the firewood you could ever need, but feel free to collect your own on a hike through the surrounding woods.
we bring our dogs each year and they also have a great time!
This camp site has camping from primitive all the way to cabins. Bring your RV or camper and enjoy the views. Situated on a beautiful mountain side just minute from university of alabama. Camp beside a churning creek and listen to nature. Historical museum included with very reasonable camping fee or just a visitor charge. Very nice homestyle restaurant and creamery in site. Craft cabins to keep the kids entertained and plenty of trails for hiking. Visit the original forge site or go watch the blacksmith school and learn some tricks.
Great location by the water. This extremely crowded on holidays and the bathrooms are a bit of a walk from the tent camping, but if you are up for the walk it’s not terrible. They have a small store which is nice as well and there is a gas station up the road.
stop at office and ask for map of park. Ask about all the well marked trails and things to do
This is one of my favorite campgrounds in Alabama. So much for so many to enjoy. In the fall they have a Halloween decoration contest between campers and then after that comes the Christmas. There is many trails to enjoy. My favorite spot is the bubbling springs, no matter how hot the summer sun is the water is always ice cold and bubbling! They have an Ice cream/candy store on site, a church is located on the campground. There is a restaurant in the park. The third weekend of every month they have the trade days which is a huge sale of trades and other goodies. So many hidden treasures in this park! Be sure not to miss!