We absolutely love Tuscaloosa and all the fun things this city has to offer us. From restaurants to shopping, to children’s activities and sports, there is always something to do here! But sometimes, it feels nice to get away for the day, even if you’re just traveling somewhere close. We have pulled together a list of some of the best day trips to take from Tuscaloosa (with less than a two hour drive) that you may not have considered before.
Whether you’re looking for a lesson in history, an outdoor adventure, or somewhere to eat, there is so much to see and do in the areas surrounding Tuscaloosa County. We hope you try one (or all!) of these awesome day trips from Tuscaloosa!
Phil Campbell, Alabama
Located about 1 hr 45 minutes away from Tuscaloosa, Phil Campbell in Franklin County is home to popular Dismal’s Canyon, a privately-owned, 85 acre nature conservatory. Dismal’s Canyon offers camping, hiking, canoeing, waterfalls, a country store & more! You will love seeing the area after dark, as the canyon lights up with bioluminescent creatures called dismalites.
After hiking at Dismal’s Canyon, consider heading to the popular Homestead Cafe on a Friday night for their famous, all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.
Head up to Walker County for our next day trip destination: Jasper, Alabama. Jasper is about an hour drive from Tuscaloosa and offers many fun outdoor activities.
Walker County Lake is located 3 miles southeast of Jasper off of Highway 78. It is a 163 acre public fishing lake, which has species including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, hybrid striped bass, among others. At the lake, they offer a boat ramp, ADA compliant fishing piers, concessions, & restrooms. For more outdoor fun, head North to Bankhead National Forest, which has campgrounds, hiking, horseback riding, recreational areas, and more!
Jasper is also home to the Twisted Barley Brewery. This brewery has a casual, friendly atmosphere and is home to 5 unique craft beers. Past customers describe Twisted Barley Brewery as a great place to socialize with friends and family.
Don’t leave Jasper without checking out their downtown historic district, which boasts multiple architectural styles, including Italianate, Neoclassical, Twentieth Century Functional, and Art Deco.
Travel over the Alabama-Mississippi line for our next destination: Meridian, Mississippi. While many of our day trip suggestions are small towns, Meridian is a larger city with a population of over 40,000.
One unique feature of Meridian is the historic Dentzel Carousel. Each animal on the carousel was hand-carved in 1896 and the carousel debuted at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair. In 1909, the city of Meridian purchased it for $2,000. Today, it would be worth more than a million dollars. You can still ride on the Dentzel Carousel, located in Highland Park in Meridian.
To celebrate the ride, an art project called Around Town Carousels Abound created fiberglass carousel horses, each painted by a commissioned artist. They are positioned at more than 60 locations across the city.
The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience is a 50 million dollar museum that highlights Mississippi artists and how they have influenced all areas of the arts and creative economy all over the world. They have 15 exhibits, a hall of fame, recording studio, 2D and 3D art studios, an outdoor amphitheater, and more.
Located where the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers meet, Demopolis offers lots of Southern charm and outdoor activities. From Tuscaloosa, it takes just a little over an hour to drive to Demopolis.
Historic Downtown Demopolis has many historic homes, antebellum mansions, churches, and businesses. Demopolis is also home to a beautiful one square block park that is one of the oldest parks in Alabama. During the Holidays, Historic Downtown Demopolis is decorated beautifully.
Foscue Creek Park sits on the shore of Demopolis lake, which is the largest lake on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway. It’s managed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. It offers a campground, playground, day use facilities, boat ramp, playgrounds, hiking, and more.
The Red Barn restaurant in Demopolis is a part of Demopolis tradition. The restaurant opened in 1971 and patrons argue that it serves some of the best food around. If you like eating food in a rustic setting, be sure to check it out!
Located about an hour south of Tuscaloosa, Greensboro, Alabama is home to a number of historic homes, including Magnolia Grove, and is a central part of Alabama’s catfish industry. Greensboro is also home to the Safe House Black History Museum, which documents the local struggle for equality.
If you take a walk down Main Street, you will see many beautiful, historic homes. Take a break from your walk to visit lovely boutiques, such as Partridge Berry and Dottie Ollie’s.
For local cuisine, take a pit stop at Mustang Oil, a quaint southern eatery with daily homemade lunch specials. Another dining option the whole family will enjoy is The Stable, a coffee pub that features healthy lunch choices and has a great outdoor space for playing board games.
Magnolia Grove is a historic site and museum that was built in 1890, and is an example of the rare pedimented temple form of Greek Revival architecture in Alabama. The grounds are open year round, except state holidays, and offers a well phone audio tour. Around 2,000 people visit Magnolia Grove annually.
The Safe House Black History Museum contains relics of the period from slavery through the civil rights movement. Located on Martin Luther King Drive, it displays many unpublished photos of the civil rights movement in the Black Belt. The Safe House Black History Museum is currently open by appointment only.