Remember our local amenities
Published 8:36 am Monday, June 6, 2022
By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer
I can mention the words “pandemic” and “inflation” and safely assume that most of you have been, or continue to be, affected by both issues.
We can empathize with each other on the difficulties COVID-19 has brought into our lives over the last two years, as well as the pain our wallets experience every time we fill up our gas tanks or make a trip to the grocery store.
With children out of school for the summer, many families might be planning trips—and trying to figure out how to fit higher travel expenses into their budgets.
If an out-of-town, out-of-state, or out-of-country trip is just not feasible for your family this year, I don’t think there is a better place to be than Shelby County.
Our county has many cost-effective amenities you can incorporate into a staycation—or just an afternoon out of the house.
Shelby County is home to Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama’s largest state park, and the Alabama Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation facility located in the park that cares for nearly 2,000 wild birds every year.
With more than 11,000 acres in its confines, Oak Mountain State Park is full of beautiful scenery and natural features for people young and old to explore.
When the pandemic started to ramp up in 2020, my family and I sought refuge at the park. We took our golden retriever on a Saturday morning and hiked one of the trails, stopping occasionally to rehydrate and take in the view. It was a great exercise, and we were able to keep a safe distance between ourselves and other hikers. And all we had to pay was a small entrance fee.
Along with different hiking and mountain biking trails, Oak Mountain State Park also features a cable wakeboard park, a golf course, cabin rentals, watercraft rentals and plenty of space for fishing, picnicking and relaxing.
Shelby County also includes a wide variety of public parks and attractions in its individual communities. You can see the long list of facilities organized by municipality on the county’s tourism website, DiscoverShelby.com, or in Visit Shelby County, Shelby County Reporter’s annual guide for visitors.
You can pick up a copy of the Visit Shelby County publication from our office on Columbiana’s Main Street, plus at local chamber of commerce offices, hotels, city halls and interstate rest stops throughout the state.
You can also view it online anytime at Issuu.com/shelbycountyreporter/docs/visitorsguide22_web.
In it, you will find so many resources for a day—or multiple days—of local exploration, from arts venues to museums to wineries to small-town attractions. And, of course, the local restaurant options will appeal to every palate and give you fuel for your adventures, wherever they might lead.