Huntsville, Alabama is such a beautiful city. I may be biased, because it is my hometown, but there truly is so much green space here. There’s a reason it is often listed as one of the best places to live (besides relatively low cost of living, good schools, and solid jobs) — it’s also has so much outdoor space to enjoy. We hope this list of outdoor activities in Huntsville, AL will give you some ideas to get your family outside soon!
From hiking to museums to local parks and adventures, there are so many fun things to do outside in Huntsville!
Hike a Land Trust Trail
Hiking is one of our favorite outdoor activities to do in Huntsville. There are so many great hiking trails in the area, and a lot of that has to do with the Land Trust of North Alabama. Since 1987, the Land Trust of North Alabama has been working to protect and preserve our beautiful local landscapes.
They have created over 70 miles of public trails, and whether you are looking for a family-friendly hike or a challenging trail, you’re sure to find a Huntsville hiking trail that’s right for you.
Some of our favorites include the Green Mountain Nature Preserve (the Alum Hollow Trail), Bethel Spring Nature Preserve (a more challenging hike with a waterfall reward), and the trails in the Monte Sano Nature Preserve.
You can find more information about Land Trust hiking trails here, including directions to trail heads and Land Trust trail rules.
The Land Trust of North Alabama also offers other activities, including guided hikes, educational activities for kids Find out more about their events here.
Visit Monte Sano Mountain State Park
Monte Sano State Park offers a huge variety of family-friendly outdoor activities in Huntsville, from hiking trails to playgrounds to camping and more (like a disc golf course and a Japanese garden).
We love visiting Monte Sano for hiking, beautiful overlooks, and to play on their playground. It’s also a great place for a picnic or outdoor family gathering. (If you have a larger group, there are also event spaces available to rent.) Plus, if you want to get away for the weekend, they offer campsite and cabins. There really is so much to explore here!
Day use passes cost $5 for adults and $2 for kids ages 4-11. Visit the park office when you arrive, and you can get a map for trails and other points of interest at Monte Sano. Or download the trail map before you go.
Hang Out in Huntsville’s Big Spring Park
This park in central Huntsville provides a great outdoor space for a variety of activities — and it has for years! I have fond memories of visiting Big Spring Park as a child to see the ducks. And, if anything, the park has only gotten better in recent years, providing a larger and more usable space after recent refurbishments.
Big Spring Park is located across from the Von Braun Center, and provides a great space for walking, picnics, or just basking in the sun.
During the year, you’ll also find special events at Big Spring Park. Particularly notable are the Christmas activities — including Skating in the Park behind the Huntsville Museum of Art and free Christmas tree Tinsel Trail.
Visit the Huntsville Botanical Garden
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is maybe one of my favorite places in the city, with miles of walking trails and thousands of plants over their 112 acres. If you have young kids, you’ll definitely want to check out the Children’s Garden, with interactive exhibits and play spaces.
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is also home to the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house, located at the Anderson Education Center in the Children’s Garden. I mean, honestly sometimes I can’t believe we have this right down the road from me!
There are so many other outdoor spaces at the Garden we love too, from the Herb Garden, to the Fern Glade, to the beautiful Aquatic Garden. It is easy to spend a whole morning here exploring. Grab a map when you enter, and then just spend your time finding all the magic the Botanical Garden has.
The Huntsville Botanical Garden also offers special events throughout the year. Most notably is the seasonal Galaxy of Lights, a trail of thousands of holiday lights. They also have semi-annual plant sales, a scarecrow trail during the fall, and other special exhibits from time to time (in the past our favorites have been the Chinese Lanterns and the dinosaur exhibit, so I’m looking foward to what they offer in the future!).
PLUS they offer educational classes for children and adults, including day camps for kids!
Admission the Huntsville Botanical Garden is $14 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-17. If you are a local family, I highly recommending getting a yearly membership; it allows you free visits as well as discounts on specially ticketed events.
Take a Tour of Outdoor Murals in Downtown Huntsville
Huntsville has really developed a thriving arts community in recent years and this can be seen in the murals and street art that have popped up all over the city.
If you want to spend a morning or afternoon outside, you can start at Big Spring Park and take a walking tour of the downtown Huntsville murals. This is also a great way to get acquainted with downtown Huntsville.
Visit Burritt on the Mountain
Burritt on the Mountain is a largely outdoor museum on Monte Sano Mountain in Huntsville. It was once home to Dr. Burritt, a well-known Huntsville resident, who built his large house on the mountain in the 1930s. It burned down in 1936 (an event my grandmother says she remembers watching from her own yard at the base of the mountain!), but it was then rebuilt and now is a historic mansion open to the public.
Along with this mansion, other historic homes and buildings have been brought to the mountain to create a historic museum — from original log cabins to a Rosenwald school replica. There is also a barnyard, nature trails, and fantastic views of the city.
Burritt on the Mountain offers educational opportunities, from field trips and guided tours to day camps for kids. They also hold several special events, including the City Lights & Stars Concert Series and our favorite Huntsville Christmas event — Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas.
Admission to Burritt on the Mountain is $12 for adults and $8 for children. Special events may include additional costs. See more information about admission prices and hours on their website.
Take a Walk or Ride Your Bike on a Greenway
Huntsville is serious about its outdoor space, and whether you are in Huntsville or Madison, taking advantage of the greenways in a great outdoor activity. Both Huntsville and Madison also have future visions to connect more of their greenways to add hundreds of miles of seamless trails.
- Aldridge Creek Greenway (this was a favorite of ours when we lived in Southeast Huntsville!)
- Atwood Linear Park Greenway
- Big Cove Creek Greenway
- Flint River Greenway
- Gateway Greenway
- Indian Creek Greenway
- Little Cover Road Greenway
- Tennessee River Greenway
- Wade Mountain Greenway
- Mill Creek Greenway
- Bradford Creek Greenway
Although Indian Creek Greenway is technically a Huntsville greenway, it’s actually on the border of Huntsville and Madison and connects to some Madison neighborhoods. We love taking our dog to Indian Creek Greenway and letting him wade around in the water.
All greenway trails in Madison and most greenway trails in Huntsville are paved, meaning they are great for walking, running, or bike riding.
Attend an Outdoor Concert
During the warmer weather months (i.e. a large chunk of the year here in the South) Huntsville offers a variety of outdoor concerts on different nights throughout the city, making great outdoor activities. These are all hosted by different organizations, and some are free while some charge admission fees.
The concerts listed here are just some of the regular concerts put on in Huntsville. But with the city expanding and new venues being built, the future will likely see even more entertainment options.
Concerts in the Park
Concerts in the Park is put on by the City of Huntsville in Big Spring Park. They are held on Monday evenings during the summer from 6:30 to 8, usually beginning the first Monday in June and ending the first Monday in August. Admission is free and the music ranges from country to Celtic to jazz and more.
City Lights & Stars Concert Series
Burritt on the Mountain hosts the City Lights & Stars Concert Series, which usually takes place on Friday nights in the summer. The music covers a wide variety of genres, and you can listen to music with some of the best views in the city. A ticket must be purchased either in advance or at the gate (they are usually more expensive at the gate). There are also drinks available for purchase at the event.
Concerts on the Dock
Concerts on the Dock are hosted by Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment where music is offered from the loading dock of the building. These concerts are hugely popular and offered on Friday evenings, usually from spring to fall. The concert itself is free, but parking costs $5 per vehicle (so be sure to carpool!).
Concert at Three Caves Series
The Land Trust of North Alabama hosts concerts at Three Caves, a popular local landmark. There are only a couple of these concerts offered during the year, so if you are interested in attending one of these concerts, you will need to buy tickets in advance. These are the only outdoor concerts on this list that are not family-friendly (no children under 12).
These concerts also have several guidelines you will need to familiarize yourself with, including parking protocols (you have to take a shuttle).
Outdoor Concerts at Local Venues
Several local mixed-use venues offer frequent outdoor concerts, especially during spring, summer, and fall months.
Stovehouse, a mixed-use venue with restaurants, shopping and more, offers regular concerts on their large “Leisure Lawn.” You can grab a bite to eat at one of their many restaurants to enjoy while you listen to the music.
Campus 805 is an entertainment venue featuring restaurants, entertainment, and anchored with the breweries Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer Brewing. While they do have indoor concerts, they also sometimes feature concerts on their Green.
Fun fact: Campus 805 is a converted middle school!
Mid-City District is a new venue still very much under construction. Some of their spaces are already built out though, including The Camp which looks like it will regularly feature outdoor music. Mid-City will also be home an outdoor amphitheater in the future, so you should be able to find even more outdoor concerts then!
Find a Playground
Huntsville is first and foremost a family-friendly city, which means we have an abundance of playgrounds! So many neighborhoods have their own local playgrounds or parks, but there are also city parks and playgrounds that you should check out. These are just a handful of some of the best ones, but you can find even more details about playgrounds near you here!
Kids Space is a large playground off Airport Road that has been popular for years (it was one of my favorite when I was a kid!).
EveryBody Can Play Playground at Brahan Springs is a playground made to be handicapped-accessible.
Kid’s Kingdom at Dublin Park is similar to Kid’s Space and is by far the most popular playground in Madison.
Hays Nature Preserve in Owens Cross Roads/Hampton Cove has a playground made of natural materials with lots of outdoor space to explore!
Ok, so this may be a bit of outlier as far as outdoor activities in Huntsville, AL goes, but you really can kayak here! We of course have the Tennessee River and locals know where to go on local smaller rivers. But if you are looking for a family-friendly kayaking experience, there are a couple outfitters you can use.
NACK (North Alabama Canoe & Kayak) offers trips on the Flint River. They are self-guided and last about 3 1/2 hours. The river is easy, so perfectly fine for all skill levels.
Brown Bear also offers trips on the Flint River, but further north. These trips are also self-guided and appropriate for all skill levels.
Whether you are looking for an adventure (like kayaking) or more relaxed (like chilling at a concert) we hope you find something fun to do outside — there are so many great outdoor activities in Huntsville, AL, so take advantage of our beautiful city!