There’s no doubt that “Alabama the Beautiful” got its proper reputation from its many different geographical regions. While the state is endowed with world-class interior design, charming corner shops, and all the amenities of southern hospitality, one would miss the quintessential Alabama experience without stepping into the great outdoors.
Alabama’s geographic landscape is diverse and expansive, encompassing high mountains, low valleys, sandy beaches, eutrophic lakes, fertile soils and more, making it the fourth most biodiverse state in the country. This reality has not only captivated newcomers, but is one reason many Gen Z and Millennial locals pride themselves on staying put and deepening their roots.
In northern Alabama, one would step outside and take a look at the high Appalachian Mountains and the rugged National Forest. In South Alabama, visitors can dip their toes in the white sand and feel the breeze off the bright blue ocean. Low hills and flat terrain for fertile soil are found in eastern Alabama’s “black belt”. Finally, western Alabama features southern pines, rolling hills and stunning Tuscaloosa County lakes.
In the heart of Tuscaloosa is the University of Alabama, which knows its grounds well and has embraced its surroundings with countless opportunities for students and the public.
On the campus
The University of Alabama was named Tree Campus USA for the seventh consecutive year, with over 12,000 trees on campus, students and visitors can admire beauty any time of the year!
The university stated, “The campus features an urban forest and tree canopy, including nearly 65 species such as oaks, magnolias and more, which not only provide beauty and shade but also provide a home for a variety of wildlife.”
Located in the expansive outdoor green space known as Quad, where tailgates and events take place, the legendary Denny Chimes is a tranquil spot for a family picnic, tossing a Frisbee, riding a bike and soaking up the Alabama sun.
Get off campus
While there is plenty of outdoor fun to be had on campus, the university also facilitates access to off-campus outdoor recreation activities that are open to the public through University Recreation.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, guided tours are offered all year round for all levels of difficulty. All the equipment needed is included, excursions are guided so your planning is minimal, and transportation to and from campus is also included! Guided excursions are not only a great way to get outside and experience something new, but also a fun way to build a community with people who enjoy doing the same activities.
Bike Shop and Bama Bike Program
The University of Alabama’s bike-sharing program caters specifically to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff (see what I did there). Bike rental is a great alternative transportation method to get to class and a fun, affordable activity to get some fresh air with friends.
Uniquely, the university has an on-campus bike shop for personal bikes in case students need help with a variety of repairs ranging from puncture repairs to major tuning ups.
The University of Alabama Rental Center has made it possible for anyone to “create their own adventure.” Offers equipment such as kayaks, paddleboards, sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, crash pads and much more. You might visit Tuscaloosa for a soccer game and leave a rock climbing expert!
in the community
The river path
Tuscaloosa is located on the Black Warrior River waterway. The Riverwalk is a 4.5 mile paved trail for hikers and cyclists. The Riverwalk is a focal point that attracts outdoor lovers of all ages. In the fall, visitors can hear the crunch of fallen leaves as they walk to a perfect tree to hang a hammock or sit in a gazebo. The playground, public library and water playground at Bama Bell is a great place for families to have outdoor fun.
Home to three distinct lakes, Tuscaloosa’s water sports scene is thriving. The largest lake, Lake Tuscaloosa, is known for its boating culture and year-round fishing. It is a hotspot for students traveling off campus and is home to the university’s Boone Cabin vacation rental. The rustic cabin is a charming place for a getaway or an intimate event.
In addition to making the most of every opportunity offered by the surrounding landscape, the University of Alabama has contributed to western Alabama’s enduring topographical richness through tree planting, biological research, and general participation in community participation in Alabama’s natural beauty.
(Courtesy of SoulGrown)
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