The Shoals may have a variety of offerings and attractions to draw most any type of visitor, but a visit here is truly a family affair. This collection of communities in northwest Alabama is home to a number of museums, parks, and even dining establishments that seem to be centered on entertaining the whole family.
All For the Family
Bring the whole family for a fun adventure in The Shoals
By Paige Townley
The Shoals may have a variety of offerings and attractions to draw most any type of visitor, but a visit here is truly a family affair. This collection of communities in northwest Alabama is home to a number of museums, parks, and even dining establishments that seem to be centered on entertaining the whole family. Here we share a few of our favorite spots that show how The Shoals is an ideal getaway destination to bring the kids—and even those just young at heart.
A Natural Fit for a Weekend Stay
The Shoals is known for a picturesque landscape along the Tennessee River and abundant nature at its finest, so selecting a cabin at Joe Wheeler State Park is a no-brainer when it comes to a weekend stay. The views from the cabins are spectacular—the cabins sit atop a bluff overlooking the river—and on property there’s literally an activity to be enjoyed by everyone, including fishing, golf, tennis, swimming and more.
Fuel for the Day
Bring the whole clan in for a hearty breakfast to fuel the morning at Big, Bad Breakfast. The local favorite serves up a wide variety of southern breakfast favorites, from house-cured brown sugar bacon and biscuits and gravy to pancakes and French toast. The kids are sure to enjoy breakfast—or even lunch—here as well as there are plenty of child-focused items on the menu, such as the Little Bad Breakfast and the PB&J.
Learn Through Play
Enjoy a morning creating, exploring, and getting hands-on with the whole family at The Children’s Museum of the Shoals. This is the only spot of its kind in all of Northwest Alabama, and it’s goal is to provide a fun and safe space for children of all ages to enjoy learning while also experiencing the magic of play.
While having fun through various activities such as navigating the Tennessee River, taking care of pets in the Pet Vet, becoming a musical star on the Shoals Sound stage, and even digging for fossils, kids are learning all about archaeology, art, science, history, entrepreneurship, and more. Ensuring there is truly a space for all, the Museum also features two specific venues for the youngest visitors, The Piggy Market and Wee Explore, and during the week toddlers also have specific times to partake in art projects.
There’s perhaps no better way to enjoy The Shoals with the family than being outdoors, and the area has plenty of options for just such adventures. An entire afternoon could be spent at Killen Time Adventure Park, the only miniature golf course in The Shoals. It’s 36 hole-miniature golf course features exactly what one would expect from a course—windmill, water obstacles, and a lighthouse—and even unexpected entertainment such as wild and aquatic life that can be found on the course, such as giant tortoises, ducks, coy fish, and frogs.
The Rogersville Splash Pad provides the whole clan an opportunity to spend time outdoors while also cooling off in the water. Nestled within a beautifully landscaped environment, the Splash Pad has different activities for every age, from brightly colored animal water squirters for the toddlers to the larger water sprayers and fountains for the big kids—plus seating in the shade for tired parents to keep an eye on all the action.
Nearby Tuscumbia’s Spring Park is another destination that is sure to keep the kids active as well. Spring Park features a 51-jet fountain shooting water more than 150 feet into the air, as well as a park and playground with a variety of options to keep all of the children delighted, including a roller coaster, carousel, and even a train.
A Sweet Afternoon Delight
Treat the family to a sweet afternoon with a stop by The Palace Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop. All of the adults and children alike will enjoy the menu for this 1950s-style diner, which features milkshakes, malts, cobblers, and more in a nostalgic space that speaks to the history of the area. While a great destination for an afternoon or after-dinner treat, the shop can be the mealtime pick as well: They feature quite a menu of lunch or dinner options, including all sorts of sandwiches, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and even seafood gumbo.
Hone in on the History
Amid all of the action, adventure, and sweet offerings of The Shoals, a little bit of history should be on the family itinerary as well. A popular activity that should be included is a walk across the Old Railroad Bridge. The Old Railroad Bridge is the oldest remaining bridge in the entire state, dating back to the 1800s. A walk across the bridge comes with some of the very best views possible of the Tennessee River.
From fun attractions you can’t find anywhere else to outdoor activities that keep the whole family active, The Shoals is a destination for a family on the go. Combined with its delectable dining, relaxing accommodations, and unique historical significance, selecting The Shoals when planning a family adventure is simply child’s play.