Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County in Alabama that is named for its founder, Robert T. Scott. It has a small-town vibe and is known for the Scottsboro Boys trials and for being the land of lost luggage. The city is nestled into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and it sits on the banks of Lake Guntersville on the Tennessee River. In this small city, there are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you entertained during your visit. Here are the 20 best things to do in Scottsboro, Alabama.
20. Explore Downtown Scottsboro
During your time in this small city, it is likely that you will spend a considerable amount of time in Downtown Scottsboro. It is in this part of the city where you will find boutique shops, a variety of cafes and restaurants, and some historic buildings. The focal point of the downtown area is Main Street.
19. Watch a Movie at Hollywood 10 Cinema
If you want an activity to enjoy on a rainy day or in the evenings, then a great option in Scottsboro is the Hollywood 10 Cinema. There are ten screens within the movie theater, and each offers stadium seating and full digital projection to enhance the movie-watching experience. Check out what is one at the movie theater before embarking on your visit to Scottsboro. There are movies in various genres that are suitable for different age groups.
18. Visit Stevenson Railroad Depot Museum
Rail enthusiasts will love the Stevenson Railroad Depot Museum. According to Trip Buzz, the historic depot building was constructed in 1872 on the ruins of the original railroad depot. Now, the building is used as a museum. Not only does it display railroad-related artifacts, but it also has exhibits about the area’s Native American and modern times. The museum is on Main Street.
17. Stay at Goose Pond Colony Resort
If you are planning your trip to Scottsboro and you have not yet selected your accommodation, then you should consider Goose Pond Colony Resort, as it is one of the best resorts in the area. The resort is in a beautiful setting at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains and on the Tennessee River and Lake Guntersville banks. There are various accommodation options to suit different tastes and budgets, including lodges, cottages, and a campground. There is a vast array of facilities for the guests to enjoy, including an outdoor pool and a marina. Furthermore, there are various water-based activities to enjoy due to the resort’s waterfront position, including fishing, boating, and swimming. Goose Pond Colony Resort is also known for its two 18-hole golf courses, which are open to both hotel guests and the public. Guests can enjoy dining at one of the three on-site restaurants.
16. Explore an Archeological Site
An interesting activity for history buffs and nature lovers alike is exploring Russell Caves. The caves are an archeological site that tells the story of prehistoric life in the area. The site is just outside Scottsboro, close to the border with Tennessee. There is a short hike along a boardwalk to get to the caves. Once on the site, you will find interactive exhibits and displays of the artifacts found on the site. The rangers also give hunting demonstrations. The entrance to the cave has informational signs that describe how archeologists have uncovered artifacts from the site that evidence humans living in the area for 10,000 years.
15. Have Some Water-Based Fun
In addition to Lake Guntersville and the Tennessee River, there are several other locations where you can have some water-based fun. Coleman Concierge recommends kayaking at Coon Bay, where visitors to the area can enjoy the stunning scenery while paddling at a relaxed pace. Another place where you can take to the water is Rock River, which is a popular spot for tubing. Lie back in your tube with your feet trailing in the water as you float down the river.
14. Get Active at the Scottsboro Recreation Complex
Whether you want to keep fit or have fun with the kids, there is something for everybody at Scottsboro Recreation Complex. Inside, there is a fitness room, an indoor pool, two racquetball courts, two air-conditioned gyms, and a walking track. There is even more to enjoy outside, where you will find basketball courts, a splash pad, a skate park, and a playground with a picnic area.
13. Go Bowling at Victory Lanes
A fun day or night out for all the family that is also ideal for an activity on a rainy day is bowling at Victory Lanes. There are 20 lanes with electric scoring, a games room, and a snack bar that serves food such as pizza and hot dogs. Victory Lanes also hosts themed bowling nights, such as Rock ‘N’ Bowl.
12. Shop Until You Drop at the Unclaimed Baggage Center
An unusual thing for which Scottsboro is known is for being the city of unclaimed baggage, and it has become a feature of the city. The store owner buys and sells unclaimed baggage from airports across the United States, then checks out the contents to sell the best items in the store. You will find different things every time you visit, as the inventory changes constantly. The Unclaimed Baggage Center is a huge complex that is divided into departments such as electronics, clothing, jewelry, and accessories. There is also a café where you can grab a bite to eat. Next to the main store is another shop owned by the same company called Etc. It has unusual items for sale over three floors.
11. Enjoy a Meal at The Docks
There are many outstanding eateries in Scottsboro where you can enjoy a delicious meal, but one of the best is The Docks. The restaurant sits alongside Goose Pond, so diners can enjoy the views of the water and the lighted pier. On the menu, there are both American comfort foods and Southern seafood dishes. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, there are nightly specials in addition to the main menu.
10. Go for a Picnic at King Caldwell Park
Scottsboro has plenty of pretty outdoor spaces to visit, but one of the best for a picnic is King Caldwell Park. You will find the park in the downtown area, and it boasts nature trails through wooded sections of the park. It has a small playground and a pavilion, and there are picnic tables dotted throughout the park. If you are in the area the weekend before Labor Day, you can enjoy the annual Art Sunday Festival, which is hosted at King Caldwell Park.
9. Visit Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center
The Scottsboro Boys Trial is one of America’s biggest and most famous trials. It took place in 1930 after nine African American boys were accused of raping two white women. This event marked the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, so it has national historical significance. The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center is dedicated to this trial and has multiple interesting documents, photographs, and artifacts relating to the event. You will find this small museum in the historical Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church.
8. See the Bats at the Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge
Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge was purchased in 1977 and was originally known as Blowing Wind Cave until 1999, when the name was changed. It was created as a project for the protection of endangered bat species that live in the park, such as the Indiana and gray bats. During the summer months, up to 30,000 gray bats roost in the cave, while the cave is a hibernation place for both species during the winter months. Although visitors to the park are not allowed inside the cave to protect the bats, there is an aerial show in the evenings from June to August, and visitors can watch the spectacular sight of the bats emerging from the caves.
7. Take to the Lake at Scottsboro City Park
Scottsboro City Park has a large, wooded area with nature trails that you can stroll along taking in the scenery. However, the park's main feature is a large lake, which has two fishing piers and two boat ramps. Popular activities on the lake include boating, fishing, and water skiing. If you decide to fish, you can cook your fresh catch by the lake on the barbecue grills in the picnic area.
6. Go to Jackson County Courthouse
If you are interested in architecture, one of the most impressive buildings in Scottsboro is the Jackson County Courthouse. The two-story, neo-classical building was constructed between 1911 and 1912. It was built when local officials decided the original courthouse close to Sauta Cave was too small, and the new building was constructed in the town square. It is a historical marker as it is where the first of the Scottsboro Boys trials took place.
5. Go Fishing at the North Sauty Wildlife Refuge
Fishing is a popular activity in Scottsboro due to its position next to a lake and a river, and some people visit the area specifically to enjoy a fishing trip. A great area for fishing is the North Sauty Wildlife Refuge, which has a freshwater lake for fishing. The lake is home to species such as bigmouthed bass and crappies. Hunters also head to the refuge to hunt for duck and raccoon, although hunters require a permit.
4. Hike to the Waterfall at Stephens Gap
Scottsboro has some spectacular natural features, one of which is Stephens Gap. It is a waterfall that drops through a rock feature to an underground spot, and it is considered one of the city’s hidden gems. It is possible to hike down a steep hillside to the lower entrance of the rock to see the waterfall, or you can rappel down from the upper entrance, which is known as the keyhole. If you choose to rappel into the gap, you will land on a rock pedestal before dropping to the ground. It is a beautiful spot to photograph.
3. See Neversink Pit
Neversink Pit is one of Scottsboro’s most unusual natural features, as the cave is narrower at the top than it is at the bottom, and it is one of the most photographed caves in the United States. You can see the cave by hiking around the top, which is covered in ferns. The only way to reach the bottom is to rappel down the cave, which is a thrilling activity. However, this is an activity that only experienced climbers and rappellers should undertake.
2. Learn About Local History at the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center
If you enjoy learning about an area’s history when you visit a new location, then the best place to visit is the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center. This small museum opened in 1985, and its focus is the history, culture, and artwork of Jackson County. There is a guided tour of the museum available, and it begins with the area’s early history when the first Native Americans lived in what became Jackson County more than 12,000 years ago. There are artifacts from the area from its beginnings right up to the current day. The exhibits are divided across three buildings called Little Courthouse, Sagetown, and Brown Proctor House.
1. Explore Jackson County Park
According to Trip 101, one of the best things to do in Scottsboro is to explore Jackson County Park. The park lies on the banks of the Tennessee River, and there are three docks: one for boats, one for swimming, and one for fishing. There are nature trails through wooded areas, and other amenities include a pavilion, an outdoor kitchen, campgrounds, a barbecue restaurant, a playground, a bait shop, boat rentals, cabin rentals, and restroom facilities.
Written by Liz Flynn
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