The Southern Glamper: Oak Mountain State Park Campground Review

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Oak Mountain State Park Campground Review

Friday, December 7, 2018

The leaves during late November are spectacular at Oak Mountain State Park.

Preserving parks and open spaces is a winner because it doesn't need to be explained to everyday Americans.
-Frank Luntz 
We camp mostly in state parks.  I love the rustic charm and beauty of state parks.  I think my parents instilled this love on our family vacations out west.  While my family did not camp, both of my parents loved to visit places that showcased God's beauty throughout our country.  My parents also took advantage of local gems like museums and parks in our native state.  We are carrying on this tradition with our family.  Oak Mountain State Park is a short drive from our home, offers a rustic charm and variety of amenities that appeal to our family.



Overview

Oak Mountain State Park is located in Pelham, Alabama.  This area is just outside of Birmingham.  Oak Mountain is the state's largest state park with over 10,000 acres.  Year-round camping is offered to visitors.  RV sites provide water, sewer and electric.   Tent sites are also available to campers.  At less than $30 a day, this is a bargain for camping with full hook-ups!

Camp Sites

There are 2 campsite loops at Oak Mountain.  Loop A has more tent sites and is hilly.  The tent sites along loop A offer views of the lake along the outer edges.  The sites along loop A for both tents and RV's have a lot more shade coverage and are spread out more.

Loop B - RV site.  With a hilly terrain on this loop, the actual sites are narrow but over nice views.

Loop B is much more densely covered with RV sites.  While there are some tent sites along the perimeter of loop B, there are more RV sites in this area of the park.  Loop B is flatter and has less shade coverage. All sites are not created equal either.  Strategic site selection will give you both a larger yard area and shade. We stayed on site 61 next to our friends on site 60.  We felt like these sites at the far end of loop B are the best sites.  We had a nice area for meals and spending time together on these sites.


Site 60 in Loop B is a back in site and is spacious.  Each site is complete with a fire pit and a picnic table.

Tent site in Loop B.  These sites have a retaining wall, a picnic table, and fire pit.  There is also electricity nearby on these sites for use.

The campground playground is located on loop B across from site 60 and 60 where we camped.
Since we had children in our group that wanted to ride bikes, loop B is the best choice because of the flat areas for riding.  There is also a playground on loop B.  Sites 60 and 61 are located across the street from the playground.  While the equipment is dated, children still enjoy this area for playing.

I enjoyed biking with our son and our dog!

The flat areas in Loop B make it nice for biking with children.
I feel like the sites located in the middle of loop B are too close together.  They offer little privacy and shade.  If the park is full on a holiday weekend, campers are packed on top of each other.  Avoid these sites if you can.  Sites along the edges of loop B are by far some of the best ones.

This was our site last year that is located in the middle of Loop B.   The yard is large and flat, but there is no shade coverage.  This could be a deal breaker in the hot summer months.

Facilities

There are bathhouses located throughout both loops A and B.  While the restrooms are kept clean, the showers are severely run down.  If you are camping in an RV, this may not affect you.  However, tent campers and pop up campers, be aware that these facilities are minimal at best.  Since we were only camping for 2 nights, we were able to make do.  This is really my only complaint about the park.  The lack of adequate public facilities could discourage some people or groups from camping here.

The bath houses are very much in need of updates and repairs.  The exteriors are much nicer than the interior.  The bathhouse closest to our site did not have a working shower for the women.  But there was another bathhouse in the center of Loop B that did have a functioning bathhouse.

The camp store located at the entrance to the campground offers firewood for sale.  The store also offers a variety of basic items that you might need.  The staff is friendly and eager to help.  

Oak Mountain State Park is monitored throughout the day and night by the camp hosts and park staff.  We even noticed the Pelham police patrolling through the area.  I felt very safe here because of all of the visibility of staff and police.  

Amenities

One of the biggest draws to this park is the variety of amenities.  Oak Mountain offers:
  • Equestrian camping and boarding stables for horses.  There are hookups and actual RV sites at this part of the park as well!
  • A golf course
  • BMX bike course
  • Hiking Trails
  • A lake for fishing
  • A restaurant
  • Boating
  • Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Archery
  • Demonstration farm - where you can feed the animals or schedule a hayride
Hiking and biking are two of the most popular activities at Oak Mountain.  There are over 50 miles of hiking trails within the park.  We have enjoyed some of the shorter trails at this park in previous years.

Come to the park with a plan so that you can take advantage of some of the amenities.  We planned to visit with our friends on this trip and ride bikes, so our list of items to do was rather short.  But, if we had stayed longer, I believe our son would have enjoyed the farm.  And, he was disappointed that we didn't do any hiking, but there was just not any time on this trip.

Lodging

Oak Mountain does offer 10 cabins that can be rented throughout the year.  If this park interest you, but you don't own an RV or have the desire to tent camp, rent a cabin.  Cabins are located on a lake and offer boats for guests to use on a first come, first serve basis.  There are two dog-friendly cabins.  Each cabin comes equipped with linens, basic cookware, and dishes.

If you are looking to explore beyond Oak Mountain State Park, there are quite a few activities that are within driving distance.  The Birmingham Zoo is located within the Mountain Brook area of Birmingham along with the Botanical GardensVulcan Park and Museum is a favorite from my childhood.  A view from the top provides panoramic views of the Birmingham area.  Cat and Bird Winery is located in Shelby County and offers wine tasting as well as yoga events and other activities.

So, come to Oak Mountain to camp, hike and explore all that it has to offer.  But, if you are there for a few days, venture beyond the park into some of the local area attractions.  We love making this annual trip and look forward to adventures in Alabama in the coming year.

Until next time...



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