Fort Payne, Alabama, is known as the “Sock Capital of the World,” with more than half of America’s socks made in the city. A vacation here will convince you that there are unending things to do in Fort Payne (AL).
Fort Payne, Alabama, has plenty of fun options for all levels, such as visiting the incredible Cascade Falls, hiking a historic mountain trail, learning about the history of the famous Cherokee, and much more.
The town is located in northeastern Alabama. It is home to essential structures such as the 14,000-acre Little River Canyon National Preserve and DeSoto State Park, making it a major attraction across the United States.
The historic city of Fort Payne is also known as the home of the famous country-rock band Alabama, and the town is home to most of the band’s museums and fan clubs.
In addition, the city boasts one of the best nature reserves, state parks, lakes, and museums with many fun things for those interested to do and see.
Now let’s explore the best places to visit in Fort Payne, AL.
Fun Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL)
1. Don’t Miss a Thing at Wills Valley Recreation Center
The Wills Valley Recreation Center is a state-of-the-art indoor sports facility that hosts a variety of sports leagues and community activities.
In addition to hosting, many Fort Payne locals play sports such as basketball and volleyball here.
In addition, it has an indoor walking path overlooking a large gym where everyone can jog or run, and it also has a fitness center equipped with weights and machines.
Probably you want to stretch your muscles or get a quick workout while visiting Fort Payne, the Wills Valley Recreation Center is your destination.
In addition, this place has all the amenities of a high-end resort.
2. Get Blown Away at DeSoto Park
At DeSoto State Park, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or a sports enthusiast; there are plenty of exciting activities to do at DeSoto Park.
From hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and bouldering to abseiling, this outdoor attraction atop Lookout Mountain abounds.
Covering more than 3,502 acres, DeSoto Park is surrounded by waterfalls, streams, and boulders, making it the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
DeSoto State Park has a quiet picnic area and other amenities for those just looking to relax and commune with nature.
The park is currently operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which offers guided tours.
Should you want to spend the evening there, it has accommodation facilities such as cabins, campsites and RV sites.
3. Experience the Time of Your Life With True Adventure Sports
You don’t need to worry whether you are an experienced climber or not; you should find local outdoor guides, especially if you are not completely familiar with the area.
If you’re planning on rock climbing or abseiling at Fort Payne’s Lookout Mountain or Little River Canyon National Preserve, then you should visit True Adventure Sports, as they offer everything outdoor fun.
True Adventure Sports offers outdoor activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, hiking, camping, caving, and kayaking.
At True Adventure Sports, they have all the safety equipment and outdoor equipment necessary for a safe and enjoyable tour outside.
In total, True Adventure Sports offers about 39 different outdoor activities.
Their guides and instructors are highly trained outdoor experts, certified mountain guides, medics, and rappelling masters to give you a carefree experience.
They are located about a mile from these attractions in Fort Payne.
Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL) at Night
1. Grab Some Bottles at Vintage 1889
Vintage 1889 boasts of a 92 beer selection ranging from popular brands to locally brewed, making it a popular restaurant and bar in Fort Payne.
Its location also offers you a unique culinary experience.
Vintage 1889 is located in an old hosiery factory, the Davis Hosiery Mill, converted into an antique mall.
The restaurant is not only known for having the largest selection of beers in the region, but it is also known for serving delicious food such as sandwiches, roast beef, pizzas, burgers, and salads to complement the wide selection of beer.
2. Experience the Fun of 411 Drive-in Theatre
See a movie traditionally at the old-fashioned 411 Drive-in Theater, which has everything you need for a fun vacation or tour, an excellent addition to your list of fun things to do in Fort Payne, Alabama.
The historic 411 Drive-in Theater boasts the latest movies and the latest Hollywood blockbusters; it’s open every weekend year-round, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The magnificent theater arena is where the whole family can gather on a beautiful outdoor stage to watch blockbuster movies on the big screen.
It is one of the facilities where you can watch exciting documentaries about the city and learn more about the public, political and educational history of the place.
In addition, the 411 Drive-in Theater is open to both young and old, and patrons can order snacks, hamburgers, chili goose fries, and, most importantly, buttered popcorn.
3. Stop by Bar-B-Q Place
Serving Fort Payne for well over 30 years, Bar-B-Q Place is just as simple and casual as its name implies.
The barbecue is Memphis-style, chopped with sweet, dark sauce, but the restaurant’s Jo-Jo potatoes are what keep folks coming back for more.
Sliced, fried, and seasoned, the side item beats frozen fries any day.
Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL) For Couples
1. Check Out Some Beautiful Pieces of Glass Art at the Orbix Hot Glass
With its world-class blown glass ornaments, which can be viewed or purchased at its art studio and gallery in Fort Payne, Orbix Hot Glass has continued to amaze everyone since 2002.
Orbix Hot Glass has, over time, been one of Fort Payne’s pride in the arts.
His art studio is located atop Lookout Mountain, where anyone can visit and take a closer look at his museum-quality hand-crafted sculptures, ornaments, and decorations.
In addition, if you are interested in the art of glassblowing, hands-on classes are regularly offered.
2. Spend Some Time at Mountain View Motel
The famous Mountain View Motel is well housed in a historic sandstone cabin built in the 1930s by the early Civilian Conservation Corps.
The unique restaurant is one of Fort Payne’s attractions and offers excellent service to every visitor and prospect.
Mountain View Motel is a complete entertainment center for everyone, boasting a beautiful arena and a warm atmosphere with a special lunch buffet prepared every Sunday.
It serves a delicious seafood buffet every Friday night, and on weekend mornings, the Mountain View Motel serves delightful breakfast buffets, making it a major attraction in town.
In addition to the delicious food served at the Mountain View Motel also boasts a scenic view of the famous West Fork of Little River.
3. Check-In at Econo Lodge
Stay near the Alabama Band Fan Club and right off Interstate 59 at the Econo Lodge hotel in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Area attractions close to this hotel include Lake Weiss, Desoto State Park and Fall, Little River Canyon, Mentone, and Sequoyah Caverns.
At the hotel, guests can dine at the Waffle House restaurant or enjoy amenities and features that include a seasonal outdoor pool, free deluxe continental breakfast, free coffee, and free local calls.
Guest rooms are pet-friendly and feature a coffee maker, cable television, microwave, hairdryer, and balcony. Select rooms contain work desks and refrigerators.
Non-smoking rooms are available. Get work done with copy and fax services, and host your event in our meeting room, which can accommodate up to 50 people.
Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL) For Kids
1. Grab a Meal at Jefferson’s Restaurant
Jefferson’s is a wonderful restaurant located in downtown Fort Payne just off the freeway, near Taco Bell, where all meals are served by professionals.
The famous Restaurant Jefferson prides itself on offering delicious dishes such as hamburgers, chicken wings, and oysters; the offer is huge, and there is something for everyone.
Jefferson’s Restaurant has the best big screen TVs to watch the games in progress and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the pub and other special activities.
Historic Jefferson’s Restaurant is a friendly local restaurant for lunch and dinner; it is usually open on Sundays when families with children can come.
In addition, Jefferson’s delicious wings are served with a variety of sauces, both mild and spicy, usually on Wednesdays.
2. Take Them to Manitou Cave of Alabama
Nestled along a forested hillside, Manitou Cave is a hidden treasure with a rich history and ancient geological origins.
Stand next to Great Spirit Mountain, a natural feature in the cave that is over 40 feet tall.
Study the sacred writings in the Cherokee syllabary and wonder how they could have appeared on the 50-foot ceiling.
Travel deeper and reflect in the grand ballroom where gala evenings were held in the late 1800s.
Find your inner peace, closed off from the rest of the world, with the soothing sounds of a gentle stream flowing through the cave.
3. Don’t Miss Some Good Music at Alabama Fan Club and Museum
Fort Payne is known to be the home to the famous country band Alabama, a music group.
The country band Alabama is seen to be one of the most successful musicians in the country music genre by both locals and tourists.
The band is part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and is popular throughout the United States.
To celebrate their success and reminisce about your music days, visit the Alabama Fan Club and Museum in Fort Payne.
The museum is a pleasant place to visit, especially for music lovers, as it features an extensive collection of Alabama awards, personal items, photographs, videos, and other memorabilia.
If you have extra time for a little detour on your Fort Payne travel adventure, check out the Alabama Fan Club and Museum.
Indoor Activities to Do in Fort Payne (AL) For Adults
1. Shop at the Big Mill Antique Mall
The Mall is home to dozens of artisans and antique shops selling an eclectic collection of antiques, toys, books, vinyl records, furniture, home decor, paintings, and ceramics.
Big Mill Antique Mall is located in the old W.B Davis Hosiery Factory that once contributed to the millions of pairs of socks made in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Today, the 21,000-square-foot former mill is home to a wide variety of collectibles and antiques that you won’t find anywhere else.
In addition, the Big Mill Antique Mall is also home to many restaurants, such as The Vintage 1889 and many more.
At the Big Mill Antique Mall, it doesn’t really matter if you are an avid antique collector or looking for new home decor; Big Mill Antique Mall offers something unique.
2. Grab a Meal at DeSoto State Park’s Mountain Inn Restaurant
This unique restaurant is located in a historic sandstone cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
In addition to its cozy and welcoming atmosphere, the Mountain Inn Restaurant at DeSoto State Park is known among locals and visitors alike for its delicious buffet.
A seafood buffet is served every Friday evening, and a buffet breakfast is served on weekend mornings.
A buffet lunch is available every Sunday.
In addition to the delicious food, you’ll also get a scenic view of the West Fork of Little River.
3. Spend the Weekend at Quality Inn
Enjoy a good night with great discounts at the Quality Inn hotel in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Nearby attractions include the Depot Museum, Fort Payne Opera House, Desoto State Park, Terrapin Hills Golf Course, and Lookout Mountain.
At the hotel, enjoy our outdoor pool, business center, free continental breakfast, free wi-fi, and laundry services.
Guest rooms are pet-friendly and come with a 32-inch television, coffee maker, desk, microwave, and refrigerator. Some rooms also feature a whirlpool.
Whether you are in Fort Payne, Alabama, for a vacation or business trip, the Quality Inn offers great amenities and a perfect location. Book a room with us today; our friendly staff awaits your visit!
Romantic Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL)
1. Visit the Little River Canyon Preserve
Little River Canyon Preserve is a huge natural attraction in Fort Payne that spans 15,288 acres of conservation areas and is home to Alabama’s longest mountain river.
Located atop Lookout Mountain, this nature preserve serves as a popular outdoor destination in Alabama.
In addition to being home to the state’s longest mountain river, it is also home to three waterfalls: Grace High Falls, Little River Falls (Marthas Falls), and DeSoto Falls.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to reconnect with nature or enjoy the outdoors; Little River Canyon Preserve has something great to offer for everyone.
The Little River Canyon Preserve is also home to diverse flora and fauna, making it an interesting place for nature lovers.
2. Go Swimming at the Little Falls or Martha’s Falls
Visitors are often confused by this waterfall nestled inside the Little River Canyon National Preserve.
Some locals call it “Martha’s Falls,” while others call it “Hippie Hole” or “Little Falls.”
Regardless of the name of this waterfall, it is nice to cool off and swim in its popular swimming area.
The 45-meter waterfall cascades down the Little River Canyon, making it the perfect place for a swim.
The place is usually full of visitors, especially during the summer period.
After swimming, you can decide to have a picnic and relax at a nearby picnic spot.
Generally, Martha’s Falls is a great place to bond with the family and enjoy a swim in its pristine and icy waters.
3. Don’t Miss a Visit to the Cloudmont Ski Resort
Cloudmont Ski Resort is located between Lookout Mountain and Mentone. It offers two great slopes ideal for skiing and snowboarding.
Skiers and snowboarders from the South have regularly flocked to Cloudmont Ski Resort since 1970 to tackle its 1,000 feet of snow-covered slopes.
During the warmer months, this ski resort transforms into an outdoor destination for horseback riding, rock climbing, and golf.
Free Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL)
1. Go on a Tour of Jacksonville State University Little River Canyon Center
The Little River Canyon Center, located inside Jacksonville State University, allows visitors to learn more about the natural attractions that surround Fort Payne.
Opened in 2009, the Center features exhibits, an outdoor amphitheater, a large hall, a movie theater, a library, classrooms, a gift shop, some hiking trails, and also exhibits open to the general public.
The Little River Canyon Cente has regular programs and activities for local residents, visitors, and students.
It’s a must-see to learn more about the natural attractions you can visit in Fort Payne.
The Center has friendly staff from the National Park Service who will provide you with maps, guides, and itineraries to give you an amazing Fort Payne experience.
2. Worship at Sallie Howard Memorial Baptist Chapel
The Sallie Howard Memorial Baptist Chapel, known locally as the “Church with the Rock,” is a unique Fort Payne attraction that you should visit.
The small chapel is located at the top of Vyhlídkova hora.
The chapel was built by Colonel Milford Howard in 1937 as a memorial to his wife, who had died.
What makes this chapel unique is that it is built around a massive boulder.
Instead of finding another site, Howard, with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, proceeded to build the chapel.
Today, the Sallie Howard Memorial Baptist Chapel is a popular wedding venue and tourist attraction and regularly hosts services.
3. Take a Drive along the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway
The Little River Canyon Rim Parkway is the perfect setting for a relaxing ride where you open the windows and take in the scenic views of rock walls, waterfalls, and lush greenery that turn to red and orange leaves during autumn.
Along the Parkway, you can make several stops to photograph the beautiful scenery that the Littler River Canyon has to offer.
For an even more immersive nature experience, you can bike the long winding roads of the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway.
It takes about 45 minutes or an hour to drive along this scenic thoroughfare.
Cheap Things to Do in Fort Payne (AL)
1. Check Out the Fort Payne Depot Museum
The Fort Payne Depot Museum building has been standing since 1891 and has seen the city change over the years.
The building once served as a depot for the Alabama-Great Southern Railroad for nearly a century.
A group of Fort Payne citizens acquired the building when the railroad industry in the region closed and turned it into a community museum.
The building underwent extensive renovation and stabilization before formally opening in 1986 as the Fort Payne Depot Museum.
The museum building has a distinct beauty due to the pink sandstone that covers its walls while also having a unique Richardson Romanesque architecture.
Enjoy browsing the extensive collection of old artifacts, memorabilia, and local history dioramas inside the museum.
The Fort Payne Depot Museum also has an extensive collection of Native American crafts and a separate collection of the railroad era in Fort Payne.
2. Go on a Walk Along Alabama Walking Trail Park
Spend some quality time away from home at the beautiful Alabama Walking Trail Park, one of the best places to visit in Fort Payne, AL.
Alabama Walking Park is well located along the new park in Fort Payne, near the Depot Museum, which is one of the best places for young and old alike.
Here at the park, visitors can participate in a variety of activities, from walking along the groomed walking trails, working out in the fitness center, and much more.
The center boasts large pavilions and green grassy areas for children’s playgrounds, public events, live music performances, and picnic breaks.
In addition, the Alabama Walking Trail Park is open to everyone and offers fun things to do and see for children, young and old.
3. Visit the Spot Coffee Shop
Visit the beautiful Spot Coffee Shop for the best in delicious handcrafted coffee and an array of coffee varieties, exceptional addition to your list of things to do in Fort Payne (AL).
Located in the Lookout Mountain Arena and the North Alabama region, the beautiful Spot Coffee Shop is one of the best producers and sellers of fine coffee around.
Spot Coffee Shop serves delicious fair trade organic coffee and a wide range of other beautiful products such as frozen blended drinks, bluebell ice cream, and more.
The historic Spot Coffee Shop also boasts unique exhibits such as the making of delicious pizzas, panini sandwiches, pastries and desserts, and much more.
The coffee shop also houses an art gallery that does exhibitions and also has free Wi-Fi for everyone on site. It is open daily from 7 am to 10 pm on Saturdays from 9 am to 10 pm and remains closed on Sundays.
Cool Places to Visit in Fort Payne (AL)
1. Cherokee Rock Village
Cherokee Rock Village is known for its exciting and fun activities around the world.
Cherokee Rock Village is located around Leesburg, 15 miles south of Fort Payne, with many boulders and fun views throughout the area.
The center follows the existing protocol of nearby Cherokees Street, with lots of fun scenes and activities that will catch your fancy.
The beautiful Cherokee Rock Village is also known to be a region for bird watchers and nature lovers as it is possible to observe birds soaring around.
In addition, the facility offers spectacular views of the Alabama landscape, with Virginia pines lining the boulder ridge.
2. Santa Fe Cattle Co
The famous Santa Fe Cattle serves delicious Southwestern-inspired dishes, making it a huge asset to your checklist of fun things to do in Fort Payne (AL).
It offers unique dishes such as hand-cut steaks, fajitas, ribs, buckets of peanuts in the shell, and other Western cultural foods.
The famous Santa Fe Cattle is open to kids and adults alike and offers plenty of freshly baked rolls, pies, and homemade sausages.
While the steak is being prepared and arranged, munching on peanuts is one of the best ways to while away some time, as there are plenty of peanut shells placed on the floor for visitors to enjoy.
In addition, Santa Fe offers a welcoming environment with a row of comfortable cabins on each side and regular country music playing in the background.
3. The Hosiery Museum
Located next to Hunt Hall, the museum features exhibits from the early days of the industry to its zenith when Fort Payne was the “Sock Capital of the World.”
Recently acquired by Landmarks of DeKalb County from the Hosiery Association, visitors are free to view displays of the original hosiery mills with materials and photos from Fort Payne’s boom years.
Make sure you place a call to the museum to schedule a tour or if you have stocking factory memorabilia to donate or borrow.
Fort Payne, Alabama, promises to be the most exciting city you’ve ever visited, with many great activities to keep you hooked throughout your vacation.
Its serene landscape will prepare your mind and body for a full day of activities exploring nature reserves and state parks.
Start planning your trip already. Feel free to use our article as a guide during your vacation to learn things to do in Fort Payne (AL).