Any time is a great time to visit Alabama. North Alabama appreciates a year-round tourist season due to its four distinct seasons and mild winters. Rich in outdoor tourism such as camping, boating, fishing and hunting, Athens also boasts 32 miles of canoe and kayak trails, 89 miles of bike and motorcycling trails and many walking trails.
The popular ‘Richard Martin Rails to Trails,’ which travels over a 10-mile stretch from Piney Chapel to Veto, allows hiking, biking and horseback riding. The Rails to Trails also has a historic value preserved by the efforts of Martin. The ‘Battle of Sulphur Creek Trussell’ was fought on September 25, 1864. After defeating the Union forces in Athens, Nathan Bedford Forrest moved north along the railroad with the intent to destroy the strategic trestle at Sulphur Creek, located six miles north of Athens.
Athens also enjoys cultural attractions such as the expanding Alabama Veteran's Museum & Archives. Soon the Trinity Museum will be underway to provide the Limestone County history from antebellum times through the Trinity School years.
There is no shortage of sports activities in Limestone County. We have 8 fields for baseball & softball, soccer fields, golf courses, tennis courts, a disk golf field, basketball & volleyball courts, an archery field and swimming pools. This year Athens Parks & Recreation was awarded the opportunity to host the 2014 ARPA State Softball Tournament. An estimated 35 teams will be hosted at the Athens Sportsplex July 11-13, 2014.
Being in an agriculture area, Limestone County relishes the large number of equines and equestrian events. Horses of every breed are found in this area, which allows for year round riding and competitions.
May 10th will begin our first rodeo event for the year. The Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo is in its 32nd year. The Sheriff’s Rodeo is a weeklong event beginning with the traditional Rodeo Parade route around the downtown square. Merchants welcome the annual rodeo with special decorations to make the out of town visitors feel at home. The Rodeo Street Dance and Western Fashion Show begin at 6 PM on May 13th at the downtown square, with Jeff Whitlow & the Old Barn Band performing. The Rodeo will be held at the Sheriff’s arena on May 16th and 17th; gates open at 6 PM. The crowning of the Miss Limestone Sheriff's Rodeo Queen will be held Saturday May 17th at the rodeo arena.
May 16th & 17th Athens will be host to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Alabama Division Reunion held at Athens State University. The SCV reunion will bring close to 200 members and their spouses to Limestone County for the weekend. They will tour Elkmont’s Belle Chevre Creamery and visit Belle Chevre’s Tasting Room. They will also have the opportunity to visit the Paper Trail Antique Shop, Kindred Spirits, the Elkmont Depot and The Red Caboose.
Tourism Month will conclude on May 30th with a celebration at the Ardmore Welcome Center. Alabama’s tourism industry partners participate in the salute to our southbound visitors traveling through our state as they stop off at the Ardmore Welcome Center during the day of celebration. The tourism partners promote their attractions and hotels with discounted offers, their restaurants with food samples and coupons and their destinations with promotional items. We will have entertainment, free cake and soft drinks, ice cream and a whole lot of fun!
Don’t be left out; come by the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Office & Visitor Center to learn more about the many activities we have to offer this summer.
For more information on events, outdoor activities, restaurants, hotels and attractions go to www.VisitAthensAL.com or call 256-232-5411.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association
100 Beaty Street, Athens, Al 35611