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{AL Bucket List} Chewacla State Park

{AL Bucket List} Chewacla State Park

Written by: Bradley Jean

Growing up, I visited Chewacla pretty regular, due to the fact it was only 10 minutes from my house. Mother would pack a picnic, maybe a few towels and extra clothes and off I went with my brother and sister. It was easy and simple and not a big fuss to get going. Chewacla is a smaller state park than most, but this is what makes it so great. Simplicity mixed with great adventure!

Chewacla is a located just off I85 in Auburn, AL. Whether you need a pit-stop for the kids or want to spend the day or campout, Chewacla will not disappoint.

Living 30 minutes from Chewacla, we began our adventure just after lunch on a Thursday. I packed a simple bag with beach towels and a few snacks and drinks for the trip back home. It was the perfect day to go because there was no one there. I’m betting the weekends are much busier.

Another great bonus to Chewacla is it’s easy in, easy out access. From the front entrance to the top of the hill to visit the waterfall is less than 5 minutes. We quickly payed our entrance fee of $8 total and drove up to the top.

The short drive up is a beautiful canopy of tall, luscious trees. We roll our windows down and the kids are gitty with their heads out the window and smiles in the wind.

We arrive to an open green space atop a small mountain. The kids jump out, no time to waste when on the hunt for something new.

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The trail to the waterfall is easy to find and an easy stroll down hill. You can hear the gushing falls among the shade trees. My children are fast and there is no walking involved except by me. They scurry down the hill in less than 2 minutes, dodging large roots and swinging on tree limbs. I have always admired the way they own every space they come into. No holding back, taking it all in and living in the moment.

When we arrive at the bottom, we stop in our tracks at the beauty all around us. We have found a tropical oasis on the outskirts of our little town. Towering trees, rocks and beautiful rushing falls into pools and pools of fresh water. My kids’ shoes are off in seconds and in true Sissy fashion, I quickly spot my daughter in her bathing suit wading into the water.

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It’s a sight to see and a playground fit for anyone. Sissy and Shep jump and skip from rock to rock in search of the perfect space to explore and play. I follow behind, to enjoy their delight and make sure they don’t turn into daredevils, which usually ends up happening at some point.

We played at the falls for well over an hour, and they still didn’t want to leave. Sissy actually climbed into the falls and my heart was a nervous wreck. I watched as she maneuvered her little body on the rocks, water pouring all around her. She loved it. She is an adventurous girl, learning to be in her skin and embracing the wonder inside herself.

They found small pools of water among the rocks to splash and play. They love this as it is their own personal whirlpool or cool jacuzzi.

The rocks at the waterfall are everywhere. Big boulders as well as small steppingstones. My kids love this part, walking and skipping and jumping and finding the perfect spot to perch and play. They don’t stay still for long, they find holes and hideouts, sharing with each other the spaces they find.

My kids could stay here for hours. Next time, I’m bringing a book and basket full of snacks. It is the perfect playground, and absolutely beautiful.

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Our next stop after the falls was the actual playground. I’m pretty sure my kids will never outgrow a playground. They are like little monkeys. They have to see and touch every little piece and find out all it’s fun for themselves. This is a vintage park, a special straight from the 70’s. There are picnic tables everywhere and an excellent view of the swimming lake, which is in walking distance.

After a good 20 minutes at the playground, I coaxed them towards the lake for a swim.

We walked over a wooden bridge and arrived lakeside within seconds. The lake was empty and still, but that didn’t last long. Sissy dove right in and quickly swam her way to the diving platform.

They have a high-dive here that I’m guessing also dates back to the 60’s or 70’s. Sissy shimmied up, took a good long look and then jumped off.

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It’s very clean at Chewacla and the lake felt so good after our journey to the waterfall. Shep is forever cautious around water, but he eventually wiggled in, life jacket on. And low and behold, this kid amazed me and jumped off the high-dive. I could not believe it. One and done for him. He will do practically anything his sister tells him.

Another bonus to Chewacla, especially to adults and older children, are the bike paths. The park has worked hard the past few years to develop and grow this unique style of fun. Wooden paths, ramps and cycling through the forest are great for outdoor activities. My older kids have been often with their cousins and absolutely love it.

What makes Chewacla so great is it is fit for any age groups of children, babies to teenagers. All the fun and activities are accessible by car, with short, easy walks. All of the property is clean and well kept with plenty of picnic space. Campsites are well kept and Chewacla also has a small selection of Cabins.

Shep loved his first trip and the kids have already asked when we are going back. Next time, I’m planning to pack up food to grill out with the Farmer and Braxton. Chewacla is our own secret garden, away from the busy everyday life of parenting. Take time this Summer to make a trip, your kids will thank you for it!

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