LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - East Alabama is one of the fastest growing areas of the state. It’s home to residents of places like Auburn, Opelika, Phenix City, and Eufaula. And each one offers several opportunities for adventure!
Home to Auburn University, the city offers something for everyone from the arts to outdoor adventures.
The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art has changing exhibition galleries and beautiful grounds to explore.
The Kreher Preserve has become an increasingly popular spot during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The staff has estimated that nearly every day since mid-March, between 75 and 150 people have visited,” says Manager Michael Buckman. He adds, “That’s over 10,000 visitors in only four months, a 30 percent increase over our normal spring/summer attendance!”
Auburn’s Chewacla State Park offers nearly 700 acres to explore.
For more adventure in Auburn, check out Boggin’ on the Plains. It’s a family friendly off-road park that features trails, mud pits, rockhills and more. Owner Joseph Lee says trail riding the park offers, “mud riding, and rock climbing, live music.” It’s typically open two weekends out of the month.
Auburn’s sister city has seen a rebirth of its downtown area. “We’ve had some great entrepreneurs come here and open restaurants and stores,” explains Mayor Gary Fuller. “And we have a distillery. We have a couple of breweries, a lot of activity.”
Opelika is also home to one of the best golf courses in the nation. Grand National sits next to an upscale resort. “They spent about $4 million building a spa. And, of course, a few years ago, they spent a lot of money on the pool,” Mayor Fuller adds. “And of course, they have tennis courts, and they have pickleball courts. And of course, it’s adjacent to Grand National. Grand National is the crown jewel of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.”
You can plan your visit to either Auburn or Opelika by visiting https://www.aotourism.com/.
Phenix City sits along the Chattahoochee River near the state line with Georgia. There, you’ll find Whitewater Express, which offers the chance to explore the river by air and raft.
“We have great ziplines that go state to state. It’s whitewater rafting in an urban environment. It’s urban whitewater rafting, the largest urban whitewater rafting in the world with some,” explains owner Will Chambliss.
Ziplining gives you aerial views of the river and surrounding scenery. There are multiple ziplines, including one that stretches 1200 feet across the river.
You can also hit the water to experience some of the best rapids in the country. Whitewater Express offers experiences for each level.
Head down the Chattahoochee River and you’ll find Lake Eufaula, the ’Big Bass Capital of the World.’ The lake offers more than bass, thought. We went fishing for crappie with fishing guide Tony Adams. He says it’s about more than fishing, it’s the memories made on the water. Adam says what he really enjoys is, “bent rods and smiling faces.”
“We’ve got an unbelievable lake,” says Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs.” We’ve got a state park, we’ve got a national refuge, we’ve got a beautiful downtown, we’ve got historic, historic district in the town and some great people here some great, some great independent restaurants.”
Stay tuned! More photos and videos are coming for this story. Make sure to tune in during all our newscasts Thursday to see more of the adventures!