Day by day it seems that Tuscaloosa is growing with new restaurants and shops. Making plans is getting easier and easier with so many exciting businesses and activities that fill our community. Bored of your usual mundane weekend plans? Fear not, because below are just a few of some of the newest businesses in town that could very well be your next favorite!

This Tuscaloosa newbie has some of the best cut for their tenders. From the outset, 100% all-natural premium tenderloins have been the building block for the entire menu. The Grocery’s time-tested recipe has become a household favorite, locking in flavor with southern-style buttermilk marinade, and lightly breaded by hand with every order. The Grocery also features 24 rotating craft beer taps, premium wines, house-made cocktails and delicious southern street-style food. 


2230 University Boulevard Tuscaloosa, AL
Monday – Saturday 11am-2am
Sunday 11am-10pm

Walk-On’s is a place where over-the-top enthusiasm and culture are the daily norm. What sets them apart is their authentic, mouthwatering Louisiana cuisine prepared fresh and from scratch in the kitchen. And whether you’re there for dinner with the family, date night, cocktails with the girls, or to watch a game on the big screen, they’re always happy to share that Louisiana culture with us through their indescribable cooking. 


675 Skyland Blvd E, Tuscaloosa, AL 
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11 am- 11 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11 am- 12 am

This particular restaurant and bar celebrate the past decades of music and memories. The menu consists of incredible pizza, fresh sandwiches, and several appetizers. Once you step foot through the door of Decades it feels like you are walking through influential and classic periods of time when music was beyond iconic.

2314 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11 am- 11 pm
Friday, Saturday: 11 am- 1 am
Sunday: 11 am- 4 pm

Who would have thought Tuscaloosa Glamping would ever exist?! It’s just like camping, but with a little glamour in the details. But it doesn’t stop there. You can add-on air conditioning, gourmet s’mores, inflatable paddleboards, and even have your furry friend join you on the adventure! There are a couple of different levels to glamping, sometimes it is a simple sitting at a campsite admiring the fire. Other levels include the addition of amenities like a comfortable platform bed with memory foam mattress, tastefully appointed linens and decor, and more! ​
 

tuscaloosaglampingco@gmail.com
205.861.6086

The trend of house plants has taken over, and we’re not mad about it. That’s why House Plant Collective is off to a grand start… because who doesn’t like plants? If you are the minority that doesn’t like plants, they also have pots, baskets, gifts, and accessories! This business initially began by selling online, but then HPC shifted into pop-up events in a converted school bus. By the end of 2020, it was expanded into a brick-and-mortar store for all of us to enjoy!

410 Queen City Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL
Monday-Saturday: 11am-6pm
Sunday: 12pm-5pm

Magnolia Soap & Bath has plant based ingredients in every recipe and can appeal to everyone in your family! Their bath products range from soaps, shower steamers, bath bombs, body butter, scrub, and shower oils. As if that’s not enough, they also sell products for the home, pet care, and accessories. Even the men have their fair share of high-quality products like beard oil, beard balm, deodorant, beard comb, and a variety of soaps with more masculine scents like mechanic, woodsman, and tobacco bay leaf just to name a few. You don’t want to miss out on all this store has to offer! 


 1800 McFarland Blvd. E, SUITE 216 Tuscaloosa, AL 
Monday – Friday: 11am – 4:30 pm

Whether you’re looking to explore the outdoors or simply need an activity that allows for safe social distancing, Tuscaloosa is a hidden gem, especially as we work our way through the summer and come upon a beautiful fall season.  If you’re planning a trip to Tuscaloosa, we encourage you to check out the many local trails within our community.  To help, we’ve identified a few uniquely local top picks below!

We’d love for you to tag @VisitTuscaloosa in any photos you take when you’re here!

Lake Lurleen is a favorite of locals looking for relaxation and recreation alike! The park’s trails are open to hikers and mountain bikers, and the park offers 91 campsites for those looking for an extended stay. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, the park also boasts fishing, swimming, boating, and a beach. Whether it’s walking your dog along the shoreline or renting a kayak, Lake Lurleen truly has something for everyone!

About 20 minutes from Tuscaloosa lies another paradise for those looking to enjoy the outdoors: Lake Nicol. This local favorite offers a chance to get off the beaten path and explore the wonder of mother nature. The many species of birds that call the area home make for excellent birdwatching. Visitors also enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and picnicking on the shore.

Hurricane Creek has been an important part of the Tuscaloosa community for decades. In fact, the park’s popular Eagle Scout Trail was planned and blazed by local scouts. Explore this local favorite by canoeing down the creek, traversing the park’s biking and hiking trails, or simply taking in the native plants and wildlife. 

Located just 10 minutes east of The University of Alabama campus, the Arboretum has grown to become a perfect spot for an outdoor getaway.  Dozens of native and non-native trees provide a nice shade to enjoy the nearly 60 acres of land, situated in the heart of Tuscaloosa.  It’s also located adjacent to the former University golf course and VA Center.

Munny Sokol Park trails offer over 11 miles of trails where the locals enjoy running, walking, or mountain biking. Located a short drive from downtown Tuscaloosa, Sokol Park offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options, where dogs are also allowed but must be kept on a leash. This park also contains a brand new all-inclusive playground so kids of all ages and abilities can enjoy Sokol. 

The Riverwalk is perfect for those who don’t want a strenuous hike. This is an excellent paved trail located along the southern bank of the Black Warrior River near Downtown Tuscaloosa.  The pathway has plenty of benches, gazebos and hammock-friendly trees for quick breaks and picnics. and offers a playground near River and Another Broken Egg, and a splash pad near the old Bama Belle dock. The trail is well lit.

We get it – summer in the South is hot and humid!  But, you’re in luck if you live in the area or are visiting!  If you’re looking to take a dip outside of your normal community pool, we invite you to “beat the heat” with these seven swimming holes in the Tuscaloosa area!  One of the greatest assets of our area is that it’s home to many secret and not-so-secret swimming spots that have you feeling like you’ve entered an oasis in your own backyard.

Be sure to tag @VisitTuscaloosa in any photos you take when you’re having fun at these local gems.

 

  1. Hurricane Creek

Hurricane Creek Park, located on Highway 216, is a local favorite for cooling down in Tuscaloosa’s scorching sun. Hurricane Creek Park is open to the public from dawn to dusk. This spot is a wonderful place to explore native plants and aquatic wildlife, or spend time enjoying nature and soaking up the sun with friends and family! Visitors are encouraged to wear rubber-soled shoes so that they will not slip on the shale which exists along part of the stream. The water is usually deep enough to do some serious swimming if you’re up for it! If not, there is a shallow, flat end to sit, relax, and unwind!

 

  1. The Cliffs at Lake Nicol

Beyond the Lake Nicol Spillway near North River lies The Cliffs at Lake Nicol. This lake is relatively small, but packs a big punch when it comes to fun in the sun and aquatic activities! While its swimming holes are a crowd-pleaser, Lake Nicol is also known as a great beginner’s spot for those who want to canoe or paddleboard and is exceptional for bird watchers. Beware, this location is called “The Cliffs” for a reason, but do not get too caught up in the lure of thrilling excitement. There is a $500 fine for those who take their chances and jump off of Lake Nicol’s cliffs. Plus, this is extremely unsafe, so you’re better off wading in the beautiful waters!

 

  1. Lake Lurleen State Park

Lake Lurleen is a Tuscaloosa icon for its camp grounds, hiking trails, and fishing spots, but it is also home to a perfect sandy lakefront beach! Beat the heat when you head over to its waterfront to have a relaxing day on the “beach”! Lake Lurleen’s swimming spots are open from 7 am to 9 pm every day and offer small boat rentals for a minimal cost.  Admission to the state park is $3 per adult or $1 for children and seniors (children under age 6 admitted free).

 

  1. Lake Harris

Lake Harris has been a famous swimming spot for University of Alabama students for decades, and for a great reason! Hosting high cliffs, two dams, hiking trails, a beach, and lots of water to swim, you’ll never get bored of this Tuscaloosa hotspot! Lake Harris is a tranquil place to relax, swim with friends, and enjoy a sunset picnic. The swimming area is open one hour prior to sunrise and an hour after sunset. This is a spot that has something for everyone!

 

  1. Lake Tuscaloosa

By now, we all know that Lake Tuscaloosa is a hotbed for fun outdoor activities! Surrounded by hills and southern pines, Lake Tuscaloosa is a scenic spot to lay out and sunbathe, relax on a boat with friends and family, or to paddleboard the afternoon away. While this lake is popular with boats and watercraft, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the water on your own! Or if you are feeling adventurous, and have your boating license, you can rent a pontoon boat to take on the open waters! Pier 43 on Lake Tuscaloosa has various boats to choose from to make sure you have the best fit for your sun-filled day!

 

  1. The Harrison Taylor Splash Pad

While the Harrison Taylor Splash Pad is not a nature-filled natural swimming hole, it is still an outdoor aquatic adventure for your little ones! The splash pad offers many water devices to keep your kids cool and entertained while the heat is high! Staying out of the sun is also a convenience thanks to the many shaded pavilions surrounding the Harrison Taylor Splash Pad. The park is open from Noon – 5 p.m. six days a week and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Grab a cooler and head on over!  Daily user fee is $5 per person and under 2 is free.

 

  1. UA Arboretum

We can’t forget our furry friends when the heat starts to rise! Puppies deserve to cool off too and the University of Alabama Arboretum is the perfect spot for you and your pup! Before Tuscaloosa’s official dog park opened, UA’s Arboretum served residents dogs looking to burn off some extra energy. The pond, located a short walk from the entrance, still serves as an unofficial dog park of sorts.  You can often find several dogs and their owners staying cool in the water and playing fetch by the pond’s side!  As always, we ask that you pick up after your pups to help keep the area clean!

Sometimes you want to take a dip outside of your normal community pool that is, oftentimes than not, swarmed with others who have the same “beat the heat” ideas like you! Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area are home to many secret and not-so-secret swimming spots that will make you feel like you’ve escaped the kiddie pool area and entered an oasis in your own backyard! Here are 8 of the best swimming spots in the Tuscaloosa area:

 

  1. Hurricane Creek 
Hurricane Creek Park located on Highway 216 is a local favorite for cooling down in Tuscaloosa’s scorching sun. Hurricane Creek Park is open to the public from dawn to dusk. This spot is a wonderful place to explore native plants and aquatic wildlife, or spend time enjoying nature and soaking up the sun with friends and family! Visitors are encouraged to wear rubber-soled shoes so that they will not slip on the shale which exists along part of the stream. The water is usually deep enough to do some serious swimming if you’re up for it! If not, there is a shallow, flat end to sit, relax, and unwind!

 

  1. The Cliffs at Lake Nicol
Beyond the Lake Nicol Spillway near North River lies The Cliffs at Lake Nicol. This lake is relatively small, but packs a big punch when it comes to fun in the sun and aquatic activities! While its swimming holes are a crowd-pleaser, Lake Nicol is also known as a great beginner’s spot for those who want to canoe. Beware, this location is called “The Cliffs” for a reason, but do not get too caught up in the lure of thrilling excitement. There is a $500 fine for those who take their chances and jump off of Lake Nicol’s cliffs. Plus, this is extremely unsafe, so you’re better off wading in the waters with the rest of the smarty-pants!

 

  1. Payne Lake
Payne Lake is one of the lesser-known isolated gems of Tuscaloosa. Located off County Road 71, Payne Lake offers a perfect shallow swimming spot that is perfect for water activities and picnicking. While this location is one of the few that is a little bit of a drive from the heart of Tuscaloosa, escaping the city can come with its perks! Tucked conveniently within the Talledega National Forest, Payne Lake is the picture-perfect campground scene with its tranquil waters, boating, and fishing activities. We promise this swimming spot is worth the drive! Wake up early to pack a lunch and head on out to make a full day out of Payne Lake!

 

  1. Lake Lurleen State Park
Lake Lurleen is a Tuscaloosa icon for its hiking trails and fishing spots, but it also is home to a perfect sandy lakefront beach! Beat the heat when you head over to its waterfront to have a relaxing day on the “beach”! Lake Lurleen’s swimming spots are open from 7 am to 9 pm every day so you can be ready for the heatwave all day! Admission to the state park is $3 per adult/$1 for children and seniors (children under age 6 admitted free)

 

  1. Lake Harris
Lake Harris has been a famous swimming spot for University of Alabama students for decades, and for a great reason! Hosting high cliffs, two dams, hiking trails, a beach, and lots of water to swim, you’ll never get bored of this Tuscaloosa hotspot! Lake Harris is a tranquil place to relax, swim with friends, and enjoy a sunset picnic. The swimming area is open one hour prior to sunrise and an hour after sunset. Make the most out of your sweltering day with a little swimming with friends!

 

  1. Lake Tuscaloosa
By now, we all know that Lake Tuscaloosa is a hotbed for fun outdoor activities! Surrounded by hills and southern pines, Lake Tuscaloosa is a scenic spot to lay out and sunbathe or relax on a boat with friends and family. While this lake is popular with boats and watercraft, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the water on your own! Or if you are feeling adventurous, and have your boating license, you can rent a pontoon boat of your own to take on the open waters! Pier 43 on Lake Tuscaloosa has various boats to choose from to make sure you have the best fit for your sun-filled day!

 

  1. The Harrison Taylor Splash Pad
While the Harrison Taylor Splash Pad is not a nature-filled natural swimming hole, it is still an outdoor aquatic adventure for your little ones! The splash pad offers many water devices to keep your kids cool and entertained while the heat is high! Staying out of the sun is also a convenience thanks to the many shaded pavilions surrounding the Harrison Taylor Splash Pad. The park is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m six days a week and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Grab a cooler and head on over!

 

  1. UA Arboretum
We can’t forget our furry friends when the heat starts to rise! Puppies deserve to cool off too and the University of Alabama Arboretum is the perfect spot for you and your pup to take a walk and cool off! Before Tuscaloosa’s official dog park opened, UA’s Arboretum served the area’s residents looking to burn off some extra energy. The pond, located a short walk from the entrance, still serves as an unofficial dog park of sorts, and you can often find several dogs and their owners staying cool in the water and playing fetch by the pond’s side!
Friends, food, drinks, and amazing weather! Spring has sprung and so brings the perfect picnic opportunities. Tuscaloosa is home to multiple fantastic, laid-back picnic spots and the same goes for your picnic catering needs! Whether you’re picking up some goodies for a relaxing afternoon on your back porch or finding a flat spot around town to lay out your favorite blanket, we have some great spots to check out for all of your picnic grab-and-go needs! 

 

Picnic Vibes Tuscaloosa
I bet you didn’t know you can book a professional luxury picnic planner here in Tuscaloosa! Picnic Vibes Tuscaloosa is your go-to for all of your pre-planned picnic needs. It’s as easy as choose your picnic vibe, choose your location, and show up! They have multiple packages for you to pick from that include everything from blankets, outdoor decor, place settings, food, and drinks. Wanting to spice up your afternoon? Picnic Vibes has an optional Bluetooth speaker and dessert options according to your package. This is a perfect option for a special afternoon get-together with your closest friends or for a birthday party! You can check out Picnic Vibe’s website here

 

Sage Juice Bar 
Sage Juice Bar is no stranger to fruits and veggies! Its juices and smoothies are made from 100% pressed fruits and vegetables to ensure maximum vitamins and minerals to keep your body strong and energized. You can indeed tell that juices are its specialty by the name, but Sage’s food items are just as prize-winning! Stop by during lunch to grab your goods for a nice picnic out in Tuscaloosa’s beautiful weather! There are many healthy options to choose from like a hearty wrap or a healthy grain bowl. The Riverwalk is not far from Sage’s downtown location, so you can head on over to enjoy the beautiful water and nature surrounding! Fun fact: Sage’s juice bottles and smoothie cups are 100% recyclable so not only are you enjoying a delicious drink, but you’re also one step closer to helping our environment!   

 

Cravings 
Maybe you’re going for a Happy Hour picnic vibe! Cravings is the perfect place to stop by before hitting your picnic destination. With over 150 craft beer labels and over 100 different brands of wine, Cravings will have something that will be sure to have you and your friends excited! Cravings is your one-stop-shop for deli and specialty grocery items. Breakfast is a meal enjoyed all hours of the day and thanks to Cravings, you can order New York imported bagels all day! There are also many sandwiches and salads available if breakfast for lunch/dinner is not your thing. We guarantee you won’t leave empty-handed. Fill your bag, build your own 6-pack, and head to your scenic spot to enjoy!

 

Reggae Flava 
Picnic’s don’t always have to be finger foods and sandwiches! Pick up your grab-and-go food from Reggae Flava for an extra kick to spice up your picnic experience! Reggae Flavas serves up gourmet Caribbean cuisine here in T-Town. There are plenty of options seafood and vegetarian options to pick from as well as multiple chicken wing options to ensure that there is something for everyone! Reggae Flavas is an immigrant-owned business here in town that serves up big flavors that has a winning track record amongst this community. Check out its downtown location to grab your picnic cuisine and soak up the electric atmosphere before heading to your relaxing spot! 

 

Check out these spots for your picnic day out!
Love is in the air! It’s almost Valentine’s Day- fresh flower deliveries, a fun night on the town, or maybe just a Netflix night in. Either way, we have some fun ideas for you to make sure you get the final rose this Valentine’s Day!

For the Foodies

Do you show love through food? Or maybe, you just love eating food. Well, do we have the perfect spots for you and your sweetheart to hit up this weekend! Everything from gourmet pasta to wine tasting, we got you covered! 

For the Adventurers

Are you the type of couple that can’t stand to be stuck inside? Maybe romantic candlelight dinners aren’t for you- and that’s perfectly okay! It’s always exciting to get outdoors to enjoy nature but what better way to do that than with the one you care for. And on Valentine’s Day nonetheless! Here’s what we’ve got in mind for you:

For the Singles

If you’re anything like me, you might be riding solo this Valentine’s Day. *Cue sad violin music* Hey, it’s all good! Pull the selfish card, make yourself your favorite meal, and pop on a little Netflix because this day is all about you! And let’s be honest, who loves you more than you? Here are some Valentine’s Day ideas that scream “I Am Single and I Love It”:
Whether you’re taking one for the team this year or are feeling lovey-dovey with your partner, this Valentine’s Day has opportunities for all kinds of enthusiasts. Don’t be shy! Message us on Facebook or Instagram to share with us how you spent your romantic weekend!
Written By: Olivia Nonnengard