If you’re like most people – maybe still working but already dreaming of the day you’ll retire – you probably imagine quiet days with no schedule, no demands, and no responsibilities. But before you start making plans to move where there’s literally nothing to occupy your time, consider this: Kids get bored quickly.
That’s right, kids. Maybe you don’t have grandkids yet. Or maybe they’re still young enough to be easily entertained. But once they reach a certain age, you’re going to wish you had plenty of things nearby to occupy and entertain them. That’s what makes Cherokee County, Alabama, such an ideal retirement destination.
In addition to offering you the “off-the-grid” feeling of living in a friendly, rural community, you won’t be far from the things that will keep your grandkids begging to come for a visit:
● Pirates’ Bay Water Park in Leesburg offers a thrilling way to keep cool in those hot summer months. The kids can choose from tube slides, body slides, a water house, a splash pad, and even miniature golf and zip-lining. Of course, adults are also welcome to join in the fun.
● Enjoy an old-school drive-in theater experience at the 411 Twin Drive In. It’ll give the kids an idea of what movies were like back in our day and give everyone a chance to have a cool cinematic experience nearby.
● Weiss Lake is rated as one of Alabama’s top fisheries, best known for its excellent crappie fishing. But one of the lake’s best kept secrets is its tremendous bass fishing. Spend the day with the grandkids fishing for large-mouth and spotted bass any time of the year—all in water as shallow as inches to as deep as 30 feet. Bring heavy tackle, too, because Weiss offers rocks, stumps, ledges, and other habitats that let the bass grow BIG! In fact, striped bass weighing in at more than 25 pounds are caught regularly, so hold on for the fight of a lifetime.
● Terrapin Creek is a Class l-ll recreational stream that’s a great place for family friendly canoeing and kayaking experiences on more than 50 feet wide of floatable water. It’s also a great place for both fly fishing and bass fishing, including spotted, largemouth, and redeye. Local outfitters like Redneck Yacht Club make it easy to spend the afternoon on the creek without investing in – or hauling – a lot of equipment.
● Hiking and rock climbing are probably some of the easiest activities to find in Cherokee County. The Little River Canyon National Preserve offers a range of peaceful and challenging recreational opportunities including world-class whitewater paddling and exceptional climbing opportunities. Other grandkid-approved activities include hiking, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and flatwater paddling.
Adventure seekers and history buffs alike will also love Cherokee Rock Village. This 250-acre park features enormous boulders of limestone and quartz rising to 200 feet and measuring a whopping 70 feet wide in some places. From around 8000 B.C. until the Cherokee Indian Removal in 1838, Native Americans lived on this hallowed ground. Today, the park boasts natural arches, mountain springs, and gorgeous walking trails perfect for avid outdoorsmen of all ages!
● For those days when the weather won’t allow for outdoor activities, consider visiting one of Cherokee County’s many historic spots and museums (just don’t tell the kids it’s educational!). Stop by the Cornwall Furnace, which was the first cold blast furnace in the country to be powered by water. Or visit the Cherokee County Historical Museum to see one of the largest “Trail of Tears” exhibits in north Alabama.
Your retirement home should be everything you want it to be – relaxing, comfortable, and inviting. But why not choose a location the grandkids can appreciate too? Whether they call you Grandma, Meemaw, Granny or LoLo (that one’s mine!), just make sure they keep calling… and coming for a visit.