Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Scottsboro, AL

  • Published 2022/08/05

Scottsboro, Alabama, is a small city straddled along the Mississippi River.

It’s a quaint city with a lot to offer.

Notably, the town’s claim to fame is the location of the country’s only unclaimed baggage center.

However, Scottsboro offers a lot of nature and water views.

It is also a town rooted in rich history, a key location in the establishment of the Alabama Civil Rights movement dating back to the 1930s.

Scottsboro is also famed for Trade Day, which started as a “Horse Swapper Day” event in 1902.

Since then, Trade Day has become a Scottsboro tradition, setting up a market with multiple local vendors every first weekend.

You’ll find many things to do in this quiet little city rich in history and nature.

Here are the best things to do in Scottsboro, Alabama.

Find a Unique Item at Unclaimed Baggage

Probably Scottsboro’s most popular destination, the Unclaimed Baggage Center is the largest and only one of its kind in the entire country.

They essentially sell baggage contents from airports that have remained unclaimed for an extended period.

The concept for the store started when owner Doyle Owens went to Washington D.C. to purchase his first unclaimed baggage.

After more than 50 years, the Unclaimed Baggage Center has evolved into a quirky retail juggernaut.

You’ll find a hidden gem or a great deal when you visit the store.

Score anything from a whole new outfit, cute knick-knacks, or even designer goods!

Learn the Story of the Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center

Opened in 2010, the museum commemorates the lives of nine African-American boys who suffered racist injustice in the 1930s.

The museum celebrates the promotion of Alabama’s Civil Rights movement and those who took a stand and became allies against racial discrimination.

Located in the historic Joyce Chapel, the museum contains photos, documentation, and memorabilia.

These items tell the story of these young men and how they have stood up against the tyranny imposed on them.

Visiting the Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center should tell the area’s story and how past events shaped Alabama into its current form.

Go Camping at Jackson County Park

Jackson County Park sits along the cusp of the Tennessee River, offering locals and visitors an outdoor experience on land and water.

You can rent a cabin during your stay or pitch a tent and rent out your space on the campgrounds.

There’s also lots of outdoor recreation.

Take advantage of the park’s proximity to the river and rent a boat to explore the waters.

Try fishing and see if you can land a big catch.

On land, you can walk or jog along the walking trail sprawled out on the grounds.

You can also set up your areas for your meals and picnics.

Likewise, you can even set up a grill and cook the fish you caught for dinner.

You’ll have a wonderful time in the great outdoors at Jackson County Park.

Learn Local History at the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center

Opened in 1985, the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center is a museum dedicated to preserving the culture, customs, and traditions of Jackson County.

The museum contains four main exhibit areas: the Brown-Procter House, the Addition, the Little Courthouse, and the Sagetown pioneer village.

The Brown-Procter House features renovated artifacts from the original residence built in 1881.

On the other hand, Sagetown is a recreation of an old pioneer village that depicts rural life in the 19th century.

The Little Courthouse contains a collection of essential documents showcasing the earliest records in the county.

The documents are also free to access for those conducting research and studies on the area.

In addition, the center also features various art exhibits that rotate throughout the year.

Visiting the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center will educate you about the area’s past and Alabama’s rich history and culture.

Observe the Animals at Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge

Located west of the city, the Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge is a 264-acre preserve dedicated to caring for endangered species of local bats.

The preserve maintains the natural habitat of the Gray and Indiana bats; around 400,000 of them live on-site.

Visitors can check out the caves and see these bats in their natural habitat.

You will need to hike a few yards from the parking entrance to reach the central area of the caves.

It will take some effort to get to the caves, so bring lots of water, wear comfortable shoes, and put on insect repellent.

However, the hike is worth it when you see the beauty of the caves and the endangered bats.

Spend the day at the Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge!

Have a Delicious Seafood Dinner at the Docks Restaurant

The Docks Restaurant offers a beautiful dining experience in Scottsboro.

You can enjoy fresh seafood caught in nearby waters while enjoying the beautiful waterfront view of the Mississippi River.

The Docks Restaurant offers some of the best Southern favorites, fresh seafood, and steaks.

Order their signature dish, shrimp and grits, made from jumbo shrimp caught from the Gulf and stone-ground grits from Falls Mill.

They also offer delectable mains such as Alaskan snow crab legs and slow-roasted prime rib.

End your meal with yummy homemade desserts, like key lime pie or decadent chocolate creations.

Enjoy your delicious meal overlooking picturesque Alabama sunsets at the Docks!

Grab a Classic Soda at Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain

Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain is the oldest soda shop in Alabama, which opened in 1891.

Likewise, Payne’s started out as a pharmacy in 1869.

Since then, it has operated in its current location for over 150 years.

Located in downtown Scottsboro, the restaurant will send you back in time, decked out in old-school diner style.

Try their delicious sandwiches, from classic Reubens to hot dog sandwiches.

Pair your sandwiches with a sweet treat from their soda and dessert menu, from banana split sundaes to thick and delicious milkshakes.

Drop by Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain and treat your tummy to a classic meal that stands the test of time.

Enjoy a Homemade Special Lunch at McCutchen’s Magnolia House

McCutchen’s Magnolia House offers a unique dining experience in Scottsboro.

The restaurant offers diners delicious Southern fare served in a beautiful, historic Victorian home built in 1890.

Order some traditional Southern favorites such as popcorn shrimp, hamburger steak, and grilled chicken, served in their Magnolia Plate style.

They also have a hot food bar containing both meat and veggie options.

Cap off your meal with delicious homemade desserts such as German chocolate, vinegar pie, and the classic Southern butter pecan pie.

Have a great meal in beautiful Victorian interiors at McCutchen’s Magnolia House.

Enjoy a Fun Time at the Goose Pond Colony Resort

With sprawling views of Lake Guntersville and the nearby Cumberland mountains, Goose Pond Colony Resort is a picturesque destination offering fun and excitement for the whole family.

The resort features multiple amenities fit for any activity.

Take advantage of the water, rent a boat, and cast your fishing lines.

You can also play a round of golf on the two full-size courses available: the Lake Course and the Plantation course.

There are also many options for swimming, from their pools to a beachside dip along the lake’s shores.

For accommodation, rent a classic log cabin or one of the many cottages they have available.

It’ll give you a feel of summers at camp with the fresh air wafting through your cottage rooms.

Stay at Goose Pond Colony Resort to enjoy Scottsboro’s beautiful blue waters.

Play with Lassie at Scottsboro City Dog Park

The Scottsboro City Dog Park is the perfect place to bring your furry friends and have them run around fresh patches of green.

It’s a small park that lets you have your dogs off-leash to play and explore.

The Scottsboro City Dog Park is an excellent place for dogs to interact and make friends with other pets of locals and visitors in the area.

There are areas for small and large dogs, with some obstacle courses available for the larger pups.

Small above-ground pools are available for your pets to cool off during the summers.

There are also little hoses to wash them off after a day of play.

Score New Fashion at Southern Grace Boutique

Southern Grace Boutique has served Scottsboro customers since 2014.

They offer various unique fashion finds that fit every body type and style.

Visit their store in downtown Scottsboro and browse the racks to find your next favorite piece.

They have pieces such as cute summer tops, jeans of varying cuts and flares, as well as jackets and coats for the colder months.

Apart from clothing, they also have accessories and gift items ranging from perfumes, candles, homeware, and cutlery.

Find a gift or two for friends or yourself at Southern Grace Boutique.

Walk with Beautiful Water Views at Scottsboro Municipal Park

The Scottsboro Municipal Park is an 18-acre park sprawling over the Tennessee River and Lake Guntersville.

It’s a great place to relax and take in the beautiful views of your surroundings.

You can bring your friends and family and enjoy a great day by the water.

Bring a mat and set up a picnic along the park’s grasslands.

You can also walk or jog the walking trail spanning a mile over the park’s grounds.

Dogs are welcome here; bring them along on your relaxing walk.

You can set up your fishing lines and go on the shore to fish the river waters.

Visiting the Scottsboro Municipal Park should give you time to relax and unwind before exploring other places.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Natural Marvel of Neversink Pit

Entryway of the Neversink Pit

Kendra Isbell /

Located a few miles north in neighboring Fackler, Alabama, Neversink Pit is a natural geological marvel.

It’s 17 minutes from Scottsboro.

Neversink Pit features a 40-feet wide gap, opening up to a 162-feet drop.

The pit drop features beautiful rock formations on its walls, waterfalls in the warmer months, and strips of ice sheets in the colder months.

View from inside the Neversink Pit

Kendra Isbell /

The state acquired the pit in 1995.

Today, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy actively preserves the site.

It’s a challenge to rappel down and traverse the bottomless pit and rocks below.

However, it’s worth the sweat once you see the heavenly views as you look up and see the light streaming into the hole.

Learn Cultural History at Guntersville Museum

Exterior of the Guntersville Museum

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Guntersville, Alabama, the Guntersville Museum is free and open to the public.

It’s a repository on the history of Northern Alabama.

Likewise, it’s 34 minutes from Scottsboro.

Built in 1936, the museum building was once a military armory during World War II.

The museum houses artifacts and memorabilia on Guntersville’s past, including the armory’s history during its active years.

The museum also has a Native American exhibit highlighting the history of the indigenous people who occupied the area in its early days.

There are also multiple visual art exhibits and a 1920s collection of Bessie Rayburn Samuel’s native birds.

Visit the Guntersville Museum for deeper cultural immersion in Alabama.

Hike to the Scenic Stephen’s Gap Callahan Cave Preserve

Stephen’s Gap Callahan Cave Preserve is a gem and should not be missed when visiting Scottsboro.

The cave features a 143-feet bottomless pit, going down to showcase a scenic waterfall and beautiful limestone formations discovered in the 1950s.

You can find it in Woodville, Alabama, 16 minutes from Scottsboro.

There are two options to enter the cave.

First, go through the walking trail on the ground.

Then, try rappelling straight down, plunging into the waters from a hundred feet.

Reaching the cave is challenging, the hike traversing rocky and muddy trails with varying difficulty levels.

However, the journey is worth it once you get to the zenith.

See the fantastic piece of nature that is Stephen’s Gap Callahan Cave Preserve.

Final Thoughts

Scottsboro is a small town with lots to offer to visitors.

From rich history to picturesque nature views of waters and countryside, Scottsboro has something for everyone.

Book a trip and discover the things to do in Scottsboro, Alabama.

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