Wetumpka in Elmore County in Alabama is locally known as the “City of Natural Beauty."
However, for moviegoers and film enthusiasts, it’s widely known as the town of Ashton in the 2003 film Big Fish.
Located north of Montgomery, this small community with 5,000 inhabitants thrives on its adjacent Coosa River.
It may not be as popular as other tourist destinations in Alabama.
However, this small city boasts gorgeous landscapes, rich culture, and history that can be traced to many centuries back.
Wetumpka is an ideal destination for a quick vacation or a weekend getaway from a visitor’s perspective.
Its calming atmosphere and laid-back vibes are perfect for those who want to take a break from their busy city life.
Another reason to visit Wetumpka is its numerous museums and historical landmarks found throughout the city.
These are a few of the many things you will discover in this hidden gem in Alabama.
So, here are the 15 best things to do in Wetumpka, Alabama, as a teaser before you head there:
Enjoy Waterborne Activities on the Coosa River
Your visit to Wetumpka won’t be complete without kayaking or canoeing on the Coosa River.
Coosa River is teeming with various waterborne activities that you and your loved ones will surely enjoy.
If you're eager to do canoeing or kayaking on the Coosa River, rent watercraft at the Coosa River Adventures along Company St.
This family-owned company in Wetumpka has been running since 1995, making them one of the most trusted rentals in the city.
Coosa River is a great place to enjoy the sceneries of Wetumpka by paddling your way through its calm waters.
Browse through the Dixie Art Colony Foundation
The Dixie Art Colony Foundation situated along Hill St. in Wetumpka is the collaboration of various local and regional artists to establish a wonderful art gallery.
Its main goal is further to emphasize the documentation, preservation, and research of Central Alabama’s unique art culture of the Dixie Art colony.
Of course, the Dixie Art Colony Foundation is a must-visit place upon arriving in Wetumpka.
Be amazed at its vast collection of artworks, photos, historical items, scrapbooks, and other American original artworks from various artists from the past and present.
If you’re eager to learn more about Wetumpka’s vibrant culture and arts, the Dixie Art Colony Foundation is one of the best places to drop by.
Chill at the Gold Star Park
The Gold Star Park situated along S. Main St. is another gorgeous location in Wetumpka to enjoy various outdoor activities.
It’s an excellent place to hang out and chill with your loved ones or perhaps enjoy its natural beauty and do outdoor activities such as frisbee, hiking, boating, or playing at its playground.
If your purpose is to unwind, the place is perfect for having a picnic and enjoying its picturesque scenery.
Originally, Gold Star Park was designed by the City of Wetumpka to provide locals with a location for outdoor recreation.
Thus, it’s situated near the Coosa River while encompassing various habitats—riverbanks, forest, and bird habitat.
In addition, Gold Star Park is also an excellent location for birdwatching and getting a glimpse of Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Chickadees, and various species of woodpeckers.
So, when you’re in Wetumpka, don’t miss visiting Gold Star Park if you want a fun-filled outdoor experience.
Have Fun at the Skate Zone 2000
The Skate Zone 2000 along Red Eagle Parkway is a retro skating rink that opened in 1999 and remains a popular entertainment establishment in Wetumpka today.
If you’re a fan of indoor roller skating, this is the best place in the city you should check out.
Its wholesome environment is perfect for your loved ones to enjoy, especially its lively atmosphere from the background music you'll hear while skating around the rink.
People of all ages can skate here and have a blast.
Check Out the Wetumpka Falls
Wetumpka Falls is one of the many waterfalls found in Alabama.
It has an elevation of 39 meters, and it's located near the city’s Memorial Park and Valley Brook Park.
The Wetumpka Falls may not be as trendy as other falls in Alabama, but it sure is a worthy place to check out because of its scenic beauty that many have not yet witnessed.
Getting to the Wetumpka Falls is relatively easy.
All you need is to hike through either Memorial Park or Valley Brook Park and follow the sound of the crashing waters.
Upon arriving, make sure to snap as many photos as you can for your souvenir while you’re in Wetumpka.
Visit the Wetumpka Impact Crater Marker
The Wetumpka Impact Crater Marker is one of the historical landmarks in the city that has a unique backstory dating back to the prehistoric age.
Around 84 million years ago, Wetumpka was hit by a meteor the size of 335 meters or 1,100 feet in diameter.
Its impact caused significant damage in Alabama, with force equivalent to 175,000 bombs.
Today, the landscape and terrain of Wetumpka have something to do with the impact, and to commemorate this terrifying event that happened more than a hundred million years ago, a historical marker was placed by Wetumpka.
It’s an astonishing place to visit and re-imagine what happened on that fateful day when the meteor hit Wetumpka.
Take a Step Back in Time at the Fort Toulouse-Jackson Park
The Fort Toulouse-Jackson Park situated along W. Fort Toulouse Road is an excellent place to learn the history of Wetumpka, which spans more than 6,000 years.
This park is also one of the most visited attractions in Wetumpka, not just for history but for its natural and beautiful landscape.
The entire park covers 165 acres, and it’s open for the rest of the year for all visitors.
While you’re there, don’t miss checking out the French and American fort called the “Mississippian Indian Mound,” or try visiting numerous historic trails and museums in the park.
These historical sites and museums have archaeological items from the early American, prehistoric Indian, and French Colonial periods.
In addition, the park has a camping ground where you can spend the night and enjoy various outdoor activities at the Coosa River.
Cross the Bibb Graves Bridge
The Bibb Graves Bridge is well-known for its multi-span arching architecture, which is unique in Alabama.
It’s also one of the top historic bridges you can cross in Alabama, making it a must-visit place in Wetumpka.
Today, the bridge is still passable to various types of vehicles amidst the ASR cracking visible on the surface.
Visiting this bridge offers you another opportunity to take photos as your souvenir while you’re in Wetumpka.
The bridge constructed back in the 1930s crosses the Coosa River and connects the two sites of Wetumpka.
It was named after Alabama’s former governor Bibb Graves, and it became popular for being on the movie “Big Fish” in 2003.
Try Your Luck at the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka
The elegant Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka along River Oaks Drive is the premier entertainment establishment in the city that opened in 2014.
It boasts an elegant facility and hotel similar to those in Las Vegas, making it a great place to visit to have quality leisure time with your loved ones or by yourself.
In addition, the casino has more than 2,000 modern machines and around a hundred tables featuring various card games.
The hotel has five-star vibes, making it an excellent place to stay during your visit to Wetumpka.
Overall, the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka is one of the few places in the city that offers many indoor activities and entertainment that you shouldn’t miss checking out.
Do Outdoor Activities at the Corn Creek Park
Corn Creek Park is another outdoor attraction in Wetumpka that has a densely wooded area along the Coosa River banks.
This 7-acre community park is a popular destination for locals who want to play sports and have a picnic.
Like most parks, it has the usual amenities that make it convenient to visit.
If you’re looking for more outdoor activities to enjoy in Wetumpka, Corn Creek Park is an ideal place to do this.
Despite having a densely wooded area, the park still has a vast open space perfect for outdoor activities and picnics.
It may not be as popular as the Gold Star Park, but it certainly provides you and your loved ones an excellent location to have a picnic and do outdoor activities.
Walk through the Fascinating Exhibits of the Elmore County Black History Museum
The Elmore County Museum along S. Main Street is the local museum in Wetumpka that is worth visiting if you want to learn about the city’s history, especially African American history.
The museum was the former Rosenwald School, which catered to African American students in the early 1900s.
In 1986, the school was converted into the museum it is today.
Its exhibits feature a wide array of artifacts and memorabilia of African American history and the French-American colony in Alabama.
In addition, the museum also serves as a research repository that aims to collect and preserve items and materials that hold relevance to the county’s history.
Appreciate Arts at the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery
The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery along Company St. is a charming art gallery run by volunteers since 2011.
This art gallery also serves as a museum featuring artworks from Kelly Fitzpatrick and local and regional artists.
It’s a nice place to visit if you’re an art enthusiast where you’ll further appreciate various artworks that you won’t find anywhere else.
Aside from admiring the featured artworks, the gallery also has numerous art-related events that you can catch for free admission.
Identify Exotic Flowers and Plants at the William Bartram Arboretum
If you want to have a unique experience during your visit to Wetumpka, spend some time at the William Bartram Arboretum situated along Fort Toulouse Road.
The arboretum operated by the Alabama Historical Commission is part of the Fort Toulouse-Jackson Park adjacent to the Coosa River.
Whether you’re a plant enthusiast or a simple tourist, it is a charming place to visit and appreciate its natural beauty.
It has numerous wildflower fields, gardens, forests, and greenhouses that feature a wide array of exotic and native flora in Alabama.
Historically, the arboretum was named after William Bartram, an 18th-century naturalist who studied flora and fauna in Wetumpka and Alabama.
This place offers visitors a tranquil experience worth every minute spent there.
Hike Through the Swayback Trails
The Swayback Trails situated along Jordan Dam Road in Wetumpka is a popular hiking destination for locals and visitors in the city.
The entire trail stretches 7.4-kilometers out and back, making it a nice place to sweat out and discover the forested area of Wetumpka.
It’s a must-visit place in Wetumpka for those who want to breathe fresh air and clear their heads by enjoying a hike through its peaceful environment.
In addition, the trail has no admission fee, so there are more reasons for you to hike in Swayback Trails.
Moreover, it’s a nice place to bond with your loved ones by hiking the trail or going for a solo hike to enjoy nature.
Aside from hiking, the Swayback Trails is also a popular place for off-road running and mountain biking.
Attend Activities at the Wetumpka Civic Center
The Wetumpka Civic Center along South Main Street is one of the main venues for most events happening in the city.
This place is worth checking out if you want to witness how locals in Wetumpka celebrate birthdays, weddings, and other local activities.
Chances are, you might even get invited to these celebrations and be able to meet locals when you visit there.
If you’re looking for a suitable venue to rent for your function while you’re in Wetumpka, this place has an elegant and clean environment.
After reading this post, it's safe to say that Wetumpka has more to offer than being a set of a Hollywood movie.
Its attractions and activities are perfect for those who want a short excursion while history buffs will surely learn many fascinating things in this city.
Overall, Wetumpka is a fantastic alternative to other tourist destinations in Alabama since it's just a half an hour drive to Montgomery.
Lastly, make sure to bookmark this post if you’re looking for an instant itinerary for your visit to Wetumpka!