Top 3 things to do in Huntsville Alabama


Guest Blogger Chuck Prevatte of shares with us the 3 Things you MUST do when visiting Huntsville Alabama.

Huntsville Alabama, Rocket city U.S.A, was first settled by John Hunt in 1805. The original name of the settlement was Twickenham. In 1811 the settlement was renamed in honor of the first settler.  Since that humble beginning the city has grown along the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, to become a major city that includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command at the nearby Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville Alabama to its “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010” list.

Today, Huntsville, Alabama is one of the most recognized cities in the Southeast.  The city is consistently named as one of the best places to live and work by a variety of national publications.

 1. Visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center

When you visit Huntsville, and you really should, here are the top things you Top things to do in Huntsville Alabamamust see.  Right at the top of the list is a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket center.  If you remember Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon, or marveled at Shuttle as it flew to space you will be amazed at the sights and sounds of this space museum. Operated by the State of Alabama, the U.S. space and Rocket center is home to a vast collection of artifacts including the Saturn V Dynamic Test Vehicle which is a complete Saturn V Rocket.  The Saturn V is suspended about your head as you walk through the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.  You really get an understanding of just how complex a machine it was.  Also located at the U.S. Space and rocket Center is Space Camp and Aviation Challenge.  You can see the Camp “Trainees” working on their simulated space missions.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

2. Go to the Panoply Art Festival

Late April is a wonderful time to visit Huntsville, you can schedule your trip to match up with the second of my top three, The Panoply Arts Festival.  The Panoply Arts Festival is the Southeast’s premier arts weekend showcasing Huntsville’s innovative spark through a festival of art, music and more. Taking place the last full weekend of April each year, the festival is a family-friendly event with over 75 live performances, hands-on interactives, great food and drink, a creative play space, the World Discovery Zone and much more. Organizers feature performance groups from school choirs, churches, local musicians, and dance studios. The festival is held in Huntsville’s Big Spring International Park near the downtown area.  Bring your favorite camp chair or a blanket and enjoy the weekend of the arts.

3.  Get Outdoors at the Monte Sano State Park and visit Burritt on the Mountain Museum

For the third, I am going to give you a twofer.  So far we have been to space and seen the arts, its time to visit our nature attractions and see some local history. For a place to stay, I suggest the cabins at Monte Sano State Park.  All of these structures were built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the “New Deal Program”.  These rustic stone cabins with a 500 square foot studio layout are gems.  They come with everything you need but food.  The park even provides fire wood in the colder months. While visiting Monte Sano State Park you can play disc golf, hike and mountain bike.  Just down the road from the park is Burritt on the Mountain.  This unique museum of regional history is housed in the home of Dr. William Burritt.  His 14 room mansion built in the 1930’s has many unique features, like being insulated with over 2000 bales of hay.  The grounds are home to a collection of restored farm buildings and cabins brought to the sight from all over North Alabama. Here on top of Monte Sano Mountain you get the most spectacular views of the city of Huntsville and the Tennessee River Valley.


Chuck Prevatte is happily married father three.  Enjoys Good food, Wine Beer and Travel.  Scout leader, Scuba Diver, traveler.  He has been a guest multiple times on The Armature Traveler Podcast.  Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @chuck006.  Check out his blog at 

All content and pictures within this post has been provided by Chuck Prevatte.


This article, the Top 3 Things to do in Huntsville Alabama, is part of our Blogger’s Hometown Favorites feature, where Guest Bloggers share their local hometown travel tips and favorite local attractions.   If you’d like to share your hometown travel tips and favorite activities in a guest blog post, please email: Allison (at) FunFamily (dot) Vacations.

  1. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Madison Wisconsin
  2. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – St. Louis Missouri


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Things to do in Madison WI

Things to Do in Madison Wisconsin – Tips from a Local Blogger

Madison Wisconsin: A Capital City Paradise

Guest Blogger Michele Meier Vosberg of Life Redesign 101 shares her favorite things to do in Madison Wisconsin.

Things to do in Madison WI

Madison Capital via Rob Marquardt Creative Commons

Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, is well known as a fun, family friendly place to live or to visit.  Madison is affectionately known as “78 square miles surrounded by reality.”  Its population of 250,000 makes it large enough to boast amenities such as world class health care, museums, opera, symphony, local and Broadway theater and a variety of educational institutions. It is small enough to be home to many vibrant neighborhoods where people know their neighbors and take pride in their local cafes, parks and libraries.


Madison Wisconsin is home to many events and one of the largest Farmer’s Markets in the country

Best Farmers Market Madison WI

Madison Farmer’s Market via DMichael Burns, Creative Commons

There is no shortage of things to do in this thriving city.  The capital square is home to many events which bring food, drink and music to the blocks surrounding the iconic capital building.  Summer events such as the Art Fair on the Square, Concerts on the Square, and the Labor Day Taste of Madison bring lively crowds.  On Saturdays, the Dane County Farmers Market, one of the country’s largest farmer’s markets, offers fresh produce, delectable baked goods, Wisconsin’s famous cheese curds and even the occasional appearance of cows in the heart of the city.


Dive in to water sports on the Yahara River or one of the five lakes surrounding Madison Wisconsin

Madison WI Beaches

Wingra Beach via Jordan Richmond Creative Commons

Built on an isthmus, Madison weaves around five lakes and the Yahara River, which offer glorious views, bike trails and plentiful lakeside parks.  Whether your pleasure is swimming, sailing, water skiing, kayaking or canoeing, you can find a home on one of Madison’s lakes. The beautiful Wisconsin Memorial Union terrace, which overlooks Lake Mendota, is considered Madison’s back porch. From the terrace you can watch the boats, view the sunset, listen to a live band and drink one of Wisconsin’s finest craft brews.


Visit the FREE Madison Wisconsin Zoo

Best US Zoos

Henry Vilas Zoo via Okandasan Creative Commons

Madisonians love to be outside.  In Madison you will find 247 parks, the beautiful Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and The University of Wisconsin Arboretum.  Locals and visitors alike love the Henry Vilas Zoo,  which offers a popular park, playground and even a beach!  There is no admittance charge at the zoo, which was given to the city in exchange for the promise that there would never be a fee.  You can visit wild animals, ride a carousel, take a train ride and feed baby goats at the petting zoo.


Attend a University of Wisconsin Sports Game

Family Things to do in Madison Wisconsin

Wisconsin Band via Phil Roeder Creative Commons

Madison is also the home of the University of Wisconsin.  In addition to world class education and research,  Big Ten conference sporting events are a hallmark of the city.  Locals proudly cover Camp Randall Stadium or the Kohl Center in red on game days.  The university marching band is always a crowd pleaser, offering sell out concerts in addition to the magical “fifth quarter” performances on game days.  Beloved mascot Bucky Badger riles up audiences with his antics, including doing push-ups for every point scored.

Madison is regularly found on lists of most livable cities.  It arts, sporting events, educational opportunities, and other attractions make is a fun place to live and a great place to visit!

About the Author:

Michele Meier Vosberg, Ph.D. is an educator,  freelance writer and speaker. She is redesigning her life to live more simply, happily and well, and working to help others do the same.  She lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin; when she is not busy blogging, you might find her sailing on one the many lakes in Madison, or reading and relaxing at her local beach.  We’d love for you to visit her blog Life Redesign 101.


This article is part of our Blogger’s Hometown Favorites feature, where Guest Bloggers share their local hometown travel tips and favorite local attractions.   If you’d like to share your hometown travel tips and favorite activities in a guest blog post, please email: Allison (at) FunFamily (dot) Vacations.


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**All photos in this post are via creative commons licensing.  We have made every effort to credit the appropriate photographers.  Please notify us immediately of any potential license discrepancy noted.

Top Things to do in Madison


Genji Sports Instant Beach Star Tent Review



After our first trip to St. Croix, we realized we needed to purchase a travel-friendly beach tent. We were hiking to beaches that provided little or no shade, and paying $20+ to rent umbrellas each time we visited a public beach. Before our next vacation we researched various beach tents and decided to look for a tent with the following features:

1. Easy set up and take down.

2. Light weight with a carrying case.

3. Minimal pieces – an “all in one” style – without separate parts or poles.

4. Able to withstand a windy environment.

After reading and researching beach tent reviews, we ended up purchasing the Genji Sports Instant Beach Star Tent from Amazon. The product’s marketing stated the tent is constructed out of a lightweight, bendable fiberglass frame. They also described this tent as being able to set up and fold down in a matter of seconds. We noticed the Genji Beach Tent reviews are mostly 4-5 stars. Most people wrote that they were happy with their purchase, and after trying the Genji Beach tent for the first time, so were we.

The tent, in it’s shipping box, is about 3.5′ long. One downside for us was, the tent is much Best Beach Tentlonger than our largest piece of checked luggage.  We chose to leave the tent in it’s shipping box, (to prevent damage), and take it as one of our carry on items. It is lightweight and we had no problems carrying the box through the airport. Tip: There are four plastic tent stakes in the package. We suggest taking them out and placing in checked luggage to prevent any hassle through TSA. However, we did not do this on our first flight and did not have any trouble.

We used our beach tent multiple times during our second vacation to St. Croix.  As stated in their marketing, the Genji Beach tent is as easy to set up and take down as opening and closing an umbrella. Opening is as simple as pulling the tent top up and then placing a safety hook in the top to prevent closing during use. Closing is just the reverse, and the tent folds up and easily inserts back into the carrying bag.


Genji Sports Beach Star Tent

Marketing picture from


We hiked to many secluded beaches with our beach tent. It was super easy to carry (a carry strap is included on the tent bag).   At just under 5 lbs, the tent is light enough for our 7 year old to carry during various hikes and trips to the beach.

Easy open Beach Tent

Hiking to Jaac’s Bay beach with our Genji Beach Tent


We experienced a few windy beach days, but it was not a problem for this tent. The fiberglass frame is durable and forgiving, even during a few strong wind gusts. The vented sides ensure a nice flow of air through the tent on hot days.

Overall, we were happy with this tent purchase and look forward to more beach days with our Genji Sports Instant Star Beach Tent.



*This review is unsolicited, unbiased, and contains our genuine opinion of this item.  We did not receive compensation for this review, however the post contains affiliate links.