Basked in natural light and the glow of hanging pendant lights, Courtyard Cafe’s interior is filled with the aroma of carved corned beef, fried green tomatoes, and smoked turkey. These aromas waft from the deli counter, where sandwich makers craft lunch fare such as reubens, burgers, and club sandwiches. Trays of cupcakes crafted with whipped green, red, and yellow frosting line up alongside full-size cakes customized by an in-house cake designer for special events such as weddings and wedding proposals to cakes. The staff also leads cooking classes that teach kids the culinary skills to bake pies, pizza, or Asian dishes. Housed in a downtown building erected in 1887, the Courtyard Cafe’s red-brick exterior evokes a bygone era seen in historical black and white photos lining the straw-colored walls inside. Customers can sit at counters or tables inside, or relax on a landscaped patio next to trees, shrubbery, and a trickling fountain.
Since 1950, the family-owned Whataburger chain has served up its iconic burgers and fresh, made-to-order meals with a commitment to excellent customer service. In addition to lunch and dinner, the North Central Alabama-area restaurants' 24/7 hours and fully fledged breakfast menu have made them popular destinations for early morning and late-night dining.
Besides the classic Whataburger, the modern menu includes options such as the jalapeno and cheese Whataburger, the Whatachick'n sandwich, and the Whataburger Jr., which is a regular Whataburger that doesn't know how to tie a tie. The breakfast selections remain rooted in hearty tradition, with crispy chicken strips covered with honey butter and served atop biscuits. Additionally, signature Taquitos are warm tortillas stuffed with ingredients such as scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, guacamole, and grilled vegetables.
At Capt’n Morgan’s Fish & Chop House, chefs pillage tackle boxes teeming with fresh ingredients to forge a menu that pairs succulent steaks with Atlantic-style seafood. Red snapper fillets ($15.99) surf onto plates in one of six different preparations such as grilled, blackened, fried, or director's cut, sinking deep-sea cravings alongside a flotilla of fresh snow-crab legs ($18.99). Guests take up steak knives to admire the light pink center of a chopped sirloin ($11.99) or opt for a surf n’ turf dish by nuzzling a flame-grilled new york strip ($21.99) up to a fresh fillet of tilapia (an additional $4.99) or a succulent smattering of scallops (an additional $6.99). Midday diners get to peruse a number of lunch specials, such as a cut of Canadian flounder ($5.99) or an ocean-fresh octet of fried oysters ($8.99). Pintsize foodies can juggle fried nuggets of popcorn shrimp ($4.99), impressing parents and jaded circus scouts alike, before rewarding patient palates with rich slices of house-made key lime pie ($5.49).
With rides and attractions intended for everyone from young children to thrill-seeking adults, Alabama Splash Adventure provides entire families with a way to escape the heat. All it takes is a quick trip down one of the slides or a dip in one of the pools to help guests cool off. The park hosts a couple of dry rides, too, and a copious supply of complimentary sunscreen helps ensure that nobody's visit is ruined by a sunburn, whether they're in the water or out.
Get Your Pulse Racing
After eating at Bryant's Seafood World, diners often rave about the made-from-scratch hush puppies served warm to tables. Those hush puppies are tasty, but be careful not to fill up on them; if you do, you might miss out on other house specialties such as peel-and-eat shrimp, oyster po' boys, and all-you-can-eat crab claws. The restaurant also serves up fried chicken, ribeye steak, and an assortment of desserts. Pair your meal with wine, cold beer, or a cocktail such as a hurricane.
The town of Brookside owns Five Mile Creek Canoe & Company, which works from a philosophy that nature is a splendor to be shared by all people. Five Mile not only grants access to a bonanza of camping and canoeing activities—such as bench pressing a canoe—it gives patrons the opportunity to control their own adventures. The campground presents enough activity opportunities to keep patrons busy throughout the day, including a playground, a 2-mile walking track, and a swimming hole.
When patrons want to set out on watery expeditions, they carry their own boats down to the creek and steer their vessels from beginning to end. After pushing past the shallow waters, canoes paddlers can traverse up to 26 miles of gently flowing creek lined on either side by a row of trees. These leaf havens obscure guests from the curious eyes of civilization, chipmunks, and Bigfoot's cousin, Steve. Before they hit the water, helpful staff members can give demonstrations to those with little paddling experience. They can also organize group floats for social paddlers.