Have horse, will travel

Equestrian campgrounds make vacationing with your horse so much easier. Overnight at these five and see Alabama’s outdoors by horseback

Camping with dogs doesn’t usually require special accommodations, but when it comes to sleeping under the stars with a horse, well, it’s a whole different animal. Equestrian camp- grounds cater specifically to travelers with equines by offering riding trails, plus stalls, stables or paddocks. Some provide hay or shavings for bedding. Many campgrounds also organize rides with lunch and entertainment provided. Check out these places to lay your head and ride into the wild with your trusty steed.


Riders of all levels appreciate the 60 miles of trails that wind through this gorgeous, northwest Alabama property situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Here, Seven Springs Lodge presents more than 20,000 acres of natural woodland- punctuated with interesting rock formations and waterfalls, ensuring plenty of scenic eye candy. Horse-owning RVers find 150 sites outfitted with electrical and water hook-ups. Or, if you hauled only your trailer, lodge in one of the rustic cabins, repurposed silos or primitive tent sites. Bath facilities are either en suite or in one of the bathhouses. Horses rest in covered (144 to choose from), uncovered or picketed stalls. If you don’t have a horse, no problem; rental horses are available.


Hodges Equestrian Park serves as a basecamp for 40 miles of picturesque trails that meander through northwest Alabama’s hardwood forests and canyons with overlooks. For more experienced cowboys and cowgirls, challenging trails abound as do milder ones for riders who like to take it nice and slow. Choose from three cabins or 24 campsites with hook-ups and water. Showerhouses are available too. Meanwhile, your best equine friend will feel pampered in one of 57 covered stalls. The onsite arena is good for rodeos, horse shows or if Silver needs some extra exercise.


Whether you have a day or longer, Faye Whittemore Farms promises a delightful horse-centered escape. Thirty-five miles of trails show off a northern landscape filled with creeks that flow into waterfalls, bluffs that kiss the sky and trees that buffer the sun. You don’t need to bring your own horse. With a reservation, the farm will provide you with one. If, however, you are traveling with your ponies, covered stalls and shaded paddocks will keep them contained. As for your lodging, plan to camp or hook-up to one of 75 RV sites, and to share a bathhouse.


The beauty of St. Stephens Historical Park lies in your ability to literally ride through history since the state park preserves the history and remains of the Territorial Capital of Alabama—Old St. Stephens—which had its heyday from 1810-1830. Fifteen miles of shady trails climb hills, traverse wooden bridges and pass Quarry Lake. If the conditions are right, the lake’s white beaches could be a good spot to rein over and slip in for a swim. Spend the night in one of 40 RV sites with hook-ups. The Jockey Club RV area, with bathhouse, is closest to the 20-plus horse stalls and round pen.


Owners Kent and Dawn Thomas maintain more than 60 miles of well-groomed trails in the southeast corner of the state. Trails Etc.’s tidy paths cut through hardwood or long- leaf pine woods threaded with river crossings and across wide, open spaces, where you might be tempted to trot or lope. The soil is sandy, so horseshoes are not necessary. Day or overnight amenities include eight RV sites with hook-ups, stall panels, paddocks and an arena. You also may bring your own pen or highlines. Trails Etc. hosts several obstacle competitions a year to challenge your riding skills.