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People flock to Oak Mountain State Park for Memorial Day weekend

People flock to Oak Mountain State Park for Memorial Day, SOURCE: ABC 33/40 News{ }{p}{/p}
People flock to Oak Mountain State Park for Memorial Day, SOURCE: ABC 33/40 News

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Thousands of people are traveling Memorial Day weekend, including to Alabama State Parks. Last year, more than 14,000 guests visited Oak Mountain State Park not including golfers and overnight campers.

With a positive weather forecast, park officials are expecting to meet that amount again.

The affordability and accessibility of the park are a big draw for Alabamians and those from out of state.

People were already at the park for the holiday Friday. Car tags from Lousiana, Missouri, and plenty from Alabama could be seen in the park.

"We wanted to be out in the sunshine, my wife wanted to lay out a little bit," said Barry Grantham from Trussville. "All of us don't have big pocketbooks. This is so convenient. Two dollars to come in here. We're having basically the same thing we'd have at the beach in Florida. I love being able to when we get through here, we go home, 30 minutes we'll be there."

Grantham enjoys golfing, the canoes available at the park, and walking trails.

"If they've got it here, I'll go do it," he said.

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For last-minute vacation planners, it's a good staycation.

"We thought about last-minute plans to go to the beach. We were tied up with work so we didn't get the chance to make all of these plans. We thought about going last minute but with all the people and the traffic and everything, the cost of hotels, we just decided to make it an easy day and stick around town," said Allan Ward from Hoover. "There's just a lot of people sticking around town. Just not wanting to fight the traffic. I would assume tomorrow is going to be pretty busy."

Cabin and camping locations are booked up this year.

"This actually was the last campsite that I saw when I was booking my camping experience," said Chera Jones from Decatur. "We left probably 11 o'clock this morning to get in and get here before everyone else got here."

It's Jones's first time at the park.

"It's really pretty. We haven't gotten to explore much but we are excited about it," said Jones. "We're looking forward to the trails, especially with our dog, hiking, seeing the waters, and all that."

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Programming at the park will also be offered.

"Some critter encounters tomorrow that are open to the public, all you have to do is pay entry fees. We've some crafts that are going to be happening Sunday. Both of those are going to be inside. It will give you a little break from the heat," said Anna Jones, Oak Mountain State Park Event Coordinator. "We do have a race. The Southeastern Trail Run Memorial Day race, that's going to be happening tomorrow."

All Alabama State Parks are open this weekend and prepared for crowds.

"We really do try to make sure we are providing programming, activities for people to take part in while they are at our state parks. Obviously, you do have the option to kind of come out, separate yourself from the crowd and just enjoy nature and relax. We do want to make sure we are balancing that with our staff being able to provide structured programming and really just some fun activities," said Jones.

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For those going to the park, they are reminded to stay hydrated, take breaks from the sun, apply sunscreen, and always keep an eye on children and pets in the water.

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