Lake Martin is a 44,000-acre lake in Alabama, is home to multiple islands and has more than 750 miles of wooded shoreline. The lake also hosts several annual events, including the Antique Boat Show, Alexander City Jazz Festival, and July 4th Blast. From an outdoor amphitheater with stunning lake views to several state parks, visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to fun activities at Lake Martin. Check out this special guide with various suggestions during your next vacation to this one-of-a-kind lake.
As one of the largest man made lakes in the entire United States, Lake Martin boasts a variety of activities, events and recreation areas for visitors to enjoy. This 44,000-acre lake is actually a reservoir formed when Martin Dam was constructed on the Tallapoosa River. Over 750 miles of shoreline greet locals and tourists alike when they visit the lake, and provide ample space for lounging or building sandcastles. The lake is home to some popular attractions, including islands, a bridge, and huge rock formations. Grab your sunscreen and a beach towel, because Lake Martin is waiting.
The AMP is an open-aired amphitheater that rests on acres of land just outside of Lake Martin’s shoreline. It’s a must-visit for travelers coming to Lake Martin, as it also provides a panoramic view of the rolling hills, streams, and dense woods that make up the Big Kowaliga Basin. The AMP hosts their annual Labor Day Weekend Concert, the Fourth of July Blast, and AMPalooza, filling the stage with musical talent from all over Alabama. The AquaPalooza is one of the most exciting events held at Lake Martin every year. Although it’s not located at AMP itself, thousands of summer-ready locals and travelers hang out in the lake in their boats, blow-up rafts and tubes just off the shore and enjoy live music booming from the temporary stage.
The Alexander City, located on the northeast shores of Lake Martin, hosts their annual Alexander City Jazzfest in June. A two-day lineup of lively musicians, an art concert, and plenty of dancing make this event one of the best around. While you’re in Alexander City, head to Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, where 2,000+ acres are dedicated to the U.S. soldiers and Creek Nation Indians who died in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Check out the visitor center and the museum where you can learn more about the history behind the battle.
Don’t forget to leave time to explore all the features that make Lake Martin unique. First, head to Chimney Rock, one of the most popular attractions at the lake. The water near this rock formation is around 150 feet deep, so it’s a spot locals come to and jump off into the water. The Kowaliga Bridge is iconic, as is Kowaliga Restaurant. Boaters can dock at the Kowaliga Marina where the restaurant is located and hop onto the patio and into a seat. Visitors to lake Martin will enjoy the 10+ islands spread throughout the lake. Only one island is inhabited, Wilmarth’s Island, but the others are great places to explore by boat. Fishing, jet skiing, or simply lounging on the lake’s shore are among the many great activities that make this one of the best lakes in Alabama.
Montgomery, a 50-minute drive away, is the capitol of Alabama, and this city has some great attractions to visit on a day trip. Start at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, a National Historic Landmark and the church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor. In fact, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized in the church’s basement. Just steps away from the church is the Alabama State Capitol. It, too, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the First Confederate Capitol. The Civil Rights Memorial was created by Maya Lin, the same designer of the Vietnam Veterans memorial in Washington, D.C. This circular black granite table holds the names of martyrs and tells the history of the civil rights movement. Visitors can come to the monument 24/7, as it is located on an open plaza in the city’s center. Soak in the history of Alabama with a day trip to Montgomery.
The town of Mobile is three hours south of Lake Martin and is where the USS Alabama battleship is located, along with the Mobile Carnival Museum, which offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the Mardi Gras festival. The town of Birmingham is just under two hours north of Lake Martin and is one of the more exciting cities in Alabama, with numerous monuments, historical sites, and other points of interest including the Vulcan Statue and McWane Science Center.
Tripping.com provides vacationers with plenty of rental options to choose from near Lake Martin. For visitors who anticipate going to the AMP, choose a vacation rental in the northeast portion of the lake. If you’re looking to stay close to the Kowaliga Marina and restaurant, choose a rental at the southwest portion of the lake. Here, you’ll also be closer to Montgomery in case you want a shorter drive to your day trip destination.
Fly into Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and rent a car to make the 1 hour and 45-minute drive to Lake Martin. Depending on which part of the lake you’re going to, is may take longer than 1 hour and 45 minutes. Much of the transportation in and around Lake Martin is done by boat. Explore the islands, different shorelines, and tucked away bays via boat. Public transit to and from Montgomery, Alexander City, and other towns is nearly non-existent, so a rental car is most likely necessary.
Find the best Lake Martin vacation rentals on Tripping.com. With over 41 home rentals, take your pick from a wide variety of choices including studio apartments, luxury condos, and cozy cabin rentals. Prices in Lake Martin range from $75 a night. Many rentals can also be booked directly online.Vacation home rentals found on Tripping.com offer more amenities than the average hotel room along with many of the comforts of home. Going on a business trip or need to stay connected? 30 homes in Lake Martin offer high-speed WiFi Internet so you won’t miss a beat. Travelling with kids? Let them splash around in any of the 8 rentals with pool or jacuzzi, or relax with the family in one of the 37 homes with cable TV.For all those pet owners with dogs or cats, Lake Martin offers 5 pet-friendly vacation rentals for your extended family. Find the perfect vacation rental that matches your budget and style on Tripping.com.Search 41 HomeAway properties in Lake Martin.