Over the Mountain residents don’t have to travel very far to take advantage of a park that TripAdvisor has named one of the nation’s best.
The online travel site recently awarded its 2014 Certificate of Excellence to Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County.
Oak Mountain, the state’s largest park, was among the nine Alabama parks recognized by TripAdvisor.
Other recipients of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence include Cathedral Caverns State Park in Woodville, Chewlaca State Park in Auburn, DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne, Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Lakepoint State Park in Eufaula, Lake Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville and Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville.
The awards are based on user ratings and reviews. Award winners must maintain at least four out of five stars on TripAdvisor and be on the site for a minimum of one year to receive the honor.
The state park system is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Greg Lein, the state park director, said the TripAdvisor awards highlight the level of commitment the state has to providing visitors with memorable trips.
“We work hard to continually improve the parks to give our guests the best experience possible,” Lein said in a press release. “This shows that the outstanding work of our employees and partners in all our parks is paying off and going noticed by our visitors from around the world.”
Lein said several parks, including Oak Mountain State Park, have been upgraded recently.
This summer, Oak Mountain State Park partnered with Flip Side Watersports to offer a wakeboard cable system on Beaver Lake near the park’s campground. The Oak Mountain wakeboard park is the only cable skiing system in operation in Alabama, park officials said.
At nearly 10,000 acres, Oak Mountain is the largest state park in Alabama and the second most visited after Gulf State Park. Each year, approximately half a million people visit Oak Mountain, park officials said.