7 Fun Things To Do in Union Springs, Alabama
Union Springs may be small but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in experiences. This tiny Alabama town, approximately twenty miles southeast of Montgomery, in what’s called the Alabama Black Belt, is one of my favorite places in Alabama. Come for the friendly people, the southern hospitality and some of the best red velvet cake you’ll ever have in your life – here’s seven things to do in Union Springs, Alabama.
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Things to do in Union Springs
Union Springs is located in Bullock County, Alabama, a location that has a history deeply rooted in hunting and outdoor activities. Once inhabited by the Creek Indians, the town’s association with hunting can be traced back to its early settlement and the abundant wildlife in the surrounding area.
With a variety of land trusts and conservation areas, the county is still a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. However, besides the enjoyable outdoorsy experiences, there are plenty of other fun things to do in Union Springs.
Union Springs is the perfect day trip from Columbus, Georgia (near I-85) or Montgomery (I-65) and could be incorporated into a longer Alabama Black Belt road trip. Here’s a few suggestions of what to do in Union Springs to get you started on your visit to Alabama.
Check Out the Murals on Main
Ask just about anyone and they’ll tell you I’m a little obsessed with murals and public art. So, imagine my surprise when I rolled into Union Springs and spotted a mural right on the first corner I saw.
You have to understand – Union Springs is small – population 3,514 – I never in a million years expected to see street art in this rural town. And the best part about it is that they’ve done an impressive job at displaying art that wholeheartedly represents the town and tells a story. In my opinion, that’s the best kind of mural.
For me, the most outstanding mural in Union Springs is the one of Hank Williams, Sr. Probably because of the history behind it. The story goes that Williams – born in Mount Olive, Alabama, a hundred miles to the west – once sang at the grand opening of Union Springs’ Western Auto in 1948.
As you can imagine, everyone showed up to see Williams perform and of course, there’s a photo of the event. Well, when it came time to paint the mural, the artist used that photo as a reference for his art.
Since practically everyone that lived in town at that time was in that original photograph with Hank, they are now included on that mural as well. How sweet is that?
My second favorite mural is the one that honors Union Springs’ long standing reign as the field trial capital of the world. Every year hundreds of teams come to town for competitive events where dogs are judged on their ability to locate and retrieve game birds in natural field settings.
Many of the top bird dog trainers and handlers in the world come to Union Springs to train their dogs and compete in field trials because of the plentiful quail that can be found in the area.
The field trial mural depicts the competition complete with the bird dogs, quail and pheasant – native to the area – in flight, with a wagonload of handlers and onlookers watching. I’m in awe at the artist’s ability to capture the stance and the look on the dog’s faces.
Besides these two mural there are at least three others in town. To make sure you don’t miss even one. You can find a map of Murals on Main here.
Take in a Show at the Red Door Theater
Another one of the more popular events that brings people to Union Springs is the The Red Door Theatre. Wanting to protect their local heritage and contribute to the community both culturally and economically, this non-profit theater group has been providing entertainment and selling out shows in Union Springs since 2003.
When they needed a place to call home, the city leased the group one of the old churches in town and just like that, the Red Door Theatre – in honor of red doors that traditionally signified “sanctuary” in many churches – was born.
The Red Door Theatre puts on a variety of productions throughout the year, including plays, musicals, and other special events. A true labor or love, the group is run by volunteers and even offers acting workshops for the community.
One of the most special things about the performances is that the evening show include seated dinners with delicious southern comfort food.
Sample Cake at FPH Bakery
If there was ever anyone that deserves an honorary southerner card it would be Amber of French Pressed Home Bakery. From the moment I saw her restaurant, I just knew it was going to be something special. Amber, from originally from California, moved to Alabama for a slower pace of life.
She found it – kind of – until her restaurant was so successful she had close the doors on the concept of a typical day to day restaurant. Now Amber accepts only reservations to her highly popular brunches and special occasion lunches. Think supper club but during the day.
And it’s totally worth the wait. Everything I’ve eaten from FPH was insanely delicious. I don’t know how she did it but Amber quickly adapted to the southern food way of life. Check out her website or Facebook page for the latest schedule of events.
See the Field Trial Bird Dog Statue
Since Union Springs is the “Field Trial Capital of the World” for its long and storied history of hosting field trials for bird dogs, it’s only logical that they honor this tradition with a bird dog statue in the middle of town.
It’s not hard to find, right in the middle of downtown. There’s plenty of parking and you can walk right out to it for photos.
Explore Wehle Land Conservation
The Wehle Land Conservation is a another fun thing to do near Union Springs. This conservation project, located southeast of town, encompasses over 29,000 acres of diverse southern habitats, including pine forests, wetlands and some open prairies spaces.
The goal of Wehle is to preserve and restore the natural ecosystems of the region through extensive research on topics such as prescribed burning, forest management and wildlife ecology that provide helpful insight to scientists.
In addition to research, the Wehle Land Conservation offers educational programs and workshops to promote environmental awareness and conservation practices. These programs aim to show the public the importance of preserving these natural habitats.
The Wehle Land Conservation (map) can be enjoyed throughout the year on event weekends or during the week, by appointment only, for larger pre-scheduled groups. The land offers a network of trails for exploring, campsites for overnighting and fish ponds.
Enjoy the Arts
As you can see by the murals and theater in the community, Union Springs has an appreciation for the arts. Before you leave town, make a stop at the Josephine Arts building. This historic building, constructed in 1880 by R. A. Fleming and named for his wife Josephine, later became the Drummers Hotel and Commercial Hotel.
The building now serves as an art cafe and coffee shop – offering art classes, seated architectural tours and a small museum onsite. Even if you don’t make inside, the building is one of the more interesting structures downtown.
Visit the Historic Bullock County Courthouse
Union Springs is full of historic homes and buildings and one of the oldest is the county courthouse. Constructed in 1871, the building was modeled after a building in Washington DC. Even though the courthouse has now been remodeled, you can still seen the historical significance of a building such as this in the area.
Inside the courthouse, visitors can peruse a collection of vintage photos featuring Union Springs.
Final Thoughts on Things to do in Union Springs
The south is full of overlooked destinations once you get off the main highways. Union Springs is proof enough to include a few of these hidden gems on your travel list. With its variety of enjoyable activities for visitors to explore – from its rich history to its charming southern vibe, there is much to discover in Bullock County.
Taking a stroll through the quaint streets of Union Springs allows for interactions with friendly locals and a glimpse into the town’s authentic culture and traditions as well as an escape from bustling city life. These fun things to do in Union Springs offer you a chance to experience the unique character of a small Southern town.
See you on the road!