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northern Alabama questions

BobJohnson

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My son will be going to Space Camp in Huntsville week of 8/5. Debating on taking the week off and getting a house rental on the water and bringing the boat to stay with wife and daughter and 2 dogs while he's at camp. Farthest I've trailered my boat is 1 hour trips, so this would be a big jump 10-11 hours my guess from Chicago area. But, that doesn't bother me that much.

For those of you who know.... of these 2 areas which is better for general day boating? Swimming, cruising, water sports, restaurants to dock at??.....

on Tennessee River... Wheeler Lake and/or Wilson Lake

or further south on river... Guntersville Lake

More options open for homes close or on water for boating that allow dogs on Guntersville, but a couple on the other 2.

SO... if one area is far and above better for boating and I guess non boating things to do, please let me know.
 

Peter simon

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Hi my daughter goes to school at UAH and we go there all the time. I have not brought the boat down with us yet but Guntersville looked like the first place we would try. Wheeler also looked good. There is a full service marina in Decatur. I would say to look for gas and restaurants and let that be your guide. Your son will have a great time at space camp.
 

Peter simon

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Hi. My plans changed and I am heading to Huntsville next week and taking my boat for the first time. Please share your findings?
 

jjmparsons

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Hi. My plans changed and I am heading to Huntsville next week and taking my boat for the first time. Please share your findings?
@Peter simon HUNTSVILLE BASED SIR!!! Bring your boat down to Ditto Landing! You'll actually see my Yami parked in the parking lot at the marina! Tennessee River you can run all the way from the Lock at Guntersville up to Waterloo if you have the time to do so. We generally put in, head towards the Guntersville Dam and do a lot of floating down the river. Feel free to hit me up if there is ANYTHING you need Sir!

JJ
 

Scottie

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Guntersville is great. Check this place out. Breezeway Bay. I haven't stayed there, but I've heard good things.
 

Peter simon

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@Peter simon HUNTSVILLE BASED SIR!!! Bring your boat down to Ditto Landing! You'll actually see my Yami parked in the parking lot at the marina! Tennessee River you can run all the way from the Lock at Guntersville up to Waterloo if you have the time to do so. We generally put in, head towards the Guntersville Dam and do a lot of floating down the river. Feel free to hit me up if there is ANYTHING you need Sir!

JJ
Thank you for the reply. I am heading down Tuesday. I am hoping to get on the lake Wednesday through Friday when it is quiet.

I was planning on launching at Ditto and i know they have some columbus ship replicas there this week as well which is different. Waterloo sounds like a great ride. Any suggestions for waterfront restaurants along the way. Also, besides Decatur, where else is gas available beyond that?

What are your thoughts on Lake Gunthersville. We are more of a ride around and explore and dine on the lake than tubing or anything like that.

By the third day I will probably just want to anchor and read.

Thank you,

Peter
 

jjmparsons

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Thank you for the reply. I am heading down Tuesday. I am hoping to get on the lake Wednesday through Friday when it is quiet.

I was planning on launching at Ditto and i know they have some columbus ship replicas there this week as well which is different. Waterloo sounds like a great ride. Any suggestions for waterfront restaurants along the way. Also, besides Decatur, where else is gas available beyond that?

What are your thoughts on Lake Gunthersville. We are more of a ride around and explore and dine on the lake than tubing or anything like that.

By the third day I will probably just want to anchor and read.

Thank you,

Peter
Peter,

Unfortunately there are no places available on the river near Ditto to dine at. If you are adventurous and want to head up towards Decatur, The Hard Dock is there but they have the absolute worst hours and to be quite honest, the food is not all that great. Last time we were there the gas pumps were still down as well so I can't for sure say if they offer gas or not.

You can get gas at Ditto or if you do head all the way up to Decatur (Hard Dock) they have a little spot called the Brickyard that has gas. It is a Dry storage spot and has a small convenient store but not a whole lot else. Be advised, the water gets a bit rough once you start getting closer to Decatur due to the thru way being open and the wind channels right down the river. We tend to avoid going that way as much as we can just due to the fact there is often more debris there as well. Not trying to sway you away from going that way, just be advised, debris gets heavy once you hit the main corridor.

Heading further down the river (past Decatur) there's also Joe Wheeler State Park Marina. Gas and Restaurant in the Lodge if I'm not mistaken.

If you are looking to explore then Guntersville would be a good spot to go to. They do have plenty of spots to get gas and a couple of places on the water to eat. We have honestly only ever been to the "Fire by the Lake" Restaurant on the water so I cant comment on many more that offer direct access to the restaurant from the water.

We have driven (car) up to Florence previously and eaten at the "River Bottom Grille" before and it was phenomenal. It also offers direct access to the restaurant via the water but I don't recall if there is gas available over there or not.

Lastly, Id also highly recommend Tims Ford Lake, about an hour north of Huntsville if that. Great spot for boating and they actually have a couple of different restaurants (with Gas) you can get to via the water, Tims Ford Marina and Resort, happening spot with quick service, or even better, The Blue Gill Grill! The wife and I have frequented Blue Gill quite a few times and by far one of our favorite spots. I'd recommend Tims Ford for sure.
 
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F.M.

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Huntsville based also.

I like wheeler for relaxing and playing. But the others are correct, no real restaurants to speak of. Guntersville has a few water accessible restaurants. But the water is sometimes on the rougher side.
 

Peter simon

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Thank you all for the great information. I will be sure to update this with my finds for the next person going that way.
 

haknslash

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Don't forget Smith Lake in Cullman is not too far and if you're staying for a week it would be worth the visit there at least for a day. There are two restaurants to eat at, neither of which I've tried. Brothers on Smith Lake and The Grill at Trident Marina. Smith Lake has very deep and clear waters. It's not a very wide lake but it is long and changes scenery from flats, to steep cliffs, to forest, etc as you drive along the lake. It can get a bit rough during the weekend in the higher traffic areas due to the depth and narrow, winding nature of the lake but nothing your boat couldn't handle.

 

Peter simon

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So we headed Wednesday to Ditto Landing. Great place to launch from. $5 is a bargain. We headed up towards Decatur. That was a beautiful trip in its self. We were the only boat from Ditto until the first Decatur bridge. We filled up at the Riverwalk Marina which has 24hr self serve gas. We wanted to head towards Wheeler but honestly the views got so ugly, barges everywhere, power plants and the water was like glass but stagnant and dirty. We turned around just past the power plant and ate at Hard Dock which was pretty bad but it's food on a lake.

The next 2 days we spent in Gunthersville. What a beautiful lake. Plenry of places to tube and stop for a swim. We ate dinner once at Top of the river which was ok if u like fried everything.

We discovered if you continue under the low bridge (low like take down the Bimini and sit on the floor) past Top of the River there is a public? dock and you can walk across the street to get sandwiches and ice cream from Publix.

We watched barges go down the locks. I was a little hesitant to try and also they said it takes 45 min. And we didn't know about the grey bats so next time.

Thanks to all for the advicewjich made it a great vacation
 

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haknslash

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Glad you had a good time! Yes it's the south so fried foods will be expected and plentiful. Hope you son had fun at Space Camp too. Btw no H in Guntersville ;)
 

jjmparsons

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So we headed Wednesday to Ditto Landing. Great place to launch from. $5 is a bargain. We headed up towards Decatur. That was a beautiful trip in its self. We were the only boat from Ditto until the first Decatur bridge. We filled up at the Riverwalk Marina which has 24hr self serve gas. We wanted to head towards Wheeler but honestly the views got so ugly, barges everywhere, power plants and the water was like glass but stagnant and dirty. We turned around just past the power plant and ate at Hard Dock which was pretty bad but it's food on a lake.

The next 2 days we spent in Gunthersville. What a beautiful lake. Plenry of places to tube and stop for a swim. We ate dinner once at Top of the river which was ok if u like fried everything.

We discovered if you continue under the low bridge (low like take down the Bimini and sit on the floor) past Top of the River there is a public? dock and you can walk across the street to get sandwiches and ice cream from Publix.

We watched barges go down the locks. I was a little hesitant to try and also they said it takes 45 min. And we didn't know about the grey bats so next time.

Thanks to all for the advicewjich made it a great vacation
Glad to hear it all worked out for you! I'm super bummed that as close to the water as we are, we are just so limited on food options! Having said that, we ventured up to Tim's Ford today and basically went to all the restaurants.... Just because. Bluegill Grill for breakfast. Twin Creeks for lunch and then even a stop at Lakeside for icecream!!! We need more (at least one) restaurants on the water down here in Huntsville!
 

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