How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Guntersville, Alabama

With gorgeous views of the water, historic B&Bs, and quaint local shops, this charming Southern lake town has everything you need for a relaxing weekend away.

View from LGSP Lodge Guntersville
Photo: Bob Blankenship

Water is a way of life in Guntersville. The North Alabama town is surrounded by the state's largest lake, 69,000-acre Lake Guntersville, which means you can see the tree-lined waterway from nearly anywhere in town. Guntersville's almost 1,000 miles of shoreline ensure plenty of direct paths to the water and mild temperatures make it inviting year-round. When it's time to come in after a long day on the lake, the city of less than 10,000 impresses for its hospitality and historic charm. Whether you hope to hunt for antique treasures, unwind with a glass of wine, or simply chase the sunset, Guntersville is the perfect place for a laidback, low-key getaway for families, couples, or solo travel.

Book Your Stay

No place better exemplifies Guntersville's spirit than Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast. Also known as the Hooper House, the B&B has been around for more than 10 decades, and though it has received several new coats of paint over the years, it retains much of its original charm dating back to 1910. Owner Michelle Louze runs the cozy seven-bedroom inn with her trusty four-legged sidekick, doing everything from hosting evening sangria happy hours on the porch to whipping up gourmet breakfasts featuring her own recipes for grits souffle or French toast with bourbon caramel glaze. Be sure to check out the historic building's third floor, an attic that Louze converted into a rustic game and media room complete with a pool table.

Guntersville sailboats
John Sharp

Show a Sense of Adventure

Alabama's largest lake, Lake Guntersville is home to some of the best fishing in the Southeast. Expect to catch plenty of largemouth bass, striped bass, black crappie, and catfish. For those who want to get a little closer to the action, there are plenty of safe places to swim and kayak. Located on the banks of the Tennessee River, Lake Guntersville State Park is one of them. The park features 6,000 acres of natural woodlands, including more than 36 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as a sandy beach area for swimming and easy kayak rental at Town Creek. In the summer months, boats carrying water skiers, wakeboarders, and tubers crisscross the water. If you have a need for speed, Lake Guntersville proves its claim to have the South's fastest water with Lake Hydrofest, a two-day annual event of extreme Jet Ski and boat racing.

Sip & Savor

Nothing works up an appetite like a day on the water. If you truly want to treat yourself, the place to be is Old Town Stock House. Chef Crystal McKone studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York, as well as under Tom Colicchio at Craft Atlanta, before returning home to Guntersville to open this upscale Southern American restaurant. The menu changes seasonally, but always expect perfectly cooked fresh catch and Southern takes on fine-dining staples, like duck breast served with McEwen & Sons grist, sauce piquante, and Conecuh sausage. For more casual waterfront dining, head to The Boat House Lakeside Bar & Grill, a local favorite with an eclectic menu featuring everything from short rib tacos to scallop sliders. For the best ambiance in town, snag a coveted table on Rock House Eatery's gorgeous patio for brunch. Since Alabama is known for its sweet wines, head to idyllic Jules J. Berta Vineyard for a tasting of local muscadine and sweet fruit wines. If it's warm, a wine slushie under the shade of a vine-colored trellis should do the trick. In town,Harbor View Winery is also great for an afternoon tasting or pre-dinner glass.

Downtown Guntersville
Courtesy of Marshall County Tourism & Sports

Do Some Shopping

Guntersville's walkable main street is home to local shops and boutiques where you can find many a treasure to commemorate your visit. Antique lovers should check out King Row's Antiques, Antiques and Sweets, , and Southern Traditions Antique Mall, all located within a block of one another. Find one-of-a-kind home goods and gifts from The Monkeys Uncle and The Red Elephant Marketplace. If you need a pick-me-up in between exercising your credit card, stop into Bakers on Main, a vintage building housing 25 individual shops and boutiques, as well as a wine shop, café, and event space. Adjoining Café 336 is perfect for a coffee, light lunch, or sweet treat. For luxury bath products, The Soak House & Soapery is your spot. We recommend booking a mineral soak while there. There's something truly magical about relaxing in a clawfoot tub in a historic home, while a fuzzy robe and warm towel await.

Soak in the Scenery

While the town is gorgeous at all hours of the day, there's something extra special about sunrise and sunset in a lake town. For some of the best views, we've got two recommendations. Perched high on foothill of the Appalachian Mountains, the Lodge at Lake Guntersville State Park has two expansive back decks that offer sweeping views of the lake below. Another option is to take a stroll on Sunset Drive Walking Trail, a 3.6-mile path that meanders along the lake's shoreline passing by fishing piers, historic homes, and a recreation area.

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