While visiting Lake Martin, Alabama, you may be amazed by the amount of scenic destinations, live entertainment, and incredible dining options the lake has to offer. To help ensure you have an unforgettable experience, here is our list of 10 things you need to see and do on the lake to make the memories of a lifetime!
Poor Ole’ Kaw-liga… Hank Williams fans, this one is for you!
Located in the Kowaliga Bay near the Highway 63 Bridge, the Kowaliga Restaurant is an iconic staple to Lake Martin. Known for the delicious food and sweeping waterfront views, the restaurant also pays homage to the great Country music legend, Hank Williams.
It is said that Hank Williams wrote his famous song about the heartbroken Indian, Kaw-liga, while staying at a cabin on Lake Martin. At this same time, a new restaurant was breaking ground nearby… and the rest is history. Originally opened in 1953, Kowaliga pays tribute to Hank’s song with a massive wooden Indian that greets guests as they enter the lobby. Though the Indian has been replaced several times throughout the years, it is an iconic face of Lake Martin and makes the perfect photo buddy.
The claim to fame items are the catfish tacos and onion rings. They also offer seafood, salads, and “THE Cheeseburger”. From personal experience, I recommend trying out their appetizer of local Alabama favorites: Conecuh sausage, Wickles Pickles, and pimento cheese.
Kowaliga Restaurant is also known for its sandy white beach on the shoreline as well as its massive wrap-around porch, offering the perfect place for guests to feed the fish and turtles or catch a stunning Lake Martin sunset. Read more about their story, menu, and hours here.
The Landing at Parker Creek is one of Lake Martin’s hottest waterfront hangouts! Alabama renowned sportscaster and his wife, Herb and Betty Winches, are the proud owners of this unique destination. Built entirely from shipping containers, The Landing boasts a full kitchen and bar along with covered tables throughout their lawn and shaded dock canopy. No matter where you sit, every table has a waterfront view! It also offers a white sandy beach area for swimming and cooling off from the hot summer sun.
Along with a lively atmosphere, The Landing offers up a one-of-a-kind menu designed by Hawaiian Chef, Torrey Hall. From seafood to steak and everything in between, The Landing prides itself on a casual, yet unforgettable, open-air dining experience.
For our guests who are 21 and up, there are several specialty drink items on their menu such as “Lake Martin Lemonades”. However, The Landing is locally famous for their classic Bushwhacker in a souvenir cup.
“All points lead to The Landing at Parker Creek” …. and trust me, you won’t want to miss out on this local hangout hotspot!
For menu options, hours, and entertainment check out their website here.
One of the most popular destinations on Lake Martin is Goat Island! Dating as far back as the 1960s, the original start to the island is unknown and still remains a mystery to this day. However, over the decades generations of families have now visited the island, making it one of the oldest traditions and hottest attractions on the lake.
Located near the Lake Martin dam, it is easily spotted by the bright, colorful welcome signs and of course – goats! Though the island itself is only accessible by boat, visitors can beach right on the sandy banks and hop off, where they are happily greeted by Lake Martin’s famous furry friends.
The goats live on the island beginning mid-Spring to late Fall, depending on the weather. Locals will tell you that during your trip, be sure to pack a bag of the goats’ favorite snack – Cheetos! They also love to eat bread and chips, so coming prepared will make you their newest best friend.
The goats are well socialized and photogenic, making a trip to the island a perfect photo op to remember your incredible day on Lake Martin!
Read more about Goat Island at: Tips For Your Visit To Goat Island On Lake Martin
Keep up to date with the goats by visiting the Goat Island Facebook Page.
Chuckwalla’s Marina and Pizzeria is your go-to spot for gourmet pizza on Lake Martin! Their creative menu options and vibrant atmosphere makes this a top dining destination on the water. Grab the kids a “Goat Island” pizza with triple layers of pepperoni and cheese… or maybe a “Chimney Rock” supreme pizza is more your style? Chuck’s has a flavor for everyone in your crew! Their menu also serves up delicious salads, sandwiches, and even rounds of chicken wings. Our recommendation is to take a walk on the wild side and order up a serving of the “Raspberry Chipotle Chuckwalla’s Wings”. You’re welcome.
You can also catch special guests for live music entertainment. For full menu descriptions and weekly updates visit the Chuck’s Marina Facebook Page.
During your day on the lake, be sure to make a pit stop at Peanut Point – home of the best boiled peanuts on Lake Martin since 1988! You can get your choice of classic boiled peanuts or spice things up with an order of their Cajan-style snack. And of course, no trip to Peanut Point is complete without sporting one of their souvenir hats, T-shirts, or koozies. By boat you can find this local favorite right around the corner from Wind Creek State Park and it can easily be spotted by the popup tents on the shoreline.
Stay up to date on the Peanut Point Facebook Page.
Come for the food, stay for the live music! If you are looking for great food and entertainment, The Social is quickly becoming one of Lake Martin’s hottest new restaurant additions. Open for breakfast, brunch, and dinner, guests can look forward to great live music while dining with waterfront views.
Located at the Anchor Bay Marina, The Social offers an indoor and outdoor dining experience with a menu that covers everything from chicken and waffles to cheeseburgers and oysters – making it a great option to please everyone in your party. For guests who are 21 or up, the staff recommends trying one of their Strawberry Bushwhackers or a freshly made “Famous K Bloody Mary”, where the mix is made by one of their very own bartenders.
Live music gears up every evening as well as during Sunday brunch hours, featuring local artists from around the area.
And while you are there, don’t forget to top off your visit by snapping a picture on their iconic oversized Adirondack chair!
Whether you are coming by car or from a day on the water, The Social has plenty of parking spaces and boat slips for easy access to dine in.
For menu options, hours, and weekly musical guests visit their website here.
If you are seeking to add a thrill to your day trip on Lake Martin, Chimney Rock should be at the top of your bucket list!
This iconic landmark, located near the Ridge Marina, is a massive rock formation that can be seen protruding from the top of Chimney Rock Island. It gives the appearance of a “chimney” growing from the stony cliffs, hence the name.
However, the main attraction and famous hangout spot that many now refer to as Chimney Rock is actually named “Acapulco Rock Island”. It is well known in the area for cliff jumping and can easily be spotted by the years of iconic spray paint graffiti.
You will usually find a large gathering of boats circling Chimney Rock, with people watching and cheering on daredevils as they leap off of the three main cliffs: Chicken Rock, Acapulco Rock, and Lost Boys. These three cliffs all range in height, from 20 feet high to a whopping 60 feet above the water. They can only be accessed by a quick swim from your boat to a ledge near Chicken Rock, where jumpers can begin their ascent. If you are feeling brave enough to take the leap, locals will tell you that the jump is higher at the top than it appears from your boat – a helpful tip if you decide to join in on the action!
Ahoy, maties! Grab your crew and set sail to explore one of Lake Martin’s very own Pirate Island. Decorated with skeletons and treasure chests, it’s a magical and unexpected destination to add to your day trip list. The island is “guarded” by Jolly Rogers and his skeleton crew, who stand watch over the island props of hand-painted signs and Mardi Gras beads.
Originally created over a decade ago by Rick Stark as a personal family tradition, it has since grown to be one of the most unique destinations and photo ops on Lake Martin.
You can find Pirate Island on the Tallapoosa side of the lake, near Madwin Creek. GPS coordinates located the small island at 32.83305 and -85.85845.
Wind Creek State Park is one of the largest state-operated campgrounds in the nation! Stretching over 1,444 scenic acres and home to over 580 campsites, Wind Creek State Park offers endless possibilities of outdoor activities and family fun.
Amenities such as archery targets, a putt-putt course, fishing docks, and their scenic hiking trails are open for both day guests and campers alike. You can also make reservations to breeze through the trees on the zipline canopy tour or even take a relaxing horseback ride along the Lake Martin shoreline.
To add to your Wind Creek experience, our day trip suggestion is to visit the historic silo located near Hospice Point. The silo itself was said to be owned by a local farmer before the dam was built to create Lake Martin. Since then, it has been restored as a unique sightseeing destination for campers and park guests to enjoy.
Visitors that seek the thrill of the climb to the top of the silo are rewarded with breathtaking views of the lake. Be sure to add it to your itinerary for stunning photos and fun memories!
See everything Wind Creek State Park has to offer! Visit their website here.
Or check out this blog: Things To Do At Wind Creek State Park
End Your Day With A Sunset on The Big Water
The sky has never looked so big as when you hit the open water on Lake Martin. As the sun sets and the brilliant colors stretch across the waves, visitors and locals alike soak up the breathtaking views with a different display every evening. Whether you are watching from the decks of a restaurant, your back porch, or the padded seats of a pontoon, a sunset on the big water is the perfect way to end your unforgettable day on Lake Martin!