in Shelby County
The city of Calera is pretty centrally located within the state. It is considered the “Heart of the Heart of Dixie”. This charming southern town holds so much history while growing into the future.
Calera, AL is located south of Alabaster and east of Montevallo. This small town has a whole lot to offer. High-standing schools, local shops, and parks are just a few things you have to look forward to.
Calera was once a rail town, but after SYSCO moved in 1999, the city began to flourish.
All major railroads are connected in Calera, Alabama. Used primarily for industrial transport, the rail lines around the city have received upgrades and a connection to Mobile, Alabama. The A-USA Corridor improves the economic development infrastructure across central and south Alabama.
There are two major interstates easily accessible in the area, I-65 and I-459, making car travel easy, too. On top of the ease of access, Calera is positioned conveniently between Birmingham and Montgomery.
For a more relaxed and calm day in nature, check out Akridge Arboretum Park. This 1-acre park features a pavilion, nature trail, and picnic tables. It is the epitome of classic Southern charm and has gone through a renovation with architects from Southern Living.
For youth baseball, softball, soccer, and football, Eagle Sports Complex is the place to be. There is also a 10-lane batting cage to get some practice swings in. The place is massive and even hosts multiple tournaments every year.
To get some energy out, check out the George W. Roy Recreational Park. This 28-acre park has a half-mile paved trail, pavilions, picnic tables, grills, and a playground. The future of this park will impress you — there’s an additional 40-acres of land in development. The master plan is to add a skate park, disc golf range, BMX track, volleyball courts, a splash pad, and additional playgrounds.
Something you may not be expecting is a full RV park and conference center. Rolling Hills is right off I-65 at Exit 231. The RV park offers all the amenities you could ask for and offers nightly and monthly rates. The whole family can enjoy some fun at the pool, one of the two lakes, or at the Family Life Center. The conference center can host up to 500 guests for just a half-day or up to seven days with dormitories available.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum
The top attraction in Calera, and one that pulls visitors from all over the state, is the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. If you haven’t been before, you have got to add it to your to-do list! It isn’t just fun for kids — adults will love it, too! Everything that is offered is a mouth full! Ready, here we go — operating standard gauge and narrow gauge trains, two restored depots, an indoor collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia, and an outdoor collection of railroad cars, locomotives, and cabooses. And this doesn’t include all the annual events they host!
- Opening Day
- Calera & Shelby Train Rides
- Shelby & Southern Steam RailRoad Rides
- The Sweetheart Special
- Mardi Gras Limited
- Ozan Wine Trains
- Easter Eggspress
- Mother’s Day Special
- Rail Safety Day
- Father’s Day Express
- Stars & Stripes Special
- Wild West Day
- Pumpkin Junction
- Fall Foliage Special
- North Pole Express
- Christmas At The Station
That is a whole year’s worth of family activities! The most popular ride is the North Pole Express, so plan your visit early to be able to snag tickets. The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is a mecca of fun for everyone and a must-visit attraction.
Food & Drink
The wineries in Calera, AL will make you feel like you’ve traveled to Napa Valley for the day. Calera is a small town, but it is home to two wineries.
Corbin Farms Winery is one of the southeast’s oldest wineries. Guests can enjoy a diverse selection of wines and a quaint meal at the adjoining restaurant. The small menu features classic dips and salads. It is the perfect spot for a girls lunch out or cozy date night.
Ozan Winery is a family-owned and operated estate vineyard giving off a Tuscan vibe. The vineyard overlook offers a shaded outdoor space for group reservations, and you can pair a wine tasting with a few of the cafè bites.
For a quintessential small town dish, head to Tin Top BBQ on County Road 33. This small joint serves up big flavor. You can get generous portions of pork, ribs, chopped chicken, all the fixins’, and more! And the prices? Can’t be beat!
Antique enthusiasts will love hunting in Calera. Treasures are sure to be found. Son of a Junkman and the Restore thrift shops are great stops to pursue around and see what you find.
Son of a Junkman offers curated, affordable vintage finds as well as live plants. It’s located along Highway 31. You will see so many cool finds!
Restore54 and the newly opened Restore43 are more like thrift shops than antique stores, but you can still find some good grabs. Both are located on Highway 31 and benefit My Sister’s Place.
For gifts, decorations, and home furniture, you have to visit the 35,000 square-foot Alabama Furniture Market. The curated collections reflect a more natural vibe and boast “bringing the outside in”. Local owners Avery and Chris really put their heart into this business.
Calera Main Street
The City of Calera holds one of three Main Street Alabama designations in Shelby County. From unique local shops, restaurants, and even some local businesses, Calera Main Street is a growing area dedicated to revitalizing downtown while honoring the history of the city.
You will find Calera Main Street between Highway 25 and 17th Avenue along Highway 31. The Courtyard provides plenty of public parking, and all shops are walkable.
You can grab a cup of coffee at Adventurer’s Coffee, create a terrarium at Plant, step into R.O.E. Hobby, grab lunch at Creations Galore & Moore, and even pick up something for your furry friend at Fuzzy Buttz Pet Supply.
Calera Main Street hosts events all throughout the year including Trunk or Treat and the annual Christmas Village and Parade. Make plans to check them out!