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Van de Graaff Arboretum & Historic Bridge Park

3231 Robert Cardinal Airport Rd, Northport, AL 35476

Price: Tent Camping: $10-$25/night | RV Camping: $15-$20/night


  • Water - Bathrooms
  • Rentable Facilities
  • Grill
  • Picnic Tables

Located Here:


6a-Dark, Daily*

Overnight campers will have 24-hour access to the park.

*Special holiday hours may be posted


3231 Robert Cardinal Road, Northport, AL

(205) 799-4038 (Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm)

Main entrance is labeled "Gate 1"


Van de Graaff Arboretum and Historic Bridge Park is the first “nature park” of its kind for PARA to feature recreational nature at its best. While this rustic, semi-primitive style park is still under development, many amenities are available including fishing, hiking and camping.



With the benefit of being close to a population hub, this 141-acre property provides a taste of the great outdoors close to home. It is defined by 33 acres of multiple open freshwater ponds created by its former usage as a gravel pit and fed by Mill Creek. Although the park does not touch the Black Warrior River, the creek flows through and eventually feeds into the river. Ten acres of the park are classified as wetlands and support swamp, marsh, and bogs. This unique wetland ecosystem combines aspects of land and water to create a distinctive habitat where certain plant and animal species are protected and can flourish.


The most notable historical and architectural feature of the park is a single span of the 1882 King Bowstring Bridge. It is one of four spans that crossed the Black Warrior River from 1882 – 1896.


Friends of Historic Northport Inc. leased the 141-acre property to PARA for $1 per year for 99 years in 2014 under the stipulation that PARA be responsible for developing and maintaining the land for recreational and educational use. 

Rates & More Information

Camping: All camp sites feature a fire ring

  • Ten (10) RV camp sites include water hook up. RVs must be self-contained. There is no electricity or dump station.
  • Including one (1) RV campsite that is ADA accessible
  • Six (6) tent sites include tent pad and parking space.
  • Fourteen (14) primitive walk-in tent sites.
  • Rates:
    • Tent Camping
      • $10/night | Sunday-Thursday ($20 for A5, B1, B5)
      • $15/night | Friday-Saturday, Holidays ($25 for A5, B1, B5)
    • RV Camping
      • $15/night | Sunday-Thursday
      • $20/night | Friday-Saturday, Holidays

Rent a campsite online



  • All patrons must obtain a valid fishing license (where applicable) and follow rules by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • All overnight campers will receive up to 4 fishing permits per campsite.  Additional fishing permits may be purchased on-site.
  • Daily Fishing Permits: $5 Adults, 12 & under FREE with paid Adult
  • Annual Fishing Pass Available for $60 per person HERE



  • A boat ramp for hand-carried and non-gas motor boat launch is available for registered campers.


Other Amenities:

  • A span of the 1812 Historic Bridge – open to foot traffic only
  • Porch style swings
  • A 1/3 mile walking trail
  • Eco Trail
  • Pavilion
  • Potable Water
  • Grills
  • Fire Pits
  • Big Bat House
  • Horse Shoe Pit – must provide your own horseshoes
  • Portable Toilets
  • Trash Cans


The following is not allowed in the park:

  • Swimming
  • Hunting, unauthorized use of firearms of any kind
  • Fireworks
  • Littering
  • Four wheelers, motorcycles, or other ATVs
  • Gas motored engines on a boat
  • Any illegal activity

Emergency Contact Numbers

  • In case of emergency, call 911
  • For park related issues:
    • 205-799-4038 Park Attendant
    • 205-361-2258 PARA Ranger