Sharon Johnston Park is a beautiful, hidden jewel in New Market just 20 minutes from downtown Huntsville and easy to find. The park is managed by Madison County and features a twelve-acre fishing lake, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a campground along with many other amenities. The day we visited, we checked out the lake, playground, pool, and campground.
Fishing and Playing
To purchase a fishing permit from the Camp Host at the campground, take the first road on your left after entering the park. (All anglers need a permit and those over 16 need a State of Alabama fishing license.) The Camp Host is the first campsite on the right as you enter the campground area (there’s a sign, so you can’t miss him). Just knock on the door to his camper. Permits are $1.50 each. The park does not sell bait, so BYO.
We could see the lake from the campground, but decided to drive back to the main road, turn left, and take the next left to get to the lake. There are two bathroom facilities on the side we were on and they were very clean, and there are several covered pavilions on both sides of the lake. Fishing from the bank was easy, but, alas, we didn’t catch anything. Bring a chair if you plan on staying for a while!
Behind the lake is a nice playground with lots of seating, picnic tables, and shade for parents and a great play area for the kids. One of the bathrooms is close by (no changing table).
The campground is very well-maintained with 33 sites ranging from “rustic” to “modern” with a choice of shaded or sunny sites available. All sites have pads. There are two bath houses (one has been recently improved).
Sharon Johnston Park is quite a distance from any shopping (unless there’s something further up the road that I don’t know about), so pack what you need! The gate is locked at 10pm and, while you can get a key to come in and out, they discourage that after hours. Campground rules can be found here.
The Swimming Pool at Sharon Johnston Park is Olympic-sized and is staffed with life guards. They have rest time once an hour right before the hour. Bathrooms are clean with changing tables and lifts are available for those needing assistance getting in and out of the pool. Plus, they have a concession stand that’s reasonably priced. We bought flavored ice for $1 and (some very tasty) french fries for $1.50 each. They have other regulars like burgers, nachos, and soft drinks so you don’t have to worry if you forgot to pack snacks.
Be sure to check the pool schedule here as they have certain hours for public swimming.
Fishing permit: $1.50
Camping: Rustic – $15/night, Modern – $18/night
Swimming: $5 per person swimming (Not swimming? No charge.)
Other amenities can be found on the park website.
Sharon Johnston Park Details
Karen Gann had a marketing communications career in high tech before taking a sharp turn into stay-at-home-momdom and homeschooling. She grew up in the Tennesse Valley, lives in Huntsville, and is wife to the wittiest man alive, mother to two head-strong and independent girls (they're adorable, really), and human caregiver to Gomez the dog. Addictions include Facebook, Pinterest, NYC's Radio Lab, coffee, and politics (not necessarily in that order but sometimes all at the same time). She's a foodie, too.