Category Archives: Recreation

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Mother Nature

If Mom’s perfect day includes being outdoors, treat her to Mother’s Day with Mother Nature. Georgia’s State Parks provide plenty of places where families can celebrate the holiday surrounded by springtime scenery.  Below are six ideas for a Mother’s Day that will make outdoorsy moms smile. To find more family friendly outings, visit GaStateParks.org.

Go On An Adventure

If Mom likes a thrill, try something new and adventurous. Choose from archery classes, kayaking, stand-up paddleboard classes, ziplining or even mountain biking. Many parks offer rentals and classes for all abilities. Check explore.GaStateParks.org/events and GaStateParks.org/ParkActivities to find something that will get Mom’s heart racing.

Picnic in the Park

Give Mom a break from packing lunches by packing a picnic basket just for her.  All of Georgia’s State Parks have picnic tables with pretty views. This is the perfect gift for families on a budget since picnic tables are free and parking is just $5. Larger families can rent enclosed group shelters or open-air shelters for an all-day potluck or family reunion. Find a picnic spot near you at GaStateParks.org/map.

Go “Glamping”

Adventurous moms will get a thrill out of “glamping” in a yurt. Six Georgia State Parks offer these accommodations which are like a combination between a tent and a cabin. After toasting s’mores by the campfire, everyone will sleep cozy on soft beds inside, then wake to the sounds of songbirds outside. Reserve yurts, cabins or campsites at GaStateParks.org/reservations.

 Stroll Through History

Georgia’s State Historic Sites offer not only a look into our past, but also educational walking trails. Explore the salt marsh around colonial Fort Morris, scout for wildlife at New Echota’s beaver pond or climb to the top of an ancient mound at Etowah. Not only will Mom learn about Georgia history, she’ll enjoy beautiful scenery as well. Discover Georgia’s historic sites at GeorgiaStateParks.org/history.

Take a Walk in the Woods

Keep an eye out for birds, butterflies and blooms while on a nature hike. Families can set out on their own along well-marked trails or join ranger-led hikes. Find stroller-friendly paved paths, lakeside loops and challenging treks at GaStateParks.org/ParkActivities. A calendar of ranger-led excursions is listed at explore.GeorgiaStateParks.org/events.

 Let Mom Choose

If you can’t resist wrapping a present, consider a gift card, annual ParkPass or membership to Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.  Gift cards can be used on cabins, yurts, gift shops, kayak rental, bike rental, golf green fees, historic site admission and many other outdoor activities.  Annual passes are $50 and provide free parking at more than 40 state parks. Friends membership begins at $55 and provides an annual pass plus additional discounts.  Find details at GaStateParks.org and www.FriendsofGaStateParks.org.

Spring Break Ideas: Ten Ways to Get Families Outdoors

Ft. Yargo Yurt in Winder Georgia - Spring Break Ideas

With Spring Break just around the corner, Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites offer many ways for families to enjoy the outdoors on a budget. From sleeping under the stars to paddling under a full moon, Georgia’s State Parks have vacations for all ages. Below are ten ideas for a memorable Spring Break that’s affordable and close to home.

  • Camping Under the Stars – Pack the tent and build cherished memories while toasting gooey s’mores. Camping encourages the entire family to enjoy the simple pleasures of swapping stories while looking up at the stars. All campgrounds have water and electric hookups, plus hot showers. Many offer sewage hookups for RVs and site-specific reservations. www.GaStateParks.org/Camping
  • Glamping Yurts – For a unique and affordable getaway, book a “glamour camping” yurt. These funky wood and canvas structures are a blend between a tent and cabin, with furniture inside and fire rings outside. Guests can even walk to nearby hot showers. Yurts are available at Cloudland Canyon, Red Top Mountain, High Falls, Fort Yargo, Sweetwater Creek and Tugaloo state parks. www.GaStateParks.org/UniqueAccommodations
  • Cozy Cabins – For an affordable and cozy staycation, book a cabin or cottage surrounded by beautiful scenery. Ranging from one to three bedrooms, state park cabins come with fully equipped kitchens, screened porches and a wide range of activities right outside the door. Bring your four-legged family members along when you reserve a dog-friendly cabin in advance. www.GaStateParks.org/Cottages
  • Parks After Dark – Throughout 2018, Georgia’s State Parks are spotlighting the sights and sounds of evening. Join park rangers for after-dark programs such as full-moon kayaking, astronomy outings, sunset hikes, frog frolics, candlelit tours and more. Find a calendar of evening events on www.GaStateParks.org/ParksAfterDark, with even more daytime programs posted on each park’s webpage. 
  • Junior Rangers — Children ages 6 to 12 will have fun learning in the outdoors as they work toward earning a Junior Ranger badge. By following guidelines in the activity book or attending ranger-led camps, they will experience nature first-hand and explore Georgia’s fascinating history. The experience builds as children work their way through three badge levels. Download the free book at www.GaStateParks.org/EducationalResources.
  • Hit the Trail – Hit the trails with your children to discover the wonders of nature through their eyes. Georgia’s State Parks offer a variety of hiking and biking paths, from easy paved loops to challenging backcountry trails. Families will experience Georgia’s diverse landscape as well, with canyons and waterfalls, salt marshes and streams. Energetic explorers can join the Canyon Climbers Club or Muddy Spokes Club to earn a members-only t-shirt.  Learn more at www.GaStateParks.org/ParkActivities and www.GaStateParks.org/ParkClubs. 
  • Go Fishing – Grab your rod and reel and head out for a day of fishing at parks like High Falls or Moccasin Creek. There is no fee for casting a line, but a license is required for ages 16 and older.  For families who would like to take their adventure up a notch, many state parks rent boats by the hour. www.GaStateParks.org/ParkFishing 
  • Travel Back in Time – Mix entertainment with education when you step back in time at Georgia’s state historic sites. Children can explore colonial times at Fort Morris and Fort King George, or Civil War bunkers at Fort McAllister. To learn about Native American history, visit Kolomoki Mounds, New Echota, Chief Vann House and Etowah Indian Mounds. Even more historic sites are listed on www.GaStateParks.org/History. 
  • Go Paddling – Explore Georgia’s waterways through a variety of paddling adventures. Canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and aquacycles may be rented seasonally, or visitors may bring their own boats. Many parks offer guided tours, including Stephen C. Foster’s tour of the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp and George L. Smith’s tour of a beautiful mill pond. For a challenge, join the Park Paddlers Club which takes explorers to six state parks as they earn a members-only t-shirt.  www.GaStateParks.org/Paddling
  • Tee Off – Tee off at one of Georgia’s eight state park golf courses offering a family-friendly atmosphere surrounded by sparkling lakes and scenic forests.  Lessons, putting greens, pro shops and a Junior Golf Tour are available. www.GaStateParks.org/Golfing

Time To Get Started On Getting Your 2018 Georgia Bass Slam

Catch five different bass species and you have a Georgia Bass Slam! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) introduced the Georgia Bass Slam last year to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch different species of bass in a variety of habitats across the state, while also stimulating interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats and 15 anglers managed to grab their own Slam – will you get one in 2018?

Georgia Bass Slam

“Black bass are the most sought after group of species in North America, and for the Georgia Bass Slam we recognize ten different black bass,” says Matt Thomas, Chief of WRD Fisheries Management. “The Slam challenges anglers to explore new habitats and different techniques to go beyond the species they normally target.”

Georgia’s ten (10) recognized native black bass species are largemouth, smallmouth, shoal, Suwannee, spotted (Alabama or Kentucky), redeye, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Altamaha and Bartram’s.  Anglers can find out more about these eligible bass species, including images, location maps and more at www.BassSlam.com.

How Can You Participate? To qualify for the Georgia Bass Slam, fish must be caught within a calendar year, must be legally caught on waters where you have permission to fish, and anglers must provide some basic information on the catch (length, weight-if available, county and waterbody where caught) accompanied by several photos of each fish.  Anglers will submit information to Georgia.BassSlam@dnr.ga.gov for verification. Complete rules posted at www.BassSlam.com.

 What is Your Reward? Well, besides bragging rights among all the anglers and non-anglers you know, you will receive a certificate worthy of framing, two passes to the Go Fish Education Center and some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your achievement. Anglers will be recognized on the WRD website, at the Go Fish Education Center, and through a variety of social media platforms. In addition, all successful 2018 submissions will go into a drawing for a grand prize!

For more information, visit www.BassSlam.com.