Splash into Sum­mer Wa­ter Ac­tiv­i­ties at Ge­or­gia State Parks

Calhoun Times - - GORDONLIFE -

Staff Re­ports

(AT­LANTA, Ga.) – Ge­or­gia na­tives know just how quickly the warmer weather ap­proaches af­ter spring. As the flow­ers con­tinue to bloom and the suns beams grow stronger, out­door lovers will be on the search for the best places to cool off and soak up the sun. With more than 60 parks in the state park sys­tem, there is a re­fresh­ing out­door ac­tiv­ity suit­able for ev­ery­one. Ad­di­tional ways that vis­i­tors can splash into sum­mer at Ge­or­gia State Park’s lakes, rivers and marshes in­clude pad­dling, swim­ming, fish­ing and boat­ing.

The Park Pad­dlers Club of­fers an abun­dance of scenic wa­ter­ways to ex­plore, for both sea­soned pad­dlers and be­gin­ners. Whether pad­dling in a kayak, in a canoe, or on a stand-up pad­dle­board (SUP), pad­dle the 24 miles of wa­ter trails at the six par­tic­i­pat­ing state parks and earn a Park Pad­dlers t-shirt and bragging rights. In ad­di­tion to the six state parks in the Park Pad­dlers Club, vis­i­tors can rent kayaks, ca­noes and SUPs to ex­plore a va­ri­ety of moun­tain lakes, coastal wa­ters and wind­ing rivers, all lo­cated within Ge­or­gia state parks. Find a com­plete list of parks with pad­dling at GaS­tateParks. org/Pad­dling.

Noth­ing says sum­mer like a trip to the lake. Ge­or­gia State Parks’ sandy swim­ming beaches serve up all the ameni­ties of a trip to the coast with­out the ex­pense. Check out the beaches at parks like Red Top Moun­tain, Hard La­bor Creek or Tu­ga­loo. If swim­ming pools are more your style, head to F.D. Roo­sevelt, High Falls, Lit­tle Oc­mul­gee or Vic­to­ria Bryant state parks. Kids will find fun ways to play in the wa­ter with splash pads at Mag­no­lia Springs, Lit­tle Oc­mul­gee and Gor­do­niaAlatamaha. Find a lake, pool or splash pad at GaS­tateParks. org/Swim­ming.

Ge­or­gia State Parks are an an­gler’s par­adise with reser­voirs, streams and rivers, lakes of all sizes, and salt­wa­ter fish­ing. Many bass fish­er­men equate “The Bass Cap­i­tal of the World” to Ge­orge T. Bagby’s Lake Wal­ter F. Ge­orge. In fact, the size and va­ri­ety of fish are ri­valed only by the va­ri­eties of un­spoiled en­vi­ron­ments, from bass at Tu­ga­loo and Hart Out­door Re­cre­ation Area, to crap­pie at Semi­nole, Red Top Moun­tain and Richard B. Rus­sell. Sev­eral of the parks have cre­ated pro­grams that al­low you to bor­row equip­ment for lit­tle or no charge. Find a fish­ing spot at GaS­tateParks. org/Fish­ing.

In ad­di­tion to lake­side beaches, dozens of Ge­or­gia State Parks pro­vide pub­lic boat ramps and docks, a few with their own docks ad­ja­cent to camp­grounds and cab­ins. Boat rentals are avail­able at more than 20 state parks. Larger lakes even al­low boaters to par­take in wa­ter ski­ing, sail­ing and other per­sonal water­craft ac­tiv­i­ties, how­ever, some parks on smaller lakes have horse­power re­stric­tions to pre­serve the tran­quil set­ting and wildlife. See a full list of boat ramps at GaS­tateParks. org/Boat­ing.

Overnight ac­com­mo­da­tions are plenty and guests can choose from var­i­ous op­tions in­clud­ing glamp­ing yurts, cab­ins, cot­tages and group shel­ters. Be sure to re­view the events cal­en­dar prior to vis­it­ing to par­tic­i­pate in sum­mer events in­clud­ing Pooch on the Hooch, which takes place at Don Carter State Park, Bird­ing by Boat Pad­dles at Semi­nole State Park and any Parks Af­ter Dark pro­gram­ming like Twi­light Lake Pad­dles at Sweet­wa­ter Creek State Park. To re­serve a stay and plan the next out­door out­ing, visit GaS­tateParks.org/ Reser­va­tions.

Ge­or­gia’s State Parks & His­toric Sites are af­ford­able des­ti­na­tions for va­ca­tions and quick get­aways. Wa­ter­falls and lakes, salt marsh and moun­tains are just some of the beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ments of the state parks. Ge­or­gia State Park Golf Cour­ses of­fer the best va­ri­ety and value around. With eight golf cour­ses to choose from, each fea­tures nat­u­ral set­tings and pic­turesque sur­round­ings, as well as fun and chal­leng­ing play. Most state parks of­fer fish­ing, boat­ing, hik­ing, camp­ing, geo­caching, bird­ing and more. Ac­com­mo­da­tions in­clude camp­sites, cab­ins, lodges, even yurts, and vary by park. Among the Ge­or­gia State His­toric Sites are pres­i­den­tial homes, an­cient In­dian mounds, bat­tle­fields, plan­ta­tions and even a gold mu­seum. Ge­or­gia’s pub­lic li­braries have ParkPasses and His­toric Site Passes that can be checked out like a book.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

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