With bright, sunny summer days, staying inside seems shameful.
Remain guilt-free by making a fun checklist of endless outdoor activities at Georgia State Parks. Keep in check with the company of like-minded others through Georgia State Parks’ clubs. Paddle through 24 miles of waterways, walk seven dog-friendly trails, mountain bike on more than 68 miles of terrain, hike and climb thousands of feet in elevation and search for treasure in more than 30 state parks. All club cards can be bought at participating Georgia State Parks or at GaStateParks.org/ParkClubs.
Park Paddlers — Paddling Club
Spend a warm summer day on the water. From the tidal marshes of Fort McAllister to the blackwater mill pond at George L. Smith, Georgia has paddling experiences for all skill levels. Canoes and kayaks may be rented seasonally at more than 20 state parks, and visitors may also bring their own boats. The Park Paddlers Club engages all skill levels to kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board (SUP) the waterways. With an abundance of scenic waterways to explore, both seasoned paddlers and beginners enjoy exploring the lakes and rivers at the parks. Paddle the water trails at the six participating state parks including Chattahoochee Bend, Crooked River, George L. Smith, Reed Bingham, Stephen C. Foster and Sweetwater Creek State Parks. The member card is $10, and those who paddle at all the participating parks earn a Park Paddler t-shirt and bragging rights. GaStateParks.org/ParkPaddlersClub
Canyon Climbers — Hiking Club
Soar to new heights this summer. Scale to the top of Amicalola Falls, explore the depths of Providence Canyon, brave the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge and master the staircase in Cloudland Canyon in the Canyon Climbers Club. Join the Canyon Climbers Club by purchasing the $10 membership card. Hike all four parks, get a card punched by rangers, and redeem it for a t-shirt and self-accomplishment. GaStateParks.org/CanyonClimbersClub
Muddy Spokes — Mountain Biking Club
Naturally cool off during the warmer weather by pedaling a bike breeze. First-timers and advanced riders will find an array of trails to dirty up their tires. With gravel paths and single tracks, Georgia State Parks has options for all riders, with more than 68 miles of mountain bike trails in the Muddy Spokes Club. The club highlights designated trails at 11 state parks: Fort Mountain, Fort Yargo, Magnolia Springs, Mistletoe, Panola Mountain, Red Top Mountain, Richard B. Russell, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi, Victoria Bryant and Watson Mill Bridge. Trails range in difficulty from easy to single-track technical trails. To join the Muddy Spokes Club, mountain bikers buy a $10 membership card which can be punched at the park visitor center after completing each trail. After finishing all trails, mountain bikers receive a “mud-splattered” Muddy Spokes Club t-shirt. GaStateParks.org/MuddySpokesClub
Tails on Trails — Dog-Walking Club
Make sure that Fido gets in on the summer fun with the Tails on Trails club. Designated hikes offer backcountry trails and cascading waterfalls. Dogs and their owners are always welcome at Georgia State Parks, and now the Tails on Trails club offers a way to accomplish hikes, making their visit not just another walk in the park. Those who would like to join can purchase a $15 membership card at any of the participating parks — including Don Carter, Fort McAllister, Fort Mountain, F.D. Roosevelt, High Falls, Red Top Mountain and Sweetwater Creek state parks. Upon completing all seven trails, owners will receive a t-shirt with a matching bandana for their pup. GaStateParks.org/TailsOnTrailsClub
GeoTour — Geocaching
Enjoy a high-tech treasure hunting expedition — an experience great for kids on school break. With geocaching, participants navigate to a set of GPS coordinates and attempt to find the cache (container) hidden at that location. There are several geo-adventures awaiting in Georgia State Parks, so the fun can be different each time. Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites have offered the game since 2010, with more than 35,000 documented “finds” by players. Inside each hidden box are trinkets for players to trade, as well as log books. Caches at historic sites require players to answer questions about Georgia history before they can unlock the box, making them a fun educational tool. More than 40 State Parks participate in the Parks GeoTour, and more than a dozen historic sites are on the History Trail GeoTour. GaStateParks.org/Geocaching
No matter the club, spend more time by staying overnight in the parks. Accommodations include modern campsites with hot showers, cabins with fully equipped kitchens, lodges, and even “glamping” yurts. Make reservations by calling 800-864-7275 or online at GaStateParks.org/Reservations