Splash into Summer Water Activities at Georgia State Parks.
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 Gordonia-Alatamaha. 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.
About Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
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.