Need a break from the hustle of everyday life?

March 27th, 2013 | By Lindsey Ebert No Comments

With all the distractions of our day-to-day lives, it is easy to forget about all of the possibilities for fun right outside our front door. Turn the vast outdoors into a family adventure by planning a camping trip right here in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources manages 41 state parks that offer more than 2,700 campsites. These parks provide great locations all across the state for camping and other recreational activities.

State parks cater to all different types of campers. Whether you’re ready to brave the wilderness or looking for a more laid-back, adventure-filled getaway with the family, there is a campsite just for you.

Don’t let not owning a tent stop your family from this excursion. Participating state parks throughout Georgia have the “First Time Campers Program.” For the low cost of $50, you can rent REI camping equipment for two nights, which an experienced ranger will help you set up. Rangers also provide insider tips that will help your family become more comfortable during your camping experience. The developed campsites come equipped with electric and water hook-ups, making them more family- friendly for beginner campers. Restroom and showering facilities are within walking distance, and you can choose from sites built for pitching tents or those that allow for camper and RV parking.

Backcountry sites are a backpacker’s paradise. They are undeveloped, with no amenities for water or electricity – perfect for people looking to completely escape without even leaving the state! If you plan to stay at one of these sites, be well prepared with water and other camping necessities, as these will not be provided at the site.

If living in a tent for a few days just isn’t for you, there are other options that will still allow you to enjoy the camping experience. A yurt could be the ideal solution. Yurts are tent-like structures made of canvas and wood. Outside of the yurt, you will find picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. When you are ready to retreat from the outdoors, simply step inside to these furnished, glorified tents. Mattresses and electrical outlets within the yurt will make your camping trip extra cozy.

There is more to camping than just the tent and campfire, though. Camping is a great opportunity for campers of all ages to try out new sports and activities as well.

According to the Georgia State Parks website, many of these state parks provide a multitude of other opportunities for recreation. Some activities include:

  • Archery
  • Biking trails
  • Canoeing
  • Guided hikes
  • Hands-on nature classes
  • Fishing
  • Disc golf
  • Golfing
  • Geocaching

 

Geocaching is a new craze that “combines the high-tech feel of online games with the old-fashioned fun of a treasure hunt.” (You can check out our own article about geocaching at www.athensmove.com/family/family-feature/geo-what/.) The object is to locate hidden containers called “caches” using your smart phone or GPS. In these containers is a small prize, which you take, then leave one for the next person. This state-wide scavenger hunt is a great way for the family to explore and learn more about the state of Georgia. The coordinates for the hidden treasures can be found at www.geocaching.com.
Camping trips are the perfect opportunity for a fishing trip, too! Within state parks, you will discover some of the best locations for fly fishing, bass and trout fishing in the country. Fly fishing is a more active form of the sport, while other forms allow you to relax in a boat or on the shore. Don’t have all the right equipment to fish? Don’t worry! Some parks allow you to rent fishing equipment for little to no charge. If you plan to partake in this popular sport, don’t forget that a fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 16. These can be purchased for as little as $5 by calling 1-800-366-2661 or visiting
www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes.

Whether you’re a beginner or well-practiced, hiking is a great way to bring out the inner explorer in us all, and hiking can be for family members of all ages. Paved trails are available and are wheelchair accessible. If you’re bringing kids, try a less challenging trail to keep the hike enjoyable. For moderate day hikes, you can try Amicalola Falls, Blackrock Mountain or Cloudland Canyon. More challenging hikes with overnight camping are also available at these locations. While you’re out exploring, you can exercise your mind as well by visiting historic sites such as the Indian mounds of Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park or the earthwork fortification of the Confederacy of Fort McAllister Historic Park.

Do you prefer to spend your time outdoors in or on water? Many campsites parks rent boats by the hour. One option is to rent a canoe, kayak or paddle boat to explore the calm waters of streams and lakes. See the sights with the family or participate in a guided excursion. On larger lakes, you can even rent motorized boats and practice water sports, such as wakeboarding, to make your camping trip extra thrilling.

Are you an animal lover? Seven state parks in Georgia are horse-rider friendly. With more than 100 miles of trails, a great option for adventure on your next camping trip is saddling up for a horseback ride. Bring your own horse or ‘rent’ one to explore the trails. Fort Mountain State Park and F.D. Roosevelt State Park offer guided horseback rides. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, a horseback ride is a fun way to liven up your camping trip.

Camping provides classic family fun for all ages. Whether you prefer roughing it in a tent, or a more relaxed experience in a yurt, there is a campsite that is a perfect fit for your family. Most importantly, don’t be fooled into thinking that camping is only sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows. On these mini-vacations, there are countless opportunities for exploration and fun for the whole family!

For more information on camping in Georgia, visit www.gastateparks.org.

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