With Spring Break quickly approaching, 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, here are 9 ideas for a memorable spring break 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
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Yurts can be found at various Georgia state parks, including Tugaloo State Park in Hartwell. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- 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
Candlelight Forest is home to two treehouses in Chickamauga, Ga. More are planned to open next year. Sophie’s Roost sleeps up to six people and features two bedroom nooks, one-and-a-half baths, a kitchenette and decks with spectacular views. CONTRIBUTED
- 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.
Glamping in the North Georgia forest can include experiencing a few evenings under the stars in an authentic native American teepee. credit: North Georgia Canopy Tours
- 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 back country 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