This Spring Break, break away from the wild life of the college crowd and migrate toward the wildlife at a Georgia State Park, where the gentle calls of birds and furry friends greet visitors waking up in their cabins or campsites and create a soothing melody for a good night’s sleep. Thousands of families, couples and friends emphatically agree that one of the most exciting and entertaining aspects of Georgia State Parks is wildlife-watching during their spring getaway.
From alligators in the swamps of Southeast Georgia, to woodpeckers all over the state, the variety of wildlife seems endless. In the air, Georgia’s location along a major migratory bird route means that more than 300 species including colorful painted buntings, bald eagles, and great egrets can be found here. Forty-six of Georgia’s 48 State Parks and Historic Sites have nature trails and/or nature centers, and many offer guided tours such as moonlight hikes or kayak paddles. Private group tours can sometimes be arranged in advance.
Take in the beauty of Georgia’s sensational spring wildflowers and admire the emerging foliage far from the highways, high-rises and expensive theme parks. Georgia State Parks is a great Spring Break destination that offers outdoor adventure and offers a way to enjoy Spring Break without breaking the bank. Accommodations in one- to three-bedroom cabins range from around $85 to $160 per night. All come with a kitchen equipped for cooking, great views, screened rocking-chair porches and other comforts of home away from home. For details on Spring Break vacation accommodations, visit this link: http://gastateparks.org/cabins To make reservations by phone, call 800-864-7275.
Guests looking for a cross between cabins and camping will love Yurts, with their tall, spacious tented sides on a permanent platform and deck. Prices start at $70 per night, with heat, beds and seating, and a grill and picnic table outside. For more surprising and delightful unique lodging options, visit here: http://gastateparks.org/unique
Then, of course, is the ultimate commune with wildlife and nature: backcountry camping, starting at $6 and up to modern campsites with many amenities, ranging from $24-$28 per night. Forty-one parks offer more than 2,700 campsites, including tent-only areas, RV pull-thru sites and group camping areas. Most state parks have laundry facilities and sell camping supplies. Prices vary depending upon the park, amenities and season. For details, go to http://gastateparks.org/campsites
Not yet a camper but curious? Thanks to The North Face and REI, Georgia State Parks’ First-Time Camper program orients newbies to the joys of sleeping under the stars, with loaner gear and expert advice for a bargain price. For just $50, adventure seekers spend two nights in a modern campground, trying out gear from the two leading outfitters. Campers borrow a six-man tent, sleeping pads, chairs, camp stove, lantern and marshmallow-roasting sticks. Park staff help set up tents and provide “Camping 101.” Upon departure, campers exchange the gear for coupons for their next adventure.
Whether primitive camping or staying in a comfortable cottage, Georgia State Parks are delightfully affordable, while offering many of the amenities of luxury woodland resorts. While each is unique, most parks feature large tranquil lakes, river settings or waterfalls. Park guests can enjoy free hiking, fishing, geocaching, history, animal and nature programs, as well as low-cost bike rentals, boating, championship golf, mini-golf, disc golf, archery, caving and many other activities.
To enjoy Spring Break without going broke, start at www.gastateparks.org, and then browse the tabs for locations, reservations, and details on every Georgia State Park, activities and events. To make reservations by phone,call 800-864-7275.
About Georgia State Park System:
Georgia’s State Parks are affordable destinations for vacations and quick getaways. Waterfalls and lakes, salt marsh and mountains are just some of the beautiful environments of the 48 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 15 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. Annual ParkPasses are $50 (or just $25 for seniors 62 and older). Even better, membership to Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites includes a free ParkPass and more discounts. Campers can pick up loyalty cards that earn them every 10th night for free. www.GaStateParks.org/thingstoknow.