6 Georgia Beaches for Family Fun

Golden Isles Beaches

St Simon’s Island. St. Simon’s Island (and nearby Jekyll) are filled with family entertainment options. Ride the historic trolley, climb the lighthouse, visit the Sea Turtle Center and much more. I highly recommend a stop at 4th of May for mimosas and pimento cheese. They also have books and coloring paraphernalia for the kiddos. See more info about our St. Simon’s adventure here: 365atlantafamily.com/stsimons

Cumberland Island. With no cars and few homes on this secluded beach, it is the perfect escape. Hike to the ruins, search for sea shells and catch a glimpse of the wild horses.  Families with older kiddos can stay at the luxurious and historic Greyfield Inn. The only other option includes camping on the beach or riding the ferry back to St Mary’s for the evening. Either choice is wonderful.

Acworth Beach. Acworth Bach at Cauble Park is a public lake-beach with a roped-off area for swimming. It sits on the north shore of Lake Acworth and also houses restrooms, a playground and picnic tables. Swimming runs Memorial Day through Labor Day, but there is no lifeguard on duty.

Lake Rabun Beach Recreation Area. Lake Rabun’s swim area includes a roped-off section for swimmers, restrooms and picnic tables. If you need a break from swimming, try the Beach Trail hike or dipping your pole to catch bass, trout and more. Camping sites are available here for a full weekend of beachtime fun.

TybeeTybee Island. Tybee Island beaches are quiet and peaceful, with wide sandy beaches for plenty of play time. Visit the lighthouse and museum, stop in at Fort Pulaski or enjoy a Dolphin Tour.  A bike tour and stop by the Tybee Marine Science Center are not to be missed. If you have time, try the Tybee Beach Ecology Trip, as well. My family and I attended the 4H program at Tybee last year. You can find a few photos here: 365atlantafamily.com/tybee

Robins Lake Beach at Callaway. This is the world’s largest manmade, white sand beach! Besides swimming and lounging, there is a playground, giant chess set, miniature golf, table tennis and shuffleboard. All of this is included with entry into Callaway. For an additional fee, try Aqua Island, paddle boats, the rock climbing wall, a bounce house and more. We visited with the grandparents and had a great time. See more about that here: 365atlantafamily.com/callaway

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

5 Ways to Explore the Chattahoochee River

Beginning in North Georgia’s mountains and flowing hundreds of miles to Georgia’s southern border, the Chattahoochee River offers adventure and recreation all along the way. Here are five ways to enjoy our beautiful Chattahoochee River.

HIKING

Thousands of acres along the Chattahoochee River are preserved by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Hikers enjoy miles of scenic trails winding through the northern suburbs of Metro Atlanta. Come explore the historic significance and natural beauty of the Chattahoochee at 15 unique locations.

FISHING

Fishing for bass and catfish is a great year-round experience on the Chattahoochee River. It’s also a great place to find trout! For 48 miles, from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek, Chattahoochee River is a designated trout stream giving anglers some of the best trout fishing in North Georgia! Click here to plan a fishing trip.

ShootTheHooch_ChattahoocheeTubing

TUBING

A classic summertime tradition, families and friends have a splashing good time floating down the river on inner tubes. Mere minutes from Downtown Atlanta, Shoot The Hooch rents tubes, paddleboards, and canoes as well as offering a shuttle service! River trips range from 1.5 to 8 miles of relaxing recreation.

NATURE

Explore the Chattahoochee on guided hikes and canoe paddles with the friendly folks at Chattahoochee Nature Center. In addition to hikes and activities, explorers learn about native plants and animals through the Discovery Center’s interactive exhibits, gardens, and nature exchange.

WhitewaterExpress_ChattRafting

RAFTING

Did you know the Chattahoochee River is home to some of the biggest rapids east of the Colorado? There’s no rush like whitewater rafting! Whitewater Express, in Columbus, takes thrill-seekers and families on exciting rafting adventures, “as wild as Colorado and warm as Costa Rica!”

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

Find Out How to Get Unlimited Access to Georgia State Parks

CandyCook_BoysCloudlandCanyon

Georgia has more than 50 state parks spread all over like peach jam on a country biscuit. Park visitors experience all the wonders of our state, from waterfalls and majestic mountain views to blackwater paddles and coastal campouts, There’s one membership that offers them all to tourists and local explorers, while supporting a worthwhile mission to promote and preserve these treasures.

A Friends of Georgia State Parks membership is the only membership that offers unlimited annual access to over 50 fun destinations in the state. In addition to showcasing Georgia’s most beautiful places, Georgia State Parks invite visitors to participate in a variety of recreational activities and schedules hundreds of outdoor programs. Nature lovers and families enjoy exploring Georgia on birdwatching tours, guided hikes, Junior Ranger days, and more. Adventurers, travelers and locals all get a kick out of paddling kayaks through the salt marsh, camping out, and climbing canyons. There’s so much to do in our beautiful Georgia State Parks that it’s impossible to list it all. Become a member of Friends of Georgia State Parks and try them all.

CandyCook_FriendsMembership

In addition to the unlimited park access at over 50 locations, the membership tiers offer many other benefits. A Membership grants free camping stays or rounds of golf. Members also see discounts on lodging, merchandise, and train tickets for SAM Shortline! The included subscription to the Friends’ magazine, Georgia’s Great Places, helps members plan trips and discover more of Georgia’s hidden gems.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

4 FREE Things to do on St. Simons Island

Photo courtesy of @brantdavis_ssi via Instagram

Photo courtesy of @brantdavis_ssi via Instagram

As the weather gets warmer, thoughts turn to spending time at the beach, but creating an affordable beach vacation isn’t always easy.  St. Simons Island is part of the Golden Isles on the coast of Georgia, and offers lots of budget friendly entertainment. Here are four free things to do on St. Simon’s Island.

  1. Play in the Sand. Of course, who comes to a beach town without going to the beach. Erosion has taken a lot of St. Simon’s Island’s sand and deposited it on the East Beach area of the island, so no matter what the tide, you’ll find beach here. This mostly residential area has several public beach accesses, but you’ll be hard pressed to find parking. The Coast Guard Station on First Street has a good deal of parking, as well as public bathrooms, a small maritime museum and in season, a snack bar.
  2. Find Natural Treasure. Look carefully around the island and you’ll see tree spirits carved within the majestic live oak trees. At one time, the large ships that sailed these waters were made with wood from the live oaks around the island. The tree spirits pay homage to the salty sailors that lost their lives aboard these ships.
  3. Count the Fish. A visit the St. Simon’s Island pier is a must during any vacation. Walk the pier and see what the fisherman pull in, or say hello to the pelican’s that wait for left over fish. If you’d like to get into the action, the St. Simon’s Island Bait Shop is just down from the pier and sells fishing license, crab nets and whatever else you need for an afternoon angling. While you are there, say hello to the resident parrot. If you’re lucky, he may sit on your shoulder.
  4. Climb a Whale. At the base of the St. Simon’s Island Pier, there is a small playground. Walk less than 100 yards toward the Lighthouse and you’ll find an even bigger playground that sits just outside the gates to the public pool and a mini-golf course. You’ll also find a sculpture of a mother whale and her baby. It will likely have lots of other people’s babies climbing and crawling on it as well.

For discounts on hotel accommodations within the Golden Isles, visit Explore Georgia’s Deal page.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

Click here to follow Sue on Facebook.

Click here to follow Sue on Twitter.

Click here to follow Sue on Pinterest.

Click here to follow Sue on Google+

Click here to follow Sue on Instagram.

Guide to Camping on the Georgia Coast

CandyCook-CumberlandIsland-title

Camping Cumberland Island National Seashore is one of our favorite outdoor adventures. For a couple glorious days and nights, the island becomes our personal playground. Our Cumberland Island days are filled with playful escapades in the crashing waves, hiking under the canopy of live oaks and watching the wild horses roam. We’ve been the only couple on the beach for brilliant sunrises, romantic sunsets and nights full of twinkling stars.

A Cumberland Island camping trip is a treasured experience for outdoor enthusiasts. But, the camping adventures, along Georgia’s coast, don’t begin or end there. Georgia’s thirteen barrier islands, with hundreds of miles of shoreline, offer amazing camping experiences unlike anywhere else.

Jekyll Island Campground

A popular getaway for families, Jekyll Island is home to some of Georgia’s most popular beaches. The Jekyll Island Campground offers 208 campsites near Driftwood Beach. Campsites range from primitive tent sites to full-service RV hookups including electricity, cable tv and wi-fi. Jekyll’s coastal greenway is a network of bicycle trails that make it easy to get around the island! Click here to see a video of the Jekyll Island trails.

Sapelo Island – Cabretta Campground

Gather your group, of 15-25 campers, for an unforgettable adventure camping at Sapelo’s Cabretta Island Campground. Shaded by live oaks, this pioneer campground is short walk from the beach.

CandyCook_JekyllIslandBoys

Tybee Island – River’s End Campground 

Nicknamed, “Savannah’s Beach,” Tybee Island offers a great option for campers who want to be close to the beach and downtown Savannah. River’s End Campground has a hundred campsites that offer everything from primitive tent camping to full-service hookups for RVs.

Little Tybee Island Camping 

The only way to get to this uninhabited land is by boat, or kayak, ensuring a special camping experience to explore the undisturbed nature preserve!

Cumberland Island National Seashore – Campgrounds & Backcountry

In addition to, “Sea Camp,” and “Stafford Campground,” which offer restrooms and showers, there are several backcountry sites. Hiking 5-10 miles will land backpacking campers incredible seclusion with opportunities for exploring different ecosystems and possible sightings of dolphins and manatees. Read more about camping Cumberland Island as a family..

Ossabaw Island Camping 

Come explore unspoiled maritime forest, tidal wetlands and beaches while learning something new about Georgia’s coast. Keep an eye out for scheduled overnight camping events or propose your own group experience to visit Ossabaw’s natural wonders.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.