Georgia Camping for the Non-Camper

3 GEORGIA CAMPING TRIPS WITHOUT THE HASSLE

Conestoga Wagons at The Rock Ranch

Conestoga Wagons at The Rock Ranch

Camping is a great way to explore Georgia on a budget, and there is nothing better than telling stories around the campfire while enjoying some freshly toasted marshmallows. However, gathering all the gear and pitching a tent can be a bit intimidating to the novice. Here are three ways to enjoy Georgia camping, without all the hassles.

Georgia State Parks First Time Camper Program: The Georgia State Parks first time camper program gives newbie campers everything they need for two nights under the stars. For $50, campers receive a six person tent, two chairs, four self-inflating sleeping mats, a camp stove with fuel, lantern and marshmallow roasting sticks – you need to bring your own s’more fixings though.

Glamping at North Georgia Canopy Tours: No need to bring a tent. Instead enjoy the comforts of an authentic Native American teepee with a few modern conveniences, like air conditioning (or heat in the winter), lighting and electrical outlets. If you’d rather, North Georgia Canopy tours also has 15 rustic campsites. The best part is getting first dibs on a zip line canopy tour the next day.

Glamping at North Georgia Canopy Tours

Glamping | Photo courtesy of North Georgia Canopy Tours

Conestoga Wagons at The Rock Ranch: The wagons are circled on a Georgia farm with cows grazing nearby rather than amid buffalo on the plains, but everything you could need is set up nearby. The Conestoga Wagons at The Rock Ranch have four sets of bunk beds, so just pack a sleeping bag or some sheets. Firewood is stacked on a flatbed, and a table with paper towels, cups, hand washing water, drinking water, lanterns, paper and matches is nearby. If you don’t want to bring dinner, just order the Hot Dog Dinner and everything you need, down to the cooking skewers will be waiting for you upon arrival.

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.

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Get Outdoors in Augusta

When you think of Augusta, The Masters golf tournament or James Brown might be the first things that come to your mind. However, what you may not know is that Augusta is a fantastic place to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  Here are my suggestions for great outdoor attractions & activities in Augusta, Georgia:

Augusta Riverwalk: Augusta is situated along the Savannah River, which forms the state line between Georgia and South Carolina. Take a stroll down the multilevel Riverwalk and enjoy the scenery of the river, gardens, abundant opportunities for picnicking and a playground for kids (and kids at heart). Riverwalk is a great place to experience 4th of July fireworks, the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and the Augusta Market on the River, where you can find fresh produce, food and crafts during the warmer months of the year. It is also home to the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre, a unique spot for outdoor concerts.

Kayaking the Canal

Kayaking the Canal

The Augusta Canal: The Augusta Canal was built to provide water to textile mills and factories that used hydro-power to operate large machinery. Today, you can tour the canal by boat, bike or foot. If you have your own canoe or kayak, you can put in at the canal head gates and paddle the 7 miles past Lake Olmstead to the 13th Street Bridge. There are several outfitters in town that offer boat rentals and shuttles. Because there are no gas-powered boats allowed in the canal, the only traffic you will see is tour boats and other paddlers. It’s pretty cool to be on the water, viewing birds, turtles and possibly alligators and heading right through the heart of downtown at the same time. If you’d rather stick to land, you can experience the Canal Trail, a dirt path that runs the length of the canal and is great for biking or hiking. The trail is shaded by large trees, so it is enjoyable year-round, and there are different entrance points, so you don’t have to trek the entire length of the trail if you’re not up for it.

Disc Golf: Augusta is home to the PDGA International Disc Golf Center, making it a mecca for disc golfers. You can toss some discs there or at several different courses throughout the area. Just bring your own discs, and you’re all set.  Pendleton King Park is great for beginners. If you’re looking for a challenge, I suggest the Lake Olmstead course is perfect, which is built around the water.

Auggie

Auggie

The Augusta Greenjackets: The Augusta Greenjackets are a minor league team affiliated with the San Francisco Giants that plays at Lake Olmstead Stadium, just minutes from downtown. The tickets are affordable and the beer is cold, making it a great option for a night out with family or friends. Insider tip: Don’t miss out on the chance to have your picture taken with the mascot Auggie!

Lake Thurmond

Lake Thurmond

Camping: After all of your outdoor adventures, it’s time to relax with nature. What better way to do that than by camping at Lake Thurmond? Mistletoe State Park is only about 30 minutes from downtown and a great place to set up camp. You’ll be right on the banks of Lake Thurmond, where you can swim, boat or simply laze about and enjoy your surroundings. The last time I camped there, the weather was perfect and peaceful. It’s also nice to know you aren’t too far from civilization in case you forget to pack any essentials.

Camping in the Giant TentAnna Lee Mikell is a Southern girl raised in Georgia and South Carolina. She loves Southern food, photography and SEC football. You can often find her searching for old records at the flea market or sipping sweet iced tea.