Find Out How to Get Unlimited Access to Georgia State Parks

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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.

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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.

Geocaching in Peachtree City

PeachtreeCityCVB_golfcartsDid you know that there are hidden treasures everywhere you go? They’re part of an outdoor game called geocaching. It’s a modern day twist on treasure hunting. Players use a GPS device or smartphone to locate boxes filled with trading items. It’s fun for the whole family.

Peachtree City’s GeoTour adds a unique twist to this treasure hunting game. It begins by picking up a pamphlet from the Visitor Center. The pamphlet lists all the geocaches and presents players with a mystery to solve. The GeoTour leads players to local historic sites, nature parks, athletic fields, and popular filming locations. Each cache contains a trading card that holds a clue to solving the final mystery! Once we solved the mystery, the boys couldn’t wait to turn in our pamphlet and receive the special souvenir.

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When we discovered Peachtree City‘s 90 miles of paved paths, we turned the GeoTour into a staycation. Wyndham Peachtree Hotel gave us a beautiful balcony view, a hot breakfast and a golf cart to help us navigate the GeoTour! Spending the night offered us a leisurely pace to find all the geocaches and enjoy the great places we discovered along the way.

Get started by joining the game on the official Geocaching website and viewing the Peachtree City GeoTour map.

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.

Bucket List Adventure: Okefenokee Swamp

Photo courtesy of S. Heisey/USFWS

Photo courtesy of S. Heisey/USFWS

Get ready for a bucket list adventure along the water trails of Okefenokee Swamp. The largest blackwater swamp in North America, Okefenokee has a lot to explore. Discover the secrets of the swamp paddling these waterways to remote campsites under the starry skies.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge offers seven platforms and three islands for wilderness camping. Campers pack a canoe or kayak and paddle up to 12 miles before setting up camp in the swamp. Wilderness camping gives us the opportunity to see the nocturnal swamp come to life and experience the mysteries of the trembling earth.

It’s easy to unplug and getaway from it all, surrounded by such a diverse natural community. Everything about the swamp is mesmerizing. I made my first sightings of wild alligators and Pileated woodpeckers in Okefenokee. I stood beneath a sky twinkling with stars I had never seen and watched my sons light up at the surprise of frogs galore.

Photo courtesy of S. Heisey/USFWS

Photo courtesy of S. Heisey/USFWS

Wilderness camping in Okefenokee can accommodate groups up to 20 and reservations are required. It’s easy to get a wilderness camping permit and make reservations by calling the Canoe Line. You can even rent canoes for your adventure!

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Canoe Line: 912-496-3331 Weekdays, between the hours of 7AM-10AM EST.

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.

Explore Georgia by Zipline

 

Treetop Quest is a fun adventure that takes families on a thrilling flight through the forest. Two Atlanta area locations feature exciting ziplines, fun tarzan swings and challenging obstacles with a birds eye view. Treetop Quest’s innovative courses offer excitement to children as young as four while still maintaining exhilarating experiences for older children and adults.

Over the years, Treetop Quest has become a family tradition. My boys and I navigate the treetop adventure, meeting the challenges of each obstacle, together. We think it’s a great bonding experience that creates lasting memories. So, we return every year! The boys have conquered fears, built confidence, and had a blast at both Treetop Quest locations.

CandyCook_TreetopQuest02Treetop Quest is located at Gwinnett Environmental Heritage Center and in Dunwoody’s Brook Run Park. Each Treetop Quest location boasts its very own unique elements. In Gwinnett, we enjoy six courses ranging from easy to very challenging. SpiderQuest, also at the Gwinnett location, is a playground in the trees. Adventurers explore treehouses, slides, and obstacles above a giant safety net. While the Dunwoody location offers younger kids their very own Kiddie Quest and a huge net trampoline!

Mark your calendars for fun-filled days of adventure and explore both of these exciting Metro Atlanta outdoor adventures.

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.

These Georgia Mountain Bike Trails Are Suitable For All Skill Levels

Mountain biking makes me feel like a kid again! I love the feeling of freedom that I get splashing through creeks and racing downhill. My whole family loves mountain biking and we vary in skills. These three mountain biking destinations cater to all skill levels. They offer something fun for everyone.

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Blankets Creek – Blankets Creek offers 15 miles of mountain biking trails near Atlanta. The seven trails feature a variety of terrain, creek crossings, boardwalks, and downhill speed. A training area gives riders a chance to practice before enjoying an easy pedal winding along Blankets Creek or a fast-flowing ride with technical elements.

Allatoona Creek – Nearly 20 miles of trail, ranging from beginner to expert, make this park perfect for bridging the gap between beginner and intermediate mountain biking. Follow up the one-mile beginners trail by advancing to slight elevation changes and more rock features on Turtleback Loop. Advanced riders pick up the speed on Mason’s Bridge and take on the challenge of the expert-only Whipper Snapper Trail.

DCIM100GOPROFive Points Recreation Area  – This diverse trail network gives beginners a trail to get comfortable with mountain biking and adrenaline-pumping expert trails that twist through the forest. It’s a great place to plan a mountain biking getaway, with camping nearby, at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

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.