Adventure Dates for Active Couples

These days, active couples are looking for adventurous dates to cross items off their bucket lists as a team. These three experiences will help you do that.

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Photo courtesy Skydive Spaceland Atlanta

Skydive Spaceland Atlanta

Skydiving is found on nearly every adventurer’s bucket list. There’s no better place to make the jump than Skydive Spaceland Atlanta. A short drive from Atlanta, Skydive Spaceland Atlanta takes thrill-seekers away from the crowds for spectacular jumps with beautiful views of Georgia’s Appalachian foothills. One of the world’s biggest and most progressive skydive training centers, the state-of-the-art facilities are perfect for first-timers and veterans alike.

Photo courtesy Stone Summit

Photo courtesy Stone Summit

Stone Summit Rock Climbing Gym

Sometimes, summer’s outdoor adventures begin indoors. Stone Summit Rock Climbing Gym offers everything an adventurous couple needs to get climbing. Couples taking on this sport will be happy to know it’s a team effort with a climber and a belay. Two facilities in the Atlanta area feature colorful three-story climbing walls, bouldering rooms, technique instruction and belay lessons.

Photo courtesy Mill Pond Kayak

Photo courtesy Mill Pond Kayak

Mill Pond Kayak

Adventure isn’t always heart-pounding excitement, and Mill Pond Kayak proves it. Paddling among the cypress trees of Watson Mill Pond and George L Smith State Park is a relaxing way to stay active outdoors. Mill Pond Kayak supplies the gear and a tour guide for exploring miles of blackwater trails. Paddlers view wildlife on the water and see historic sites along tours lasting nearly three hours.

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.

Four Amazing Nature Centers in Georgia

These fantastic nature centers combine interactive, indoor exhibits with fun outdoor exploration to provide engaging learning opportunities for people of all ages.

Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell.

Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell. Photo credit: Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Chattahoochee Nature Center

Located along the Chattahoochee River in Roswell, Chattahoochee Nature Center connects people with nature through wildlife programs, docent-led hikes, and community events. Inside the Discovery Center, visitors explore the Chattahoochee River watershed with interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, and a nature exchange. Outside, six beautiful hiking trails wind through forest near the Chattahoochee River, featuring year-round birdwatching, and abundant plant and wildlife.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge is a spectacular canyon nearly 2 miles long and 1,000 feet deep. The hiking trails lead visitors to waterfall overlooks, a suspension bridge and a swimming hole deep in the canyon. But, before setting off on a day hike, take a virtual stroll through a unique representation of the gorge complete with exhibits featuring native plants and animals.

Discovering Stone Mountain Museum

Discovering Stone Mountain Museum. Photo by Candy Cook.

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Park offers a range of activities from hiking and biking to family fun and seasonal events. The massive rock sets the scene for many seasonal Atlanta traditions such as the summertime Lasershow Spectacular and Snow Mountain tubing in winter. But, do you know how it got here? Explore the geology behind the mountain with interactive geology exhibits, an informative video and guided hikes at the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Photo by Candy Cook

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Sea turtles take the spotlight at this Jekyll Island nature center. Visitors learn about the variety of endangered sea turtles nesting along the Georgia coast through a variety of hands-on exhibits, guided turtle walks on the beach and educational programs. The center also features an on-site sea turtle hospital where visitors come face to face with the turtles.

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.

5 of Georgia’s Best Sunrise and Sunset Views

Traveling and camping around Georgia, I’ve seen my fair share of gorgeous skies. These five destinations are the best places to experience twilight transformations.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Sunrise on Cumberland Island. Photo by Candy Cook.

Sunrise on Cumberland Island. Photo by Candy Cook.

Magnificent ruins, wild horses, and miles of sandy beach make camping on Cumberland Island an unforgettable experience. In the afternoon, the day-use visitors ferry back to the mainland, leaving behind a limited number of overnight campers. There’s nothing like watching the sun rise over the Atlantic from the deserted beach on Cumberland Island.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Kayaking in the Okefenokee Swamp. GDEcD Photography

Kayaking in the Okefenokee Swamp. GDEcD Photography

The twilight hours are glorious in the Okefenokee Swamp. The glassy blackwater reflects pretty pinks and orange hues of the clouds above. Birds and frogs join voices with a chorus of crickets. In the evening, the sun makes way for the best view of stars in Georgia. In the mornings, carefully woven spider webs glisten with droplets of dew. It’s a magical time for visitors in the swamp.

Brasstown Bald

Sunset from Brasstown Bald

Sunset from Brasstown Bald. Photo by Candy Cook

When it comes to watching the sun set over the great state of Georgia, there is simply no comparison to this view. A visit to Brasstown Bald takes visitors to the highest summit in the state. As the sun rises and sets, the rolling silhouette of the Northeast Georgia mountains is a spectacular sight to behold.

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island. GDEcD Photography

Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island. GDEcD Photography

A well-known location for hauntingly beautiful photos, Driftwood Beach is located on the northern end of Jekyll Island. The twisted, gnarled remains of island trees are especially beautiful as twilight colors scatter across the sky, creating an interesting play of light and shadow.

Panola Mountain State Park

Sunset from Panola Mountain State Park Photo from Facebook.

Sunset from Panola Mountain State Park. Photo from Facebook.

Panola Mountain is a strikingly beautiful experience any time of the day. Blanketed in a kaleidoscope of multicolored mosses, hikes around the summit are scheduled with a naturalist guide to ensure preservation. Occasionally, these hikes coincide with a view of the Atlanta skyline at sunset followed by a bonfire and s’mores.

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.

A Perfect Indoor Activity for Outdoor Explorers

Ansel Adams exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville

Ansel Adams exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville

Even the greatest outdoorsman occasionally takes shelter from the cold and rain, and the Booth Western Art Museum has the perfect indoor exhibit for nature art lovers. Ansel Adams: Before & After is a fantastic photography exhibit featuring art by the celebrated photographer, his predecessors, peers, and modern photographers inspired by Adams.

The Early Years portion of the exhibition features images representing the art of five photographers who came before Ansel Adams. These visionaries set the stage for photography as an art form and influenced Adams’ early career.

Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA, 1944. Image courtesy of Lumière, Collection of Robert Yellowlees.

Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA, 1944. Image courtesy of Lumière, Collection of Robert Yellowlees.

From there, the exhibit follows Adams’ innovative career alongside other photographers moving away from the fuzzy impressionistic style to focus on defined images detailing patterns and contours. This portion of the exhibit offers a close look at timeless images captured by Ansel Adams, including White House Ruin, Surf and Rock, and Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA.

Cara Weston, Garrapata at Sunset - Big Sur, 2008. Image courtesy of Lumière.

Cara Weston, Garrapata at Sunset – Big Sur, 2008. Image courtesy of Lumière.

The exhibition also showcases the images of modern photographers benefiting from Adams’ creative contributions to art. A mix of film and digital photography, the Next Generation includes striking images from third-generation photographer Cara Weston, veteran photography instructor Al Weber, and pioneering environmental photographer Philip Hyde, among others.

The exhibit comes to a close with a look at images representing the future of photography. Stunning visions captured and created using advanced digital techniques leave viewers with a sense of wonder and imagination.

Ansel Adams: Before & After is open at Booth Western Art Museum until March 23, 2016.

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.

Providence Canyon: A Must-See in Winter

Canyon Climbers Club - Providence Canyon

Join the Canyon Climbers Club in southwest Georgia’s Providence Canyon.

Providence Canyon offers a fascinating look at the nature that make this region unique, and winter is the perfect time to see it all. In the absence of hardwood foliage and vegetation, visitors experience a landscape like nowhere else in the state. One of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders, the colorful rock formations of Providence earned the nickname, “Little Grand Canyon.”

Hiking the Canyon

The three-mile trail exploring Providence Canyon begins at the interpretive center and quickly descends along shaded switchbacks. The first few canyons on the trail are wooded, with trees obstructing some of the views. However, moving toward canyons four and five, the trees thin, revealing the striking beauty of the colorful canyon walls.

Providence Canyon photo by Candy Cook.

Providence Canyon photo by Candy Cook.

Providence Canyon is one of four sites included in Georgia State Parks’ Canyon Climbers Club. Hiking to the impressive No. 4 and 5 canyons completes the Canyon Climbers challenge for this park. Read more about our experience completing the Canyon Climbers Club at Providence Canyon.

View from the Rim

Providence Canyon photo by Candy Cook.

Providence Canyon photo by Candy Cook.

The trail winds along the fragile edge where visitors get the big picture of this canyon carved by erosion. These views are simply amazing and make a great place to witness a glorious sunset. Notice the safety rail has been moved back as the canyon continues to widen, and beware of the fragile nature of the area.

Overnight

We opted to camp at nearby Florence Marina State Park, which boasts the can’t-miss Kirbo Interpretive Center, and a modern campground set among Spanish-moss draped trees. The campground includes tent and RV sites complete with water, electricity, and bathhouse. However, adventurous backpackers are welcome to arrange camps at one of six secluded, primitive sites along the seven-mile Providence Canyon backcountry trail.

For visitor information and to make reservations for backcountry camping, visit the Georgia State Parks website.

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.