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Today’s Around Atlanta edition of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio features Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator with Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. Kim discusses the much anticipated change of season and the various events being held at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites this fall.
From the mountains to the salt marshes along the coast, Georgia is a state filled with an immense diversity of nature. There are more than 60 State Parks and Historic Sites operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Even the native Georgian would be surprised to experience the otherworldliness of visiting a Georgia State Park and checking out the many events held year round.
Fall in Georgia means the start of Georgia State Parks’ Leaf Watch. The Georgia State Parks website has a unique feature where updates about leaf color change in specific regions of the state are posted. This feature helps those “leaf watch aficionados” plan their trips through the Georgia mountains to marvel at the beauty of the vibrant colors as the leaves change. The website also helps visitors find out where to rent cabins, yurts and other lodgings. There are also other helpful resources listed, such as a safe camping checklist and a calendar of events.
The most popular feature of the Georgia State Parks website is the list of top places to visit to see fall color. Visitors to the site will learn about popular destinations such as Cloudland Canyon, Amicalola Falls, Black Rock Mountain, Fort Mountain and much more! During her conversation with show hosts Todd Schnick and Bryan Nonni, Kim highlighted a few features at some of the most popular Georgia state parks.
Cloudland Canyon is the location of a yurt village opened just a few years ago. Just in case you’re wondering, a yurt is a cross between a cabin and a tent; there is furniture inside a tent-like structure, and outside, there is a picnic table and fire ring. At Cloudland Canyon, the yurt village gives direct access to hiking trails and a staircase leading to the bottom of the canyon.
Tallulah Gorge State Park is located in Northeast Georgia. During the first part of November, the onsite dam operated by Georgia Power increases the water levels of local rivers, drawing visitors from around the state who take advantage of kayaking in the gorge.
Kim also discusses a newly opened state park, the first ever on Lake Lanier! Don Carter State Park is in Gainesville and provides the perfect location for boating. There is an RV campground, cabins are available for rent, and there is also a playground for kids. Additionally, there are hiking trails and mountain bike trails. Horseback riding trails are under construction.
Amicalola Falls is a popular state park and it has recently undergone a few updates. Home to the tallest waterfall cascade in the Southeast at 729 feet, visitors can follow a trail that leads from the bottom of the falls to the top. There are hotels and conference centers at Amicalola Falls, and the onsite lodges were just renovated.
Moving down to South Georgia, Kim discusses Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo. The state park provides access to the Okefenokee Swamp, and visitors can rent kayaks or take guided boat tours. During the tour, park rangers will educate tour participants on the history of the park and the surrounding area. There might even be an alligator sighting or two! Camping and cabin rentals are also available. Kim adds that middle and South Georgia are her favorite areas of the state; she explains, “I’m always encouraging people to get off the interstate when you’re driving through. Go explore some of those places because they are absolutely beautiful and very peaceful and quiet.”
Sweetwater Creek is just west of Atlanta and provides a quick getaway to a state park without the long drive. The park just opened a yurt village and the onsite lake provides kayak, paddleboard and aqua cycle rentals.
Along the coast, Fort King George Historic Site, formerly a British fort, showcases reenactments and cannon firing.
Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site in Warm Springs was the former president’s vacation home. Here, visitors can see a partially completed portrait that Roosevelt was posing for when he suffered a stroke and passed away. There is a museum that displays Roosevelt’s hand controlled cars and many other personal items.
This is just a sampling of the diversity of experiences offered by Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. Visiting these local gems is a requirement for any Georgian, and it’s also a low-cost way to see the state. Kim explains, “When you go to a state park, you pay $5 to park, but then you get to stay there all day – it is a great value. If you go a lot, you can buy an annual pass for just $50, and if you are 62 or older, you get 50 percent off of that.”
Georgia State Parks also partners with public libraries and with a library card, visitors can check out a park pass and a historic site pass just like checking out a book, and go explore for free!
For more information on Georgia State Parks, visit www.GAStateParks.org or call 1-800-864-7275. Also, check out their social media pages:
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