Stephen C. Foster State Park
This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp -- one of Georgia's seven natural wonders. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Alligators, turtles, raccoons, black bears, deer, ibis, herons, wood storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers and numerous other creatures make their homes in the 402,000-acre refuge. Stargazers will appreciate the particularly dark sky.
Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area
Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” is a testament to the power of man’s influence on the land. Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s, yet today they make some of the prettiest photographs within the state. The rare Plumleaf Azalea grows only in this region and blooms during July and August when most azaleas have lost their color. The canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues make a beautiful natural painting at this quiet park.
Seminole State Park
Seminole State Park sits in the southwest corner of Georgia on Lake Seminole. The park offers 14 cottages overlooking the lake. Several campsites and picnic shelters sit near the water, providing an excellent view of the native wildlife. Bald eagles, osprey, and the occasional alligators can be seen in the park as well as Georgia’s state reptile, the gopher tortoise. The 2.2-mile Gopher Tortoise Nature Trail takes hikers through the longleaf/wiregrass ecosystem typical of this region of Georgia. Swimming, fishing, boating, and geocaching are popular activities at Seminole.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train
Supported by a local Friends chapter, the SAM Shortline Train offers a unique experience. The rebirth of passenger trains on the old SAM mainline provides the citizens of Georgia as well as visitors to the state a rare opportunity to travel back in time and experience the romance and excitement of train travel.
Reed Bingham State Park
Supported by a local Friend chapter, Reed Bingham boasts abundant wildlife, including species such as gopher tortoises, spotted turtles, limpkins, indigo snakes and nesting bald eagles. American alligators are often seen sunning along the lake’s edge. During winter, thousands of “buzzards,” actually black vultures and turkey vultures, roost in the trees and soar overhead. Nearly 80 percent of the Coastal Plain’s plant community can be found along the park’s Coastal Plain Nature Trail, making this park’s habitat some of the most diverse in the country.
Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge
Supported by a local Friends chapter and conveniently located off Highway 441 in south Georgia, this park features a wide variety of amenities. Golfers can test their skills on the 18-hole Wallace Adams Course with clubhouse, golf pro and junior/senior discounts. During summer, children will especially enjoy the splash pad where they can run through fountains and squirt their friends. The park’s 2.6-mile Oak Ridge Trail winds through sand hills, scrub oaks and pines, taking hikers to a short boardwalk.
Laura S. Walker State Park
Supported by a local Friends chapter and located near the northern edge of the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp, this park is home to many fascinating creatures and plants, including alligators and carnivorous pitcher plants. Walking or biking along the lake’s edge and nature trail, visitors may spot the shy gopher tortoise, numerous oak varieties, saw palmettos, yellow shafted flickers, warblers, owls and great blue herons. The park’s lake offers opportunities for fishing, skiing and boating, and canoes and bicycles are available for rent.
Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park
Supported by a local Friends chapter, this historically significant park is the oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the southeastern United States, occupied by American Indians from 350 to 750 a.d. Georgia’s oldest great temple mound, standing 57 feet high, dominates two smaller burial mounds and several ceremonial mounds. The park’s museum is built around an excavated mound, providing an unusual setting for learning who these people were and how they lived. Inside, visitors will find numerous artifacts and a film.
Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site
This historic site is now operated by Irwin County. Open Wednesday - Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please call 229-831-2335 to confirm hours and prices. Not included in "Free Day" events. When Confederate President Jefferson Davis and a few remaining staff members crossed the Savannah River into Georgia on May 3, 1865, they were headed for the Western theater of war where Davis planned to unite rebel forces and continue fighting for the “lost cause.” On May 9, 1865, they camped in this pine forest, not knowing that pursuit was so close behind.
Jack Hill State Park
Supported by a local Friends chapter, this southeast Georgia park is a favorite for picnicking, family reunions and golf. Picnic tables and shelters surround a small lake where visitors can rent pedal boats and fishing boats during warmer months. Docks are available for anglers, and children will enjoy looking for beaver dams from the observation deck. Five rental cottages face the golf course, all with screened porches, fireplaces and televisions.