Fun Friday: July 25, 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014
  • By
  • Jeff Ammons
  • Tags:
  • Outdoors
  • Camping
  • Georgia

Hiking on Skidaway Island, Georgia

Hiking on Skidaway Island, Georgia.

Change of pace for this week's Fun Friday.

Today I'm talking about some of my favorite places in Georgia.

My nostalgia was kicked off by Explore Georgia on Twitter with their post about Georgia State Parks.

I've long been a fan of the State Park system in Georgia. I think it's really one of the best things about the state.

When our kids were younger we camped quite a bit. Here are my three favorite parks.

Important point: these parks are not presented in order of how much I like them. I love all three.

Skidaway Island

Not far from Savannah is Skidaway Island State Park.

I would describe the camp sites as darn near palatial in size.

There are several awesome trails that lead you through the marshes.

Trail through the marsh

Trail through the marsh.

I'm a sucker for live oaks and Spanish moss, and Skidaway has them in abundance.

On thing I didn't expect was the 20-foot tall Giant Ground Sloth that was found on the island. Spoiler it was dead. Back during the ice age it lived and died here. A replica of its skeleton is in the nature center. Very much worth seeing. Unfortunately I can't find my photos of it. Bummer.

The various trails will lead you to Civil War earthworks, a moonshine still, and lots of Cherokee Roses.

One of my favorite things to do was to watch the fiddler crabs.

If you aren't familiar, fiddlers are the ones with one big claw and one small claw.

The males stand in front of their holes in the mud and wave their one large claw in the air, presumably to attract a mate. Each male is convinced he has the biggest, baddest claw on the mudflat.

Reed Bingham

In the center of the state near not too far from the Florida line is Reed Bingham State Park.

Reed Bingham State Park

Reed Bingham State Park

This is a great place to experience the coastal plain and in winter to see thousands of vultures.

That isn't an exageration, either. This is a favored winter home for both black vultures and turkey vultures.

There is a large lake which is great for swimming if you like wrestling alligators.

Seriously, there are alligators, and I wouldn't recommend swimming. Boating, yes, swimming, no.

One thing you can see here are gopher tortoise burrows.

FD Roosevelt

FDR State Park near Pine Mountain is a great place to spend a few days.

Camping At FDR

Camping at FDR.

The campsites are quiet and spacious.

In addition to about 40 miles of trails, there are lots of fun activities and sights.

The Liberty Bell Swimming Pool is literally the shape of a bell and made from local stone.

The stone reminds me of fall foliage in color. So much so that at first I thought the pool was full of leaves!

President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent considerable time here. I imagine it was quite a relief from the ungodly pressures he faced during the Great Depression and WWII.

I can't imagine many places more peaceful.

Overlook At FDR

Overlook At FDR State Park

From the park you can see the rolling mountains fall away towards the coastal plain farther to the south.

From FDR you can visit Callaway Gardens, The Little Whitehouse (where FDR actually stayed), and visit a number of really good restaurants.

As I said before, the State Park system in Georgia is one of the best things in the state.

I also recommend joining Friends Of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.

For a modest fee you get access to the parks and historic sites for a year and help keep them running.