July News & Events from Georgia State Parks

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July 2012

Celebrate July 4th with Friends and Family

High Falls 4th of July
Haven’t made plans for the 4th of July yet?  No worries; Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites offer ideas that are fun and easy on the pocketbook.  All across Georgia, we have dozens of events, ranging from relay races, bicycle parades and watermelon eating contests, to boat tours, cannon firings, flag raisings and even firework displays.  Love fireworks, but not big crowds? Some state parks are near smaller towns hosting firework displays, so you can stay overnight and drive just a short distance to watch the show. Make reservations for camping, cabins and lodge rooms by calling 1-800-864-7275.

FDR Cabin

Summer Cabin Staycations

Did you know our state parks have a wide variety of rental cabins where you can enjoy the great outdoors by day, but sleep in a cozy bed by night?  Seminole State Park is ideal for boaters because their newly renovated cabins are right on the water’s edge.  If you love history, head to F.D. Roosevelt or Vogel where you can stay in cottages crafted by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  For mountain lovers, treat your family to a stay at Cloudland Canyon where some cabins are right on the canyon’s edge.  And, for exceptional privacy and trout fishing, the cottages at Smithgall Woods are sure to please.  It’s not too late to book for summer vacation.  Dogs are welcome in select cabins with advance reservations. For availability, check GeorgiaStateParks.org/reservations.

Len Foote Hike Inn

Parks Win TripAdvisor Awards

Congratulations to the backcountry Hike Inn, Amicalola Falls State Park and Skidaway Island State Park for winning TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence awards.  All three sites rank 4.5 stars out of 5 on the user-generated travel-review website.  “Beautiful campground. Shaded sites,” said decembertraveller of Skidaway Island.  The Hike Inn is the “Best place in the world to go and relax,” said Cindy T.  And Amicalola Falls is “One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia!” according to mgriz.  Check out more reviews on tripadvisor.com.

George L. Smith

July is Park and Recreation Month

Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation’s official Park and Recreation Month. This year we are encouraging everyone to “GET WILD” about parks and recreation!  Grab a buddy and hike into Tallulah Gorge, paddle the pond at George L. Smith or play a game of golf at Little Ocmulgee.  For ideas on how you can enjoy the many benefits of parks and recreation, visit nrpa.org/july, then check out our event calendar at GeorgiaStateParks.org/events.

Georgia State Parks App

Download Your Free Georgia State Parks App

The Georgia DNR Pocket Ranger® Mobile App lets you track trails and mark waypoints in the great outdoors.  Developed by ParksByNature Network™, the app is available on iTunes, Android Market and PocketRanger.com.  It is also formatted as a Mobile Website for Blackberry users. The potentially life-saving Alert feature supplies GPS coordinates to designated contacts in case of an emergency. Guests can even cache park maps in case of lost mobile reception.  The free app recently ranked #34 in downloads on iTunes Apple store. The Pocket Ranger Mobile Tour Guide tutorial is available at youtube.com/user/PocketRangerApp.

Girl Scouts Celebrate 100 Years

Congratulations to the Girl Scouts of America for celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year.  Troop leaders, did you know we have private camping areas and picnic shelters just for groups?  Plan your next gathering at GeorgiaStateParks.org/gatherings.

July 2012 Calendar of Events

Below are just some of the many programs happening in July.  You'll find a complete list at GeorgiaStateParks.org/events.


Sunset West Rim Hike
Wednesday, July 3, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn
Join Georgia Girl Guides as we take a sunset hike on the West Rim. Learn the history and geology of the park as we tour overlooks. We will finish as the sun sets and night takes over the canyon. Bring water and a headlamp or flashlight. Reservations required. $20 plus $5 parking. (706) 913-7170.

Independence Day Celebration
Wednesday, July 4, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville
Join us for relay races, patriotic crafts, and our famous watermelon seed-spitting contest. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.

Happy Birthday America
Wednesday, July 4, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
Black Rock Mountain State Park – Mountain City
The event begins at 9:30 with an opening ceremony and national anthem, followed by contests such as hula-hoops, bubble gum blowing and seed spitting. Noon lunch provided by the park includes BBQ, slaw, baked beans and drinks. Visitors are asked to bring dessert or chips. Donations appreciated. $5 parking. (706) 746-2141.

Independence Day At Vogel
Wednesday, July 4, 8:20 a.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville
Come to one of our nation's oldest state parks as we celebrate with a flag-raising ceremony, bicycle parade, pedal boat races, sandcastle building competition, watermelon eating, sack races, egg tosses and greased pole climbing. $5 parking. (706) 745-2628.

Vann House Days
Saturday, July 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Chief Vann House Historic Site – Chatsworth
Local craftspeople will demonstrate blacksmithing, weaving, quilting, spinning wool, chair caning, black powder shooting and more. $3.50 - $6.00 (706) 695-2598.

Youth Fishing Days at Buck Shoals
Saturday, July 21, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
Children and their special "big person" can fish in a lake stocked with catfish, bass and bream. Fish caught can be kept. Bring your own bait (no corn) and rods. Call for directions. Occurs every third Saturday through September. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.


Cannons Across the Marsh
Wednesday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Site – Darien
Join the Garrison for a day of artillery drills, musket firings, and soldier's life activities to honor Independence Day. $3.75- $6.50 (912) 437-4770.

July Fourth Celebration at Fort McAllister
Wednesday, July 4
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Celebrate our nation's birthday with Civil War troops as they fire special salutes. Also join us for period games and a cool slice of melon. $3.50 - $6.50 (912) 727-2339.

Independence Day Colonial Faire
Wednesday, July 4, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Fort Morris Historic Site – Midway
Celebrate the 4th with colonial games, contests of skill, colonial music, musket firings, cannon firings and activities. (912) 884-5999.

Swamp Excursion to Billy's Island
Saturday, July 7, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo
Go with a park ranger on a guided canoe trip to Billy's Island where we will hike a nature trail to find out how the boomtown from a logging operation was once laid out. Reservations required. $20 plus $5 parking. (912) 637-5274.

Saturday, July 14, 9 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo
Come out to the cul-de-sac at the end of 177 where we'll have an 18" telescope set up. You'll be able to see planets, star clusters, nebulae, and other celestial bodies. $3 plus $5 Refuge Parking Fee. (912) 637-5274.


July 4th Celebration on the Lake
Wednesday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park – Omaha
Celebrate the Fourth of July with games, a watermelon eating contest, and educational boat tours on Lake Walter F. George. $4 plus $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

Fireworks on the Flint
Wednesday, July 4, 9:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Georgia Veterans State Park – Cordele
A spectacular display of fireworks highlights the Fourth of July. $5 parking. (229) 276-2371.

Ol’ Time Independence Day at Jarrell Plantation
Wednesday, July 4, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette
Wear your red, white, and blue, pack a picnic lunch, and come to the farm for a traditional noon reading of the Declaration of Independence followed by 3-legged race, egg toss, tug-of-war and other competitions. $4.00-$6.50 (478) 986-5172.

Military Express Train Ride
Saturday, July 14, 9 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele
Ride the train and meet with families of deployed soldiers from Warner Robins Air Force Base. Express your appreciation in person for there loved ones and how much freedom means to all Americans. 1-877-427-2457.

Atlanta Audubon Beginners Bird Walk
Saturday, July 14, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge
This field trip is designed for anyone interested in learning more about birds, habitats critical to some species, and organizations like the Audubon Society, which are dedicated to bird conservation. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.


“Ruins to Rapids” Full Moon Hike
Tuesday, July 3, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs
This 1.5-mile hike is moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War-era textile mill ruins of New Manchester and follows the lovely rapids (up to class IV) of Sweetwater Creek. A flashlight and sturdy shoes are required. No children under 6 or dogs. Register in advance. $6 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Fourth of July Night Hike
Wednesday, July 4, 8:30 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Slow down this July 4th and join a ranger for a leisurely stroll to the top of Panola Mountain. As the sun sets we will enjoy a panoramic view of Atlanta's Fourth of July Night. We may glimpse fireworks in the distance and the full moon. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Mountain Music Series
Saturdays, July 7, 14, 21 and 28, 8 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park – Cartersville
A different band each week will play for an hour or more. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, and meet at the Vaughan log cabin located behind the park office. $5 parking. (770) 975-0055.

Days of Discovery for Kids
Saturday, July 14, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site – Cartersville
Kids, learn what archaeology is from a professional archaeologist. Hear about history and see real artifacts. Take part in mock excavations and learn how to clean and identify treasures that you find. $3.50-$5.00 (770) 387-3747.

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