July 4th, Colonial Fort Morris, Summer Swimming

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Celebrating July 4th on the Water

July 2020

Celebrate July 4th in Georgia’s Great Outdoors


While this year’s July 4th celebrations will look a little different, we still have plenty of ways to celebrate. Come decked out in your best red, white and blue because our rangers have planned a weekend full of events, making sure there’s plenty of room to space out and enjoy fresh air. Choose from campsite decorating contests, camera scavenger hunts, guided hikes and more. Lakeside swimming beaches are great spots to cool down before toasting s’mores at your campsite. Remember that fireworks and sparklers are not allowed inside state parks. Check GaStateParks.org/Alerts before traveling because parks will limit access once they reach capacity. (Note that this may be early over the holiday weekend.) Finally, help us keep everyone safe by social distancing at all times, wearing masks inside buildings and following all CDC guidelines.

Fort Morris and the American Revolution

Fort Morris

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than exploring a place where Americans first declared freedom? Tucked under live oaks and Spanish moss is Fort Morris Historic Site, once an influential fortress during the American Revolution. Built in 1776, it protected the thriving seaport of Sunbury against British troops sent to quell the rebellion. Although Fort Morris fell in 1779, American patriots ultimately won independence from Great Britain. Today, visitors can stand within the earthwork remains and view scenic Saint Catherines Sound. Birders can look for pileated woodpeckers, wood storks, painted buntings and great egrets. A video tells more about the town of Sunbury. (While cannon firings have been suspended this holiday, visitors can still enjoy exploring this pretty site.)

Park Paddlers Club

Kayaking George L. Smith State Park

Ready for a water-soaked challenge? Join our Park Paddlers Club and you’ll explore a dozen beautiful waterways, from the marshes of Crooked River to the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp. You’ll get a members-only t-shirt when you sign up. Once you've paddled 12 of the participating parks, you’ll earn a certificate of completion as well. During this time, some rentals may not be available, so paddlers are encouraged to bring their own kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or canoes if possible. Call ahead to ask about rentals, and stay safe around water by following SPLASH tips. Want more adventure? Check out our Tails on Trails, Muddy Spokes and Canyon Climbers clubs as well.

Stay Cool & Make a Splash This Summer

Lakeside Swimming Beach

There’s nothing like a cool dip on a hot summer day. Check out the lakeside beaches at state parks such as Don Carter, Hard Labor Creek or Mistletoe. All have designated swimming areas and are free with $5 parking. This July, our splash pads and swimming pools remain closed. Be sure to practice social distancing even when outside, and follow these water-safety tips. Keep in mind that many parks have been very busy on pretty weekends. Areas that fill to capacity, like beaches or boat ramps, may temporarily limit access to ensure social distancing. Visiting mid-week is highly encouraged. Check GaStateParks.org/Alerts before traveling.

Look Who's In the News

Travel Bags with Annita -- Summer Road Trips to Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites

Northeast Georgian -- Richard B. Russell State Park Camping, Cabins and More

365AtlantaTraveler.com -- 23 Covid-Friendly Travel Activities To Do This Summer

WRCB TV 3 Chattanooga -- 3 In Your Town: The Moon-Eyed People of Fort Mountain

Cartersville Daily Tribune -- Etowah Indian Mounds’ museum reopens to public

Augusta Magazine – Luxury Glamping Yurts

AYPtravels.com – Skidaway Island State Park

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- Places to Camp this Summer in Georgia