Things to do outdoors in Georgia April 2015

Georgia Outdoor Activities and Fun,...

Spring is finally filling Georgia's forests with warm air and wildflowers. Georgians are already hanging up their coats and putting on shorts. Lot...

Okefenokee Hiking Trails - Canal Diggers Trail

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Ca...

We read the important history of this trail as we hike along the .65-mile loop. Located at the east entrance of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, i...

Okefenokee - Chesser Island Boardwalk

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Ch...

The boardwalk snakes its way through the swamp leading hikers to an overlook tower. We never made it to this trail before late afternoon. It makes a n...

Okefenokee Hiking Trails - Cane Pole Trail

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Ca...

We start our Okefenokee morning with a stroll along the Cane Pole Trail. The trail begins at the east entrance parking lot in Okefenokee National Wil...

Travel & Adventure

Okefenokee Hiking Trails - Cane Pole Trail

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Cane Pole Trail, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

We start our Okefenokee morning with a stroll along the Cane Pole Trail. The trail begins at the east entrance parking lot in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. My sons love this half-mile of trail that serves as a great spot for sight...

Brasstown Bald Sunset

Day Trip Foolproofing Tips or When plans fall through..

Mother Nature gave Georgia a sneak peak at Spring, yesterday. I already had in mind what my weekend would look like - petroglyphs and archaeological sites. My son has long had a fascination with the history of ancient peoples and prehistory...

Georgia Outdoor Activities and Fun, April 2015

Things to do outdoors in Georgia April 2015
Spring is finally filling Georgia’s forests with warm air and wildflowers. Georgians are already hanging up their coats and putting on shorts. Lots of events on the calendar as we observe Easter, enjoy Spring Break and  celebrate  the great outdoors. April is Get Outside Month and I aim to help you celebrate with lots of ideas for outdoor fun around Georgia. Use this guide to plan your adventures this April. [Below the video, you’ll find text and links to events!]

Still looking for March events? Click here! 

Keep Georgia Beautiful with Sweep The Hooch

We’re also celebrating Keep Georgia Beautiful, during April. Last year, volunteers cleaned up 7 tons of trash during the Sweep The Hooch event. You can pitch in to Sweep The Hooch, on April 11, at multiple sites along the Chattahoochee River. [Click for more info]

Georgia Outdoor Activities and Fun, April 2015

Sweep The Hooch [photo credit: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper]

 

Learn more about Keep Georgia Beautiful Month by clicking here.
Learn more about Get Outside Month by clicking here.

Georgia Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Activities, and Georgia State Parks Events

See all the Easter Events at Georgia State Parks & Other Outdoor Recreation Locations

April 1-7, 2015

Things to do outdoors in Georgia Kayaking

Kayaking Georgia State Parks

Experience! Kayaking the salt marsh is an unforgettable experience. Come explore at Crooked River State Park, Apr 2.

Date Night! Hike Cloudland Canyon State Park by the silvery light of the Full Moon on Apr 3, 7-9PM.

Experience! Saddle up for a one-hour Summer Woodlands Horseback Ride with the naturalist at FDR State Park. Apr 3. Registration required.

Date Night!  Paddle a canoe under the stars at George L Smith State Park on Apr 3, 7:30-9PM. Registration required.

Date Night! Take your date on a full moon kayak tour at Hard Labor Creek State Park Apr 3 & 4, 7:30-9PM.

Date Night!  Explore the Ghosts & Legends of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation on a moonlit stroll through the Live Oaks. Apr 3 & 4 at 7PM. (More dates Apr 10, 11, 17, 18)

Date Night! Enjoy a peaceful twilight lake paddle at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Apr 3, 7PM. Reservations required. (More dates, Apr 10, 17, 24)

Date Night! Take a hike by the light of the full moon at Tallulah Gorge State Park, 7:30PM on Apr 3. Register in advance.

Experience! Grab a tube or hop in a raft and float down the Chattahoochee River! Shoot The Hooch opens for weekends on Apr 3!

Experience! You’ll get muddy and wet as you climb and crawl through a wild cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Guides lead the way. Reservations required. Apr 4, 10AM. (More dates: Apr 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29)

Experience!  Learn the basics of paddling a canoe or kayak before setting off on the ranger-led Gator Alley Paddle at Reed Bingham State Park, Apr 4 at 9AM. Pre-register. (More dates: Apr 25)

Explore! Discover the history of Okefenokee touring Billy’s Island at Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 4, 10AM. (More dates: Apr 11, 18, 25)

Explore! Kayak a peaceful stretch of Sweetwater Creek and an optional hike to view the mill ruins on Apr 4, 11AM. (More dates: Apr 18 & 25)

Date Night! Enjoy a sunset view from Panola Mountain on this guided hike that ends with a moonlit stroll & lakeside s’mores. Register in advance. Apr 4, 6-8PM.

Date Night! Join astronomers under the darkest skies in Georgia for a look at the the stars! Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 4, 9PM (More dates: Apr 8 & 18)

Experience! Hike to Bridal Veil Falls, in Tallulah Gorge State Park, to watch kayakers brave the whitewater on Apr 4 11AM-2PM. Register in advance. (More dates: Apr 12)

Kids! Experience Stone Mountain Park’s Spring FUN Break with the regular attractions, live entertainment and more from Apr 4-11.


April 8-14, 2015

Georgia Outdoor Activities and Fun, April 2015

Sweep The Hooch [photo credit: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper]

Experience! You’ll get muddy and wet as you climb and crawl through a wild cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Guides lead the way. Reservations required. Apr 8, 10AM. (More dates: Apr 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29)

Date Night! Join astronomers under the darkest skies in Georgia for a look at the the stars! Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 8, 9PM (More dates: Apr 18)

Date Night! Experience Okefenokee Swamp as the sun sets on Stephen C Foster State Park, Apr 9 at 7PM. Space is limited, register in advance.

Education! Join Atlanta Audubon Society for a beginners bird walk at Hard Labor Creek State Park to learn more about Georgia’s birds. Apr 10 at 10AM. (More dates: Apr 24)

Date Night!  Explore the Ghosts & Legends of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation on a moonlit stroll through the Live Oaks. Apr 10 & 11 at 7PM. (More dates Apr 17, 18)

Kids! Use your ears, nose and touch to explore the darkness on this night hike at Mistletoe State Park. Apr 10 at 8PM

Date Night! Enjoy a peaceful twilight lake paddle at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Apr 10, 7PM. Reservations required. (More dates, Apr 3, 17, 24)

Volunteer! Keep Georgia Beautiful by volunteering to Sweep The Hooch! This is the biggest cleanup event for our precious Chattahoochee River. Join in the fun at multiple locations: Chattahoochee River NRA, Don Carter State Park, Chattahoochee Bend State Park.

Volunteerat Vogel State Park’s Annual Volunteer Day. Install bricks in the memory walkway, help to upgrade campsites, and maintain trails. All day Apr 11.

Experience! Take a guided hike to enjoy spring at Georgia’s newest State Historic Site, Hardman Farm. Apr 11 at 10am.

Explore! Discover the history of Okefenokee touring Billy’s Island at Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 11, 10AM. (More dates:, 18, 25)

Date Night! Ranger-led paddle to view wildlife and enjoy the sunset at Fort Yargo State Park. Apr 11, 7PM Register in advance.

Date Night! Head to Reed Bingham State Park to enjoy a pontoon boat expedition spotting gators and gazing at the stars on Apr 11 at 7PM. Registration is required.

Date Night! Practice the basics of paddling on this guided sunset tour at Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 11 at 6PM. (More dates: Apr 25)

Experience! Hike to Bridal Veil Falls, in Tallulah Gorge State Park, to watch kayakers brave the whitewater on Apr 12 11AM-2PM. Register in advance.

April 15-21, 2015

Things to do outdoors in Georgia Okefenokee

Tour Okefenokee Swamp

Experience! You’ll get muddy and wet as you climb and crawl through a wild cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Guides lead the way. Reservations required. Apr 15, 10AM. (More dates: Apr 18, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29)

Date Night! Brilliant stargazing by Kayaking under a new moon at Hard Labor Creek State Park, Apr 17 & 18 at 8PM. Pre-register!

Date Night!  Explore the Ghosts & Legends of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation on a moonlit stroll through the Live Oaks. Apr 17 & 18 at 7PM.

Date Night! Enjoy a peaceful twilight lake paddle at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Apr 17, 7PM. Reservations required. (More dates: 24)

Date Night! Sweetwater Creek State Park’s Stargazer Hike takes us on a two-mile night hike to a remote area of the park where we can gaze at the heavens. Apr 17, 8:30PM

Kids! Join the ranger for a guided Earth Day Hike at Laura Walker State Park on Apr 18 at 9AM.

Explore! Discover the history of Okefenokee touring Billy’s Island at Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 11, 10AM. (More dates: 25)

Education! Learn about one of Georgia’s largest and most elusive snakes at Don Carter State Park. Project Pine Snake starts at 2PM on Apr 18.

Date Night! Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site will be illuminated by torchlight for amazing nighttime views. Apr 18 until 9PM.

Experience! Explore the tree canopy by climbing trees with the experts at Panola Mountain State Park’s Introduction to Tree Climbing. Apr 18 at 1PM. Registration required.

Explore! Providence Canyon State Park’s interpretive ranger leads hikers on an interesting geology hike. Apr 18 at 11AM.

Education! Explore the night sky with astronomers at Providence Canyon State Park. Starts at 7PM on Apr 18.

Date Night! Join astronomers under the darkest skies in Georgia for a look at the the stars! Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 8, 9PM (More dates: Apr 18)

Explore! Kayak a peaceful stretch of Sweetwater Creek and an optional hike to view the mill ruins on Apr 18, 11AM. (More dates: 25)

April 22-28, 2015

Things to do in Georgia this month Crooked River Kayak

Crooked River State Park

Experience! You’ll get muddy and wet as you climb and crawl through a wild cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Guides lead the way. Reservations required. Apr 15, 10AM. (More dates: Apr 22, 26, 28, 29)

Explore! Kayak coastal Crooked River State Park at high tide to celebrate Earth Day. Limited space for this fun river paddle, register early. Apr 22 11L50AM.

Education! Join Atlanta Audubon Society for a beginners bird walk at Hard Labor Creek State Park to learn more about Georgia’s birds. Apr 10 at 10AM.

Date Night! Enjoy a peaceful twilight lake paddle at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Apr 24, 7PM. Reservations required.

Kids! Learn all about local snakes, turtles and lizards at FDR State Park’s Reptile Review on Apr 25 at 11AM.

Kids! Come celebrate Arbor Day & Earth Day at General Coffee State Park’s Spring Fling! Enjoy hayrides, nature programs, hikes and crafts. Apr 25 starting at 10AM

Explore! Discover the history of Okefenokee touring Billy’s Island at Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 25, 10AM.

Explore! Learn the basics of paddling a canoe or kayak before setting off on the ranger-led Gator Alley Paddle at Reed Bingham State Park, Apr 25 at 11AM. Pre-register

Date Night! Practice the basics of paddling on this guided sunset tour at Stephen C Foster State Park. Apr 25 at 6PM.

Explore! Kayak a peaceful stretch of Sweetwater Creek and an optional hike to view the mill ruins on Apr 18, 11AM.

April 29-30, 2015

Experience! You’ll get muddy and wet as you climb and crawl through a wild cave at Cloudland Canyon State Park. Guides lead the way. Reservations required. Apr 29, 10AM.

Education! Homeschool day at Hard Labor Creek State Park. Please register in advance for this outdoor activity that includes science and physical fitness. April 29, 1:30PM

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Canal Diggers Trail, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee Hiking Trails - Canal Diggers TrailWe read the important history of this trail as we hike along the .65-mile loop. Located at the east entrance of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, it’s an upland trail that weaves through pines and saw palmetto dipping near the remnants of a doomed canal.

We’ve explored the swamp by boat. We’ve sighted abundant wildlife at Chesser Island Boardwalk. We’ve identified interesting plants along the Cane Pole Trail. We spent the night under the darkest skies in Georgia. Okefenokee Swamp is the largest blackwater swamp, in North America. It’s home to more than 600 species of animals, some of them included on the endangered species list. The last hike on our most recent visit to Okefenokee is the Canal Diggers Trail. This loop traces the history of a failed attempt to drain the swamp and end it all.

Fortunately, the low-lying swamp didn’t cooperate. The canal diggers unearthed springs that fed water back into the swamp, instead of draining it into St Marys River.

The trail is relatively easy at just over a half-mile. The land is slightly hilly. But, there are no long or steep inclines.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Trails

East Entrance - Cane Pole Trail
East Entrance – Canal Diggers Trail
East Entrance – Chesser Island Boardwalk

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Map

General Map – Downloadable map of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, includes hiking trails and water trails
Wilderness Canoe Brochure – Map | Text
Road Map
 – Downloadable map of Okefenokee Nat’l Wildlife Refuge roads.

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Chesser Island Boardwalk, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee - Chesser Island BoardwalkThe boardwalk snakes its way through the swamp leading hikers to an overlook tower. We never made it to this trail before late afternoon. It makes a nice, relaxing way to end exciting days in the Okefenokee Swamp.

Round-trip, the Chesser Island Boardwalk is a 1.5-mile hike. I urge visitors to estimate the hike taking longer than usual. The swamp is mesmerizing and it’s easy to get immersed in spotting wildlife and examining plants along the way.

We spotted Great White Egret, Cottonmouth snakes, several frogs and lizards, as well as bobcat scat and carnivorous plants along this boardwalk. There’s a sheltered wildlife viewing area about halfway down the boardwalk. Bring your binoculars and magnifying glass to have better views of the wonders lining this trail.

 

The turning point is a four-story overlook tower offering majestic views of the largest blackwater swamp in North America.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Trails

East Entrance - Cane Pole Trail
East Entrance – Canal Diggers Trail
East Entrance – Chesser Island Boardwalk

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Map

General Map – Downloadable map of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, includes hiking trails and water trails
Wilderness Canoe Brochure – Map | Text
Road Map
 – Downloadable map of Okefenokee Nat’l Wildlife Refuge roads.

Okefenokee Hiking Trails – Cane Pole Trail, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee Hiking Trails - Cane Pole TrailWe start our Okefenokee morning with a stroll along the Cane Pole Trail. The trail begins at the east entrance parking lot in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. My sons love this half-mile of trail that serves as a great spot for sighting wildlife near the visitor center.

Cane Pole Trail leads hikers down a tree-shaded path to a boardwalk and sheltered wildlife viewing area. Our morning walk gave us the opportunity to see Great Blue Heron, Pileated Woodpecker, several frog species and dew-coated spider webs. In the afternoon, the boys fished from platforms lining this trail – the only fishing areas in this part of Okefenokee.

I recommend first exploring the Visitor Center exhibits for a quick lesson on the Okefenokee Swamp, tips for sighting wildlife and ways to find cool plants. Visitors can also borrow Discovery Packs filled with goodies to help spot and identify wildlife while they’re here.

I also suggest planning to hike this easy trail more than once. One of the reasons my sons really enjoyed this trail was seeing how it changed throughout the day.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Trails

East Entrance - Cane Pole Trail
East Entrance – Canal Diggers Trail
East Entrance – Chesser Island Boardwalk

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Map

General Map – Downloadable map of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, includes hiking trails and water trails
Wilderness Canoe Brochure – Map | Text
Road Map
– Downloadable map of Okefenokee Nat’l Wildlife Refuge roads.

One small step – February Reflections and Explorers Log

February Reflections & Explorers Log

Hi y’all! I’m treating myself and my friends to monthly reflections, this year. These are meant to help me keep track and make sense of things. I am one of those creative types that flourish in clutter and chaos. I’m also the first to admit that my way is no way to keep any sort of order.

Our February Reflection is courtesy of the Little Ocmulgee River and Neil Armstrong.
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong

February Reflection courtesy of Little Ocmulgee River. #gastateparks

A video posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

I took my advice from January’s reflection and slowed down. Mother Nature helped me out by making it really cold and giving us a good dusting of snow. We didn’t visit nearly as many places, in February, as we did in January. The places we did visit left a lasting impression on me.. the same as I left my footprints on them. This February, I was reminded that we don’t have to be the first man to walk on the moon for our footprints to leave a lasting impression on our lives, on others and on our planet.

February Explorers Log

  Feb 4: Lullwater Preserve – I was shocked to find the ruins, at Lullwater, completely covered in graffiti. Are these the footprints of artists or vandals? Are they one in the same?

Still looking for that perfect family portrait back drop. #Graffiti #Atlanta A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 7: Track Rock Gap Archaeological Site – Native Americans left their footprints, at Track Rock, by carving petroglyphs into these boulders. Vandals left their footprints by taking pieces of the petroglyphs home with them, preventing us from seeing the full story.

Exploring on a sunny day in February #outdoorfamilies

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 7: Vogel State Park – A decade later, I retrace the footsteps of my husband and I as we walked together to see Vogel Falls on our first anniversary.

The waterfall at Vogel State Park in the N. Georgia mountains. #gastateparks #waterfall #happy

A video posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 7: Helton Creek Falls – A short walk leads to these beautiful falls.

Just a short walk to view Helton Creek Falls! #georgia #waterfalls #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 7: Brasstown Bald – We watched the sunset from the highest elevation in Georgia.

Goodnight, Georgia from Brasstown Bald! #exploregeorgia #sunset #nofilter

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 8: Ocmulgee National Monument - Lots of footprints found here.. from the rise of a Native American trading center, to the civil war, railroads and archaeological excavations.

The view from the Great Temple Mound at Ocmulgee National Monument #exploregeorgia #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 9: Little Ocmulgee State Park – Our February Camp, and the site of February’s reflection.

Such a beautiful and peaceful hike this morning among cypress, live Oak & Pine! #gastateparks #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 11: Baked a Birthday Cake for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s 90th anniversary! How many footprints are left on the Appalachian Trail each year?

Look at the Appalachian Trail cake we made for #atc90th with help from @365atlantafamily ! #happy @appalachiantrail

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 14: Funk Heritage Center – National Trail of Tears Historic Site – Thousands of Cherokee Indians were forced to walk the Trail of Tears.

Today, exploring a site along Georgia’s Chieftains Trail. #exploregeorgia #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 21: Panola Mountain State Park – An impressive hike, of a preserved natural area, really opened my eyes to the impact of our footsteps.

Simply amazing hike with the naturalist at Panola Mountain State Park. #gastateparks #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on

 

Feb 25: Snow Day! – Finally, Mother Nature gave us some snow. I love the crunch, of my footsteps, in the snow.

Have to enjoy it while it’s here. Snow doesn’t last long in the south. #exploregeorgia #snowday #happy

A photo posted by Candy Cook (@happytrailtales) on