East Central Georgia
State Parks, historic towns, vast lakes, history, rolling hills, and beautiful scenery along with good old Southern hospitality and charm is what makes Eastern Georgia a favorite for locals and visitors.
Just a short drive North of Commerce in Maysville is Hurricane Shoals Park. A park filled with local history where family and friends can enjoy picnics, swimming and plenty of photo opportunities of this scenic area. The Heritage Village portion of the park allows for one to step back into the past where many historic buildings dating back to the late 1800’s have been rescued and relocated in the park. The two nature trail loops which covers two miles is the best way to explore the rugged beauty of the park along the shores of the North Oconee River. Where the trail on the west side of the park passes by the covered bridge along the wooded banks of the river and the falls area. The east trail crosses the falls and enters deep into the woods before dropping down to the river bank passing by an authentic grist mill.
Fort Yargo State Park is located just West of Athens in the historic town of Winder, which features a 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians. The parks wide variety of outdoor recreation and scenery including a 260 acres lake ideal for swimming and fishing makes it a very popular destination for locals, as well as, people from afar. The State Park boosts over 20-miles of hiking and biking trails which will surely test one’s endurance. The seven-mile loop trail around the lake rated easy to moderate hugs the shoreline forest in many places, as well as winding through wooded uplands passing through the Rock Garden and over Heart Attack Hill.
Not only does the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens have numerous types of gardens, there is a new Children’s garden where kids can play and learn in an environment which inspires their sense of adventure, as well as over five-miles of nature trails and is designated as an important bird Habitat. The white and orange blazed loop trails covering just under five-miles wind through serene natural areas and uncommon features like heath bluffs along the Middle Oconee River. Whereas, the orange trail winds its way along a pretty rock-lined stream through a hardwood forest then climbs its way up old farm terraces through a pine forest. The White Trails path leads along the forested river bank before turning away and climbing hills and down into steep stream valleys making it the most challenging trail.
Just West of Augusta is Mistletoe State Park with one of the Southeast’s largest lakes, ideal for swimming and fishing, where the park’s campground sits on a peninsula offering spectacular views of sunrises over the open waters. For the thrill seeker, the park has 15-miles of trails that traverses through East Georgia’s beautiful forests ranging from easy to difficult.
The most challenging trail in the park is the rugged 5.1-mile Rock Dam Loop Trail with elevation changes totaling 425-feet. The trail crosses four flowing streams, without board-walks, crosses the scenic rock dam, and traverses through a deep ravine as it winds its way through a forest where the appearance and terrain changes around each corner. The Rock Dam Trail loops off from the back side of the 2.1-mile Cliatt Creek Nature Trail Loop making this a challenging, but rewarding 7-mile hike. The Cliatt Trail descends down to the Cliatt Creek where it follows the forested banks of the creek before it ascends to the upland section through a forest of pines, oaks, sweetgum, and beech through a natural habitat for deer and turkey. Additional trails include the 1.9-mile, one way, Beach Trail through a pine and hardwood forest with elevation changes of 190-feet, crossing several wooden bridges before reaching the beach area. The Campground 1.5-mile loop runs for ¾ of a mile with the Beach Trail before turning West through a stand of American holly, descending down to the lake shore where the trail crosses a tributary.
Between 6th and 10th street along the Savanna River tells the story of the struggles and accomplishment’s Augusta faced to maintain a growing economy. Today the Augusta River-walk consists of two bricked levels where two of the largest water features in downtown Augusta are on display, an amphitheater ideal for concerts, a Heroes Overlook honoring the men and women from the community who have won the Congressional Medal of Honor, and a memorial park. Throughout the walkway are several small venues perfect for picnics to weddings making the Augusta River-walk an ideal place to create memories.