The Top Three Choices Offer Wildlife Viewing in the Okefenokee Swamp, a Mountain Retreat, and a Confederate Fort.
Stephen C. Foster State Park
Named after songwriter Stephen Foster, this remote park is a primary entrance to the famed Okefenokee Swamp, where Moss-laced cypress trees reflect off the black swamp waters. Springtime at the park beckons fishermen, paddlers and nature lovers. Look for alligators sunning on logs and "swamp canaries" nesting in the cypress knees. A walk on the park's elevated boardwalks or a guided boat trip will afford visitors with a chance to see other wildlife at the park, including turtles, raccoon, black bear, deer, and birds. The Stephen C. Foster State Park is located inside the 402,000-acre Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1936 to preserve the 438,000-acre Okefenokee Swamp.
(Park is located 18 miles northeast of Fargo via GA Hwy 177)
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area
It’s hard to fathom that this 5,600-acre forest was once one man’s private nature preserve. Today, the Smithgall Woods Conservation Area is managed by the Georgia State Park System and the park is a favorite with fly fishermen because of the exceptional fishing and the absent crowds. Four miles of trails and 18 miles of roads allow hikers and bicyclists to explore hardwoods, streams and wildlife. In the springtime, park offers a number of special nature programs on topics that include spring wildflowers, bird migration, and nature phtography.
The Lodge at Smithgall Woods is an elegant mountain retreat that can be rented for romantic getaways or corporate retreats and it features five beautifully decorated cottages. Nearby is popular Unicoi State Park with camping, cottages and lodge rooms.
(Park is located on GA Hwy 75-Alt, 3 miles west of Helen, just south of the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.)
Fort McAllister Historic Park
Coastal Georgia is beautiful during spring because of abundant flowers and green salt marsh. Located on the bank of the Great Ogeechee River south of Savannah, Fort McAllister Historic Park is the home of the best preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy. The park is unusual in that it combines a Civil War historic site with a traditional state park. Nestled among giant live oaks and beautiful salt marsh, it offers a quiet location for camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking. It is also one of many parks on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail. Unusual cottages sit on stilts overlooking the salt marsh, offering outstanding views. The campground is bordered by tidal Redbird Creek, a boat ramp and nature trail.
(Park is located 10 miles east of I-95 on GA Spur 144; take I-95 exit #90.)