ATLANTA — Summer is the time to spend quality family time in the Georgia outdoors. But there’s no need to invest in pricey day camps this year, simply pack a lunch, grab a towel or trail shoes and head to Georgia’s State Parks for affordable recreation.
The fun encourages kids to stay active and get outdoors this summer. From free park admission and recreational opportunities to family-friendly events and junior ranger day camps, there is something for every interest and age level that is easy on the wallet.
• Free park admission and recreational offerings (all ages)
Planning a daytrip to the beach doesn’t have to include an overnight stay at an oceanfront hotel. Simply head to one of Georgia’s State Parks free lakeside beaches. A library card is all you need to check out a ParkPass or Historic Site Pass at Georgia’s public libraries. The passes are good for free parking or admission at any of the 63 state parks and historic sites statewide. For a listing of Georgia’s public libraries, go to www.georgialibraries.org. Or, plan a family outing in the woods or play date at the playground mid week. Wednesdays are free days in Georgia’s state parks, allowing visitors to skip paying the parking fee. You won’t find a better excuse for a mid-week getaway for families with young children, retirees and people with flexible schedules. With a diverse geographic topography, Georgia’s state parks and historic sites offer adventures in northern mountains, midland swamplands, Piedmont plains and along the beautiful Georgia Coast.
• Junior ranger day camps (ages 6-12)
Kids ages 6 to 12 are invited to explore Georgia’s wildlife, nature and fascinating history first-hand as they earn their way through three badge levels. Nature hikes, arts and crafts, water games, fishing and outdoor cooking are just a few of the topics offered.
The junior day camp at Fort Morris, but more are coming up in the area.
Families can also pick up a free Junior Ranger Activity Book at any state park or historic site and work through the activity requirements at their own pace. Or, receive the latest park news and learn more about Georgia nature and history by subscribing to The Georgia Junior Ranger, a free e-newsletter.
Area junior ranger camps
junior Ranger Camp at Fort McAllister
Monday-Friday, June 28-July 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Activities will include nature walks, arts and crafts, games, wildlife lessons, canoeing, nature scavenger hunts and more. $70 per child, plus $5 parking. (912) 727-2339.
Junior Ranger Day Camp at Skidaway
Monday-Thursday, July 12-15
Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah
Ages 7-10 can join the staff from Skidaway Island State Park and Wormsloe State Historic Site for crafts, hikes, games, an overnight stay and more. Registration is limited. (912) 598-2300.
Junior Ranger Day Camp at Crooked River
Tuesday-Friday, July 13-16
Crooked River State Park – St Marys
Children ages 6-12 will participate in activities that focus on the outdoors, and work toward earning a Junior Ranger badge. Activities will include outdoor skills; trail walks, a marshmallow roast, and more. Space is limited and sign-up is required. $25 per child $5 parking. (912) 882-8531.