As the heat of summer approaches and more people head outside, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources encourages families to get outdoors and go swimming.
Locally the pool in the Liberty Independent Troop Park offers swimming that is easy on the gas tank. The pool is open during the summer, daily from 2-6 p.m. Admission is $2 per day. Family passes for up to six family members are available for $75 and individual season passes are $50.
But if swimming in a lake or creek or hitting a state park is more your cup of tea, Georgia has plenty of places to cool off.
"Swimming has always been a popular way for families to enjoy summertime," DNR Commissioner Chris Clark said. "There are many swimming opportunities in our state parks and on Georgia lakes and rivers. But we encourage everyone to make sure they’re safe when they’re in the water."
Stay cool and save money
Georgia’s state parks have more than 20 swimming beaches and pools where visitors can cool off. For just a $5 parking fee, visitors can spend the entire day at a sandy, lakeside beach while soaking in some of the state’s most relaxing scenery. Beaches have no lifeguards, so swimmers are urged to stay inside boundary ropes marking swimming areas.
Some of the most popular lakeside beaches are at Vogel, John Tanner, Seminole, Unicoi, Hard Labor Creek, Fort Mountain and Richard B. Russell state parks.
Swimmers who prefer an aqua-blue pool can visit High Falls, Victoria Bryant and Magnolia Springs state parks, and those who love history can take a chilly dip in the spring-fed Liberty Bell Pool at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. A fee is charged and lifeguards are provided.
Most pools are open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. However, days of operation vary, so swimmers should call ahead before visiting. Overnight lodge guests at George T. Bagby and Little Ocmulgee state parks can enjoy the lodge pools for no additional fee. These pools do not have lifeguards.
To see which state parks have swimming beaches or pools, visit http://www.gastateparks.org/content/georgia/pdf/2010chart.pdf
Remember Safety First When Swimming
Accidents happen all too often, so DNR encourages everyone to practice safety at all times when in and around the water. Some swimming safety tips include:
• Take a swimming course.
• Never swim alone. If you are a marginal swimmer, wear a flotation device.
• Don’t mix alcohol or drugs with swimming.
• Never let children swim unsupervised.
• Keep lifejackets accessible and never make someone feel uncomfortable if they choose to wear one.
• Don’t swim when you are tired, cold or too far from safety.
• Don’t swim beyond marked boundaries at beaches.
• Always be aware of the possibilities of hidden dangers such as underwater obstacles, changing currents and underwater drop-offs.
• When you find yourself in a stressful situation, don’t panic. If in non-flowing water, float or dog-paddle to safety. If in flowing water, float with the current and don’t fight it.
Prevention and common sense can help prevent water-related tragedies. To learn more about water safety, visit the Red Cross at www.redcross.org.