Jennifer Senator 2017-12-27 12:41:54
A Breath of Fresh With an adventure for everyone, Georgia is a nature-lover’s playground. With acclaimed state parks, national forests, the Blue Ridge Mountains, thundering waterfalls, easily accessible lakes and rivers, and a mild climate, Georgia’s great outdoors beckon all year long. There’s something for everyone—whether you want to channel your inner daredevil on an aerial zip line or prefer a leisurely walk in the woods. Hop on a bike and see downtown Atlanta from a new perspective; ride a train through South Georgia to see what lies off the beaten path; or cruise down a river in a kayak to get away from it all. For groups big or small, Georgia offers plenty of ways to get outside and experience its natural beauty. 1 Day One Unicoi State Park Adventure Lodge, Helen Take a zip line tour through the treetops and try 3-D archery and slacklining at this North Georgia Mountain lodge, or take it easy with a guided nature hike, GPS scavenger hunt, and fly fishing in some of the state’s best trout streams. Groups may rent the entire beach at fifty-three-acre Unicoi Lake for kayaking and paddleboarding, take a hayride, and enjoy evening “Fire Pit Stories” with s’mores and a storyteller. Team-building activities are available for ten to 200 participants. unicoilodge.com Amicalola Falls State Park Adventure Lodge, Dawsonville Set in the heart of Chattahoochee National Forest, this lodge offers activities for large or small groups including a ropes course, zip lining, guided hikes, climbing wall, 3-D archery, and a survivalist camp. Take a GoPro class to record your adventure as you hike down spectacular Amicalola Falls, take a guided trail run, or get up close with onsite birds of prey. Picnic shelters are available for cookouts, and group lodging discounts are available depending on time of year. amicalolafallslodge.com Len Foote Hike Inn, Dawsonville The only access to this serene, backcountry lodge is on foot— via a well-marked five-mile path that starts at the top of Amicalola Falls and takes two to four hours to traverse. At the inn, you’ll enjoy family- style dinners and breakfasts and stunning mountain views. Twenty comfortable guest rooms include bunk beds, and guests share hot showers (separate facilities for men and women). Groups may rent the entire twenty-room inn; environmental groups with similar missions to the inn may receive discounts on non-peak, midweek stays. hike-inn.com OVERNIGHT IN DAWSONVILLE 2 Day Two Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, Atlanta Explore Atlanta’s landmarks and neighborhoods by bike. Choose the eight-mile “Fall in Love With Atlanta” tour of intown neighborhoods and historical landmarks, or opt for rides focused on the city’s street art or its civil rights journey. All tours last three hours and include bicycle, helmet, water bottle, and snack; they may be customized to include stops at local restaurants. Group pricing is available for groups of fifteen to fifty; inquire about discounts for nonprofits. All tours are also available by bus or shuttle. biketoursatl.com Whitewater Rafting, Columbus Cruise right through downtown Columbus on this two-anda- half-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River, billed as the longest urban whitewater course in the world. “Classic” trips down the river, offered earlier in the day, are eduslower- paced and appeal to all ages and skill levels, but in late afternoon, the water gets released from dams upstream so rafters can experience exciting Class III-V rapids. Inquire about discounts, food service, and recreation and waterfront areas for your group. whitewaterexpress. com/chattahoochee Historic SAM Shortline Railroad, Cordele All aboard! Take a ride on a 1949 vintage train through charming southwest Georgia towns to Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village; the historic Windsor Hotel; Rylander Theater; Georgia Rural Telephone Museum; and President Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, where you’ll see his childhood home and the depot that served as his presidential campaign headquarters. Most rides are five to six hours long, allowing visitors to hop off the train to explore, and are offered Fridays and Saturdays. Groups of twenty or more receive one free ticket. samshortline.com OVERNIGHT IN CORDELE 3 Day Three Radium Springs Gardens, Albany Stroll through the Spanish moss–draped courtyard to see the once-famous waters of Radium Springs Gardens, one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders. Formerly home to a popular casino and resort built in 1927 that was later destroyed by floods, visitors flocked here to enjoy the therapeutic crystal-blue springs, which contain naturally occurring radium. Still flowing from an underground cave, the water is off-limits for swimming, but provides a lovely backdrop for a picnic among the casino ruins. visitalbanyga.com/attraction/ radium-springs-gardens Flint RiverQuarium, Albany Experience an up-close wildlife encounter at this interactive aquarium. See the Blue Hole Spring, home to fish, turtles, alligators, and other river creatures, then view an educational film about native wildlife in the Imagination Theater. The aviary is home to herons, egrets, and other birds indigenous to the Flint River basin. Groups of ten to fifteen may arrange a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the animals’ diets, feeding, and more. Bring a picnic lunch and eat in adjacent Riverfront or Turtle Grove parks. flintriverquarium.com Flint River Kayaking, Albany Take a leisurely paddle along scenic Flint River, through Spanish moss-draped passages, past Radium Springs, and alongside downtown Albany. Outfitter Kayak Attack offers guided trips from forty-five minutes to eight hours, including shuttle service to various points. Longer trips include stops to swim at one of the area’s biggest blue holes and lunch (not provided) on a sandy beach. Tours are available for groups up to 100. Call for group discounts and information about catered lunches and overnight camping trips beginning in 2018. kayakalbanygeorgia.com DON’T-MISS DINING The Dining Pavilion at White Oak Pastures, Bluffton Nearly everything on the menu at this open-air restaurant was raised or grown in the surrounding pastures. With a commitment to grassfed meats and organic produce, the menu features burgers, seasonal vegetables, and other locally produced foods, such as Sweet Grass Dairy cheeses. Take a group tour on foot or by horseback. Lunch is served daily, and dinner is offered Wednesday through Sunday. whiteoakpastures.com MUST-STOP SHOPPING Downtown Dahlonega Dahlonega’s historic square is home to many delightful shops. Find local art at Bleu Gallery, old-fashioned candy and wares at Dahlonega General Store, unique toys and games at Giggle Monkey Toys, trendy dresses at Amy’s Attic & Boutique, outdoor wear— including Appalachian Trail hats—at Woodlands Edge, and vinyl records and mandolins at Vintage Music. business. dahlonega.org
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