No matter where I’m traveling, I always try to make at least one stop at a public park or natural area for a moment of decompression. There are many such places in Georgia just waiting to be seen. If you love water, you’ll love Georgia’s “Other Coast”. Sure, there are other big lakes in Georgia, but Lake Seminole lies near farmlands dotted with oaks as big as you’ll find on the actual coast. In your drive to get there, you’ll most likely see them. It’s just beautiful country.
This view of the Alapaha River looks north from the US 221/US 129 bridge just east of Lakeland at Pafford’s Landing. Heavy winter rains have resulted in a much higher water level than normal. The privately owned launch and beach are publicly accessible at the landing, but not all of the property is open to the public.
The Alapaha is popular with fishermen and kayakers today. It’s also of historical importance as an integral feature in the settlement of this section of the Georgia Wiregrass region.
Columbus, like Georgia’s other Fall Line cities, is defined by a dramatic shift in elevation [124 feet over a 2 mile stretch], and its lifeblood has always been the Chattahoochee River. Historically, the river’s waters ran freely over rocks and shoals and were known as the Falls of the Chattahoochee. Chutes de la Chattahoutchie, an 1838 painting by the French naturalist Francis de la Porte depicted a wild and scenic waterway and the river retained this wildness until it was dammed by Eagle and Phenix Mill  and City Mills  to provide the power which made their industries possible. Smaller dams were built earlier in the 19th century, but did not have the impact of the aforementioned examples.
The Falls of the Chattahoochee vanished as the mills grew over time. In the mid-2000s, a plan to breach and remove those dams took hold in an effort to make the Chattahoochee wild again and provide new tourism opportunities for Columbus.
The breaching of the Eagle and Phenix Mill dam in 2012 and the City Mills dam in 2013 brought back a resource which had vanished over a century ago. The Falls of the Chattahoochee, which had been important to the area since the days of Native Americans, once again flow through the city and have created what has been called one of the best urban whitewater runs in the nation.
The river reclamation has been a driver of revitalization in Columbus, and while I generally don’t make endorsements, I would direct you to the experienced folks at Whitewater Express.
They’ll gladly take you on an amazing adventure if you’re of a mind to get wet and get your adrenaline flowing.
Whether you’ve never done whitewater or you’re an old pro, they will make your experience worthwhile. It’s a great day trip if you’re in the area.
Originating in swampland east of Young Man Road in northern McIntosh County, the White Chimney River [also referred to as White Chimney Creek] flows southerly for several miles before joining the Sapelo River. I haven’t located an origin for the name, but would presume it to be related to an early house or other landmark with white chimneys. Seems logical, but who knows…
The White Chimney River is surrounded by marsh and hammock on both sides for most of its brief course.
This landscape is typical of estuaries along the Atlantic seaboard.
In the southeast, they generally feature palmettos, oaks, and cedars.
A web of smaller creeks feed into the river from all directions.
Like the rivers they support, they are dependent on the tides.
These estuaries are integral to the abundance of marine life that attracts fishermen to the region.
This sign, across from Hunter’s Cafe, sums up the mood around Shellman Bluff; no hurries and no worries. The words change from time to time, but the message really doesn’t. It overlooks the idyllic Julienton River, a tributary of the Sapelo River.
This man-made lake, now officially known as Lake Strom Thurmond, retains its original designation as Clarks Hill Lake in Georgia. Its creation was made possible by the construction of the Clarks Hill Dam near the confluence of the Savannah River and the Little River in 1952. It is the third largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River and provides abundant recreation and fishing opportunities for residents and tourists alike.
This view was made on a western section of the lake, near the old town of Raysville. The lake is bordered by McCormick County, South Carolina, and Lincoln, Columbia, McDuffie, and Wilkes counties in Georgia.
Most of us who have grown up swimming in rivers and creeks are familiar with rope swings tied to trees that have a good reach over the waterway, and occasionally, we see impromptu ladders added to make the climb to the top easier. I shot these several years ago near the Meriwether County Landing on the Flint River and I think they had more steps than any I’ve seen.
I really didn’t know what to call them other than “diving trees”. They’re really more for jumping than diving, especially when the rivers are low. I don’t think there’s any consensus as to an official term but they’re a thing down here in southern Georgia and I thought these two were perfect examples.
This lush stream rises in the Appalachian foothills a few miles north of Homer in Banks County and flows northeastward into Franklin County before turning southeastward and joining the Hudson River. All of these waterways feed the Broad River and its three forks.
Nails Creek was an important location in the development of industry in the region. J. D. Cromer had a sawmill, gristmill, and gin mill here in the late 19th century and this likely supported other small businesses, as well.
Tallulah Gorge is a nearly thousand-foot-deep canyon which follows the Tallulah River for two miles resulting in one of the most beautiful natural areas in Georgia. The spectacular site is accessed at Tallulah Gorge State Park and is a mecca for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. I didn’t have much time when I was here, but even a visit of a couple of hours is one of the most rewarding trips in Georgia.
The first thing you’ll see if you plan on the strenuous descent to the Hurricane Falls suspension bridge, is L’Eau d’Or Falls, actually a series of several smaller falls. It’s a mere 350 feet below.