Get out and explore Northeast Georgia’s great outdoors

ATHENS, Ga. – The greater Athens area – and Northeast Georgia – is home to plenty of state parks and other scenic getaways.

For starters, walk along the nature trails on the 313-acre State Botanical Garden of Georgia, located along the Oconee River south of Athens. For information, call (706) 542-6138.

In Winder, head to Fort Yargo State Park and enjoy the serenity of this 1,814-acre wonderland and also take in a little bit of history at the Old Fort, built in a the late 18th century by settlers who sought protection from the Indians. At times during the year, volunteers conduct living history displays, dressing up in authentic 18th century garb.

Take a step back in time and visit the longest-tenured, “original-site” covered bridge, located in Comer. Watson Mill Bridge State Park, home of a 229-foot long bridge spanning the South Fork River awaits exploitation. For information, call (706) 783-5349.

In Royston, there’s Victoria Bryant State Park, home of streams, trails and wildlife. For the sports fans, there’s also a golf course. For information, call (706) 245-6270.

Looking to get wet this spring and summer? Good news, two great lakes are an hour’s drive away.

Both Lake Lanier in Gainesville and Lake Hartwell in Hartwell offer the weary city-dweller a respite from the daily grind, and a chance to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and camping.

Both lakes were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Hop on board. The Travel Trolley is aimed at capturing the history and charm of roadside attractions. The site published from 2009 to 2016.