General Info: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area includes 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River and shoreline just outside of Atlanta, GA. Country music fans may recognize the name from the hit Alan Jackson song dedicated to the river. Most of the river flows at a lazy pace but parts of it can surge up to Class 2 rapids. The park is divided into 16 different recreation areas offering hours of outdoor activities.
Hours and Fees: The park is open for day-use only, from dawn to dusk year-round. The visitor center at Island Ford is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Christmas Day. Entrance is $3 per vehicle per day. For specific park information call the visitor center at 678-538-1200.
Aquatic Activities: Grab a Georgia fishing license and a trout stamp then cast a line in the Chattahoochee for one of the 23 species of stocked game fish. You have several options for getting out on the water year-round: by raft, canoe, kayak, motor boat or other small vessels. The river is accessible by boat in six different places. If you don’t have a boat or didn’t bring it along, the park has several vendors licensed to rent canoes, kayaks, rafts, and tubes for day use on the river. Jet skis are not allowed on the Chattahoochee.
Riverbank Activities: Bring snacks for a picnic along the wooded riverbank picnic areas. Walking and biking trails in the Cochran Shoals area allow you to view the beautiful wildflowers or fall foliage, depending on the season. You can also watch for wildlife like rabbit, deer and 240 species of birds! Bowman’s Island features trails for hiking and horse riding.
Safety: There are a number of special safety regulations about the river that you should review before your visit. For example, the river stays about 50°F year-round, so hypothermia is a risk no matter how warm the air is in summer. Since the river is highly urbanized, daily bacteria alerts are available to check the safety of the water before you swim, wade or boat.
Weather: Right in the middle of the Deep South, the Atlanta area has hot and humid summers. Wear breathable, light-weight clothing for maximum comfort and remember to stay hydrated. Winters are mild, while spring and fall see temperate conditions.
Camping Info: There are no camping facilities in the park itself, but you’ll find a variety of private campgrounds in the surrounding communities. You can park the RV up in Buford at the Shoal Creek campground near Lake Sidney Lanier. It has 103 sites (12×40’) with water and electrical hookups (30 amp) only. Or you can check the Trailer Life Directory for RV campgrounds in the greater Atlanta area.
If you’re from Georgia or have visited Chattahoochee National Recreation Area in the past, please chime in with your stories and tips! Your insights can help others have a fantastic trip.
The Peach State is the largest state in the southeast, and travelers are sure to encounter warm and friendly locals during their cruise through her towns and highways. Georgia is rich in U.S. history, perhaps most notably Union General William T. Sherman’s burning of Atlanta during the Civil War. In the 21st century, Georgia serves as the nation’s leader in paper production, as well as being the communications and transportation center for the entire Southeast. This one-tank RV trip route from Woodall’s takes you through some of the north state’s most popular destinations.
Blairsville makes a perfect starting point for your trip through Georgia. Positioned in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blairsville is embraced by beautiful green valleys, crystal clear lakes, dazzling waterfalls, and majestic mountains. Plentiful recreation areas offer opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, and you can even pan for gold! Various Native American ruins have been uncovered by archaeological teams, and are available for tours and limited exploration. Blairsville’s leisurely pace makes it a great place to stop and smell the roses, and get your road trip off to a relaxing start.
It’s only a 15-mile north-easterly drive on the US-76 to the town of Hiawassee, in Towns County. Brasstown Bald Mountain is the tallest mountain in Georgia at nearly 4,800 feet in height; on clear days you can see Georgia, both Carolinas, and Tennessee from its peak. Hiawassee also offers boating, fishing and rafting, along with plentiful places to hike or ride horses. If you care to put your golfing skills to the test, some of the most challenging courses in Georgia are found here in Towns County, so grab your clubs and see how you fare on these low-par links. After that, seek out local vintners and sample some of the best wines in all of Georgia.
Each year, the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds play host to a series of popular events, one of which is summertime’s Georgia Mountain Fair. The fairgrounds themselves are located on the shores of majestic Lake Chatuge, and the fair provides plenty of excitement and nostalgia to thousands of visitors each year. In addition to electrifying thrill rides, one-of-a-kind attractions, and plenty of tasty concoctions to please the palate, the Georgia Mountain Fair hosts performances by such A-list musical talent as the Bellamy Brothers, Sammy Kershaw, and Pam Tillis. If you’re in the area in July, make a point of seeing this fun-filled and extremely popular event.
Continuing south on the US-76, merge with the GA-75/Unicoi Turnpike and you’ll soon arrive in the city of Helen. This is a town whose very creation centered around the outdoors, and the outdoor life remains a centerpiece of modern living. It’s interesting to note that the town of Helen is an authentic recreation of a Bavarian village, complete with cobblestone roads and Old World-style towers. The Bavarian Nights of Summer runs from June to August and features live polka music along with some of the best Bavarian fare available. Admission is free, so be sure to eat, drink and be merry!
Hiking trails take us down to the magnificent beauty of Unicoi Lake, as well as to the gorgeous Anna Ruby Falls; you may need to rent a 4×4 to access the Falls, however – the roads are steep and the terrain is rough, but the visual experience of these enticing falls is well worth the effort. The Chattahoochee River runs through the city of Helen and provides several recreational opportunities such as fishing, kayaking and tubing.
If you’re in the area in the fall, Helen’s Oktoberfest is a six-week extravaganza that runs from mid-September to early November, and is the longest such party in the South. Daytime activities include browsing through the town’s many shops or lounging in the beer-garden and sampling as many of the large variety of German beers as you can handle. At night, the place to be is the Festhalle, where you can enjoy all kinds of authentic German bands, stuff yourself with bratwursts, and dance the polka until you drop.
When you’re ready, get back on the road for a 90-mile drive southwest to Atlanta. It’s a relatively smooth trip, with a southwest cruise a few miles down the GA-75, where you catch the US-129-S for about 20 miles then merge with the I-985-S. A little more than 20 miles later, this highway becomes the I-85-S, and a 30-mile drive brings you to the city of Atlanta.
Atlanta’s a city with a prominent history, which is evident everywhere you look. From the tense Civil War days and the founding of Coca-Cola to the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hank Aaron’s record-breaking home run, Atlanta has been there for it all. The city is chock full of so many things for a traveler to see and do that it’s difficult to narrow them down to a manageable number for one visit. Try the following attractions for your introduction to Atlanta.
Stone Mountain Park is a 3,200-acre theme park, geared toward family fun. Some of the park’s highlights include a skyride to the top of Stone Mountain itself, a paddleboat cruise on Stone Mountain Lake, and a spectacular end-of-the-day laser light show, followed by a bombastic fireworks finale.
Located in Downtown, Underground Atlanta is so named because of a viaduct construction project in the 1920s, which elevated the streets one level higher so as to permit easier traffic flow. Local shop owners moved their operations to the new street level, leaving the old storefronts behind for storage and service. In the late 60s, the area was declared a historic site and was turned into a retail and entertainment district. In the late 80s, the area was refurbished and reopened, offering a unique mix of family shops and entertainment. It’s definitely a fascinating place to visit while you’re in town.
The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest such facility, with more marine life than any other acquarium swimming in more than 8 million gallons of water. One of the aquarium’s distinctions is that the grounds possess a state-of-the-art aquatic veterinary facility, designed by veterinarians and conservation organizations. The aquarium is well worth a day’s visit.
Another don’t-miss spot is Six Flags Over Georgia, one of the jewels in the Six Flags crown. The park features more than 30 rides, ranging from the mild ones found in Bugs Bunny World, to the way-cool Superman: Ultimate Flight roller coaster. Superman: Ultimate Flight is one of the fastest coasters in the worl. Riders are suspended beneath the track in a head-first flying position as they shoot along the nearly 300-foot track at 60 mph. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to being able to fly if you’re not from Krypton.
The Peach State offers so many unique opportunities for all kinds of entertainment you’ll want to spend several days and many return trips to explore them all.
Where to Stay: The Atlanta South RV Resort in McDonogh Georgia is clsoe to the Interstate just 30 minutes drive from downtown Atlanta. The park features 140 sites with full hookups (80 pull-thrus), a dump station, propane and more.
By Lynn Difley
Just when you think it is getting all too bleak; another dealership closing, another friend undergoing foreclosure, still one more good program terminated for lack of funding, a ray of hope surfaces to remind us that we will survive this and it will all improve with time.
I found just such a ray of hope I want to share. It is the project of Zach Bonner, an 11-year-old boy who has decided he wants to draw attention to the plight of homeless children. Zach has already walked from Tampa to Tallahassee, and from Tallahassee to Atlanta to draw attention to the fact that 13 children per day die due to homelessness.
His goal on this trip is to go all the way from Atlanta to Washington DC. The trip is a journey of 665 miles. He plans to walk 11 miles a day for a total of over 600 miles, and figures it will take him two months. His mother will drive an RV, donated by Lazy Daze. He is asking kids to send letters, which he will hand deliver to President Obama, documenting the concern of other kids for the plight of the children who are suffering through no fault of their own.
What a great project and kudos to Lazy Daze for donating their RV as his support vehicle. He is asking for letters to take to the president, and donations for the homeless project for kids. He invites everyone to join him along the way. You can go to his website and track his progress. If you are traveling anywhere along his path, make it a point to look for him. If you stay in a campground along his travel route, why not urge them to donate his overnight stay, or better yet, pay for it yourself. If you go anywhere near his hike, you can bring him a bag of cookies, or home cooked meal.
Why not participate in this fantastic project that an 11-year-old boy has undertaken. It’s not his first act of generosity either. He gained notoriety at the age of 7 when he pulled his little red wagon around the neighborhood collecting bottled water and food for the victims of hurricane Charlie. He ended up shipping over 27 pickup loads of needed supplies to the victims.
Then he participated in collecting and stocking snack and personal hygiene backpacks for kids in need. Now he has started on a journey, walking to bring attention and help to the kids who are less fortunate, as he says “through no fault of their own”. He was inspired by Mildred Norman, the peace pilgrim who criss-crossed the country for peace for over 28 years.
Zach will spend his summer walking, mom and sister supporting him and hopefully a large crowd of supporters will join in for a segment across the way. What a fantastic project, and one we can all follow with enthusiasm, as we travel across the country. If you are on the road, why not look for Zach, check out his website or pass the word to friends who may be in his line of travel.
Check his website Little Red Wagon Foundation to see all about Zach and his work. They have a link you can click to track his walk. Whether you find Zach or just support him by sending a contribution or a letter or E mail, you are participating in a project that offers a positive ray of hope in an otherwise bleak time. Why not let Zach know those of us who frequent the open road are all with him. Send him a message of encouragement, a letter to carry, contribute to his project and help him along his way.
March 18, 2009 by RV Today Archive · Comments Off
Atlanta, Georgia where the old South meets the new South. Known for some time now as the capital of the new South, Atlanta has been a thriving metropolis since the mid 1980s. If you are visiting it is best to park your vehicle and take advantage of the city’s excellent public transportation. On the East side of the city there is the Little Five Points a colorful little neighborhood that dates back to the turn of the century. The neighborhood has plenty of clothing shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and theaters. One of the most informative and interesting things to do in Atlanta is take the CNN studio tour where you get to see live newscasts during production.