Georgia: From spelunking to zip lining, adventure awaits


Adventurous state parks

In the southeast corner of the state, the legendary Okefenokee Swamp can be accessed by canoe through Stephen C. Foster State Park (17515 Ga. 177, Fargo. 912-637-5274). Take a ranger-led night paddling tour in one of the darkest places in Georgia. The park has been designated by the International Dark Sky Association as an “International Dark Sky Park.” See the stars (and alligator eyes) like you’ve never seen them before. In the northwest corner of the state, go spelunking at Cloudland Canyon State Park (122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn. 706-657-4050). G3 Adventures(formerly known as Georgia Girl Guides) gives guided tours of the wild cave system in the park. Expect to get wet and muddy as you crawl through limestone caverns for one to four hours. gastateparks.org.

Historic Banning Mills

Historic Banning Mills (205 Horseshoe Dam Road, Whitesburg. 770-834-9149, www.historicbanningmills.com) is an adventure retreat located along the forested Snake Creek Gorge west of Atlanta. It claims the longest canopy zip line in the world, “Flight of the Falcon,” which soars through the treetops and over the gorge. You can also climb the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, then take a heart-racing controlled free-fall plunge back to earth. An aerial obstacle course crosses the gorge as well. No need to leave the trees when you’re done because accommodations include treehouse rooms accessible by a rope bridge and complete with conveniences like fireplaces and hot tubs.

RELATED: 5 places to go ‘glamping’ near Atlanta

Columbus

Like Atlanta, Columbus sits on the Chattahoochee, but it’s a much different Hooch here. The fall line location creates class III, IV and V rapids. The city boasts the longest urban whitewater course in the world. Whitewater Express (1000 Bay Ave., Columbus. 706-321-4720, www.whitewaterexpress.com) provides guided rafting excursions through the raging water and rents kayaks to experienced paddlers. They also have a zip line course that zings you across the river into Alabama then back into Georgia. Be prepared for jokes about passports as you zip between two states high above the Chattahoochee.




Next Up in Travel

Taking a new, ‘non-lazy’ way to old Machu Picchu
Taking a new, ‘non-lazy’ way to old Machu Picchu

On a ceaselessly scenic rail line that flowed like a vein toward the heart of the Inca mountain empire, Kilometer Marker 104 did not look like anything special. There wasn’t even an actual station there; just a ditch, where we stood all of 30 seconds before the train pulled away from us. As we would do throughout our two days tramping around...
Feel the pull of the prairie on an American safari in Montana
Feel the pull of the prairie on an American safari in Montana

Bison run faster than humans, I thought on my morning jog, as I panted down the slope. They weigh more too — around 1,400 pounds. One of those beasts could crush me flat and not even notice. I ran a little distance before looking back at the low ridge, where 50 or 60 bison posed like breathing statues, the morning sun lighting up the smoky exhale...
Venerable weight loss retreat isn’t just about shedding pounds anymore
Venerable weight loss retreat isn’t just about shedding pounds anymore

For more than two decades, I’d driven by Hilton Head Health on my visits to the South Carolina barrier island and wondered if it was for me. It was once known primarily as an extended-stay weight loss resort, but several friends had told me it had undergone major changes. With more than a few pounds to drop and in need of a break from...
5 reasons this Georgia city was named one of the ‘best long weekend getaway’ in the US  
5 reasons this Georgia city was named one of the ‘best long weekend getaway’ in the US  

When folks from the Atlanta area want to experience one of the recently named “best long weekend getaways in America,” they don't have far to go. Jetsetter is famed for its worldwide Wanderlist travel inspiration hub, which lets subscribers browse and upload selections from a collection of 150,000-plus quirky and beautiful...
More Stories