[Fall] Break Out to Georgia's Great Outdoors

High Falls State Park, Jackson, GA | Photo Credit: @sarahkimbrel
These days, everything is virtual: our classrooms, offices, and even our celebrations. But, as the weather begins to cool, why not take advantage of our virtual circumstances, and move our fall adventures into the great outdoors.   
High Falls State Park | Jackson, Georgia

An easy drive from either Atlanta or Macon, make High Falls State Park your home base for fall adventures. Named for the tumbling cascades on the Towaliga River, High Falls is chock full of water recreation options. For the fishing enthusiasts in the family, boat rental, ramps, and fishing docks provide easy access to the park’s 650-acre lake, known as one of Georgia’s top fishing spots for hybrid and white bass. Get a fishing license and start reeling them in! If paddling is more your style, the park has rental options for kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and Aqua Cycles. And for the hikers in the group, the park’s 4.5 miles of trails include paths to the tallest cascading waterfall south of Atlanta and along the river’s edge through the hilly forest to the remains of a hydroelectric power plant foundation.
High Falls State Park offers accommodations with varying levels of “roughing it.” The park’s spacious campground includes paddle-in primitive camping, pioneer camping, and premium electric campsites for trailers and RVs, all of which are pet-friendly. Or, choose one of the park’s lakeside yurts, each featuring a small deck, grill, and picnic table outside plus furniture, electrical outlets, and a ceiling fan and air conditioning inside. After a day on or along the water, get a good night’s rest for your next fall adventure.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary | Locust Grove, Georgia
Pack a picnic lunch and take the quick 30-minute trip from High Falls State Park to  Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. Located in a beautiful park-like setting, this non-profit is dedicated to bringing children and animals together, and has more than 1,500 animals across 100 different species. Noah’s Ark offers tours for seeing the animals and learning about each one of their unique and heartfelt stories. Take a free (though donations are always welcome) self-guided tour, or make a reservation for the behind-the-scenes WOW or Big Cat Feeding Tours. Or, make a memory to last a lifetime painting with Doc, a 500+ pound tiger.
Dauset Trails Nature Center | Jackson, Georgia
Continue your fall break adventures with a short drive from High Falls State Park to Dauset Trails Nature Center. This private, non-profit nature center may be closed for the time-being, but not to worry; here, it’s the trails you seek. Explore more than 20 miles of scenic trails – best traversed on foot or mountain bike – with options for beginner and advanced levels. Or, prepare for the kids’ return to the virtual classroom (and impress their teachers!) by brushing up on Tree ID. Learn to identify 31 native trees – and the benefits of each for wildlife and people – along an educational walking trail.

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