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Camping in Georgia: Watson Mill Bridge State Park

My family has always been a huge fan of camping.  A couple of days spent in the woods with no distractions from televisions, phones, video games or household responsibilities can be very relaxing.  I am also a firm believer in the fact that children will never come to truly appreciate nature if they are not actually exposed to it occasionally!   Last week was my children’s spring break from school so we decided to pack up the gear and head into the woods.  April is the ideal time to go camping in Georgia because if you wait much later and go during the summer you will regret not being able to bring your air conditioner with you!

Camping in Georgia at Watson Mill Bridge State ParkCamping in Georgia

We chose Watson Mill Bridge State Park for our camping adventure because it was recommended to us by a friend. It is located in Comer, Georgia which isn’t too far away from Athens.  It was a very easy one and a half hour drive from our metro Atlanta home.  Depending on your camping experience you may choose to pitch your tent or RV along the main park loop.  These sites are fairly close to one another but also have easy access to bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.  My family much prefers a bit of seclusion when we go camping so we chose a more primitive site.  There are three ‘pioneer’ sites available at Watson Mill Bridge State Park.  We chose site number three which was located right at the intersection of two beautiful rivers.  The site will hold up to 30 people, has 2 picnic tables, fire pit, open pit grill, and a water spigot for potable water.  We really appreciated that the site is almost completely level and has few exposed roots or rocks where we pitched our tents.  Since the water was only about 30 feet from the campsite we could hear the river running at night which made it incredibly peaceful sleeping. Camping in Georgia in April is hit or miss in terms of temperature.  We lucked out with 60 to 70 degree days will sun and a light breeze.  The nights were chilly, though!  The first night had us shivering in our tent even in sleeping bags rated to 30 degrees.  I think the estimated temperature was a chilling 42 degrees F that night.  If you plan on camping in Georgia in the spring bring lots of layers that can go on or come off easily, depending on the weather!

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Camping in Georgia at watson mill bridge state park

Watson Mill Bridge State Park is the home of the longest functional covered bridge in Georgia.  Having grown up in New England I have a serious love of covered bridges!  The river is incredibly wide and shallow where the bridge crosses and we were able to spend a while splashing along the edges and exploring with the kids.  The current was incredibly swift downriver of the dam due to recent heavy rains.  Close to the bridge, along the nature trails, you will also find the ruins of an old powerhouse and information about the grist mill that used to be located in the area.  There is quite a bit of history to the park and the signage was interesting to read during our hike.

Places to Camp in Georgia

Upriver of the damn, the water is incredibly quiet and very slow moving and shallow.  There are canoes to rent but we chose to bring our own kayak.  Even with all the rain we got in the area the week before, the water was only a few feet deep.  The current was very gentle, making for only a tiny bit of work going upstream and a slow and peaceful drift back downriver.  Please keep in mind that this is a river in Georgia.  We DO have poisonous snakes and on last week’s trip we saw a gorgeous cottonmouth sunning itself on the banks.  Just watch where you are going and use common sense.  They really do not want to bother you!

Where to go camping in Georgia

The park has many, many miles of hiking trails of which we only explored about 5 miles worth.  They are all fairly easy trails with only a slight incline, few steps, and are very well marked.  Our kids are teens and had no problems hiking them with us.  Well, with the exception of complaining constantly that they would rather be sitting by the campfire eating marshmallows.  Fellow parents of teens will probably understand…they don’t generally participate in these things without a bit of moaning and groaning.  You will find a wide array of plant life, including numerous ferns, Dogwood trees, a native bamboo like grass, and several wild flowers.  As a brand new owner of a DSLR camera I enjoyed getting up close and personal with some of my finds!

Camping in Georgia Fiddle Head Fern

If you are planning to go camping in Georgia I highly recommend you check out Watson Mill Bridge State Park.  The staff was incredibly friendly, the facilities well cared for, and the camping sites were very clean.  We found plenty to keep us busy for a few days but honestly, we also spent a lot of time just relaxing by the fire and listening to the sound of the river rushing by.  If you have horses, there are boarding facilities as well as numerous horse trails scattered around the park.

Have you ever been camping in Georgia?
Where do YOU recommend we try next?

About Diane

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can't quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!

Comments

  1. Looks beautiful! I have been in Georgia once and it was only to drive through.

  2. I love to camp and this place is gorgeous! I have never been to Georgia but it is on my bucket list :)

  3. I am totally not a camper, I always joke that my idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service. But as a parent, I think we’ll have to give it a try so that my children have the experience of camping and exploring the outdoors. Definitely sounds like this was good quality time with your family, something that’s hard to find these days.

    • I highly recommend everyone experience camping occasionally! The freedom to not care if you are dirty is quite nice!

  4. I am from Georgia and many of these spots are favorites. My daughter still lives there and goes camping quite a lot in these spots!

  5. Looks like you had an amazing time. I’ve never been to Georgia before.

  6. Sounds amazing to camp so close to running water! I haven’t been to Georgia in about 23 years or so. . .looks like a gorgeous spot with lots to do!

    • I love the sound of running water…except when you wake up at 3 AM having to pee and dread having to visit a tree in the dark!

  7. Wow beautiful photos. I’d love to try hiking there. Not sure I am up for a tent though!

  8. Looks like a beautiful place. I have never in my life been camping however my husband grew up going camping with his family and has always told me we must do this together. We have been married for many years and yet to have gone camping. This past weekend, my husband and 5yr old son were invited to go camping at Red Top Mountain, and they went with a bunch of my son’s friends from his soccer team and their friends. They had a great time,swimming in the lake, fishing and sleeping in great outdoors

    • I really love the time I spend in the woods with my kids…really encourages them to explore nature and get a little dirty!

  9. Wow. That looks amazing! I LOVE covered bridges. I’m not sure if you guys are at all into it, but do you know how this fishing there is?

    • We are not fishers ourselves but I did see people there fishing and info at the front office about fishing licenses!

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