Vogel State Park offers everything you could want in a weekend getaway.
The park, one of the state's oldest and most popular, is at the base of Blood Mountain. It has a swimming area with a sandy beach on a lake, a stream for trout fishing, trails for a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous hike, camping, cottages and picnic areas. And if you're just going for a day trip, you just pay the $5 for parking fee.
The trail around the lake is flat and an easy walk for all fitness levels. The view from the dam back toward Blood Mountain is worth the walk on its own. Take a book along and claim the swing to while away an hour or two.
There's a hidden treasure to be found behind the dam.
Take the short trail there down to a pretty waterfall. There's a small observation deck there to enjoy the view and cool off.
The park had its origins in the Great Depression when Civilian Conservation Corps crews built the facility. A park museum pays homage to their efforts.
This is one of Georgia's most popular parks. It's advisable to call ahead or make reservations online before you go.
There are a variety of activities throughout the summer, including concerts each Saturday at the park pavilion. The hour-long concerts start at 8 p.m.
For the Fourth of July, Vogel is offering an old-fashioned celebration that will include sack races, egg tosses, watermelon eating and a greased pole climb.
If you want to avoid the crowd, the National Forest Service's Lake Winfield Scott is just down the road. Its water is downright chilly even in summer and it has a beach swim area. It's popular with anglers, too, and offers camping and hiking.