July 17, 2008
Follow Jay Polk as he traverses South Georgia, on some exciting trips that just take ONE TANK!
This is a showcase of all the destinations, attractions, and family fun opportunities that you can reach, on less than one tank of gas, and without the need to stay overnight.
White sandy beaches... A resort where guests are treated like VIPs... A restaurant where tropical music plays on warm sunny days...
Is this Panama City Beach? No! It's Georgia Veterans State Park. You can find all of the amenities here that many resorts offer, but without the long travel. With 8,700 acres of space there's plenty of room to put everything.
Rod Brehm, the Assistant Park Manager said that "People come camping, hiking, boating and to play golf."
And he means a lot of people. Georgia Veterans is one of the most popular of the 64 state parks and historic sites, with over one million visitors annually. And with so much available to do here, you might want to stay for more than just one day. If that's the case, the park has you covered.
Accommodations run the gamut, from roughing it at the Pioneer Campground to getting pampered at the Lake Blackshear Resort and Country Club. Camping is a popular way to stay at the park and the campsites here have everything that the RV enthusiast would want, even cable TV. The park draws praise from the visitors that we spoke with; like John Myers of Newberry, Florida, who said: "Parking, the campsites, comfort stations. Everything's nice and kept clean. Almost like being back home."
Eating here doesn't have to mean packing a picnic lunch, although picnic shelters are available. There are two restaurants on the property: the Cypress Grille, which features nightly entertainment, and the more formal Cordelia's. And to work off all of those extra pounds, the park offers one mile of hiking trails and an 18-hole golf course.
One of the best things about Georgia Veterans State Park is the fact that it sits on Lake Blackshear, a very popular lake for boaters. And at the marina you can rent just about any type of boat or watercraft that you want."
"We have pontoon boats available for rent, we have ski boats available for rent, we got ski doo jet skis available for rent, tubes, skis, wakeboards just about anything that you can do on the water," said marina manager James Brewer.
And if you're not an experienced boater don't worry. The staff at the marina will give you some helpful tips to make your journey a safe one.
But with all of this fun it can be easy to forget the real purpose of the park, which is to honor all U.S. veterans. There are reminders of the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform near the main entrance to the park, where there is a museum and an impressive collection of armored vehicles and aircraft.
The museum is just one more thing to do at this little slice of paradise... right here in South Georgia.
If you decide to go, the Georgia Veterans State Park is on U.S. Highway 280, nine miles west of I-75 in Cordele. The park is open daily from 7 AM to 10 PM year round.
For more information about the park, you can call (229) 276-2371 or visit them on the web .
But this time of the year, you'll want to call early, because the facilities tend to fill up quickly. In the coming weeks, look for more stories in our One Tank Trips series.