August park: Panola Mountain State Park.
I had been purposely saving this state park just in case I needed a park that was nearby.
And I totally needed it!
My original plan for August was to stop by High Falls State Park on our way home from visiting my parents last weekend. But…I was SO tired, and it was a rainy day — so we didn’t stop.
But that meant we needed a state park for this month — yay for Panola!
Panola Mountain is in Stockbridge, right off I-20 (about 40 minutes from our house). We got there around 10 a.m. When we got there it wasn’t crowded or anything, but several of the picnic pavilions already had groups getting ready to grill out. But it seemed all the picnic pavilions had their own parking, as did the playground, nature center and bike path — which I thought was great.
WHAT WE DID.
The real question should be: What didn’t we do? Ha! I felt like we SO MUCH at this state park. This was basically the total opposite of our Tallulah Gorge experience. (Again…sorry, Tallulah!)
We brought our bikes, so when we first arrived we rode our bikes on the PATH Foundation paved trail to the Panola Mountain overlook. After that, we checked out their nature center, which was really great!
Then we headed over to their “famous” 100-foot tall Southern Red Oak. It’s in another part of the park, so we made the short drive to the other side for this. (They do tree climbing excursions on certain weekends using this tree — and I am dying to do it! Which is why I was kind of passionate about seeing it.) A short walk from the parking lot took us to the tree! We were the only people at the tree at the time. It was beautiful! And they had picnic tables there, so that’s where we ate our lunch. Later, when I asked the kids what their favorite thing was from the day, Tom said this was his favorite part. We just ate, and played and ran around — it was really fun.
After this, we headed to their playground for a while (Alice’s favorite part). Then back to the nature center — where we talked with one of their park rangers about a short hike. And she sent us on the Overlook Trail — which was awesome. And she gave our kids nature booklets and a scavenger hunt to complete! (They did, and they got a cute prize at the end.) It was a really, really fun, full day!
This was a really neat park with a lot of stuff to do. Kevin loved this park because of all the activities. Panola Mountain (a 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain) itself is special because it was never quarried. So it is pristine. To hike this mountain, you must have a reservation and go with a guide. You can see Panola from their overlooks, though! And if you look really, really closely, you can see Stone Mountain in the distance from the Overlook Trail. We loved our day here. There was so much to do, and all of it was great. Everyone here was extremely nice, and I feel like if we lived a little bit closer, we’d be here all the time. (They also have archery lessons, which seemed very popular, and they have a lake with kayak and boat rentals. So much to do!)
Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures so far this year!
January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park
June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park
July park: Indian Springs State Park
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