GEORGE L SMITH II STATE PARK
With natural beauty, lakeside camping and cozy cottages, this secluded park is the perfect south Georgia retreat. It is best known for the refurbished Parrish Mill, a combination grist mill, saw mill, covered bridge and dam built in 1880. Anglers and canoeists can explore the mill pond dotted with Spanish moss-draped trees and home to blue heron and white ibis. Hikers can stretch their legs on seven miles of trails while searching for lumbering gopher tortoises, Georgia?s state reptile. The park is named after one of Georgia?s great legislators.
Established in 1974, the park is named after George L. Smith II, a Georgia House of Representatives Speaker. It spans over 1,634 acres and includes a lake created by damming Beaverdam Creek.
The area was originally inhabited by Native Americans until European settlers arrived in the late-18th century. The land then became farmland before being transformed into its current state as part of conservation efforts.
Today it offers camping facilities along with opportunities for fishing and boating on its large mill pond.
1. Campsites: The park offers 25 campsites with water and electric hookups for tents, trailers, or RVs.
2. Pioneer Camping: A pioneer campsite is available for large groups who prefer a more primitive camping experience.
3. Cottages: There are six fully-equipped cottages that can be rented year-round within the George L Smith II State Park.
4. Picnic Shelters: Two picnic shelters equipped with grills offer an alternative to traditional camping options in this state park.
5. Paddle-In Camping Sites: For adventurous types there's paddle-in sites accessible by canoe or kayak only.
6. Picnicking Spots: Numerous picnicking spots around the lake provide opportunities for day trips without overnight stays.
The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. Canoes and fishing boats are available to rent, providing an excellent opportunity to explore the beautiful waterways or engage in some angling activities. Private boats can also be used on the lake but must operate at idle speed only so as not to disturb wildlife or other guests enjoying their time on the waterside trails and picnic spots.
Enjoy fishing in a 412-acre lake, home to species like largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie. Boat rentals are available.
George L Smith II State Park is located near Metter, Statesboro and Swainsboro
George L Smith II State Park offers picnic tables, grills and shelters for picnicking with beautiful lake and forest views.
1. Beaver Dam Nature Trail: This 0.5-mile trail is perfect for beginners, featuring a boardwalk that takes hikers through the park's wetlands and offers views of wildlife like beavers and waterfowl.
2. Cypress Point Loop: A moderate difficulty level hike spanning approximately 3 miles, this loop provides stunning lakefront vistas with opportunities to spot turtles sunning on logs or herons fishing in shallow waters.
3. Mill Pond Hiking Trail: At around 4 miles long, it circles George L Smith Lake offering scenic waterfront views along its entirety; great for birdwatchers due to abundant avian species inhabiting surrounding trees.
4. Canoe Trails (Water): These are not traditional hiking trails but offer an alternative way to explore the park via canoeing routes ranging from one mile up to six miles across various parts of the mill pond area.
5. Woody's Pond Walking Path: An easy walking path circling Woody's Pond at about half a mile length which allows visitors close encounters with local flora and fauna including alligators basking near shorelines during warmer months.
6. Picnic Area Footpath: Short footpaths connecting picnic areas provide leisurely walks amidst lush greenery ideal for families looking out for relaxed outdoor activities within proximity of amenities such as restrooms or playgrounds.
The park offers a variety of birding opportunities with over 175 species spotted. It's part of the Southern Rivers Birding Trail, making it an ideal location for avid birdwatchers. Visitors can explore different habitats including forests and wetlands that attract diverse birds such as Prothonotary Warblers, Wood Ducks and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The park also provides checklists to help identify various species.
- All pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.
- Pets are not allowed in or around historic sites, lodges, group camps, swimming areas and some trails.
- Pet owners should clean up after their pet immediately and dispose of waste properly.
- Excessive barking is prohibited to maintain peace for other park visitors.
- Owners must never leave pets unattended within the state park boundaries.
- Aggressive behavior from dogs towards humans or other animals will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Located between Metter and Twin City off Ga. Hwy. 23. Take I-16 exit #104.