As we continue to navigate uncharted waters right now with COVID-19, one thing is certain in this time of uncertainty – our daily lives have been affected.
We may not be going out to eat, shopping in stores, or visiting the movie theater, but there’s plenty of safe and enjoyable outdoor activities you can do in Georgia to pass the time. Better yet, there’s quite a few health benefits from getting outdoors.
1. Go Fishing
Georgia is home to 10 world class Public Fishing Areas (PFAs). No boat? No problem. You can fish from the bank of one of the accessible fishing docks! Boaters will enjoy boat ramps and ample parking before taking to the water. Be sure to purchase your license online before you head out and maintain proper social distance.
2. Go Hunting
Spring Turkey Season officially opened March 21. If you’re ready for the challenge and reward, gear up! The thrill of hearing a turkey gobble from the roost and the skill of calling a long beard in ranks among the highest of hunting experiences. Whether a diaphragm, box or slate call is use or if you decide to deploy a decoy to aid in the hunt, the challenge awaits. Photo credit: Paul Thomas/GNPA.
3. Go Boating
Whether you’re lucky enough to have a boat or know someone with one, there’s no time like the present to pack a picnic and hit the lake, river or ocean. Keep your group small and remember to stay at least 6’ apart from others while you fuel up, launch your boat, and when out on the water. Add a bottle of sunscreen to your hand sanitizer bottle stash and catch a sunrise, sunset, or both on the boat. Photo credit: Lisa Westberry/GNPA.
4. Go Camping
Jump in the RV or grab your tent and head to one of Georgia’s beautiful campgrounds located in their pristine WMAs or PFAs. It’s a great time to take in fresh air and alleviate stress. Camping is one of a few activities which have a way of lasting forever in the memories of those who are able to sleep under the stars. Keep a log of your experience by sitting in your tent or camper and recording how the trip makes you feel so you will know which campsite, weather and activities made your stay memorable.
5. Go Hiking
Hiking: /ˈhīkiNG/; noun: the activity of going for long walks, especially in the country or woods. Define long, country and woods how you like – just go for a walk and thank us later. Carry bug spray, plenty of fluids and a means to return to your car and not get lost. Be sure to share your plans with family and friends so they know you are safe upon your planned return time, and check the status of your favorite trail. Lastly, always pack-in and pack-out your trash so the trail remains a place where users take only photos and leave only footprints.
6. Go Biking
On the road or off, biking is yet another bonus activity which relieves stress, increases heart rate and can be done while social distancing. Bike trails and easy-for-all-ages paths are rarely crowded and offer nap-preparation energy burn, which may be needed for sanity in many houses during this time. Clybel WMA is just one of many public areas where biking is safe and serene.
7. Go Birding
Birding opportunities abound in Georgia from backyards to natural areas within a short drive from every county in the state. The Altamaha WMA offers spectacular birding opportunities including an observation tower at the Ansley Hodges M.A.R.S.H. Project, which also offers hiking opportunities. Migrating birds such as the swallowtail kite are commonly seen in Georgia. The swallowtail kite (pictured) is a bird of prey with spectacular flight maneuvers as it swoops in to catch snakes and lizards while enjoying them as a meal during flight. Photo credit: Tom Wilson/GNPA.
The world’s largest (and most fun for kids) treasure hunt combines the outdoors, technology and treasure to the amazement of cachers of all ages. It is an easy activity with a quick download of a geocaching app you are on your way. Many geocaches are discoverable in public parks and lands. During this time of social distancing be sure to abide by the “no muggles” technique (don’t giveaway what you are up to by passersby) and either observe-only the caches or wear personal protective equipment (gloves) when handling geocaches.
HINT: Somethings Fishy in Paradise (PFA)
9. Go Bugging
Grab some gloves, a magnifying glass, and your camera and hit the backyard or public land nearby to explore the excitement of bugs! Roll over a log, find a pitcher plant, zoom into the bark of a tree or open your eyes to flying bugs. Once you have documented the character traits and descriptions, learn more about their beauty and might with the Insect Identification tools for the casual observer.
10. Go Take a Nap
Lie in a hammock, on a blanket or lean against a tree. You have been through a lot over the last few weeks. Take a minute (or 30) and take a rest. Listen to the birds, the wind blow and take a breath of fresh air.