State Park Review:
Website: Providence Canyon State Park
Things to do: Having lived most of my life in Georgia, it took me over thirty years to learn that this place existed in my home state. Only two hours south of Atlanta (45 minutes south of Columbus), Providence Canyon is also known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” and is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia (although technically it isn’t entirely natural). The massive gullies that define the area are said to be caused by erosion due to poor farming practices from settlers in the 1800’s. Some of the gullies reach 150 feet deep and the mixture of clay, sand and soil in orange, red and purple really give the canyon a beautiful landscape.
If you don’t like hikes you can choose to stay on top of the canyon where there is a short walk along the rim, but I highly recommend taking one of the trails that lead you down into the canyon. There are two main hiking trails you can take, and both begin at the visitor’s center at the top of the canyon. The first hike is the Canyon Loop Trail which is a pretty easy hike and then there is Backcountry Trail which is 7 miles long and is rated difficult.
Since we had the kids we chose the Canyon Loop Trail which is a 2 ½ mile hike (rated easy to moderate) down to the creek bed and from there you can explore all 9 canyons. The views are fantastic, and the kids really enjoyed the exploring and getting dirty.
Speaking of getting dirty, be sure and wear shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and caked in mud. We went in February and there was quite a bit of water flowing in the creek beds. Perhaps this dries up in the summer but better safe than sorry. Also, you will find yourself climbing between cracks and crevices as you explore.
Be sure to dedicate plenty of time (at least two hours), especially if you have kids. We had to drag them out of there they were having so much fun. And just remember, you walked DOWN to get there so you must walk UP to get back. It’s a little longer to get back so save a little energy to because there are great views on the circle back to the visitor center.
And on the trail back to the visitor center you will also come across a graveyard of old, rusted out cars from the 1950’s just off the trail. Another favorite of the kids. Considering it is a state park it is a bit surprising to see, but it’s mentioned that due to the potential environmental hazard of removing the vehicles it was decided just to leave them in place.
A short time after you pass the cars you will be along the rim of the canyon with more spectacular views and you can look down to see where you were hiking earlier on the trek. There is also a couple of playgrounds at the top and it’s a great area for a picnic if you decide to bring lunch along.
Campground Review: We stayed at Florence Marina State Park which is about 10 miles down the road from Providence Canyon. The only camping available at the canyon itself are pioneer and backcountry sites. So, Trailers and RV’s need to stay at Florence Marina. But Florence Marina is a good campground and it is well situated right on the water and close to the canyon and other attractions such as the Eufala National Wildlife Refuge and the old Confederate military prison at Andersonville.
The campground itself is clean, with a good cover of trees to keep it cooler in the summer heat. The sites are a good size and I believe every spot is rated for a 50” trailer and there are even a couple of pull-thrus.
In addition to the trailer sites they also cottages and efficiency units for those who don’t want to tent camp and don’t have a trailer. They also offer group shelters and a group lodge if you are considering hosing an event there.
There are two playgrounds and a big grassy field for primitive campers and larger groups of tent campers. They have a well-stocked welcome center and you can buy everything from s’mores supplies to cooked crickets for your edible pleasures.
The heart of the campground, besides it’s proximity to Providence Canyon, is that it is situated right on Lake Walter F. George (aka Lake Eufala) which is a 45,000 acre lake that is well stocked with fish, and gators. The campground has a fishing pier (we didn’t catch anything but saw some gators) and they also have a boat ramp and dock if you are lucky enough to have your boat with you. There is also a marina if you want to rent a boat slip.
Hook Ups: Yes. Water, 50/30