George L. Smith II State Park - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
Twin City, GA
The 412-acre lake at the park is essentially a flooded bald cypress forest. It appears relatively small from the put in point near the old mill dam (circa 1880). This is deceptive, as the lake appears to end at the line of trees on the far side. Once you get through the line of trees, it appears that the lake goes on beyond many lines of trees. There are ten miles of canoe trails.
Once through the first line of trees, you are out of sight of the tourist area of the park, and you can paddle on and on between the trees. A two-hour paddle did not put me anywhere near the end of the lake, although I may have been going in circles. Once out of sight of the put-in, a good sense of direction is invaluable.
The lake is dark tannin saturated water, and the trees thick but easily negotiated in a kayak. Once out of sight of the park office, you truly feel that you have entered an earlier age. You are in the midst of a forest of trees hung with Spanish Moss, with the dark water stretching in all directions.
The water is very calm and the paddling easy. If you are a beginner, as I am, I would recommend a stable kayak or canoe. Since this is a habitat for cottonmouths, snapping turtles, and alligators, any direct introduction to the water could prove an unpleasant experience.
The Park allows motorized boats up to ten horsepower. There were none out when I was there, and it is unlikely that a powerboat could thread its way through the maze of cypress trees.
All in all this was a very enjoyable day trip. The park does having camping facilities and 4 cabins.
The park has 25 campsites and 4 cabins. It has a boat ramp with a parking lot. It is possible to drive right to the water's edge to unload kayaks or canoes.
There is a $2.00 per day parking/entrance fee at the park (except on Wednesdays). I am not certain of the camping or cabin rental fees.
From Savannah, take I16 west to the Metter, Georgia exit (Georgia 23). Take Georgia 23 north through Metter toward Twin City. The entrance to the park is on the right about five miles south of Twin City.
The Park phone number is (912)763-2759. Information on the park is available at: Georgia Parks
Submitted by: Joe DuRant
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