Spring Weather Brings Albany Adventures
Posted on 3/16/2015 by Rashelle
The past two weeks have seen the temperature hit the lower 80s during the day. As the trees and bushes are starting to bloom, cars are starting to have a slight yellow tint. Restaurant patios and parks are starting to have lunch guests. Spring has definitely sprung in South Georgia and I couldn’t be happier.
I love spring weather. It is the perfect time to enjoy the world’s natural beauty. Before it gets too warm (hello, humidity) and too buggy (oh, hey, gnats), let’s enjoy Albany’s great outdoors. Between bicycle trips, hiking trails, river adventures, relaxation and more, Albany (and this list) has something for everyone. Without further ado, here is your outdoor guide to Visiting Albany, Georgia:
Number 1: Greenways Trail
This three-mile cement path borders the banks of the Flint River starting at Cox Landing and travels to Riverfront Park in Downtown Albany. Feeling ambitious? Make a round trip out of it and put in six miles! Full of walkers, runners and bicyclists, the path provides a canopy of trees to make the trip more comfortable. I am personally a runner, but those looking for a nice easy ride can rent a bicycle at the Albany Welcome Center. At an affordable 10 dollars for four hours or 15 dollars for the day, the whole family can bike the path at a leisurely pace.
Free to the Public
112 N. Front Street
Number 2: Picnic in Riverfront Park and Play in Turtle Grove Play Park
For those taking in the six-mile round trip of the trail, take a break at Riverfront Park and enjoy a picnic for lunch. This six-acre park is perfect for taking in the sun on a beautiful day. Turtle Grove Play Park is a community built play area that includes seven different areas for children ages one to 14. The little ones will enjoy the Dino Dig and Tot Lot, while others will get into the Critters Area, Mosaic-Tile Area, Musical Instruments, Big Kid Area, Rock Climbing Wall and other static climbing features. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Festival Spring Fountains provide a splash pad for children to cool off. (And adults; who say you have to grow up? Those kids need supervision!)
112 N. Front Street
Free to the Public
Number 3: Take in some tunes at Ray Charles Plaza
Music lover and enjoy the outdoors? Then Ray Charles Plaza is a must stop for you. As the construction on the Broad Avenue Bridge is completed, you will be able to reach this destination via the Greenways Trail. Until then, it is a short walk from the Albany Welcome Center. Relax at the riverside plaza that celebrates the Albany born musician. In the center is a life-size sculpture of the man himself seated at a baby Grand piano, which rests on a rotating pedestal. Take a seat on a “piano key” bench, be serenaded with beloved melodies and enjoy the scenery.
Ray Charles Plaza
Free to the Public
Number 4: Float the Flint
Before we travel away from the Flint River, we must play in it. (Hope you brought your water shoes!) Last fall, Downtown Albany celebrated the opening of two new canoe and kayak launches; one located at Riverfront Park and the other at Ray Charles Plaza. (Instead of biking the trail to see both parks, hop in a kayak.) Put in at the Georgia Power Dam and enjoy the leisurely float. Class one rapids await you just past the Riverfront Park launch. I suggest taking your time, enjoy the park and put back in! For a longer float, continue down to the Radium Springs landing. Don’t have the equipment? No problem. Kayak Attack Adventure will meet you at your desired drop in point with the equipment and pick you up when you are done. Two person kayaks are available for those with younger children, as well as canoes. Price is affordable and the adventure is incredible.
Kayak Attack Adventure
Price varies on float and equipment
Number 5: Fly Fishing for Shoal Bass
The Flint River is the place to be if you are a fisherman looking for that shoal bass catch! Did you know the Flint River is one of three rivers in the United States that someone can fish for Shoal Bass? The river’s shoals shelter the Shoal Bass offering a unique fly-fishing experience. Want to give it a try? There are endorsed guides throughout the area to give lessons and take you out on the river.
Price varies on guide and allotted time
Number 6: Radium Springs Gardens
One of Georgia’s seven wonders is located just up the road from Downtown Albany. Pumping 70,000 gallons of clear 68-degree water per minute from an underground cave, this blue hole is a sight to see. Once a hot spot for many, Radium Springs will give you a little taste of the past as you walk through the grounds of a former casino. Wrecked from the flood of 1994, visitors can compare the water’s highest level during the flood to where it normally rests. Now the home of a garden, featuring flora both indigenous and exotic, I suggest taking the natural beauty of the water and its surrounding features.
Radium Springs Gardens
2501 Radium Springs Road
Free to the Public
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm, Sunday, 1pm to 5pm
Number 7: Chehaw
Chehaw is nature’s playground offering over 700 acres of outdoor fun to satisfy the whole day and everyone in the family. For the recreational family members, play a game of disc golf or hike and bike the 7.8 miles of nature trails throughout the park. You can even bring your dirt bike and race on the BMX track. Children will love the huge play park. But wait, there’s more!
A trip to Chehaw isn’t complete without visiting the Wild Animal Park. Designed by Mutual of Omaha’s ‘Wild Kingdom’ Jim Fowler, the zoo is one of two AZA accredited in the state. Take in the 219 specimens and 84 species while strolling through boardwalks. Come on the weekends and take in the extra features. Included in admission to the zoo is a chance to feed the African Black Rhino or Bogart the Camel (This guy has personality!). For five dollars, you can purchase a cup to feed the Alligators (buy once and bring back every visit for no extra charge). After feeding the animals, board the African Veldt ride and take a safari (South Georgia style…John Deere tractor included) into an “African-like” location. Discover the zebras, wildebeest, ostrich and more in their natural setting. Other animal encounters may await you as well. Before you leave the zoo, be sure to catch a ride on the train!
Make a night of it and stay at one of Chehaw’s 44 RV sites with 30 and 50 amp hookups, 14 pull-through sites or 18 tent sites with 15 amp hookups. There are also cabins with air conditioning. In the center of the campground is a bathhouse with laundry.
105 Chehaw Park Road (Highway 19, Philema Road)
Park Pass: $3 Adults, $2 Seniors, Military and Children
Zoo Admission: $7.85 Adults, $5.10 Military and Children, Children ages 3 and under are free
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm
Number 8: Golf at one of five golf courses
You can’t enjoy spring without playing a game of golf! Albany offers five different courses for the golf enthusiast. One course for almost every day of the week! Pick between Doublegate Country Club, Flint River Municipal Golf Course, Grand Isle Club, River Pointe Golf Course, and Stonebridge Golf & Country Club. I suggest starting with Flint River Municipal, Grand Isle or River Pointe, as these are public courses. Each has 18 holes and offer unique features. Golf at Grand Isle and play a game of tennis as well! If you get lucky, maybe you can get a game in at Doublegate or Stonebridge, both lean more to private but aesthetic courses.
If you still can’t get enough of the outdoors, there are more adventures only a day trip away
- Travel down GA-62 West to Blakely and discover Kolomoki Mounds State Park, the oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the southeastern United States. Dating back to 350 A.D., the oldest great mound stands 57 feet high flanked by two smaller burial mounds. Fish and boat in the two lakes and hike the three scenic trails. Then challenge your family to a game of miniature golf or a paddle boat race!
- Just above Blakely is White Oak Pastures, the largest organic beef farm in the state. Residing in Bluffton, GA, visitors can experience agri-tourism at its finest. Ask about a tour of the farm to see all the ways this family owned business has redefined Georgia farming. Be sure to eat lunch at the restaurant. Delicious!
- An hour up GA-520 from Albany is the town of Lumpkin where Providence Canyon and Westville Village of 1850 reside. Discover another one of Georgia’s seven wonders at Providence Canyon State Park. Created by poor farming techniques in the 1800s, the canyons are up to 150 feet deep. Hikers can follow the rim trail around the top and walk through the deepest part of the gullies along the water. Bring your camera because you will be amazed by the various hues in the soil. If you are feeling very adventurous, see about backpacking and staying the night along the backcountry trail. While you are in the Lumpkin area, travel back in time to Westville Village, a living history museum. Historic Westville is a small West Georgia town that depicts life in the 19th century. Costumed guides bring over 30 restored pre-civil war buildings to life.
I am ready to hit up some trails and have a picnic or two… Who wants to join me? Download the Visit Albany, GA app to keep up with our list of excursions while you are on the go!
Not the outdoor explorer? Keep in mind that there are plenty of inside attractions to discover in Albany as well. Check out the attractions page on our website to see more. Between our museums, RiverQuarium and the arts, we can give you another few days of fun! Whether you prefer air conditioning or natural air, we encourage you to come discover Albany, Georgia…where history and nature flow.