Crooked River State Park, located on Georgia’s Colonial Coast in St. Marys (just five hours south of Atlanta), offers cozy facilities in a beautiful setting. Campsites are surrounded by Spanish moss-draped oaks, while cottages are set near the river. A nature trail winds through maritime forest and salt marsh, and hikers may see gopher tortoises, fiddler crabs, herons and other coastal birds. The park’s nature center features fish, snakes, turtles and other animals native to this part of Georgia. A boat ramp is popular with anglers who often take to the water before sunrise. Birding enthusiasts will enjoy the large bird blind that provides close views of painted buntings, redwing black birds and other species. Visitors may venture to the nearby ruins of the tabby “McIntosh Sugar Works” mill, built around 1825 and later used as a starch factory during the Civil War. Nearby is the ferry and visitor center for famous Cumberland Island National Seashore known for wild horses and mansion ruins.
Even if you don’t plan to stay overnight, the trails at Crooked River State Park are worth a visit. You will wander from hammock forests filled with live oaks to salt marshes with amazing vistas to pine barrens filled with palmetto bushes. Wild animals are abundant but during certain times of the year so are the biting insects. So be smart and be prepared.
The park is host to many scheduled activities and events. The nature center has regularly scheduled demonstrations of local area wildlife including baby alligators, snakes, turtles, and more. The ranger will even allow you to touch these animals if you choose.
Activities and Events
The park also regularly hosts kayak expeditions though the nearby salt marshes as well as to Cumberland Island. In the summer they offer Junior Ranger Day Camps for kids ages 6-12. In the fall the Experience Coastal Georgia Festival celebrates the bounty of Georgia’s coast featuring nature programs, crafts, food, kayak trips, water festivities and more.
For More Info
- Watch the short Crooked River State Park video
- Read my more in-depth Crooked River State Park article with lots of photos & video @ TravelingAround.com
- Crooked River State Park website