From the Golden Isles to the North Georgia uplands, the Peach State offers fishing, golf, sailing, and everything in between. If you're a biking enthusiast, you can order a catalog from Backroads (tel. 800/462-2848; www.backroads.com), a reliable firm based in Berkeley, California. It offers organized bike tours to the Georgia islands, among others.
Georgia's beaches don't enjoy the fame of those in the Carolinas. But at one time, the Georgia coast was frequented by the likes of the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Even though this grand life has faded, the coast remains a quiet retreat for those seeking a true getaway. The Georgia coast is dotted with what are known as the Golden Isles: Historic Jekyll Island, luxurious Sea Island, and secluded Cumberland Island are the Eastern Seaboard's best-kept secrets. For information, call tel. 800/VISIT-GA (847-4842), visit www.georgia.org/travel, or write to the Division of Tourism, Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism, PO Box 1776, Atlanta, GA 30301.
For information on Georgia's state parks and their camping facilities, contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Office of Information, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., SE, Ste. 1215, Atlanta, GA 30334 (tel. 404/656-9448; www.gadnr.org). Forty of the state parks in Georgia welcome campers to sites that rent for $10 to $25 per night. Some 30 parks have vacation cottages that rent for $60 to $120 nightly. These rates are for the summer and are reduced during other months. Reservations may be made by calling tel. 800/864-PARK (7275) or visiting www.gastateparks.org. Be aware that some of the Georgia state parks have become privatized. Site and cabin rentals could be higher at these parks. Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites (tel. 404/656-2700) can provide additional information, including details on hiking.
Fishing & Hunting
No license is needed for saltwater fishing, but fishing in Georgia's lakes, streams, and ponds does require a license. Hunting is a sport used to curtail the annual exponential growth of the white-tailed deer population. Wild turkey and quail also abound. For information on hunting and fishing regulations, contact the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (www.georgiawildlife.com) or the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., SE, Atlanta, GA 30334 (tel. 404/656-3500; www.gadnr.org). Many hunting clubs will allow you to join provided you have references or can be sponsored by a local friend or family member.
Golf is big in Georgia. Augusta is home to the venerable Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters Golf Tournament is played (the club's course is not open to the public). Lake Oconee is the golf capital of Georgia, boasting more than seven championship courses by designers like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw. Mickey Mantle loved it so much that he spent most of his last days at the Harbor Club golf resort. Its neighbor, Reynolds Plantation, is host to the American qualifications for the World Championship. For information on private and public golf courses across the state of Georgia, the Georgia State Golf Association (tel. 800/949-4742; www.gsga.org) offers the free guide Georgia Golf on My Mind.
The Appalachian Trail begins in North Georgia. For those who want easier hikes, some 40 state parks in Georgia offer trails of varying difficulty. Call tel. 800/864-PARKS (864-7275) for more information.
Georgia is a virtual land of lakes, providing water, electricity, and recreation. East Georgia's Clarks Hill Lake (the Georgia side of South Carolina's Thurmond Lake), northeast Georgia's Lake Hartwell, and middle Georgia's lakes Oconee, Sinclair, and Lanier are the premier spots for boating and fishing. Contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Office of Information, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., SE, Atlanta, GA 30334 (tel. 404/656-3500; www.gadnr.org).
Panning for Gold
Believe it or not, the San Francisco gold rush fever actually started in Dahlonega, Georgia. Contact the Dahlonega Georgia Visitor Center (tel. 800/231-5543; www.dahlonega.org) for information on vacations and day trips to the gold mines, 250 feet below the surface. You get to keep the gold you find, but don't expect a king's ransom.
White-Water Canoeing & Rafting
The Amicalola River (pronounced am-e-co-lo-la) is one of the state's more stunning sites, with the towering Amicalola Falls. Appalachian Outfitters (tel. 800/426-7117; www.canoegeorgia.com) is the leading operation, offering trips for beginners with experienced guides.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.