For many families, summertime is vacation time. But not all of us have the funds or time to take a big fancy vacation. So why not plan a staycation instead?
Your family can have fun doing free or inexpensive activities within a few miles of home. You’ll have a great time exploring those area attractions and local landmarks that you’re always meaning to visit but never get there.
We’ve put together a five-day schedule of activities within or near the Walton EMC service area.
To help you, we’ve put together a five-day schedule of activities within or near the Walton EMC service area. Enjoy your staycation!
DAY 1 : Wheel through Walton
Project Road Share, the work of Walton Wellness Inc., has mapped out multiple bike rides along scenic, low-traffic roadways in Walton County. Trailheads in Monroe, Good Hope and Social Circle provide parking, water, access to food and restrooms. The routes are appropriate for cyclists of all levels. Get your feet wet with an easy 4.5 mile Social Circle town ride that passes historic homes and buildings.
DAY 2: Get lost to find hidden treasures
From Watkinsville, head south on Highway 15 to discover history and art hidden away in the rural landscape of Oconee and Greene counties. All sites are unattended and there is no admission.
- Stop #1: Elder Mill Covered Bridge, 1441 Elder Mill Road, Watkinsville. Take a slight detour off the highway for a photo op at this historical landmark. Built in 1897 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s one of only 13 functioning covered bridges in the state.
- Stop #2: Iron Horse Sculpture, University of Georgia Iron Horse Farm, 7861 Athens Hwy., Watkinsville. It’s art — in the middle of a farm field. The 12-foot, 2-ton contemporary steel horse structure is located 100 feet off the road. You’ll find ample parking to leave the car for an up-close look and photo. Read the iconic sculpture’s story.
- Stop #3: Scull Shoals Historic Site, Forest Service Rd. 1234, Greensboro. Take a self-guided tour through the historic ruins of the old Scull Shoals village, home to Georgia’s first paper mill, water-powered sawmill, grist mill and textile mills. The site also features numerous archaeological sites, hiking trails and picnic areas. The information board at the parking lot provides site information and an area map to help you discover the history of this unique site. Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
DAY 3: Score fun at a sports museum
If you’re a Georgia Bulldogs athletics fan, check out the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, 1 Selig Circle, on the university’s campus in Athens. Touch-screen displays, video highlights and memorabilia exhibits help visitors relive the greatest moments in men’s and women’s sports. Keep an eye out for the latest addition: the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy. Visitors can also see the Dooley Sculpture Garden, adjacent to the museum, which contains 11 distinct garden areas and is about the length of a football field. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Free admission.
DAY 4: Play at the beach
Soak up some sun and fun at Hard Labor Creek State Parknear Rutledge. The park’s beach on the shore of Lake Rutledge is open 7 a.m. to sunset daily for sunbathing and swimming. The second largest in Georgia’s state park system also offers opportunities to golf, fish, boat, hike, bike and even play miniature golf. Daily park pass is $5 per vehicle.
DAY 5: Go where the wild things are
Spend the day in Athens to help your kids get in touch with their “wild” side at these free parks operated by Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department.
- Stop #1: Bear Hollow Zoo, Memorial Park, 293 Gran Ellen Drive. Take a self-guided hike through a natural forest to see wild animals like black bears, eagles and bobcats in their natural habitat. In the exhibit hall, kids can touch some of the reptiles and amphibians housed there. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Stop #2: Sandy Creek Nature Center (https://www.accgov.com/scnc), 205 Old Commerce Road. You’ll find plenty of room to roam and explore the outdoors at this 225-acre sanctuary for wildlife and plants native to the Georgia piedmont. Trek down one of the interpretive nature trails to find wildlife observation areas and an 1815 log house. Stop in at the education center to check out the marine and freshwater aquariums, live animal exhibits and interactive natural history displays. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
If you post your staycation pictures, tag us (@waltonemc) on Facebook or Twitter to let us know what you think about our suggested spots.