So how do you wind down the last days of summer — when school has started but you’re still looking for one last adventure? Try a short drive to Georgia’s largest state park, where they’re celebrating the last month of summer with hikes, crafts, concerts, picnics and more.
Located in Pine Mountain, Ga., F.D. Roosevelt State Park is about 45 minutes north of the tricommunity. Parking is only $5 for the day, but you can get in free by checking out a ParkPass from your local library.
If there seems too much to do in one day, make it a weekend by renting a cottage. Accommodations include one, two or three bedrooms, and you have the option of a lake view or woodland setting.
Until the end of August, you can beat the heat with water primed to put out a fire. The Pine Mountain volunteer firemen will be at the park at 2 p.m. both Saturdays to talk with visitors young and old during the Water Blast program. They’ll bring their truck and equipment for a informative show-and-tell and wrap it up with hosing down guests — who so desire — to help them cool off.
The two best summer takes on food — al fresco dining and community suppers — combine. At 6 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 27, guests are invited to bring a dish to share and meet new friends at the park. Water is provided, but diners should bring their own drinks if they want something different.
Local musicians take part in the suppers, too, for a meet-and-greet opportunity before their evening concert. The meal starts next to the park office and close to the amphitheater, so it’s an easy walk for those who plan to stay for after-dinner music.
Words like “education” and “ecology” make it sound more like school than summer fun, but the programs at F.D.R. State Park are engaging for young learners.
Naturalist Stephanie Hunczak will lead an insect program at 11 a.m. every Saturday this month. She’ll show kids various creatures captured on the park grounds during the day as well as some Madagascar Hissing Roaches. True to their names, they do hiss. Kids can even hold one — if they’re brave.
A lake program follows at 1 p.m., Hunczak said, where children will find out there’s much more to water wildlife than fish. Nature-themed crafts are also available Fridays through Sundays.
Relax to the tunes of the Dog Days of Summer Music Series.
Starting at 7 p.m. every Saturday in August, a local music act will perform an outdoor concert in the amphitheater. Genres lined up include 70s classic rock, blues and hard rock.
Of all their summer activities, this is the only one that costs — a whopping $1. If you’re feeling generous, there are pass-the-hat donations to help support the artists.
Night hikes are the most popular of the programs, Hunczak said.
Starting at 8:30 p.m. Fridays in August, hikers can take a one-mile stroll by moonlight. Discover the animal and plant world in the dark, with a heightened sense of the sound, smell and touch.
When Hunczak leads the group, she shows them the fascinating “pirate trick.” It involves lighting a candle, telling everyone to close one eye and explaining the secret behind a pirate’s eye patch. And no, it’s not just for kids.
In September, the hikes will begin earlier based on the time the sun sets.
For more information on any of these park programs, call 706-663-4858 or visit www.gastateparks.org/FDRoosevelt.