Hard Labor Creek State Park with KidsA huge range of recreational activities and the ability to stay overnight makes Hard Labor Creek State Park a great place to take the kids. Some activities are seasonal, like swimming at the lakeside beach in summer. But there is plenty going on year-round. Here are five things to you can do with your family on your next visit.

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Take a Nature Hike

Miles of trails are available for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. For those on foot, rangers lead scheduled nature hikes both day and night. While the sun shines, discover the animal habitats and trees on the Brantley and Beave Pond Loop trails. Or, take a nocturnal stroll and listen for insects, frogs and owls, and even hunt for scorpions! Each program lasts about two hours and covers 1.5 miles. Reservations are required at least two weeks in advance; $5 per person.

Go on a Kayak Tour

On a ranger-led adventure, explore Lake Rutledge and learn about the cultural history of the park. Scan for wildlife from a tandem kayak. Children must be three or older to participate in daytime paddles and eight or older for twilight/night paddles. Reservations are required one month in advance. The program lasts about two hours; $15 per participant.

Attend a Special Event

Fun outdoor programs at the park take place throughout the year. Check the calendar for seasonal celebrations, like the Fall Festival and Nighttime Spooky Wagon Rides. Programs are offered in winter, too, like an evening with Santa in December, including hot cocoa by the fire. Some events require reservations and additional fees.

Go Stargazing

The Hard Labor Creek Observatory, operated by Georgia State University, is a great spot for star searching. Visit on a public night, offered once a month March-October, to see near and far planets and stars.

Camp Overnight

If you want to experience the natural setting overnight, choose from two types of accommodations. Newly renovated two-bedroom cottages are reopening this fall and winter. Some are pet-friendly, so you don’t have to leave your furry child at home! The recently updated campground offers some sites with full hookups and Cable TV access.

Note: A bilingual park ranger offers programs in Spanish on certain dates.

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