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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

Take 5: Go Wild in Georgia on Black Friday and beyond

Want to avoid the crowds on Black Friday 2020 and not worry about social distancing — unless it’s for a squirrel. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites have lots to offer this fall and winter, without the pandemic worries of too many people.

Getting outside this holiday season is part of the national #OptOutside movement, created by retailer REI as a way to encourage Americans to improve their well-being through outdoor experiences. In addition to trails and outdoor sports, most Georgia State Parks offer rental cabins, modern campgrounds, and “glamping” yurts for extended visits. Park rangers recommend making reservations for accommodations far in advance, particularly for holidays.

So, put on your hiking shoes and check out these five ways to #OptOutside in Georgia and breathe in the fresh air. Find additional locations to explore on, and learn more about #OptOutside from

Make friends with goats, sheep, chickens and a horse while strolling around this park’s Heritage Farm. For a bit more exercise, hike nearly three miles along river trails to enjoy wetlands and woods.

Hike up to eight miles through beautiful forests and along a rushing stream at this quiet park in northeast Georgia. Small ponds are open for fishing, and an 18-hole golf course offers challenging play.

Get your heart pumping as you climb to the top of an ancient earthen mound, imagining life more than 1,000 years ago. This park protects the oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the Southeast.

Bundle up to go boating on the 71,100-acre Clarks Hill Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Southeast, or take a nature walk through this small, quiet park located on the lake's western edge.

More than 14 miles of trails are open for hiking, biking and even horseback riding, with plenty of choices for long or short outings. If paddling is more your style, explore the northern coves of sparkling Lake Lanier.

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