If you don’t plan on going home for the summer either because you wanna work in town or due to summer classes, it’s always good to have a few places to go during your down time. Here is a list of the best places to cool down during the summer, other than your apartment pool.


  1. Fort Yargo State Park: Situated 40 minutes from Athens in the growing town of Winder. Fort Yargo State Park has something for everyone. Fort Yargo has 1,816 acres full of camping, trails, and activities. It boasts 15 miles of bike trails, boat rentals, yurt rentals, fishing, disc golf, and swimming.
  2. Broad River Kayaking: Kayaking at Broad River is not something new for resident of Athens and surrounding counties. Broad River Outpost and The Sandbar Kayaking rent out vests, kayaks, and paddles for a three and a half hour float down the river. The difference between the two is: Broad River Outpost drops kayakers off at the outpost. Once you’re done their bus picks you up at a designated spot on the river. The
    Sandbar drives you to the drop off point and you float back down to your car at the outpost. 
  3. Red Neck Beach: Here is another gem that residents like to keep to themselves. The small sandy beach located on the Oconee River off Macon Highway is the perfect in town spot. If you are looking for a place to take you dog and bring your friends that is not a far drive Red Neck Beach is the spot. Just remember to clean up before you leave!
  4. Sandy Creek Park: This 782-acre park has a recreation area, nature trails, disc golfing, and boating. Located on Bob Holman Road, this park is primarily know to families in the area. However, students can find plenty to do here on the shore of the 260-acres Lake Chapman.
  5.  Oconee Forest: Home to the largest scarlet oak tree in Georgia, this 60-acre nature reservation is located off East Campus Road behind the Intramural Fields. If you are looking for a quiet hiking spot or biking trail, the Oconee Forest is the spot to be.
  6. Memorial Park: Not the most hidden area on the list, Memorial Park is a busy spot for all Athenians. In the summertime this park clears out and is the best spot to hang up a hammock while you read a book or have a picnic beside the small creek that runs through the park.
  7.  Watson Mill State Park: The longest covered bridge in the state calls Watson Mill home. Located in Comer, Georgia about 30 minutes outside of Athens, this 1,118 acres state park has equestrian campsites and stables. During the summer you’ll find kids and adults in the water skidding down the sliding rocks beside the covered bridge. Trails include beautiful steel and wooden bridges that cross the water. This park is a great day trip out of Athens.
  8. Oconee National Forest: Forty minutes outside of Athens in Madison County, the Oconee National Forest starts here. Split into two areas, one further southwest, is home to Lake Oconee and plenty of shade while hiking. If you want to escape to nature without having to go to far, check out this sprawling natural forest. 
  9. Bishop Park: An unrated gem in Athens, this largest outdoor recreation park houses, baseball fields, tennis courts, an olympic sized swimming pool, and is home to the Athens Farmers Market on Saturdays. During the summer months, Bishop looks abandoned other than the few kids who are out for summer break. Bring a team of friends and play a game of ball or go before dusk to get in the pool.
  10. Riverside Parks: Series of small picnic areas along the Oconee River. Scattered throughout Athens, these small parks area a good way to spend an afternoon and find out the interesting history of Athens leisure services.


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