Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia
After evacuating the Florida Panhandle for Hurricane Sally we decided not to waste the drive home. We were already forced off our normal route due to washed out roads and overflowing rivers, so instead we plotted a route taking us mostly through Georgia, passing several of our favorite state parks.
Jeff and I visited Providence Canyon State Park well before we had kids. He thought it was great. I remember him doting over how amazing it was. As a traveling mom, Providence Canyon has all the things. The hiking is filled with interesting things for the kids to explore and plenty of places to get really muddy and dirty – a kid’s dream.
Due to Covid-19 many GA State Parks are filling to (a reduced) capacity. It may be worth it to call ahead. We went on a weekend around lunchtime, so the park was full. We were able to find parking though. The plan was for a picnic lunch but most of the tables were full or too close to others, so instead we ate in the back of the car. Another option would have been to set out the picnic blanket as there is a large lawn in front of the visitors center.
Jeff took one of the Littles in (dawning masks) to pick up the Jr. Ranger booklets. The GA Jr. Ranger packets are a bit overwhelming. The first few pages in all the booklets are the same, while the center of the booklet tends to be more focused on the actual park. Ask the ranger what is required for the badge. We typically say our kids need to do the pages that are thematic to the park and then maybe choose one of the others. As a rule-of-thumb for junior ranger packets, a kiddo should complete their age in pages. The 8 year old is goal oriented and typically completes the whole booklet.
Providence Canyon, known as Georgia’s “little grand canyon” was formed by poor farming practices that essentially undermined the land the town was sitting on, thus forming a series of canyons.
The hike down into the canyon from the visitors center is a quarter mile, but quite steep. We were there just after a huge rain, so there was lots of erosion on the trail.
Once you are down the hill you walk along the river bed into the canyons. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore. The kids loved playing in the mud on the riverbed, which will stain, so dress appropriately.
I highly recommend having boots or water shoes with you, particularly if you visit after a rain. It was great to just let the kids play and not worry about what sort of shoes or clothing we were ruining.
The canyons wind around quite a bit, but are not very deep. It’s perfect for letting the Littles take the lead. It would be very difficult for them to get lost, and ours love feeling like they are on a solo adventure.
The mud is also the perfect place to look for animal tracks. The littles identified this one as a raccoon. What do you think?
Providence Canyon is a great day trip. We were on our way to a few other places so didn’t stay as long as we could have. We would certainly stop here again as it was such a pleasant adventure with the littles.
Our one mistake was not bringing the carrier with us. The Little Little ran himself silly in the canyon and couldn’t quite make it back up the hill. (His pace was glacial!) So instead he had to be carried out of there. It’s always easier when we have the toddler carrier.
If you picked up a Jr. Ranger booklet, don’t forget to pop back into the ranger station (with masks) to take the oath and pick up your Jr. Ranger badge.
This is a lovely stop in South Georgia and a perfect way to get out in the fall weather.