Skidaway Island State Park, GA
Skidaway Island State Park is the perfect place to let the kids run wild and enjoy the ecology of coastal Georgia. The state park also boasts a beautiful visitors center and one of the best playgrounds we encountered on our trip. There are plenty of shady panic tables here as well.
The Littles bolted from the car to check out the playground. There was tons of great climbing equipment and a smaller playground for little kids. I picked up a park map and mapped out a plan while they played.
When they were all played out, we popped into the visitors center which has a small exhibit with some live snakes and the bones of a giant ground sloth! The Jr. Ranger packet has a page for this room, so the kids were pretty engaged.
Then we headed out to the trail. It is actually a bit hard to find the trailhead. Follow the gravel road that runs between the playground and visitors center and it leads you to a little path that runs through the brush, eventually this opens into a boardwalk.
The Littles loved hanging their heads off the sides of the boardwalks and they could see hundreds of fiddler crabs running around in the sand flats.
We opted to follow the Sandpiper Trail Loop, which is about one mile. It takes you through the Salt Flats to the Island Hammock and provides views of the Tidal Creek. The tidal creek was teeming with wildlife, so we spent quite a bit of our time on the bridge watching the minnows and hungry birds hunting them.
Our kids largely led the way, running ahead on the sunny parts of the path seeking shade. This is the type of hike that you need to bring plenty of water for. Even with the cooler spring weather, we were warm in the sun and craved lots of water on the hike.
We continued on a bit past the halfway point of the Sandpiper Trail to venture out to the beach on the intracoastal waterway. The boys looked for shells and rocks here and just enjoyed tossing things into the water for a bit. It turned out to be a great resting place, before we started our hike back to the visitors center.
There are 6 miles of hiking trails at Skidaway Island State Park. I had eyed up hiking out to the observation tower, but the 3 hour hike would have taken up too much of our day. I wanted to save some energy for a few other stops in the area. The park looked to have great camping and we met another family at the playground who said they were enjoying their stay.
We of course turned in our Jr. Ranger book and picked up a badge at the visitors center before leaving and heading off to the next adventure.