Paddle George L Smith State Parks’ Amazing Black Water

George L Smith State Park is about 3 hours from Atlanta, on the way to Savannah.  We recently spent three days/two nights there.  It was peaceful and serene. The cottages were well equipped, and the grist mill/dam offered a fun way to learn about the history of the area.  We canoed the lake made by the dam; it was the boys’ first time.  My oldest loved it! Meandering the cypress and tupelo trees was surreal! With hiking, fishing, Geocaching, and picnicking, there was plenty to do!

George L. Smith


George L Smith Park centers around a preserved grist mill/saw mill/covered bridge/dam built in 1880. The dam creates a pond with pure water, which is home to stately cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, and tupelo trees that touch the sky.  My boys and I spent several days here, taking in the peaceful and serene setting, hidden just an hour or so northwest of Savannah.


It’s a haven of serenity and peace.  The stately trees rising from the 412-acre lake are the perfect backdrop for canoeing or kayaking. The historical mills and covered bridge are wonderful additions, as well.  I highly recommend visiting this calming gem.

George L Smith

George L Smith


George Smith Park holds a special place in our heart because it was the first time the boys ever canoed.  And what a glorious place to begin! The lake and cypress trees took our breath away! We relaxed in the cottage when the rains came, and made a magnificent dinner! I can still hear their belly laughs as we hiked the trails and as they played in the cottage yard.

The exotic cypress trees growing like skyscrapers from Watson Pond were the main attraction for us.  We loved canoeing the lake (john boats, paddle boats, and kayaks were also available to rent.)  The end of the pond met the refurbished Parish Mill – a combination gristmill, saw mill, covered bridge, and dam.  There was also seven miles of hiking along the creek and within the woods.

Nearby is Magnolia Springs State Park, which I highly recommend.  See a Civil War POW museum, as well as a natural spring (with an alligator and about 100 turtles!)


Disclosure: Thank you to Georgia State Parks and George L. Smith Park for hosting my boys and me. While their hospitality is greatly appreciated, the opinions here are all my own.