My family just returned from a camping trip at Florence Marina State Park, just south of Columbus, and we had the best time! I had never been camping at Florence Marina before, and we definitely learned a few things while we were there.
We chose Florence Marina as a camping destination due to its proximity to Providence Canyon State Park (known as Georgia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’), but we quickly learned that Florence Marina had a lot to offer itself! Here are five things we learned about camping at this lakefront state park.
TENTS ARE THE MINORITY, BUT THAT’S OK!
Florence Marina has cottages, efficiency cabins, and 43 campsites. When we first arrived, I was scared we were in the wrong area, because all I saw was RVs! But no, those RVs are just your neighbors. There were definitely some RV-only sites, but a lot of the tent sites could also be used as RV sites, and there were a lot of RVs there.
Boating is a huge draw to this state park, so there are quite a few people who had their boats with them, too. But we quickly realized, this was all totally awesome! We felt there were quite a few RV-ers who had been there for a little while, and they were happy to talk to and meet newcomers. We had a blast meeting new friends, and we had a great camaraderie with the other tent campers there, too.
GEOCACHING IS A SPOOKY BLAST!
Florence Marina State Park has two trails — one 3/4 mile nature trail, and one fairly short trail right next to it called “The Point.” The Point trail is where you will find the state park’s geocacheS, and our kids just loved finding this one because this trail gave them a lot to explore.
First, there is a baby swing hanging high in a tree right at the beginning, so the baby of our group loved that. The trail itself had a spooky feel due to all the Spanish Moss hanging from the trees, but then we actually came upon a kind of tunnel (that they use during their Octoberfest event for Haunted Hayrides) and the boys just thought that was the perfect place to hide and scare us to death. (And it was!)
The end of the trail takes you out to the lake, and it has spectacular sunset views that I would highly recommend to everyone, even if you’re not on the hunt for the geocache.
BRING BIKES AND FISHING POLES (AND YOUR BOAT)
Make sure you bring your fishing poles! As the name states, this state park has a marina, and it’s a popular boating and fishing area. But even if you don’t bring your own boat, you can still fish off their fishing pier. The lake is huge, beautiful, and peaceful, and the perfect place to cast your line.
And if you have kids with you, I’d recommend bringing their bikes too! The camping area has nicely-paved, flat, not-very-busy roadways throughout, and riding bikes to the playgrounds, or just around the camping areas, would be a fun activity here.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to own a boat – and love water sports and fishing – this is a great park for you. The park sits at the northern end of 45,000-acre Lake Walter F. George (also called Lake Eufaula). And, of course, it’s adjacent to a natural deep-water marina for which the park gets its name.
YOU’LL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS
Many people camp to escape the “real world,” and that’s easy to do here for many reasons. And one of those reasons is: your phone will be so confused. Florence Marina is located in the Georgia/Alabama line. And Alabama in the Central Time Zone, which means that if you tell time by your phone (like I do) then you will never know what time it is because your phone doesn’t know what time it is.
I would be in my hammock at our site, and it would give me “Alabama time.” And then around the campfire, it was “Georgia time.” Usually. Sometimes. We were also there during the Daylight Savings Time change weekend, so…I was totally confused. The good news is: Do you really need to know what time it is while you’re camping? Nope!
FLORENCE MARINA STATE PARK AMENITIES ARE ABOVE AVERAGE
The showers and bathrooms here were awesome. Very clean, really large, well-lit, and easy to get to. They also had laundry facilities in the same building, so if you were so inclined you could handle that chore here. They also had two playgrounds and both were excellent. Once was really close to the lake so it was nice and relaxing for the parents, too.
They also have a mini-golf course here (for an extra fee) — and it was beautiful! Right on the lake, and really nice. We were really impressed with all the park had to offer.
PACK YOUR BINOCULARS
Florence Marina is popular with nature enthusiasts as well. This quiet park offers the perfect opportunity to see herons, egrets and even bald eagles. The Kirbo Interpretive Center showcases area wildlife and plants, local history and Native Americans, including artifacts from the prehistoric Paleo-Indian period through the early 20th century.
All in all, we had a great time! I would definitely recommend staying here if you were planning a visit to Providence Canyon State Park, as it’s only 10 minutes away. You’re also close to Andersonville National Historic Site, Columbus and more. It was a beautiful and peaceful park, with lots of activities for the kids to enjoy. We would stay here again for sure!
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