One Tank Trip: A look at George L. Smith State Park - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Get close to nature at George L. Smith State Park

George L. Smith State Park George L. Smith State Park
EMANUEL CO., GA (WTOC) -

Georgia's state parks have seen more park visitors camping. 

This week, Jamie Ertle heads to a Twin City state park that used to be a hub for merchants as part of her One Tank Trip report. 

George L. Smith State Park in Emanuel County is often described as a hidden gem.  

"It's tucked away, nice and quiet," said Park Manager Matt Muhmel. 

But its beauty is immediately apparent on Parrish Pond, where the water meets the sky pulling you into nature's wonders. 

"It's not far from home and it has a lot to offer especially with the lake," he said. 

That lake is quiet on the surface, but underneath it's an angler's dream. 

Muhmel said catfish, brim, bass, all different kinds of sunfish, panfish, catfish and a jackfish, which is like a northern pike, thrive in the lake. 

"We do have a fish cleaning station in our camp ground so if you were to stay overnight with us camping, catch a fish, go home, at the end of the day clean 'em and fry 'em up," he said. 

Then there's the primitive camp site. There's no water, no electricity, and the nearest bathroom is a mile and half away. 

There are seven miles of recreational trails. Back in the 1800s, they were major thoroughfares when commerce would travel back and forth from the mill.

A man-made test of American ingenuity is the original 1880 turbine water powered mill house, which is still standing.

It was used as a saw mill, sugar mill, and grist mill - the latter two the park celebrates with monthly grits and cornmeal making sessions and its now-annual sugar cane festival.

Now how about some treasure hunting?

Geocaching has been around for a while. It involves using GPS or mobile apps to follow clues and find treasures hidden along the trails.

"We'd love to reach that younger generation, that's why Facebook and social media is the route," Muhmel said.

George L. Smith State Park is 151 miles round trip from Savannah and takes three-quarters of tank of gas. 

See activities going on at Georgia state parks.

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