Located a short seven miles north of St. Marys, Crooked River State Park is the gem of the Georgia coast. This 500-acre park is situated on the southernmost tip of Georgia's coastline, giving visitors plenty of access to the water.
Anglers especially love Crooked River State Park because of the large bass and other fish that can be found in abundance. Other activities in the park include boating, picnicking, birding, and exploring the many different ecosystems via park trails. In fact, the park is one of the few remaining places on earth where visitors can see and experience the endangered pine flatwoods ecosystem. Additionally, there is a large variety of animals that call the park home, including the endangered indigo snake, gopher tortoises, and over 300 species of birds. This last fact makes the park a favorite site on the Georgia Colonial Coast Birding Trail.
Filled with a variety of species of large trees that shade campsites and walkways, the park is the perfect spot for RV camping. Enjoy the fresh air and listen to the peaceful rush of the river while taking advantage of park amenities like the mini-golf course. With so many things to see and do, RV campers will be amazed at how quickly time flies.
Navigating to Crooked River State Park is relatively easy, thanks to its convenient location. Close to the city of St. Marys, visitors will follow major highways and city roads that are paved and well maintained. In fact, the entrance to the park is right off of the highway.
Once inside of the park, all major roads continue to be paved, which provides guests with a smooth, scenic ride through some of Georgia's most beautiful greenery. Visitors, especially those driving larger rigs, will need to be cautious and keep an eye out for low-hanging branches or any other branches that may have broken off and fallen into the road. The main road follows one giant, gentle loop around the campground that should be easy for even the largest of rigs to navigate. With any luck, the trickiest part of the journey will be parking the RV.
Most of the campsites have a gravel pad for parking, and some even have paved pads. Keep in mind that there is a limit of two vehicles per campsite, so any extra vehicles will need to park in one of the park's designated lots that can be found in several different locations throughout the park.
The main campground at Crooked River State Park offers 62 tent and RV sites that are available by reservation only. They are a mixture of pull-through and back-in campsites, so guests will need to be extra careful when making a reservation to ensure they pick the site that is best suited for their rig. There is a maximum limit of two vehicles per campsite, and the longest rig that can be accommodated is 130 feet. Additionally, a limited number of sites are designed to be ADA-accessible.
About half of the sites come with full hookups, which includes water, electric, and sewer hookups. The remaining sites offer only water and electric hookups (no sewer connections.) All campsites also come with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring. Additional campground amenities include bathrooms with hot showers and a dump station. Pets are allowed, but per Georgia State Park regulations they must be kept on a leash at all times.
A friendly camping experience awaits at Jacksonville North/St. Marys KOA, just one mile from the Florida border. Each of the pull-through sites welcomes up to 90-foot rigs, are powered on 50-amp service, and come ready with cable and basic Wi-Fi. The cabins and lodge offer alternative camping comfort. Cool off during the heat of the day at the pool or work up a sweat in the fitness center and sauna. A putt putt course, playground, Jump Pad, and pet park complete any child’s recreational wishes. Do all your cooking in the convenient Kamping Kitchen and fill in the gaps with bites from the fully-stocked snack bar.
The Pioneer Campground is a hike-in, tent-only site that can accommodate up to 60 people. There are three Adirondack shelters available for use as well as a grill, fire ring, and picnic tables. The site does have water available as well as showers, though the showers only have cold water. Guests should be aware that restrooms at this campsite come in the form of a pit privy. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash at all times.
For guests who are seeking a few more modern amenities, Crooked River State Park offers 11 cottages available by reservation only. These cottages come fully equipped with basic kitchenware and appliances such as a dishwasher, refrigerator, coffee maker, and stove. All of the cottages have heating and air conditioning as well as cable and satellite television. Additionally, each cottage is provided a private picnic table, fire ring, and grill. On-site parking is provided but limited to two vehicles per cottage. Select cottages are pet-friendly with a maximum limit of two pets per cottage.
There are several different trails at Crooked River State Park, and each one will introduce visitors to a new ecosystem ready to be explored. These include ecosystems like the dense hardwoods, the marsh, the evergreen wetland, and the pine flatwoods ecosystem which is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. The trails vary in length and difficulty, so be sure to read the signs and trail descriptions carefully before setting out. The park also offers bike rentals for those who would rather explore the trails on wheels than on legs.
With such a beautiful climate and gorgeous riverside views, picnicking is the perfect way to take a moment to slow down and soak in the tranquility of Crooked River State Park. There are 75 picnic tables that can be found throughout the park and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, there are two group shelters that can be reserved ahead of time. In an effort to maintain the natural wildlife of the park, picnicking is limited to these designated picnic areas only. Be sure to arrive early to get a table and to clean up all trash after eating.
One of 18 sites on Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail, Crooked River State Park is the perfect location to see many of the more than 300 bird species that call Georgia home. Species include painted buntings, American goldfinches, wood storks, and the colorful ruby-throated hummingbirds. Some of these species are migratory and can only be seen during certain times of the year while others can be spotted inside of the park year-round. For the most avid of bird enthusiasts, the park's 20-foot long bird blind offers an opportunity to see and photograph the birds up close.
Boating on the Crooked River is a popular activity, especially among fishermen. Both private and park-rented boats are allowed on the waters that border the park and a boat launch ramp is conveniently provided. Boats of all sizes and horsepower are allowed, although they must comply with all park rules, regulations, as well as state boating laws. Guests should be aware that water skiing is not recommended due to the unruly and unpredictable nature of the currents during ebb tides and because of potential hazards that can be found within the river.
The park's Mini Golf course is the perfect activity for visitors of all ages. With 18 holes of challenging obstacles, this course will be fun for the whole family. The Mini Golf course is located close to the river, which often results in a nice cool breeze coming in across the water. The large trees surrounding the course offer shady patches throughout the day, protecting golfers from the heat of the sun. The course is open year-round and is a popular stop, so visitors will want to make sure that they pass by early before it gets too crowded.
Anglers affectionately call Georgia the bass capital of the world due to the abundance and size of the bass that have been caught in Georgia waters. Crooked River State Park is no exception to this title and offers year-round saltwater fishing for visitors who are 16 or older with a valid fishing license. Anglers of all skill levels can try their hand at fishing by participating in the Fish Tackle Loaner Program that lends fishing gear to park guests. Additionally, the North Star Bait and Tackle shop located near the dock and boat launch area is a full-service park store where anglers can purchase any supplies they may need as well as rent boats to go out on the river.