Beautiful Columbia County is home to 18 square miles of Georgia’s most serene water trails that are sure to stir up some sweet emotions. Paddle on over to the Serene18 website to snag your official passport, and use it to navigate your way on all four trails: Clarks Hill Lake, Betty’s Branch, Stallings Island, and the Augusta Canal.
Keep your eyes peeled for the unusual wildlife, gorgeous waterfalls, historic landmarks and other unforgettable sites along the way. Don’t forget to get your passport stamped after each escapade so you can receive your free Serene18 t-shirt from the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It’s time jump in, because the water is mighty fine.
Clarks Hill Lake
Clarks Hill Lake is 71,000 acres of manmade entertainment. Dial up Keg Creek Water Sports if you or your friends need to rent a watercraft for the day, and then make your way to Wildwood Park so you can pay (for the craft and a small gate fee). If you don’t already have an official Serene18 passport on deck, Keg Creek Water Sports has your back. Make sure to peruse the interactive nautical map before launching; planning and safety are a paddler’s most important aides. No matter which path floats your boat, remember to pack your sunscreen so you can enjoy those rays without care or worry. You may need to hop on a shuttle to get back to your launch point, where you can then get your passport stamped, and the memory of that gorgeous body of water ingrained in your brain for all time.
Bring a cooler, a smile and some stationery when you visit the top notch sand bar at Betty’s Branch, because we think it’s something you’ll want to write home about. To catch that sand bar, you’ll need to be an early paddler, as the water levels get higher in the afternoon. Riverside Park is where you’ll launch, and Outdoor Augusta is ready and waiting to fulfill all your kayak or paddle board rental needs. They also have a supply of Serene18 passports, and an official stamp to get you one step closer to that free Serene18 t-shirt. Betty’s Branch offers up 2 paddle trails of liquid emotion; a 4 mile short route and a 6 mile loop, both of which will bring you right on back to your launch point – no shuttle required.
Whether you dig history, donkeys or showing off your paddling skills to steer clear of head gates and a waterfall, Stallings Island is the water trail of your dreams. If by this point, you still don’t have an official Serene18 passport, never fear: Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental is here…and they have a kayak, a passport and a stamp with your name on it. Be sure to check on those water levels before launching (optimal paddling level is 7,000 to 14,000 CFS), and keep an eye out for motor boats. Stallings Island’s water trail is a loop, which means no shuttle required; just you and 2.7 miles of A-OK H2O.
The Augusta Canal water trail has the same launch point as Stallings Island, which makes this paddle journey convenient and as fine as pine. Experience this 7 mile one-way trip of pure relaxation before taking out at Julian Smith Park. Load up on a shuttle, and ride on back to Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental to get your official Serene18 passport stamped. The Augusta Canal water trail is sure to make you inhale, exhale and forget all about your gmail.
These four official passport trails are soon to become five, so be sure to follow the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau on Facebook and Instagram now so you don’t miss a thing. You can also get your passport stamped at the CCCVB or at Keg Creek Watersports, Outdoor Augusta, Cole Watkins Tours, and Savannah Rapids Kayak Rentals. It’s not required that you use the products or services of our friendly vendors in order to receive a passport or a stamp, but we think it’d be a lot cooler if you did. Visit www.serene18.com if you have any q’s, and remember to always branch out and take the scenic route; your adventure awaits.
All photos courtesy of Columbia County