Sprewell Bluff offers the Flint River at its most pristine

Sprewell Bluff Park in Upson County is one of my new favorite daytrip destinations.

Growing up as I did in Clayton and Fayette counties, I have crossed the Flint River innumerable times, and I have often wondered, “Where does it go from here?” One of those places is right through Sprewell Bluff Park, which is located about six miles west of Thomaston.

Eventually, the Flint winds its way through western Georgia and joins the Chattahoochee to form Lake Seminole before becoming the Apilachicola River en route to the Gulf of Mexico via the Florida panhandle. Sprewell Bluff Park provides one of the few public places families can engage and enjoy the Flint before it gets down that far south.

While the Flint is murky and undesirable for its entire length through the South Metro Atlanta area, the waters flowing over the shoals at Sprewell Bluff Park are crystal clear. While sitting in the water near the shore, I found a flat rock shaped like the State of Georgia, so I put it in the pocket of my camping chair. A few minutes later, I realized our toddler had found it and released it back into the river. The water was so clear, I spotted and retrieved my Georgia rock within a couple of minutes.

Not knowing fully what to expect, we only brought picnic food and swimsuits on this first trip. Indeed, there are picnic tables everywhere, and there are many safe, shallow spots for kids to get into the river and not be in the way of fishermen. What we didn’t know is that there are also many park grills free to use, and there are plenty of places to drive your vehicle right up to the river’s edge and do some fishing away from swimmers. Now we do know, and we are already planning a return visit.

As we sat in our chairs in the water, small fish and tadpoles swam right up to us. The clear water makes these encounters a lot of fun. During our two-hour visit, we saw many adventurers navigating by on kayaks and other narrow vessels. One man floated by on an innertube. Apparently, there are several public places to get into the Flint, and there is a good-sized boat ramp right there at Sprewell Bluff.

As the water there is only mid-body deep for most of the area, normal boats or jetskis would not be advisable.

Our kids, who range in age from under-two to almost-11, thoroughly enjoyed playing in the Flint as well as on the small but nice playground just a few paces back from the shore. They’d have stayed all day if we had let them, but we also wanted to check out the Sprewell Bluff Trading Post we saw on our way into the park, and we wanted to see the new splash pad we had heard about in nearby Thomaston.

The trading post was nice and well equipped to serve the park’s residential guests (cabins and RV spots are available), and just across the park’s entry road is an observation deck where guests can get a great, panaramic view of the Flint River and the high hills surrounding it. It reminded us more of being in the North Georgia mountains, which was surprising since we were about an hour and a half south of Atlanta.

Later that afternoon, we meandered into Thomaston, and the kids had even more fun chasing the jet streams of water at the Greatest Generation Memorial Park. A large pavilion offered much-welcomed shade and seating while we watched the kids bounce back and forth between the splashpad and brand-new playground.

Just above the pavilion is a small pond encircled by a fence and a walking path. You can’t get the water’s edge there, but you can get close enough to throw food to the geese, fish and turtles.

Apparently, there is a lot more for kids to do these days in Thomaston, including a small amusement park that has laser tag and miniature golf, but we only stopped at a gas station and the splashpad on this visit.

As we consider future trips, the $85/night, air-conditioned cabins look promising. Even though we were only an hour away from our home, we were worlds away from our everyday lives, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Having the extra, kid-focused attractions just a few minutes away in Thomaston is a big bonus. Surprising even myself, I must say the Thomaston area is looking more and more like a weekend destination in our near future.

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