A Columbia County park is a top destination for families, so much so that it has been grouped with the country's best vacation spots.
Petersburg on Thurmond Lake, or Clarks Hill Lake as it is officially named in Georgia, was recently named one of "America's Top 100 Family Campgrounds" by ReserveAmerica, which is North America's largest provider of camp site reservations.
"It stays busy. It stays full," said Jay Weidman, a Clarks Hill Lake park ranger.
Petersburg campground is the largest Corps of Engineers park on the lake and is open all year. Located on U.S. Highway 221 between Pollard's Corner and the dam, Petersburg campground boasts 93 campsites, most with water and 50-amp electrical service, two swimming beaches, a fishing pier, a hiking trail, a pond and a first-come-first-serve picnic shelter. A boat ramp for campers gives access to the 70,000 surface acres of water of Clarks Hill Lake.
The campground is adjacent to Bartram Trail, which was nominated on the list of America's Top 15 Biking and Top 25 Hiking Trails.
Weidman said Petersburg is the top campground of the 13 Corps of Engineers facilities, which offer several major day-use areas, five state parks, county parks and marinas.
"For Thurmond Lake, Petersburg campground, probably starting about the latter part of March to mid-April probably almost through Labor Day, it is going to stay pretty much full," Weidman said.
The campground was chosen for the list based on its outstanding facilities, location and quality maintenance, according to a Corps of Engineers news release.
"It speaks volumes of our attendants, our caretakers over there," Weidman said. "They are huge on customer service. They are good folks and people like camping with them."
Petersburg also was selected as one of America's Top 10 Kid-Friendly parks.
"You see kids running around the campground. You see kids on bicycles," Weidman said, adding that the campground is greatly supported by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
"It is nice to see kids out running around without their parents hovering over them because they feel they are someplace safe."
Reservations at Petersburg can be made through www.ReserveAmerica.com up to 240 days in advance. They also can be made at www.recreation.gov.
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