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Georgia's Historic Banning Mills: treehouses, zip lines, & more

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Just over two hours from Birmingham you’ll find Banning, Georgia and Historic Banning Mills, a beautiful wooded resort unlike any other. What makes Banning Mills so special? For starters, where else can you sleep in the treetops? Free-standing treehouses tower toward the heavens, each featuring a king-size bed with pillow top mattress, double jetted tub, mini-fridge, coffeemaker and satellite TV. From within or while lounging on the back deck, guests enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding woodlands.

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The Mills offers plenty of other accommodations options, too, from lodge rooms to cabins and cottages. Basic accommodations begin at $99 a night and special packages range from $259 to $1,359 with as much action or relaxation as you want included.

RV-ers can bring their own accommodations, but due to the popularity of Banning Mills’ adventure options, sites are reserved only for guests who have scheduled an adventure trek or zip line canopy tour. Full hookups are $29 a night.

And pets? The RV campground is the only area that allows pets and they must be kept on a leash any time they are outside your RV.

Have you thought about zip lining? Banning Mills holds the Guinness record as “the world’s longest continuous zip line course and eco-canopy adventure.” With nearly 10 miles of zip lines and six different adventure levels, there’s one to suit everyone from the barely daring to the total thrill seeker. With prices starting at only $49 for the 1.5 to 2-hour Woodland Canopy Tour, it would be hard to find a better deal anywhere else on a zip line activity.

You’ll also find the world’s tallest freestanding climbing wall at Banning Mills – 140 feet of vertical adventure. Then there’s the Sky Trek Bridge – 600 feet long, over 180 feet high, and spanning Snake Creek Gorge with absolutely breathtaking views. If that’s not enough excitement for you, there’s also a 100-foot Power Free Fall. And these are only a sampling.

Want to have fun with your little ones? There’s a two-tiered family-friendly obstacle course suitable for children ages four and up. Included are kid-size sky bridges and zip lines.

Aerial action not on your bucket list? Banning Mills is also “caching” in on the sport of geo-caching, with their GPS Adventure Challenge. And then there’s kayaking; horseback riding; three pools, including one Olympic size; mini-golf; tennis courts; basketball courts; sand volleyball; horseshoes; a baseball/softball field; paddleboats; catch and release fishing; and nature trails. All ages will love the falconry and Bird of Prey shows. A championship golf course is about ten minutes away, or for total relaxation, a visit to the Banning Mills Day Spa should top your to-do list.

Spa treatments begin at $55 and range from a huge variety of facials and massages to reflexology. One popular massage is the aromatherapy loofah salt glow where the masseur or masseuse wears loofah gloves and massages your body with mineral sea salts and aroma oils.

What about food? From 9am to 10am each morning, a hearty country breakfast is served in the dining areas of the main lodge, with fresh fruit, coffee, juice, teas, bacon, ham, eggs, homemade biscuits, yogurts, and cereals.

Lunch and dinner are by reservation only. How about a picnic lunch? Let the staff know and one will be prepared for you. Or maybe a romantic candlelight dinner? This can be easily arranged and the entrée choices are incredible: blackened wild boar tenderloin; shrimp scampi; Scottish salmon; and grouper piccata. And that’s merely a sampling.

More info. To learn more about Historic Banning Mills, visit their website: www.HistoricBanningMills.com; phone (770) 834-9149; or email info@historicbanningmills.com. Address: 205 Horseshoe Dam Road, Banning, GA 30185.

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