Jim and Jeanette Greiner have been helping people escape the concrete ecosystems of everyday life since 1971. That's the year that they founded Wildwater, and as its name suggests, it started as a rafting outfitter that led groups down the rushing waters of the Chattooga River. Today, Wildwater's trained guides still navigate a number of rivers?the Ocoee, Nantahala, and Pigeon, in addition to the Chattanooga?but they've expanded their reach to the land as well. The company offers canopy tours with a combination of ziplines and elevated bridges, inviting guests to take a thrilling trip through the treetops. If clients prefer to stay within a few feet of the ground, they can opt for jeep tours that explore paths beyond the main roads.
Since Wildwater's team values the beauty of the natural environment, they embrace eco-friendly practices intended to help protect the areas they explore. Each of the company's locations strives to minimize its impact by using solar-powered water heaters for the showers, composting leftover food, and painting all of the outdoor equipment with chlorophyll.
At the summit of Mount Yonah, hikers bask in the dying sunlight and soak up views of verdant foothills that span the horizon. Before the sun dips below the peaks, they meander back down the craggy trail toward Habersham Vineyard, where they can toast to a wholesome day of hiking. This scenic hike is one of dozens of possible routes led by Georgia Wine Hiking’s knowledgeable guides. They draw upon their knowledge of the region to showcase the best trails and wineries during daylong tours. Based on each group’s fitness level, interest, and ability to tolerate photo-bombing sasquatches, guides can plan easy-going three-hour hikes around Stone Mountain, or embark instead on a 10-hour journey up the steep foothills of Standing Indian. Regardless of the tour route, guides take time to point out local flora and fauna, and energize groups’ with a light lunch.
Carolina Inboard stocks the shelves of its locally-owned shop with top-name brands such as Fox, Proline, Hyperlite, and Accurate, equipping adrenaline-infused aquanauts with the gear they need to conquer the ocean's sundry undulations. Board shorts ($42.50–$65) stylishly conceal the numerous USB ports on one's thighs; a pair of flip-flops ($12) and a t-shirt ($14–$28) ensure that you meet the dress code for Hawaiian jury duty. Otherwise, peruse the board-lined walls of Carolina Inboard's pro shop for a crest-cruising surfboard ($290–$900), an airtime-facilitating wakeboard package ($270–$500), or a wakeskate ($150–$250), which lets riders show off their skateboarding tricks to admiring mer-teenagers.
TGM Golf's instructional team of PGA professionals aims to tame wild swings and shrink scores with comprehensive education on the mechanical, physical, and tactical aspects of golf. Employing a “golfers helping golfers” approach, these trained instructors helm a one-hour training session designed to improve each golfer’s process, blending vital positions and movements into one fluid motion. Using video-analysis equipment, coaches narrow down shortcomings, pick out weaknesses, and eliminate any traces of YMCA dance moves hidden in each golfer’s stroke. TGM instructors have worked with golfers of all skill levels, including junior golfers who go on to play for college teams around the state.
Nestled in the wooded foothills of the Smoky Mountains, The Trails at Chickasaw Point challenges all club swingers with its par 72 course. Each of the 18 holes challenges budding Arnold Palmers with its own quirks, from sand traps and water hazards to doglegs and putter-eating trees. The seclusion of each hole allows individual groups a rare moment of intimacy with nature, and four USGA-rated tee locations accommodate everyone from the serial shanker to the effortless birdie-achiever. Traveling across the lush lime-green lawns up and down the rolling hills proves much easier with the new Yamaha golf carts or soon-to-be-invented teletransporters.