Georgia State Parks Activities
Camping enthusiasts from all over the United States swear by the sites found in The Peach State! Outdoor lovers, in particular, flock to Cloudland Canyon State Park, where campers wake up to a stunning view of ancient, water-carved cliffs.
The campgrounds at Skidaway Island State Park shouldn’t be missed either! The spacious campsites are a favorite among large groups. It is situated in the marshes of the Georgia coast and offers incredible scenery and natural landscapes.
For an unforgettable camping experience, head on over to Stephen C. Foster State Park and pitch your tent amid the swampy lowlands and diverse wildlife of the southern Georgia region. This park has been certified a “dark sky park” by the International Dark-Sky Association, which means that it has little to no light pollution, so visitors will be able to sleep underneath the sprawling Milky Way. Keep an eye out for the occasional meteor streaking across the night sky!
On the other hand, those who prefer lakeside camping trips will love the sites at Mistletoe State Park. The park is located on a peninsula, so campers will have incredible views of the sunset and the sunrise over the open water.
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The hiking trails found at Black Rock Mountain State Park, Georgia’s highest state park, are some of the best in the state! The accessible 0.85-mile Black Rock Trail loops around the park’s huge lake and is an excellent route during the summertime. Another popular one is the Norma Campbell Trail, which offers hikers views of the cove and the Stekoa Creek.
Chattahoochee Bend State Park, one of Georgia’s largest state parks, is also a beloved destination for hikers. The park’s over twelve miles of easy hiking trails are ideal for families with young kids!
The 1-mile Overlook Trail at Cloudland Canyon State Park is another favorite, winding through thousand-foot deep canyons and woodlands. The trail may sound short, but you’ll find yourself frequently stopping to take in the breathtaking views!
At Fort Mountain State Park, over 25 miles of beautiful hiking trails meander through the park, taking visitors through hardwood forests, blueberry thickets, streams, and more.
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The 8.2-mile Fort Mountain Gahuti Trail at Fort Mountain State Park is an excellent adventure for newbie backpackers. The route rings the summit of Fort Mountain and winds through dense forests and a beautiful waterfall. There are also plenty of overlooks from which you can see stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Plus, a side trail to the mountain summit takes backpackers to a castle-like rock tower and a huge serpentine wall.
The Hike Inn Trail, on the other hand, takes backpackers from the cascades at Amicalola Falls State Park to the Len Foote Hike Inn, an eco-friendly inn that can only be accessed by hiking. This rustic lodge is the perfect way to end your backpacking adventure with its delicious meals and incredible views of the sunrise.
With great fishing opportunities found in nearly all of Georgia’s 45 state parks, you’ll have trouble picking just one of them! Lake Lanier at Don Carter State Park is a popular fishing destination, offering anglers the chance to catch huge crappies and bass. There are also plenty of docks and piers inside the park, which visitors can use to access deeper waters.
Lake Allatoona at Red Top Mountain State Park is another incredible fishing site, full of trophy bass, catfish, and bluegill, making it another prime fishing hole.
Anglers from all over the country flock to Richard B. Russell State Park, where they swear by the fishing spots found in the Beaverdam, Coldwater, and Van Creek areas. If you’re planning to fish in the park, however, be sure to check the current fishing regulations that control the size and daily creel limits for the Georgia-South Carolina Border Waters.
Avid geocachers will be pleased to know that they can join in at Georgia’s Parks GeoTour, which takes you around to the 47 hidden caches in 44 different state parks! The state even offers participants custom-made geo-coins to commemorate their finds. Many state parks are part of the Parks GeoTour, including Don Carter State Park, Fort Mountain State Park, Tallulah Gorge State Park, and more.
If you’re in the mood to hunt some game, check out Tugaloo State Park, which offers archery deer hunts during the first weeks of December and January. Hundreds of deer have made their home in the 393-acre peninsula park, making it the ideal hunting destination.
The high deer population at Mistletoe State Park is another hunter’s paradise, offering a two-day modern-firearms hunt in December. The park covers nearly 2,000-acres, so hunters are allowed to access some lands by boat.
Day Use Areas
Georgia’s lush greenery makes it one of the best states to picnic in! Sweetwater Creek State Park is a favorite among residents and out-of-town visitors alike with its sprawling and well-kept picnic grounds that are surrounded by incredible natural landscapes. After your meal, take a look at the remnants of an old mill that burned down during the Civil War or enjoy a quick power-walk on the park’s wooden paths.
The paved Rockdale River Trail at Panola Mountain State Park is perfect for beginners and those who want a leisurely, uncomplicated ride. The trail is over 12-miles long with a few easy inclines. Riders should keep an eye out for the wild turkeys and deer that may pop out from time to time.
Those who are up for a challenge should take their mountain bikes to Unicoi State Park, whose 7-mile loop runs alongside a creek and offers intense elevation changes. The route may be a bit difficult, but the incredible views are worth it.
At Mistletoe State Park, the Rock Dam Trail is a favorite among intermediate and advanced riders due to its many stream crossings and elevation changes.
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Birders visiting Georgia will discover the state’s Southern charm and diverse wildlife habitats where thousands of bird species have made their home. Unicoi State Park is one of the best Birdwatching spots in the state. Grab your binoculars and you can watch peregrine falcons soar over Tallulah Gorge State Park.
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Beat the scorching summer heat in one of Georgia’s refreshing swimming holes! Experience a natural water slide at Tallulah Falls in Tallulah Gorge State Park, whose cold waters and jutting rocks make for a great – and low-cost – water park.
If you are looking to lounge around a beach on soft sand, watching the light glisten off the waves, then Richard B. Russell State Park is the place for you. The stream at Sweetwater Creek State Park is another great swimming spot, but be sure to pay attention to its water level and intensity! The creek is known for its frequent rushing rapids, so it’s best to exercise some caution while swimming here.
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The best place for rock climbing enthusiasts in Georgia is Tallulah Gorge State Park, whose walls are steep and filled with challenges! This park is the place for climbers looking to take their skills to the next level. If you are a beginning rock climber, take a look at these climbing shoes.
The Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Richard B. Russell State Park has received many accolades and was even deemed by Golf Advisor to be one of the “12 best lakeside courses in America.” The course is surrounded by lush forests and offers panoramic views of the lake, making it one of the most scenic in the state. The grounds also provide a few challenges, which avid golfers will most certainly enjoy.
At Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park, the unique Brazell’s Creek Golf Course is another crowd favorite. Well-kept with plenty of challenges and scenery, this course is considered to be a golfer’s paradise!
Avid equestrians will enjoy Watson Mill Bridge State Park, which has over 14 miles of trails, 11 horse campground sites, and 22 horse stables, so you won’t have to worry about your beloved horse while out and about. Exploring the region’s incredible natural landscapes and diverse wildlife is best done on horseback!
Equestrian camping is also available at Hard Labor Creek State Park, and the park offers plenty of other facilities for those bringing their horses along. Their 22-mile trail is extremely popular, taking riders through a wide array of beautiful environments and habitats.
Recreational Equipment Rentals
Anglers lacking fishing equipment need not worry! Mistletoe State Park offers a tackle loaner program. Fishing enthusiasts can rent rods, reels, and tackle box equipment throughout their stay.
If you’re looking to explore The Peach State’s fascinating history, then its many historical state parks are your best bet! Several mounds that date back to the 12th and 13th century can be found at Kolomoki Mounds State Park, situated in the southwest region of the state. Built by Swift Creek and Weeden Island Indians, these mounds undoubtedly played an important role in the state’s history.
The museum at A.H. Stephens State Park proudly exhibits one of the best collections of Civil War artifacts in Georgia. Liberty Hall, the 1875 home of the Confederate Vice President, also lies inside the park and is open for tours.
Those looking to improve their Orienteering skills can do so at the permanent courses found in several state parks in Georgia, including Hard Labor Creek State Park, Sweetwater Creek State Park, Red Top Mountain State Park, and more. Be sure to call the park beforehand, though, so you can obtain updated maps, as well as information about the courses.