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sunrise over lake in a state park near atlanta georgiaDespite the fact that Atlanta, Georgia is a major, thriving metropolis with busy streets and tall buildings, around twenty miles outside of the city center, you can find some pure unadulterated nature.

Several state parks are located across Atlanta and offer a variety of outdoor activities, water sports, and family-friendly areas.

With nearly fifty state parks in Georgia, you can make Atlanta your starting point before moving on for a new adventure.

First, check off your bucket list trips with these five incredible state parks.

Map of State Parks Near Atlanta GA

Here is a map of the Georgia state parks covered in this post:

List of State Parks Near Atlanta

Here are each of those state parks with distance from Atlanta and what is special about each.

1. Panola Mountain State Park

Location: 2620 Georgia 155 SW, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Panola Mountain State Park is the crown jewel of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, about twenty miles from Atlanta. Panola is also a National Natural Landmark, with a 100-acre granite monadnock that towers over dense trees and clean lakes.

The massive nature park spans three counties and is home to unique flora, including diamorpha smallii, a blooming plant that goes from white to vibrant scarlet each spring.

The park is popular for bouldering, bird watching, archery, tree climbing, hiking, cycling, and running because of its green forests, two lakes, and 10 miles of paved and dirt pathways.

Hike, cycle, or skate the 30-mile Arabia Mountain Path, which passes the historic T. A. Bryant House and Homestead. It houses the Flat Rock Archives and passes by the Holy Spirit Monastery, a spiritual home for local monks.

Plan ahead if you want to camp aa the park only offers five primitive campsites. Although, the park does offer two lakes, picnic shelters, an event room, a pavilion, an amphitheater, a nature center, and a gift shop making it a family-friendly destination.

Take the kids treasure hunting throughout Panola Mountain, with a GeoTour program for free. With such a short drive, why not take a day or a week to reconnect with nature?

2. Sweetwater Creek State Park

Location: 1750 Mt Vernon Rd, Lithia Springs, GA 30122

Sweetwater Creek State Park has more to offer than meets the eye! This famous metro Atlanta attraction enable tourists to discover the area’s hidden gems including both nature and history.

From the park, take in breathtaking vistas of rapids, secluded lakes, and mountainous terrain, all from the trails. Binoculars are recommended for spotting bald eagles, osprey, and great blue herons or simply zoning into the incredible landscape.

Kayaking provides a unique perspective on the park’s beauty and fauna and access to interesting, frequently ignored places. Throughout the year, join these guided trips on foot or by kayak to witness rarely seen natural beauties and learn about Sweetwater Creek’s rich history.

The park includes the George Sparks Reservoir, a famous fishing site, and Sweetwater Creek. In addition, the park contains two fishing docks, a boat ramp, and a bait shop for individuals interested in fishing.

The park’s award-winning visitor center is one of the country’s most environmentally conscious structures. It has a 37% planted roof, rainwater harvesting and storage for non-potable uses, composting toilets and water-free urinals, public recycling stations, and more.

Also, there are five tent campsites and ten yurts available for overnight stays at the park. You can reserve seven picnic shelters, one group shelter, and an event room if you just want to picnic for the day.

Finally, you can explore the museum displays about the area’s history and animals making for a relaxing and educational vacation.

3. Red Top Mountain State Park

Location: 50 Lodge Rd SE, Acworth, GA 30102

Red Top Mountain State Park is located on the beaches of Lake Allatoona, just a short 35-mile drive from Atlanta. The 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona is situated within this park over the thousand-acre park.

The rich red soil in this location, caused by significant iron-ore content, is named after Red Top Mountain State Park. In the 1800s, the mountain was a major mining location, and now it’s a sanctuary for animals, flora, and city-dwellers.

On the lake, you can swim, water ski, and fish. Bring your own boat or rent one from one of the local marinas and spend the rest cooling off in the sand.

Archery, tennis and other sports are available. Archery classes, picnic shelters, and tennis courts are all available. It is a hiker’s paradise as the 4-mile Iron Hill Trail, which is gravel-topped and offers beautiful views of the lake’s shores, is open to both hikers and bikers.

The park has twenty cottages, over ninety campsites, and a pioneer campground if you want to stay out in nature a while longer. In addition, the park features a lakeside yurt with a wonderful view of the water if you’re interested in ‘glamping.’

They have several picnic shelters and group shelters, along with an event room for rent. No matter where you stay at the park, you can leave your worries behind and simply enjoy solitude or family time.

4. Fort Yargo State Park

Location: 210 S Broad St, Winder, GA 30680

Exploring Fort Yargo State Park puts you in an adventurous mindset. Visit in May, June, or September to take full adventure of the beauty in the park.

While it’s a bit of a drive at about fifty miles from Atlanta, this popular family park offers several attractions perfect for the whole family. One attraction you need to see is an ancient log fort built by settlers in 1792 for protection against Creek and Cherokee Native Americans.

Fort Yargo State Park Campground is one of multiple campgrounds with many amenities. With over forty campsites, including options for primitive or RVs, you can enjoy the park your way.

Try out the adventure cabins or yurts for a less rustic visit, all with plenty of amenities. Check out the gift shop for souvenirs or supplies for a comfortable and fun vacation outdoors.

Today, families visit Fort Yargo State Park for its vast array of outdoor sports and landscapes, such as a spacious swimming beach and fishing with the family. The boat ramps even allow you to get out on the water.

If you’re up for it, mountain bikers and hikers can test their endurance on the park’s twenty miles of trails, or the park’s woodland disc golf course is extremely difficult. Everything is close to the lake and beach, hiking and biking paths, and more.

5. Chattahoochee Bend State Park

Location: 425 Bobwhite Way, Newnan, GA 30263

Chattahoochee Bend State Park is an excellent vacation location for RV campers and is located an hour outside of Atlanta in the magnificent forests of west-central Georgia.

The scenic Chattahoochee River winds for five miles through the park’s northern border, beckoning paddlers, anglers, and birdwatchers alike. It’s one of the largest state parks with almost 3,000 miles on the riverfront.

The magnificent river serves as a beautiful backdrop for a variety of outdoor sports, including eight distinct hiking areas along with bike routes for adventurers.

Furthermore, you can rent kayaks for a relaxing glide down the river, an exciting paddle expedition, or enjoy fishing. A guided trek, a day at the playground, or a relaxing picnic by the river are all options for the whole family.

If you park your RV at the Visitor Center, be sure to visit the park’s amazing butterfly garden, where you can learn about and see a variety of native butterflies and caterpillars. Moreover, Chattahoochee Bend State Park has excellent camping options if you choose to remain the night.

Find your sanctuary from the hectic city at one of thirty-seven tent and RV sites, camper cabins, and back-country camping locations.

The camp offers paddle-in campsites, too, along with a group site for family reunions, churches, or youth to enjoy the beauty of the river comfortably.