Otis Redding might have left his home in Georgia headed for the Frisco bay, but if you live in Hiawassee you don’t need to go that far for an adventure.
That is because The Peach State is home to some of America’s most beautiful state parks. All of which provide fabulous opportunities to go hiking, swimming, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing and rafting.
Comprising stunning landscapes that incorporates rolling farmlands, fabulous countryside, verdant forests and the mighty, flowing rivers, Georgia is a wonderful place to get out into nature and temporarily escape the pressures of city life.
If this is something you are in mind to do, there are many state parks near Hiawassee you can visit. Outlined below is a selection of five of the best of them we highly recommend you visit.
Map of State Parks Near Hiawassee GA
Here is a map of the Georgia state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Hiawassee
All of the 10 state parks near Hiawassee showcased below can all be reached within a couple of hours drive from this city in Georgia. This means you can easily visit them as day trips destinations.
However, should you want to stay overnight, most have camping facilities too for you to use.
1. Don Carter State Park
Location: 5000 N Browning Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506
The Don Carter State Park is the closest of all these state parks near Hiawassee we recommend.
Situated just an hour drive south of the city, the park features a wonderful landscape where the stunning Chattahoochee River meets the sparkling Lake Lanier.
Providing you with terrific opportunities to engage in recreational water based activities, the park is nestled on the northern part of the reservoir. It features a number of boat ramps that give you fast access to both the lake and river.
Boasting a big, sandy swimming beach that also accommodates a bath house, the park is also surrounded by hardwood forest which is perfect for hiking or to explore on a mountain bike.
Spread across 1,316 acres, the park offers 44 tents, trailers and RV campsites as camping options, in addition to 8 cottages.
There is also a primitive camping area which has 14 tents and hammocks for those who like to rough it.
2. Victoria Bryant State Park
Location: 1105 Bryant Park Rd, Royston, GA 30662
Just a 90 minute drive south through the rolling hills of the Upper Piedmont region lies the stunning Victoria Bryant State Park.
Encompassing 502-acres, this is a lovely spot for those who enjoy hiking through nature areas of hardwood forest, flowing creeks and picturesque streams.
If you are into fishing the park also has two well-stocked, small ponds, while the outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer’s day.
Golf lovers should also enjoy playing on the park’s scenic course, which is cleverly built around undulating hills, pristine Bermuda fairways and manicured greens. While children will enjoy the three playgrounds dotted around the park.
If you are looking to stay overnight, there is a small campground onsite that houses 27 tents, trailers and RV Campsites. There are also two pioneer campgrounds that can sleep up to 75 people.
3. Fort Yargo State Park
Location: 210 S Broad St, Winder, GA 3068
Featuring a historic log fort that dates back to 1792 the Fort Yargo State Park is located an hour and 45 minute drive south of Hiawassee.
Known for its scintillating scenery, one of the major highlights of the park is the 260 acre lake that dominates the landscape. Perfect for kayaking, canoeing and fishing, there is also a lovely swimming beach here to relax on too.
In addition, the park also features nearly 21 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails to venture into, as well as a popular wooded disc golf course.
Accommodation options include 16 cottages, 6 yurts and 47 tents, trailers and RV campsites. As well as 12 walk-in campsites for those who want to stay overnight.
4. Richard B. Russell State Park
Location: 2650 Russell State Park Dr, Elberton, GA 30635
Some two hours southeast of Hiawassee you’ll find the Richard B. Russell State Park.
Centered around a stunning 26,650 lake, this is the perfect destination for those who enjoy fishing and a host of other water based activities like canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming.
If you would prefer to stay on dry land, there are plenty of scenic nature trails you can explore that lead around the shoreline, and to one of the oldest steel pin bridges in the region.
Another state park in Georgia that presents a fabulous golf course, as well as a disc golf course too, the park is a renowned geocaching spot as well.
Nestled on, or close to the edge of the water, the campground here can house 27 tents, trailers and RV campsites. There are also 20 fully equipped cottages and 3 picnic shelters available for you to use too.
5. Watson Mill Bridge State Park
Location: 650 Watson Mill, Comer, GA 30629
The Watson Mill Bridge State Park is another great destination to visit that is only a 2 hour drive from Hiawassee.
Divided by the winding South Fork River, the stunning 1,118-acre park accommodates the longest covered bridge that is still in use in Georgia.
Built in 1885 by Horace King, the son of a freed slave, this bridge boasts a lot of history. It also is a fantastic photography opportunity too, so try and remember to bring your camera.
Throughout the park there are a number of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails that are very well worth checking out.
Leading you past dense forest and onto rivers which provide fantastic fishing and swimming opportunities, you can also hire canoes, kayaks or pedal boats at various times of the year too.
The onsite campground offers sites for 21 tents, trailers and RV campsites. You will also find 11 equestrian campsites and 22 horse stables as well. While there are an additional 3 log cabin bunkhouses and 3 pioneer campsites available.
6. Tallulah State Park
Location: 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Rd, Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
Located just over 33 miles from town, Tallulah State Park was once known as the Niagara of the south. It offers boating, camping, hiking trails, and some of the best fishing spots east of the Mississippi.
But with its popularity comes a slight inconvenience. The Tallulah Gorge State Park has experienced larger-than-expected crowds on certain days. This limits access to certain spots on the premises at the discretion of park authorities. But it doesn’t apply if you already have camping reservations. The park allows 100 permits per day, and sometimes, they run out early.
While you can take along your pet on a leash on the rim trails, they do not allow pets (for their own safety) on the gorge floor, sliding rock trails, and suspension bridges.
The Tallulah State Park is open to the public between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
7. Moccasin Creek State Park
Location: 3655 GA-197, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Under 20 miles from the Hiawassee City, Moccasin Creek State Park is often referred to as a place where the ‘spring spends its summer’.
It is located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Burton, and although it’s a somewhat mountainous region, it is relatively flat. This means you can take your RVs, cycles, and wheelchairs to some of the most scenic spots in the park.
Moccasin Creek State Park is something of a favorite with senior citizens. It has a seniors-only (above the age of 65) zone conveniently placed near the creek, where they say the trout are sure to bite. They allow senior citizens, children under 11, and all people with a Georgia State Fishing Disability License to fish here.
At 2,800 acres, Moccasin Creek is also an excellent place for boating. You can rent boats here in the warmer months.
You can visit Moccasin Park anytime between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. when it closes.
8. Vogel State Park
Location: 405 Vogel State Park Rd, Blairsville, GA 30512
Twenty-two miles from the heart of Hiawassee, the Vogel State Park is nestled snugly within the Chattahoochee National Forest. It is one of Georgia’s oldest and most preferred parks.
The best time to visit this park is during the fall. This is when the Blue Ridge Mountains turn to different shades of browns and beautiful reds.
Cottages and log cabins in the park are exciting options if you want to spend a night or two in a primitive-style setting, and you can easily rent them out. Getting one near the 22-acre lake in the Vogel State Park could provide some of the best views during your stay.
The park allows the use of non-motorized boats in the lake.
The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
9. Unicoi State Park & Lodge
Location: 1788 GA-356, Helen, GA 30545
Again, just over 20 miles from the city center, the Unicoi State park can be a convenient day visit.
Like the previous park mentioned, the Unicoi is within the Chattahoochee National Forest right near Lake Unicoi.
Apart from the obvious natural beauty that other state parks offer, Unicoi has a distinct advantage. It is close to the Village of Helen (about three-and-a-half miles), with all the amenities you could want.
Where there are lakes, there are fishermen, and Unicoi State Park is no exception. The Smith creek just below the lake is a favorite fishing spot with enthusiasts, but mind you, fishing here is subject to the state regulations of Georgia.
As this is a mountainous region, there are many places to visit besides the lake. For example, right outside the park, you will find the Anna Ruby Trailhead, which leads to the Anna Ruby Falls, a must-see if you’re up for the hike.
The Unicoi is one state park that doesn’t have timings—it’s open 24 hours! However, the best time to pay a visit is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you live close to the park, we feel it is well worth the annual $50 vehicle fee to visit anytime you feel like it.
10. Black Rock Mountain State Park
Location: 3085 Black Rock Mountain Pkwy, Mountain City, GA 30562
The Black Rock Mountain State Park is a 32-mile drive from Hiawassee. This is the highest of all the state parks of Georgia, at an elevation of over 3500 feet!
If you’re wondering why it’s called the Black Rock Park, it gets its name from the dark-colored cliffs of Rabun county. These cliffs mostly comprise biotite (a common mineral) and gneiss (a common metamorphic rock formation).
What can you expect to see at the Black Rock Mountains State Park? Eighty-mile breath-taking roadside views and lush green hiking trails take you by beautiful wildflowers, waterfalls, and streams.
Choose between tents and mountain top cottages for an unforgettable stay at this park.
If you’re at the park for just a few hours, we suggest you use one of the conveniently placed picnic tables and enjoy the calmness and views before heading back to Hiawassee.
Black Rock State Park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Their office functions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you’re in the Hiawassee region, there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to visit one of the state parks located so close to the city. The Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chattahoochee National Forest provide a convenient nesting place for some of Georgia’s most beautiful state parks.
All the park timings mentioned above are not applicable if you rent out a cottage or camping site within the park, in which case you have all the time in the world!