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Georgia has a history steeped in tradition and color. The State Park system in Georgia reflects this historical background in its more than 60 state parks and historical sites. Travelers and explorers can build a bucket list of places to visit in Georgia to keep you busy for months or years.
The geography and topology of Georgia are diverse and create an extravagant variety of ecologies, environments, and habitats. You can experience the beauty and grandeur of the Appalachian Mountains or the coastal plains of the southern parts of the state. More than 60 percent of the state is still covered in forests that surround rivers and lakes.
Whatever your interests, the Georgia State Park system has something that will keep you occupied during your visit. These are our picks for the 15 best state parks in Georgia. You may, of course, find your own favorite state park. That is the fun of exploring and adventuring in this magnificent state.
- 1. Amicalola Falls State Park
- 2. Seminole State Park
- 3. Stephen C. Foster State Park
- 4. F. D. Roosevelt State Park
- 5. SAM Shortline Excursion
- 6. Fort McAllister State Park
- 7. Providence Canyon State Park
- 8. Red Top Mountain State Park
- 9. Kolomoki Mounds State Park
- 10. Black Rock Mountain State Park
- 11. Hamburg State Park
- 12. Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge
- 13. Hard Labor Creek State Park
- 14. Cloudland Canyon State Park
- 15. General Coffee State Park
- Georgia, A Land of Myth, Mystery, and Beauty
1. Amicalola Falls State Park
Central to this spectacular state park is Amicalola Falls. The water here drops an unbelievable 729 feet to the pools below. There are only two other cascading waterfalls East of the Mississippi river that is taller, but that isn’t the only attraction worth seeing.
Amicalola Falls State Park hosts the Amicalola Falls Lodge where you can enjoy a stay that will create lasting memories. You will find a host of adventures and activities to occupy your time at Amicalola Falls State Park.
You can participate in 3-D archery, get in your daily workout on a fitness trail or hike through the woods on a guided walk along the Appalachian Approach Trail. If you are more adventurous, snap onto the Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventure Tour and zipline through the trees.
Bring your tent, RV, or book a stay at the lodge for your visit. Tent camping is popular at one of the many campsites with level tent pads, and plenty of parking close by your campsite.
RV sites can accommodate all but the largest of RVs and travel trailers. Both pull-through and back-in sites are available with electricity and water hookups.
For those whose creature comfort is important a stay at the lodge offers a unique experience. From luxury suites to private cabins, the accommodations will leave you with a memorable mountain experience. Fine dining in the restaurant will add that extra dimension to your stay. To make your reservations, click here.
2. Seminole State Park
At the bottom southwest corner of Georgia sits the 37,500-acre Lake Seminole. Nestled into an almost private cove on this huge lake is Seminole State Park.
At 604 acres, the state park is a popular destination for boaters, skiers, fishermen, and birdwatchers. The park includes one the largest longleaf pine forests in a Georgia state park.
Lake Seminole is renowned for its fishing and wildlife opportunities. Usual catches include largemouth bass, redear sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish. Don’t be surprised if you chance upon an alligator or see a bald eagle cruising above the lake. Wildlife is always close by at Seminole State Park.
The facilities at Lake Seminole State Park are top-notch. You can rent one of the fourteen cottages for a weekend retreat. The park features 50 tent, trailer, and RV campsites. If you are making a day trip, reserve one of the 4 picnic shelters for your family or group.
Most activities center around Lake Seminole where you can find a swimming beach, canoeing, paddling, and water skiing. Away from the lake activities, you can enjoy miniature golf, hiking, and geocaching. In the nearby area are museums and other attractions.
Are you ready to explore Lake Seminole State Park? Reservations are encouraged at this popular park and can be made at this link.
3. Stephen C. Foster State Park
Our next destination is a two-for deal. Stephen C. Foster State Park is a remote location on the boundaries of the Okefenokee Swamp. The Okefenokee swamp is a naturalist wonderland and a one-of-a-kind ecological marvel. Be sure to bring your camera for some extraordinary breathtaking scenery and wildlife.
Activities at the state park include fishing, boating, hiking, and geocaching. Several guided tours of the swamp are available for a slight fee getting you to areas where travelers never venture. You may encounter alligators, black bears, storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and a host of other creatures in their natural habitat.
Stephen C. Foster State Park is also a haven for campers of all kinds. You can rent a cottage at the park or one of the sixty-three tent, trailer, and RV campsites. The campsites all have water and electricity but no sewer connections. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by clicking here.
Suwannee River Eco-Lodge
To make outstanding memories, plan an overnight visit to the Suwannee River Eco-Lodge located in the park. The Lodge has 10 cottages, an event room, a BBQ shelter, and a commercial kitchen.
Some of the cottages and facilities are wheelchair accessible. You can expect a secluded and peaceful retreat while staying at the Eco-Lodge. More information is available at this link.
4. F. D. Roosevelt State Park
Just 80 miles from Atlanta, GA, you may be surprised to find rolling mountains with some of the most impressive vistas in the state. President Franklin Roosevelt often visited the area while at the Little White House located just a few miles away.
A favorite place for the President was Dowdell’s Knob where a bronze bust of President Franklin Roosevelt now resides. Many of the facilities in this park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, making them a legacy of President Roosevelt’s administration.
The Liberty Bell swimming pool is a spring-fed natural swimming pool. CCC-era cottages offer a comfortable and historic respite in the park for your overnight stay. The park offers 21 cottages for rent as well as 115 tents, trailers, and RV campsites.
Most campsites have potable water, and many have electrical hookups. There are no campsites with sewer connections, but dump stations are available in the park. There are also picnic shelters, group campsites and group shelters available.
You can enjoy a multitude of activities including educational programs presented by the park staff. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and boat rentals at the park office. The park is close to several other attractions including Roosevelt’s Little White House nearby Atlanta.
Reservations for park facilities can be made by clicking here.
5. SAM Shortline Excursion
Most people expect a state park to sit still in the landscape. However, Georgia has a unique moving state park. The SAM Shortline Excursion railroad is a designated state park that rolls through the Georgia countryside. You can step back into the glory days of passenger railroads with a trip on this unique moving state park.
You can plan your trip around one of the special excursion trains such as a murder mystery dinner train, a trip on the Presidential Flyer, or a wine and cheese train to tempt your palate. To see a list of all the excursion events, click this link.
Regular scheduled daily trips are also available for nominal fees. You can choose from a variety of classes of trips from a basic coach ticket to the Chairman’s Class which includes special seating and optional activities. Book your tickets well in advance using this link.
Since the SAM Shortline State Park is continually on the move, there are no lodging or camping accommodations available. Regular tours depart from the train station in Cordele Georgia to Plains, Georgia.
Each tour last from one and one-half hours to several hours depending on the excursion. Some special excursion trains have alternate boarding locations so check your reservations for up-to-date information.
6. Fort McAllister State Park
If you are into American History, especially Civil War History, you owe yourself a visit to Fort McAllister State Park. History is alive at this park, and you can immerse yourself in some of the most dramatic events of the period.
Fort McAllister marks the end of General Sherman’s “March to the Sea,’ and you should make sure that this park is on your itinerary. The earthworks fort is the best-preserved civil war fort of its kind in the US. Here, the Union ironclad warships attacked seven times without success.
The park grounds are filled with cannons, a shot furnace for making round rifle shots, an example of the bomb-proof barracks, and much more. A museum has relics and artifacts. Shop at the gift shop for mementos of your trip.
You can extend your stay in the park by renting one of the seven cottages or bringing your RV, trailer, or tent. Sixty-seven campsites nestled in the giant live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. If you are day tripping, reserve a picnic shelter or a group shelter if your party is larger. For reservations, click here.
The historic fort and attractions are not all you can do at Fort McAllister State Park. You can boat on the Ogeechee River, fish, or go paddling to explore the riverbanks.
Hiking on the park trails will expose you to the varied wildlife of the park. Park staff conduct guided tours of the historic fort structures as well.
7. Providence Canyon State Park
If you think of Georgia in terms of rolling hills, forested plains, and coastal wetlands, you are wrong. Providence Canyon State Park is often called Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” These 150-foot-deep canyons are not the result of millions of years of evolution. These canyons are the result of poor soil management practices during the 1800s.
Hiking the Canyon Rim Trail is the best way to experience the views of the canyons. You can hike down into some of the canyons provided you stay on the trails and don’t damage the fragile walls.
Access to other parts of the park and canyons is strictly controlled to keep the impact on the landscape minimalized. Backpackers can get a permit to stay overnight along the backcountry trails. This trail winds through the canyon and mixed forests.
There are no other lodging facilities in this park. However, tent, RV, and trailer camping sites are available at nearby Lake Walter George and at the Florence Marina State Park.
Park staff offer numerous activities and events throughout the year. Stargazing is a popular pastime in this Dark Sky environment. There are also ecology and geology programs to attend. A small museum and visitor center are interesting and informative.
For more information about backcountry hiking and camping, click here.
8. Red Top Mountain State Park
The red soil of this area gives this park its name. This soil is rich in iron and is indicative of the iron ore deposits that were once mined in this area. The park is located on the banks of the 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona amid sprawling forests and the Allatoona Pass Battlefield from the American Civil War.
You can bring your boat to enjoy your favorite water sports. The park has 2 boat ramps and 2 boat docks to accommodate your needs.
Don’t have a boat. Don’t worry, you can rent a boat at the park Marina to enjoy a day on the water with your family. Fishing is always good in the lake and the marina staff can give you advice on bait, tackle, and locations.
Among the other opportunities at Red Top Mountain State Park are hiking the 15 miles of trails to enjoy the forests around the lake. A visit to the 1860e restored homestead is both educational and entertaining. There are also areas for swimming, tennis, pickleball and geocaching to keep you busy.
The park can make you welcome in one of the 20 cottages. Your RV, trailer, or tent are welcome at one of the 83 improved campsites in the park. For a truly unique experience, book a night or two in a Yurt. Just be sure to make your reservations well in advance at this link.
9. Kolomoki Mounds State Park
The native Woodland peoples inhabited parts of Georgia from 350 to 750 A.D. This group of indigenous peoples left us the oldest mound culture in the eastern US. The great mound is 57 feet high and served as a temple and worship place. Several other mounds can be found in the park.
Kolomoki Mounds State Park is a haven for those with curiosity about these ancient cultures. The park museum centers around an excavated mound and provides an unusual glimpse into the past.
You can see how these people lived thousands of years ago. A short film at the visitor’s center is a great attraction and full of useful information.
Outdoor activities are not forgotten in this beautiful park setting. Two lakes offer a wide array of water sports. Hikers enjoy three scenic trails that offer splendid views and vistas.
The trails wind through the white oaks and spruce forests where wildlife and birds are abundant. Pedal boats, a miniature golf course and a playground will keep the family occupied for hours.
Tent, RV, and trailer campsites are available. Twenty-five spaces can be rented and most have electricity and water connections. No sewer connections are available in the park. Picnic shelters can be reserved for groups. A group campsite that sleeps 135 people is available for large groups.
Don’t forget to make reservations before you come. Click this link to get your reservation started.
10. Black Rock Mountain State Park
The most northern state park in Georgia and the highest, Black Rock Mountain State Park is perched among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northeastern Georgia near the North Carolina Border.
At almost 4,000 feet of elevation, this park gets you away from the heat and humidity that pervades most of Georgia and sets you among some of the most beautiful landscapes to be found.
You will spend a lot of your time simply looking out across the mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In places you can see 80 miles from the park.
You shouldn’t miss the chance to hike the four trails that lead you into the forest to experience wildflowers, flowing streams, waterfalls, and lush vegetation. The weather is often cool, even in summer so plan accordingly.
There is a small lake that offers fishing and paddling opportunities. A visit to the park visitor center allows you to learn more about the ecology and geology of the park as well as shop for souvenirs of your visit.
The park boasts 10 cottages for your overnight stay. If you are willing to drive the steep and winding roads to get to the park, you will be rewarded with 44 tent, RV, and trailer campsites each with a unique vista to enjoy. Backcountry camping is available as are picnic shelters and a playground.
Reservations are suggested as this is a popular destination. Click here to go to the reservation site.
11. Hamburg State Park
One of the nicest state parks in the entire Georgia system, Hamburg state park features some of the newest and best facilities. The park is situated on the site of a 1920s grist mill the lake that provided the waterpower to turn the mill wheel. You can watch the mill as corn is still ground during unique events using the old methods.
The major attraction at this park is the restored 1921 water-powered gristmill. Park staff operate the gristmill using the original methods and equipment. Corn is regularly ground into flour during these exhibitions. However, the old mill is not the only attraction at this park.
The lake behind the gristmill offers fishing, boating, and other water sports. There is a boat ramp suitable for boats with motors less than 9hp. You can rent a boat with a trolling motor at the camp store. Fishing is always good in the lake, however, be aware that there are alligators sometimes present in the water.
If you wish to overnight in the park, there are 32 tent, RV, and trailer campsites in the park. The cap ground features hot showers, potable water, electric hookups, and a central dump station. A small museum at the visitor center tells the story of the gristmill and has displays of early farm equipment. A playground is onsite for the youngsters.
Reservations can be made by clicking here.
12. Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge
If golf is your passion and not hiking, biking, or fishing, then you must book a stay at Little Ocmulgee State Park. The park boasts the acclaimed Wallace Adams Golf Course, often cited as one of the best public golf courses in the South. Of course, there is plenty to do besides golf for your family when you visit Little Ocmulgee State Park.
Plan your stay at the Lodge for the ultimate in luxury accommodations. You may opt to rent one of the fully equipped private cabins for more privacy. Of course, if you prefer to camp, the 54 campsites offer full hookups. Some even have cable TV connections.
Along with the accommodations, you can enjoy fine dining at the restaurant in the Lodge. Reservations are required for this park and can be made by clicking here.
While you play golf, your family can enjoy a variety of different activities. They can swim at the beach on the lake or enjoy the private swimming pool at the lodge.
There are plenty of hiking trails for exercise and a miniature golf course for those that are just getting started. A splash pad will keep children of all ages occupied for hours.
The highlight of your trip will undoubtedly be your time on the Wallace Adams Golf Course. The course is a pristine classic style course with maintained Bermuda fairways and TifEagle Greens. A full-service pro shop at the course can fill your every golfing need.
You can even rent clubs if you didn’t bring your own. A driving range, chip and putt area and a practice green round out the offerings of this beautiful course. Book your tee time in advance at this link.
13. Hard Labor Creek State Park
You will find yourself exposed to a lot of things but no hard labor at Hard Labor Creek State Park. Here you can enjoy a relaxing day or week exploring this picturesque park, beautiful lake, and a challenging golf course. There is no lack of fun and exciting activities to be found at Hard Labor Creek State Park.
Among the favorite activities at Hard Labor Creek State Park are fishing, boating, and exploring the 24 miles of trails that are open to hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders. The park even boasts a separate campground for those who bring their horses to enjoy the park.
The park also offers miniature golf, paddling, swimming at the lake beach, and several interesting outreach programs presented by the park staff. If golf is your passion, the Creek Golf Course has 18 holes with narrow tree lined fairways to challenge your game.
Numerous tournaments are held weekly and are open to anyone who wants to join a friendly game. Golf Digest names this course, “4th Sweetest Deal in USA.” In 2010. Check for a tee time at this link.
You can stay in one of the 20 park cottages or grin your tent, RV, or trailer. 51 full-service sites offer electric hookups with water. A dump station is available at the park as well.
We suggest you make early reservations especially during the summer months. Click here to get your reservations online.
14. Cloudland Canyon State Park
Traveling to the upper Northwest corner of Georgia takes you to Cloudland Canyon State Park. This park sits on the upper part of the Cumberland Plateau overlooking the rugged 1,000-foot-deep canyons that are marked by sandstone cliffs, caves, and waterfalls. The 3500-acre park offers endless opportunities to explore the backcountry.
This park is a mecca for mountain bikers. Numerous trails offer a backcountry biking experience unlike any other. You can bike the short Overlook Trail or take the more strenuous Waterfall trail to test your endurance and skill. Biking in the park includes paved trails as well as unimproved off-road paths. There are certain rules and regulations to follow when biking. Check with the park office for more information.
Biking is not the only recreation activity available in the park. You can go caving or rock climbing. A disc golf course can challenge your disc flinging skills. Fishing and geocaching are also popular at this park. For more information about caving in the park check with the park office.
For a memorable experience, book a stay in one of the 10 Yurts at the park. If a Yurt is not your style, there are 16 cottages for rent as well as 72 tent, RV, and trailer spaces. If you want to experience the park at its finest, plan a backpacking trip to one of the 12 backcountry campsites for a primitive weekend.
Reservations for these facilities can be made by clicking here.
15. General Coffee State Park
General Coffee State Park is not as well known as many other Georgia State Parks. However, those in the know consider this park a hidden gem of the Georgia state park system.
The centerpiece of this park is the Heritage Farm. This monument to our farming history includes a log cabin, corn crib, tobacco barn, and a cane mill.
Children will enjoy the many farm animals kept on the property. Goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, and donkey will greet you as you roam the farm. Exhibits explaining the building, operations, and history of the farm are scattered among the facilities.
There is no lack of other activities as well. You can wander the boardwalk over the cypress swap and along the Seventeen-Mile River. Thirteen miles of equestrian trails for horseback enthusiasts have primitive ride-in campsites. There is a 4-acre lake where you can fish as well as rent a paddle boat to enjoy the scenery around the small lake.
The best way to get the feel for this park is to book a stay at the Burnham Cottage or the Hawknest house. The Burnham House is elegantly decorated in the 19th century style and makes a perfect romantic weekend.
There are four other cottages for rent as well as 50 tent, trailer, or RV campsites. Of course, you can go primitive on one of the may backcountry campsites. For reservations check this link.
Georgia, A Land of Myth, Mystery, and Beauty
Georgia can be a mystical place. From the modern urban experience of Atlanta to the wild wilderness of the Blueridge Mountains, there is something for everyone here.
These fifteen parks are our picks that we think you must visit. There are many others that offer such a diversity of experiences that you may want to try them all.