Happy Campers: 10 Georgia State Parks That Score a 10

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If you’re itching for a change of scenery that’s full of fresh air and wide open spaces, and you’re not quite ready to board a plane yet, these fantastic Georgia State Parks may be in your future. Keep in mind that the least crowded times to visit are in the early mornings and on weekdays, and keeping at least 6 feet away from other visitors to the park is the best way to stay safe. Keep reading for the scoop on our favorite Georgia State Parks that offer plenty of trails, outdoor recreation and campsites, too.

Georgia State Parks

Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge

Located in Dawsonville, Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is one of two Adventure Lodges of Georgia. Nestled within 829-acres of North Georgia mountain wilderness, Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is an outdoorsman’s paradise. The lodge provides easy access to a challenging hike to the top of Amicalola Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast at 729 feet. Additional adventure activities include ziplines, tomahawk throwing, 3-D archery, and GPS scavenger hunts. Newly renovated, the lodge features an expansive outdoor veranda with panoramic views of the mountains, a firepit and rocking chairs to bask in the view. Cabins and campsites are also available. 

418 Amicalola Falls Rd. Dawsonville, Ga 30534
Online: amicalolafallslodge.com

F.D. Roosevelt State Park

At 9,049 acres—and over 40 miles of trails—Georgia’s largest state park is a hiker’s and backpacker’s haven. Wind through hardwoods and pines, over creeks and past small waterfalls on the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail, and check out Dowdell’s Knob, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt sometimes picnicked and pondered world affairs. A life-size sculpture of the president now welcomes visitors to the overlook.

One Cool Thing: Several park amenities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, including cottages and the Liberty Bell swimming pool fed by cool springs. In 1924, FDR came to this part of Georgia to swim in naturally warm springs that offered relief from polio. Today, nearby Roosevelt’s Little White House State Historic Site invites visitors to see his modest home, a museum and the pools that first drew him here.

2970 Georgia Highway 190
Pine Mountain, GA
Online: gastateparks.org/FDRoosevelt

Fort Yargo State Park

Located between Atlanta and Athens, this popular park features a 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians, a 260-acre lake with a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps. Mountain bikers and hikers can test their endurance on 20.5 miles of trails. Overnight guests can choose from fully equipped cottages or cozy campsites. For a more unique experience, visitors can glamp lakeside in a yurt, which are permanent canvas and wooden tents. Each yurt has furniture and electricity inside and a fire ring, picnic table and grill outside. Park goers and pups will soon have the option to book one Fido-friendly yurt at Fort Yargo State Park—the first of its kind to be piloted by Georgia State Parks in 2021.

210 S Broad St.
Winder, GA
Online: gastateparks.org

Georgia State Parks

Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Cluib

Approximately two hours south of Atlanta in Cordele, visitors to Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club—situated within Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park’s 1,300 acres—offers outdoor activities as wells as the SAM Shortline Excursion Train and the Military Museum. Activities include golf, archery and air rifle, biking, disc golf, hiking and a variety of water activities. While the Lodge has suspended operations until June, the park, campgrounds, golf course, and marine continue to remain open to the public.

2459-H US Hwy. 280 W., Cordele, Ga 31015
Online: lakeblackshearresort.com

Stephen C. Foster State Park

This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp—one of Georgia's seven natural wonders. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Alligators, turtles, raccoons, black bears, deer, ibis, herons, wood storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers and numerous other creatures make their homes in the 402,000 acre refuge.

Insider Tip: Stephen C. Foster Park in the Okefenokee Swamp, a certified Dark Sky Park, is a perfect location to start for awe-inspiring views of the stars and more.

17515 Highway 177
Fargo, GA
Online: gastateparks.org/StephenCFoster

Georgia State Parks

Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge

With newly completed renovations, Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge is a charming destination among the peaceful pine trees of the South in Helena, Georgia. Ideally suited for a relaxing getaway, Little Ocmulgee State Park is home to 1,360-acres of activities, including first-class golf at Wallace Adams Golf Course, a children’s splash pad, a private pool and Little Ocmulgee lake.  Accommodations consist of a 60-room main lodge, 10 lakeside cabins and 54 campsites.

80 Live Oak Trl., Helena, Ga 31037
Online: littleocmulgeelodge.com


Elijah Clark State Park

This park is located on the western shore of 71,100 acre Clarks Hill Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Southeast. With its boat ramps and accessible fishing pier, it is especially popular with anglers and boaters. A sandy swimming beach welcomes visitors to cool off during Georgia summers. Rental cottages are located on the lake’s edge, and the spacious campground is nestled into the forest. Tent campers will enjoy extra privacy in the walk-in section.

Good to Know: Elijah Clark State Park is named for a frontiersman and Georgia war hero who led pioneers during the Revolutionary War. A log cabin replica of the Clark home displays furniture, utensils and tools circa 1780 and is open weekends April through November.

2959 McCormick Highway
Lincolnton, GA
Online: gastateparks.org/ElijahClark

Georgia State Parks

Unicoi State Park & Lodge

Located in the charming Alpine-Bavarian village Helen, Unicoi State Park & Lodge is one of two Adventure Lodges of Georgia. Unicoi State Park is home to more than a 1,000-acres of adventure activities, including Unicoi Lake, hiking trails, Anna Ruby Falls, ziplines, fly fishing, an archery and air rifle range, and mountain biking. Travelers can experience the adventure of the outdoors and unwind in its newly renovated lodge, one-of-a-kind barrel cabins or the primitive Squirrel’s Nest campsite to sleep beneath the stars.

1788 Hwy. 356, Helen, Ga 30545
Online: unicoilodge.com

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest and most scenic parks in the state. Home to thousand-foot deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading creeks, dense woodland and abundant wildlife, the park offers ample outdoor recreation opportunities. Hiking and mountain biking trails abound, though in an effort to reduce social density and following CDC recommendations, some trails are limiting access to 10 visitors at a time. Guests seeking an overnight experience can choose from fully-equipped and comfortable cottages, quirky yurts or several different types of camping and backpacking options. Overnight guests may pay remaining balances online and enjoy convenient self check-in using the RA Camping App (Apple Devices or Android Devices) before going straight to their cabin, campsite or yurt.

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd. Rising Fawn, Ga 30738
Online: gastateparks.org/CloudlandCanyon

Black Rock Mountain State Park

Georgia's highest state park encompasses some of the most jaw dropping scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Roadside overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas, and four hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls and lush forests. Visitors enjoy the summit visitor center for its views, gift shop and picnic tables.

Stay a Spell: Mountaintop cottages surround a small playground, and campsites are nestled under rhododendron and gnarled oaks. Tent campers will appreciate the walk-in sites that allow extra privacy.

3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway
Mountain City, GA
Online: gastateparks.org/BlackRockMountain

—Shelley Massey


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