Is there really anything better than spring in Georgia? Except for the pollen, it’s pretty close to perfect. So if you’re looking for ways to scratch that “get outside and leap for joy” itch, you should consider visiting one of Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites. With a new travel-tracking passport and innovative takes on camping—not to mention incredible hikes and beachside boardwalks—they might be our favorite family destination this season. Interested in which ones we love the most? Check out our 10 favorite Georgia State Parks, and start planning!
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New Travel-Tracking Passport
Explorers on a mission to visit all of Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites have a new way of tracking their travels. This keepsake passport allows guests to document their journey as they explore the state from mountains to marshes. Produced by the Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, the passport is available for $12.99 in park gift shops. If you’re planning on working your way through Georgia’s State Parks, you’ll definitely want to grab one of these.
Pack the tent and build cherished memories while roasting gooey s’mores. Camping encourages the entire family to enjoy the simple pleasures of swapping stories while looking up at the stars. And for those of us who aren’t super into tent camping, all campgrounds have water and electric hookups, plus hot showers. Many offer sewage hookups for RVs.
Families looking for a unique and affordable getaway should check out the Georgia State Park’s yurts. These funky wood and canvas structures are a blend between a tent and cabin, with furniture inside and fire rings outside. Guests can even walk to nearby hot showers. Yurts are available at Cloudland Canyon, High Falls, Fort Yargo, Sweetwater Creek and Tugaloo state parks. Plans are underway to add a yurt village at Red Top Mountain this year. GaStateParks.org/Unique Accommodations
Cabins and cottages surrounded by beautiful scenery come with fully equipped kitchens, screened porches and a wide range of activities right outside the door. Bring your four-legged family members along when you reserve a dog-friendly cabin in advance. At Georgia State Parks’ cabins, the price you are given includes everything, so no extra cleaning fees will be required, making for an even more affordable stay.
Just for the Kids
Ranger Programs are incredible experiences for the whole family and include full-moon hikes, guided kayak excursions, campfire singalongs, archery classes, wildlife encounters and colonial reenactments, scavenger hunts and sunset cruises. There are plenty of interactive experiences that will satisfy guests of all interests, ages, and skill levels.
Kids can become a Junior Ranger by working towards earning 59 site-specific Junior Ranger badges. Guests of any age can receive a badge and become a certified Junior Ranger. Inside each book there are fun and exciting missions to complete to experience nature first-hand, explore Georgia’s fascinating history and enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Junior Rangers can learn about alligators in South Georgia, about forts along the coast, or about bears and hemlock trees in North Georgia. Through activity books or ranger-led camps, they will experience nature first-hand and explore Georgia’s fascinating history.
While You’re There…
Hike through Georgia with your kids to discover the wonders of nature through their eyes. Georgia’s State Parks offer a variety of hiking and biking paths, from easy paved loops to challenging backcountry trails. Families will experience Georgia’s diverse landscape as well, with canyons and waterfalls, salt marshes and streams. Energetic explorers can join one of many State Parks Clubs, including Canyon Climbers Club and Muddy Spokes Club, while wearing a members-only t-shirt.
Grab your rod and reel and head out for a day of fishing at parks like High Falls or Seminole. There is no fee for casting a line, but a license is required for ages 16 and older. For families who would like to take their adventure up a notch, many state parks rent boats by the hour.
Head to a State Historic Site to mix entertainment with education. Children can explore colonial times at Fort Morris and Fort King George, or Civil War bunkers at Fort McAllister. To learn about Native American history, visit Kolomoki Mounds, New Echota, Chief Vann House and Etowah Indian Mounds.
Paddle through Georgia’s waterways in canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and aqua cycles, which may be rented or visitors may bring their own. Many parks offer guided tours, including Stephen C. Foster’s tour of the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp. For a challenge, join the Park Paddlers Club which takes explorers to six state park waterways. Plus, you get a members-only shirt.
All photos courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources