Georgia state parks provide unique opportunities to see so many interesting things about the state. There are parks for hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, exploring the banks of the South Fork River, or spending the night camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest. You can even take a selfie at the Little Grand Canyon. Whether you are looking for a place to fish, kayak, or swim or wish to explore Georgia's history, there are plenty of parks to choose from in the Peach State.
Cloudland Canyon is as magical as the name suggests. It is located in the northwest corner of the state and is one of Georgia's largest. The park features hiking trails for people of all skill levels, including the short Overlook Trail for beginners and the Waterfalls Trail for those looking for a challenge. Visitors will also find canyons, cliffs, caves, creeks, waterfalls, and dense forests. There are opportunities for disc golf, fishing, and horseback riding as well as the newly developed Five Points Recreation Area for mountain biking. Overnight accommodations include fully-equipped cottages, campgrounds, and yurts.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge are located in the mountains of North Georgia on Lake Unicoi in the Chattahoochee National Forest. This park is unique in that there are plenty of opportunities to explore nature while enjoying a resort-like experience. There are hiking trails to Anna Ruby Falls, and the lake provides the perfect opportunity for trout and fly fishing. Guests can also enjoy archery, paddle boarding, boating, zip-lining, and mountain biking. Camping accommodations are available, and the lodge features plenty of guest rooms as well as a restaurant and tavern close by.
Located just west of Greenville, Tallulah Gorge is one of the most impressive canyons in the eastern United States. There are plenty of trails to the overlooks or visitors can apply for a permit to hike to the bottom. One of the most impressive things about this park is the suspension bridge that hangs 80 feet above the gorge. There is also a paved path along the old railroad bed that is perfect for walking and bicycling and a 10-mile trail for mountain bikers looking for a challenge. Visitors can enjoy a 63-acre lake, sandy beach, playgrounds, and picnicking, and plenty of camping is available on-site.
Providence Canyon is sometimes called the "Little Grand Canyon," and it is not hard to see why. This park features an enormous 150 feet deep gullies that act as a powerful reminder of how man affects the land around him. They were caused by poor farming practices in the 1800s. The resulting soil is rich with red, purple, pink, and orange colors that make the canyon one of the most photogenic places in Georgia. This is a great sightseeing visit though backcountry camping and plenty of hiking trails are also available.
Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona is less than an hour's drive northwest of Atlanta. It is best known for the stunning 12,000-acre lake where guests swim, water ski, and fish. There is also a beach nestled in a tree-covered cove to cool off and relax. More than 15 miles of hiking trails wind through the park as well as a short paved trail suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. A reconstructed 1860s homestead serves as the park office, and there are cottages and various kinds of campsites available for overnight stays.
Smithgall Woods sits on Dukes Creek in northern Georgia. It is a great place for trout, though fishing is limited to certain days so anglers should call ahead to reserve a spot. Hikers enjoy exploring five miles of hiking trails, and there are 18 miles of paved trails for bicyclists to get a glimpse of the streams and wildlife. The park also has six beautiful cottages, some with views of the stream and others with relaxing private hot tubs. The visitor's center offers a small museum and gift shop, and guests can partake in guided tours.
Sweetwater Creek is just minutes from downtown Atlanta, a peaceful escape where visitors can hike along trails, one of which goes past the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company which was burned down during the Civil War. The George Sparks Reservoir covers 215 acres and is an ideal spot for fishing, picnicking, and feeding the ducks. Fishing boats, paddleboards, pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes are available for rent in the summer as well as a bait shop to stock up on supplies. Campsites and yurts are also available for overnight stays.
Just northeast of Athens, Georgia is Watson Mill Bridge. At 229 feet across, it is the longest covered bridge in the state. Watson Mill Bridge spans the South Fork River and was built in 1885. It is one of less than 20 covered bridges remaining in the state. This park makes a great day trip for sightseeing and photography, but there are plenty of things to do to keep busy. There are hiking, cycling, and horseback riding trails plus canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats are available to rent during the summer. For overnight stays, visitors have access to bunkhouses, campsites, and trailer and RV hookups.
At the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee Nation Forest is Vogel State Park. It is the second oldest state park in Georgia and particularly popular in the autumn when the trees lining the Blue Ridge Mountains turn bright red, orange, and yellow. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the park for both leisurely exploring and challenging excursions. Paddleboards, kayaks, pedal boats, and aqua cycles are available to rent in the summer for use on the 22-acre lake, and there are campsites and cottages for overnight stays.
Located just south of the North Carolina border and north of Tallulah Falls, Black Rock Mountain is the highest state park in the state of Georgia. It is an ideal place to experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and take in amazing scenery. The park's four hiking trails offer intimate views of the mountain's wildflowers, forests, streams, and waterfalls. There is also a small lake for fishing. From the visitor's center at the summit, it is possible to see into nearby South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee when the weather cooperates. Campsites, cottages, and campsites are available for overnight stays.