Summer is in full swing, and it’s time to get outside. June is Great Outdoors Month! Camping spots are bound to fill up, but Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites has some hidden gems that are off the beaten path, such as treetop hammock campsites and paddle-in beach campsites. Visit Georgia State Parks throughout the year to camp, explore, swim, hike, horse-back ride and more! Whether you are a first time or experienced camper, Georgia State Parks offer multiple campsites to explore!
A fun day trip from Atlanta is Tallulah Gorge State Park:
Fun facts for Tallulah Gorge State Park:
-the gorge is 2 miles long and 1,000 feet deep
-there are several easy hikes for families- particularly the North and South Rim Trails, which are only ¾ mile one way. These end at observation decks where you can look across and down into the gorge.
-as well you can hike down several hundred steel steps to the suspension bridge, which swings 80 feet above the rushing waters and gives views of Tallulah Falls.
-on the first 3 weekends of November, the dam is released and whitewater kayakers can paddle the frigid waters and conquer difficult class IV and V rapids. For families, you can watch from the lookout spots and see the colorful kayakers move down the river from high above on the gorge rim.
Treetop Bivouac Camping
Panola Mountain State Park’s treetop bivouac camping program, called ZZZ’s in the Trees features canvas treeboats (sturdy hammocks) that are suspended above the ground. Secured by harnesses for the night, campers can safely scale the majestic trees in the park to get to their quarters.
Rent a kayak from select Georgia State Parks and take a short paddle on the lake to one of the park’s remote islands. Reed Bingham State Park: a 15 minute paddle to Eagle Island. High Falls State Park: a 30 minute paddle to the park’s secluded peninsula. Chattahoochee Bend State Park: seven riverside campsites for paddlers traveling down the Chattahoochee River.
Squirrel’s Nest Camping
Campers can have a squirrel’s eye view at Unicoi State Park. The park’s 16 squirrel’s nest camping shelters feature raised and covered wooden platforms with open sides that allow campers to spend the night side-by-side with the local wildlife.
Back Country Camping
Just 1.5 hours from Atlanta, Fort Mountain State Park’s four backcountry campsites offer visitors private and secluded campsites that are situated two miles apart from each other deep in the woods. Fort Mountain’s backcountry sites number 3 (called Moonshine) and number 4 (called Rock Creek) offer visitors gorgeous seasonal views looking out over the Chatsworth valley area. Backcountry sites are also offered at many other state parks, including as Tugaloo and Ft. McAllister, which have primitive campsites that do not require a long hike. http://gastateparks.org/FortMountain
After registering for backcountry camping, campers can set up tents anywhere along these State Park’s trails:
F.D. Roosevelt State Park
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area
Amicalola Falls State Park- The Hike Inn
A five-mile hike from the top of Amicolola Falls will bring visitors to the 20-guest room Hike Inn. Guests have access to hot showers, but there are no outlets at this backcountry getaway. The Hike Inn serves breakfast and dinner every day in a family-style setting and is perfect for Appalachian Trail hikers or families looking for a wilder kind of vacation. gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls
Smithgall Woods State Park- Luxury Cottage Camping
If you have never seen a chandelier in the middle of the woods, stay a night at Smithgall Woods State Park’s Smithgall Cottage. Rustically opulent and built of smooth Montana lodge pole pines, the cottage features immaculately decorated rooms, including a great room with a large stone fireplace, an exercise room, a kitchen, a dining room and four bedrooms (2 Kings; 1 Queen; 1 Double/Double) with private baths. Nestled at the heart of the park, the cottage’s large decks overlook the surrounding bubbling brooks and gorgeous forest scenery. gastateparks.org/SmithgallWoods
Stephen C. Foster State Park- Suwanee River Eco-Lodge
Run by Stephen C. Foster State Park, the Suwanee River Eco-Lodge in Fargo, Ga., consists of 10 cottages and a conference room that can seat up to 100 people. Perfect for hunting or paddling vacations, business meetings, retreats, reunions and weddings, the eco-lodge sits just 18 miles from the beautiful Okefenokee Swamp. gastateparks.org/StephenCFoster
There’s no need to pitch a tent when High Falls, Tugaloo, Red Top Mountain, Fort Yargo and Cloudland Canyon State Parks offer the glamorous camping (“glamping”) option of yurts. Made of wood and canvas, yurts sleep up to six people and come with beds, futons, screened windows and locking doors, as well as an outside deck, picnic table and grill/fire ring. Yurts will also soon be added to Sweetwater Creek State Park. http://gastateparks.org/Yurts
First-Time Camper Program
For those who have never ventured into the woods, 13 state parks offer loaner gear through the First-Time Camper program. The program’s equipment was donated to the parks by Coleman, REI and The North Face, and, for just $50, first-time adventure seekers can spend two nights in a modern campground with a tent, sleeping pads, chairs, a camp stove, lantern and marshmallow-roasting sticks. Park staff and volunteers can help set up the tents and provide “Camping 101” instructions. http://gastateparks.org/FirstTimeCamper
Information in article provided by Georgia State Parks.