The southeastern U.S. state of Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River. Nicknamed the Peach State, Georgia is known for the peoples welcoming hospitality and being the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. As well as famous faces, there are also a ton of things to do, from exploring cities like Atlanta and Savannah to hiking some of Georgia’s beautiful natural scenery.
One of the best ways to explore the state is through the state park system. Georgia has 49 state parks and around 12 million visitors annually to one of these state parks. Here’s our list of the top 20 Georgia State Parks you should visit.
- Georgia State Parks
- 20 State Parks In Georgia
- 1- Smithgall Woods State Park
- 2- Amicalola Falls State Park
- 3- Stephen C. Foster State Park
- 4- Skidaway Island State Park
- 5- Black Rock Mountain State Park
- 6- Tugaloo State Park
- 7- F.D. Roosevelt State Park
- 8- A.H. Stephens State Park
- 9- Tallulah Gorge State Park
- 10- Cloudland Canyon State Park
- 11- Seminole State Park
- 12- Unicoi State Park
- 13- Providence Canyon State Park
- 14- Fort McAllister State Park
- 15- Magnolia Springs State Park
- 16- Panola Mountain State Park
- 17- Vogel State Park
- 18- Fort Mountain State Park
- 19- Red Top Mountain State Park
- 20- Sweetwater Creek State Park
- 20 State Parks In Georgia
Georgia State Parks
20 State Parks In Georgia
1- Smithgall Woods State Park
You will find this Georgia state park in northern Georgia, around 85 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Best known for its prime fishing conditions, it has one of north Georgia’s best trout streams called Dukes Creek.
If you are a keen angler, you should call ahead before visiting, as fishing is only offered on specific days to allow for a better experience.
If fishing is not your thing, hit the five miles of trails and 18 road trails that lead you through hardwood forest, and past streams.
It’ll provide you with plenty of opportunities to see excellent wildlife.
Smithgall Woods State Park is ideal for that peaceful getaway and has six cottages that lead towards Duke Creek Falls along a one-mile trail.
Smithgall Woods State Park is at 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen, GA 30545.
2- Amicalola Falls State Park
Northwest of Dawsonville in northern Georgia is Amicalola Falls State Park, which is around eight miles from the Appalachian Trail and set within the Chattahoochee National Forest.
The park’s main feature is Amicalola Falls, a 729-foot waterfall that’s the third-highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
Right at the heart of the park is the Amicalola Falls Lodge, a popular place for those wanting to escape the city to enjoy the park’s outdoor activities.
Inside the park is zip lining (the best in the state), and you can also hike up to the cliff edge of Amicalola Falls.
The park also offers archery courses and axe throwing.
If you are looking for adventurous activities and beautiful landscapes, Amicalola Falls State Park is an excellent park.
Amicalola Falls State Park is at 418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville, GA 30534.
3- Stephen C. Foster State Park
This state park is in southern Georgia, around an hour and 30 minutes’ drive from Jacksonville, Florida.
The park is in a National Wildlife Refuge, closing at 10 pm.
This park is the gateway to Georgia’s seven natural wonders, the Okefenokee Swamp.
A swamp might not sound like the most interesting place to visit but in fact, this state park is full of fascinating sites.
Moss-covered trees contrast with the large black swap waters and cypress knees rise eerily from the ground.
Photographers, kayakers and canoeists love this area for its intriguing scenery.
There is also an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, racoons, black bears, deer, herons, turtles and woodpeckers.
On your boat, you can head out to Billy’s Island.
Fishing is also popular in the park, with frequently caught fish including bluegill, catfish, warmouth and chain pickerel.
Stephen C. Foster State Park is at 17515 GA-177, Fargo, GA 31631.
4- Skidaway Island State Park
Skidaway Island State Park is in eastern Georgia along the Intracoastal Waterway.
The landscape is unique and consists of a maritime forest and salt marsh.
A series of boardwalks wind their way through the park, and there’s also an observation tower for a unique perspective of the park.
You can camp among this wonderful landscape under oaks and Spanish moss.
As well as tented camping, there are also some RV sites and camper cabins with screened porches.
If you visit during summer, you should check out Tybee Island Beach, which is only around an hour’s drive.
Skidaway Island State Park is at 52 Diamond Causeway, Savannah, GA 31411.
5- Black Rock Mountain State Park
Black Rock Mountain State Park is in the northeastern corner of Georgia, close to the border with North Carolina.
This is Georgia’s highest state park, and it offers truly sublime views, especially when the trees change colours in autumn.
The roadside overlooks provide visitors with 80-mile vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The park also has a small lake popular among anglers and several walking trails to explore.
Close to the lake are mountain-top cottages, a small playground and a campsite nestled among the trees.
Black Rock Mountain State Park is at 3085 Black Rock Mountain Pkwy, Mountain City, GA 30562.
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6- Tugaloo State Park
Tugaloo State Park is in eastern Georgia along the border with South Carolina on the banks of Lake Hartwell.
The name Tugaloo comes from the Indian name for a river that once flowed freely before human interaction (i.e., the damming of Lake Hartwell).
To utilise the massive 55,590-acre lake as best they could, Tugaloo State Park has an enormous six-lane ramp that makes it easy to go fishing and access the lake.
The lake is a hotspot for swimming, water skiing, sailing and boating during the summer.
The Sassafras and Muscadine hiking trails also wind around various oak, mulberry, cherry and oak trees.
The park has 20 cottages, six yurts and a 105 tent campsite, so it’s a good idea if you are looking to stay for the weekend.
Tugaloo State Park is at 1763 Tugaloo State Park Rd, Lavonia, GA 30553.
7- F.D. Roosevelt State Park
This is Georgia’s largest state park – at 9,049 acres (3666 ha) – in the western part of Georgia, around 45 minutes’ drive from Columbus.
This park is a prime spot for hikers and backpackers, with more than 40 miles of trails and 23 miles of Pine Mountain trails.
These trails will allow you to pass through beautiful hardwood pines next to creeks and past waterfalls.
The whole time you are hiking you will be enjoying rolling mountain views.
The Civilian Conservation Corps played a part in providing the park with some much-needed amenities.
There’s the spring-fed Liberty Bell swimming pool and a wooded campground close to the small lake for those camping.
The park is named after FDR because he came to this spot in Georgia to swim in the warm spring water to relieve the pain of polio.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park is at 2970 GA-190, Pine Mountain, GA 31822.
8- A.H. Stephens State Park
The A.H. Stephens State Park is just off the I-20 outside of Crawfordville in eastern Georgia.
If you are into horse riding, this must-visit park has excellent equestrian facilities, including 21 miles of trails.
Other activities include fishing, boating and visiting the Civil War museum.
The Civil War Museum has one of the best collections of Civil War artifacts in the whole state and is well worth visiting.
You can also visit Liberty Hall, the home of A.H. Stephens by whom the park is named after.
A.H. Stephens State Park is at 456 Alexander St, Crawfordville, GA 30631.
9- Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park is a beautiful state park in northeastern Georgia between Lake Rabun and Tugaloo Lake, close to the South Carolina border.
This is a really popular Georgia state park, so if you are visiting on the weekend, you should plan to arrive early to make the most of your time at the park and guarantee a parking spot.
The canyon is truly spectacular.
Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and around 1,000 feet deep.
It’s full of lush green trees in summer, and in autumn, it’s bursting with classic roughie red and orange colours.
You can hike an excellent rim trail to access several overlooks.
Alternatively, you can obtain a permit to hike the gorge floor.
An 80-foot suspension bridge is super fun to cross and provides amazing river views.
On a hot day, step inside the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center to discover the history of the former Victorian-era resort town and learn more about the geography and geology of the area.
Tallulah Gorge State Park is at 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Rd, Tallulah Falls, GA 30573.
10- Cloudland Canyon State Park
This Georgia state park has a happy-sounding name and incredible views and vantage points to make you feel like you’re on cloud nine.
This state park is on the western side of Lookout Mountain in northwestern Georgia.
The park’s crowning jewel is the 1000-foot-deep canyon, but there are an abundance of other things to see.
Exploring sandstone cliffs, creeks, woodland and waterfalls, you can spend hours to days in this state park.
There are 64 miles of hiking trails, 16 miles for horse riders and 30 miles of biking trails.
Other park activities include disc golf, fishing, caving (between April and October) and picnicking.
Cloudland Canyon State Park is at 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd, Rising Fawn, GA 30738.
11- Seminole State Park
Head to the southwest corner of Georgia to discover Seminole State Park, a beautiful park on the shores of the beautiful Lake Seminole, which also crosses over into Florida.
This 37,500-acre reservoir has created a natural playground for people looking to go boating, fishing and check out the area’s characterful wildlife.
The water is calm and ideal for skiing and tubing, and you can rent kayaks and canoes too.
There’s also a great beach for swimming but unlike other parks in the state, hiking isn’t such a popular activity here.
This is a lovely park for those wanting to be on the water.
The park is home to an array of cottages and campsites, so you can spend a couple of days enjoying the local environment.
Seminole State Park is at 7870 State Park Rd, Donalsonville, GA 39845.
12- Unicoi State Park
Another of northern Georgia’s state parks is Unicoi State Park.
This state park and its lodge is centred around the beautiful Lake Unicoi and the Chattahoochee National Forest.
If you are looking for a mountain retreat destination for the whole family, this is the park for you.
There are so many things to do you will probably want to utilize their glamping, camping and lodge facilities to make the most of your time there.
An archery and air gun range open throughout the year and a highly enjoyable zipline.
There’s a fun three-mile GPS scavenger hunt that will make the kids fall in love with nature.
There are mountain biking trails, excellent hiking trails, and plenty of water activities.
Lake Unicoi offers paddleboarding, fishing and kayaking.
There’s also a designated swim beach which the kids will love.
Unicoi State Park is at 1788 GA-356, Helen, GA 30545.
13- Providence Canyon State Park
In Western Georgia, around 50 minutes’ drive south of the state’s second most populous city, Columbus, is Providence Canyon State Park.
Nicknamed Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon”, Providence Canyon is not as natural as you may expect upon visiting the park.
Improper farming practices formed the canyon during the 1800s, creating these 150 feet gullies.
Though it might be nicer to know the landform was natural, when you are there, you will appreciate it for its beauty.
For views of the canyon, head along the rim trail.
There are two main trails in the park.
The backcountry trail is around 7 miles and takes six hours.
The shorter canyon loop trail is 2.5 miles, ideal for those with not as much time.
Providence Canyon State Park is at 8930 Canyon Rd, Lumpkin, GA 31815.
14- Fort McAllister State Park
Fort McAllister State Park is close to the I-95 in eastern Georgia, around 30 miles outside of Savannah on the banks of the Ogeechee River.
This park showcases some of the best-preserved earthwork fortifications from the American Civil War.
These earthworks were attacked seven times but only fell in 1864 when Union Army Leader William T.
Sherman led the “March to the Sea”.
You can head to the Civil War museum to learn more about the four-year-long war and then head out to the grounds.
Here you will see cannons, a furnace and bombproof barracks.
As well as all the history, the area is beautiful.
Spend a while at their large picnic benches eating and being absorbed in the surroundings of the Ogeechee River.
Fort McAllister State Park is at 3894 Fort McAllister Rd, Richmond Hill, GA 31324.
15- Magnolia Springs State Park
Magnolia Springs State Park is in eastern Georgia, around an hours’ drive south of Augusta.
The park is named after the Magnolia Spring that flows through the area.
This area of Georgia also played a part in the Civil War when it was known as Camp Lawton.
Today you can enjoy the park’s five miles of hiking trails, from a short ½ mile to a longer two-mile hiking and biking trail.
As well as hiking, you can go fishing on Magnolia Lake, which is stocked with bass and bream.
You can also enjoy canoeing or kayaking on the lake; there are even six trails you can paddle along.
Magnolia Springs State Park is at 1053 Magnolia Springs Rd, Millen, GA 30442.
16- Panola Mountain State Park
Panola Mountain State Park is one of the more accessible parks if you find yourself in Atlanta.
This park is just a 25-minute drive southeast of downtown Atlanta.
This park has many things to do, like archery, geocaching, orienteering, tree-climbing and exploring the kid’s playground.
A paved trail section is ideal for biking, rollerblading and walking your dog.
Panola Mountain is part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and is a 100-acre granite outcrop.
Panola Mountain State Park is at 2620 Georgia 155 SW, Stockbridge, GA 30281.
17- Vogel State Park
Vogel State Park is picture-perfect at the south end of Lake Trahlyta in northern Georgia.
A lovely spot to visit, Vogel is one of the state’s oldest parks.
It’s at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
This park is a summertime haven but is also well worth visiting in autumn when the Blue Ridge Mountains transform.
There are some great hikes in the park, one of the most popular being the Bear Hair Gap Trail, a four-mile loop that passes over the lower ridges of Blood Mountain.
There’s a walk-in campsite, tented spots and RV sites. There are also 34 cottages which make for the perfect place to relax for a long weekend.
Vogel State Park is at 405 Vogel State Park Rd, Blairsville, GA 30512.
18- Fort Mountain State Park
There’s just something about northern Georgia that creates the best state parks.
Fort Mountain State Park is around 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive north of downtown Atlanta.
The park is at the southwest end of the Cohutta Mountains.
This is a wonderful place for hiking owing to its elevation, creating spectacular vantage points.
There are 25 miles of hiking trails, 25 miles of horse-riding trials and 27 miles for mountain bikers to explore.
As well as hiking, people visiting the park enjoy fishing on Fort Mountain Lake.
Try catching largemouth, bluegill, shell crackers and channel catfish.
Fort Mountain State Park is at 181 Fort Mountain State Park Rd, Chatsworth, GA 30705.
19- Red Top Mountain State Park
The sprawling Lake Allatoona surrounds Red Top Mountain State Park.
You will find this park around 45 minutes drive northwest of Atlanta.
Water enthusiasts will love spending time on Lake Allatoona.
Whether swimming, water skiing or fishing, there’s something fun to enjoy.
You can bring your own boats or there’s a marina close by where you can rent boats.
A cute sand beach sheltered by trees offers a cool place to take a dip during the hot summer sun.
There are rental cottages, a campsite and even yurts for a fun overnight experience.
Hikers will love the 15 miles of trails that meander through the forest.
For some of the best views of Lake Allatoona, head out on the 4-mile Iron Hill Trail.
Red Top Mountain State Park is at 50 Lodge Rd SE, Acworth, GA 30102.
20- Sweetwater Creek State Park
Sweetwater Creek State Park is between Sweetwater Creek and the George H Sparks Reservoir in the urban sprawl that surrounds Atlanta.
This is the perfect nature spot for escaping the hustle and bustle of Atlanta.
The 215-acre reservoir is ideal for anglers.
There’s even a bait shop if you don’t have your own supplies.
While there’s no swimming at the reservoir, you can launch canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
Book one of the 10 yurts in the park for fun accommodation.
There’s also a small campsite for those on a budget.
Sweetwater Creek State Park is at 1750 Mt Vernon Rd, Lithia Springs, GA 30122, United States
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