We are so excited to partner with Georgia State Parks for another year of adventure. In honor of that partnership, we updated our bucket list and decided to share it with you! How many of these can you mark off your list?
Adventure Program – NEW at Amicalola and Unicoi State Parks, enjoy treetop zip lines, GPS scavenger hunts, 3-D archery and climbing walls; and both facilities will be designated GoPro Parks, with classes and a rental program enabling guests to make an entertaining record of their day using the action camera mounted on a bike, kayak or helmet. Read more about the Adventure Program here.
Animal encounters. Many visitor centers allow you to see animals up close, like the reptile exhibit at Amicalola. Other parks have regularly scheduled animal encounters, like Red Top Mountains upcoming class on snakes and turtles.
Archery. Try your hand with a bow and arrows at Panola, Victoria Bryant and others.
Bubbling spring. The natural blue hole at Magnolia Springs flows over 7 million gallons of spring water a day. See turtles, alligator and more at the beautiful spring.
Camper cabin. Laura Walker now has camper cabins in addition to Skidaway and Fort Yargo. These are smaller cabins where guests bring their own linens, towels, dishes and cooking utensils.
Canoe. I will ever forget my boys’ first canoe trip at George L Smith. Most parks with lakes or lake access offer canoe rental. It’s a great way to explore!
Canyon Climbers Club. Hike the canyons of four of Georgia’s parks for a membership in the Canyon Climbers Club.
Civil War Badge. As part of the 150th anniversary of the civil war, kids 7 – 70 can earn a commemorative badge by completing a series of activities at various parks.
Climb to the top of an Indian mound. Etowah Indian Mounds is an historic site protecting six earthen mounds, a plaza, village site borrow pits and a defensive ditch built by Native Americans from 1000AD to 1550AD.
Escape in luxury. The cottages at Smithgall Woods State Park are quite luxurious. The Creekside Cabin is a favorite of ours.
First time campers. If you want to try your hand at camping, but you are not sure how to start, then try the First Time Campers program at participating parks.
Fishing. Pack your pole for a great time in a lake or stream. Don’t forget your license. Here are Georgia’s top fishing parks.
Frisbee golf. There is usually a small fee to play, but the scenery can’t be beat.
Full moon hikes and paddles. Several of the parks have a monthly full moon hike or paddle. The most popular is the full moon suspension bridge hike at Tallulah.
Geocache. You’ll find caches in 44 parks. Print your Geo-Challenge Passport and begin collecting coins now!
Get Outdoors Gopher Badge. Similar to a Jr Ranger Badge, kids 7-10 participate in 5 outdoor activities (kiddos 11-14 must complete eight.) The badge programs encourage kids to go fishing, play golf or ride a horse, among other outdoor activities.
Golf. Eight courses around the state are great for families and first –time golfers, too. It’s a perfect, non-distracting place to learn the game.
Gopher Trail. Head to General Coffee, an outstanding park that is often overlooked by families. The Gopher Trail here is home to over 130 Gopher Tortoises, the Georgia State Reptile.
History Hikes. History Hikes are guided hikes that explore the historical significance of the park. Don’t miss them at places like Red Top Mountain or Sweetwater Creek.
Hunting. I know. It isn’t for everyone. But if you’d like to learn more or have the chance for bear or turkey hunting, try it with a ranger at a Georgia State Park.
Jr Ranger Camp. Camps are 3-day events held during summer for kids 8-13. Opportunities including hiking, archery, fishing, nature art, and more.
Jr Ranger Program. You don’t have to go to camp to become a Jr Ranger. It’s fun, educational and free. Here is more info about the Jr Ranger program.
Kayak. There are plenty of places in the parks to kayak. Some of our favorites include George L Smith and Chattahoochee Bend. Of course, don’t miss Stephen Foster and the Okefenokee.
Len Foote. Does it get better than Len Foote Hike Inn? I think not! And fall’s glorious colors are amazing.
Mini golf. Fort Yargo, Indian Springs, High Falls, Vogel…and the list goes on. It’s a great escape with the kids.
Muddy Spokes Club. Love mountain biking? For $10 you can get a Muddy Spokes membership card. Ride the trails at 11 Georgia State Parks and then get a t-shirt to show off your efforts.
Paddle to your campsite. Reed Bingham was Georgia’s first paddle-in campsite, but now you can also try it at Chattahoochee Bend and High Falls.
Park Paddlers Club. Much like the mountain bikers club, but for water trails. Paddle 24 miles over all six participating parks to earn bragging rights.
Pedal and picnic. Bike your way around the 400 million year old monadnock at Panola Mountain. No bikes? No problem; they are available for rent. And pack a picnic to eat at Alexander’s Lake. Check the calendar for guided rides and free bike rental options, or take the journey on your own!
Pedal boats. Looking for something a little sturdier than a canoe? Try a pedal boat! You’ll find them at Hard Labor, Fort Yargo, Sweetwater Creek and other places around the state.
Photo with FDR. Head to the top of Dowdell’s Knob for spectacular views and a selfie with FDR…well, his life-size statue.
Play on a playground. Georgia State Parks are filled with playgrounds. The best part? Most of them are in the shade, under the trees.
POW Museum. Most people think of Andersonville when they hear about POWs, but did you know there was a second POW camp in Georgia. Magnolia Springs was the former home of Camp Lawton and you can tour the museum.
Rent aqua cycles. Want to bike…on water!? Seminole, Panola, High Falls, Vogel and more parks offer the opportunity to try your hand at this unique boating experience.
Ride the SAM Shortline. Take this 1949 vintage engine through Georgia’s quaint towns with fun attractions, Different stops and adventures are available throughout the year.
Scenic view. There are so many places to enjoy a breathtaking view of the mountains. Here are our favorite vista views (and waterfalls!)
See diamorpha. Most people know about blooming diamorpha at Arabia Mountain, but did you know it is also grows lovely on the rocks of Chattahoochee Bend.
Sleep in a tree. With ZZZ’s in the Trees at Panola Mountain Park you can lounge in the tree canopy under the stars for an adventure you will not forget!
Stay at farmhouse. General Coffee is amass with hidden treasures, including a beautiful farmhouse that you can rent for the evening. You will love the old soaker tub!
Stay in a yurt. My family and I stayed in a yurt at High Falls, and it was so much fun. New ones are opening at Sweetwater later this month.
Stay in refurbished cabin. Many of the cabins at Georgia State Parks are being refurbished and look as if they’ve been manhandled by the design teams from Southern Living. Gorgeous! Check out our stay at Vogel State Park for a sample of the remodel.
Swim at the beach. With so many of Georgia’s State Parks touching a lovely lake, there are plenty of places to go for a swim during the warmer months.
Swim in bell shaped pool. While you have swimming on your mind, consider a dip in a pool as well. Five parks have pools and three additional places have splash grounds. The coolest pool of all? The Liberty Bell- shaped pool at FDR State Park, filled with natural spring water.
Take a waterfall hike. Did you know there are waterfalls at nine of Georgia’s parks? Follow this list of waterfall parks and see how many you can visit.
Taste spring water. Head to Indian Springs for a taste of spring water. Bring your containers and fill ‘em up, but be sure to let them sit overnight in order for the Sulphur smell to dissipate. Delicious and nutritious!
Tent camping in the back country. If you enjoy primitive camping in the backcountry, the GSPs have an answer for you, too. 34 parks include primitive and/or back country camping.
Tree climbing. Panola Mountain offers the opportunity to monkey around in the trees. Don’t miss this incredible experience.
View aircraft and memorabilia from Revolutionary War. Georgia Veterans State Park was established as a memorial to US Veterans. The park features a museum with aircraft, vehicles, weapons, uniforms and other memorabilia dating from the Revolutionary War to the present.
Visit a natural wonder of Georgia. Did you know there are seven natural wonders in Georgia? Five of them are part of the Georgia State Parks system, or can be accessed via a state park.
Volunteer. The parks of Georgia can always use your help; there are a number of ways to volunteer. You can help with a 1-day community project, or help on a weekly or monthly basis. No effort is too small.
Walk on a suspended bridge. Fly high above Tallulah Gorge on a suspended bridge hike. It’s not for the faint of heart….take 400 steps down to the bridge and 400 steps back to the top.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.