Georgia State Parks camping is my favorite way to camp. I love it so much, that I have literally never camped anywhere else in Georgia! I loved the parks just as much as a camping kid, as I do now as a camping adult.
There are campsites and sleeping accommodations for every type of adventurer, and even if you’ve never camped before — they have a program just for you! There is truly something for everyone.
WHY CAMP AT A GEORGIA STATE PARK
Georgia State Parks have more than 2,700 campsites of all different types. Whether you’re camping in a tent or RV, and whether you want to hike to your spot, or park right next to it – they’ve got a site for you!
I think one of the main reasons to choose Georgia State Parks camping vs other sites is the knowledge that you’re camping at a well-maintained and beautiful spot, near one of Georgia’s most incredible places just waiting to be explored! The Georgia State Parks are home to some of our state’s most amazing sights, and camping right in the middle of that beauty is a priceless experience.
One reason I personally love Georgia State Parks camping is because of what they offer the kids. There are usually playgrounds near the camping areas at these parks, the bathrooms are always clean and well-lit, and there are quite a few Georgia State Parks that offer campsites along lakes and creeks – which is my kids’ favorite place to play! And along that same line of thought, most Georgia State Parks also have laundry facilities. (Ha!)
Another bonus? Georgia State Park camping is super affordable. Most rates average around $30-$35 a night. You can’t beat that!
EXPERIENCE GEORGIA STATE PARK CAMPING: THE BASICS
There are so many different types of camping, and the Georgia State Parks are ready for all of them! Some of the campsites you can expect are tent-only areas, RV pull-thru sites, primitive camping, and group camping areas.
In most cases, the tent-only areas are available for you to park your car right next to your site. We call this, “car camping.” This is awesome because you don’t have to lug your gear very far, and it’s easy to store food in your vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about attracting unwanted animal guests.
In these sites, you have access to community bathrooms and showers, and in some cases, laundry facilities. The car camping sites usually have a fire ring, electric hook-up and water on-site, a picnic table, and sometimes a grill. We wrote a whole post filled with car camping tips for you here!
Primitive camping is a nice way of saying – instead of bathrooms, you have outhouses! And there is no running water or electricity hook-ups. You’re on your own! They do have fire rings, and usually a picnic table. On the plus side, you’re in a more remote area that’s not frequented by others – so you can truly get away from it all!
Walk-in campsites are exactly what they sound like – you walk to that site. Most walk-in sites aren’t far from the parking area, but your car isn’t parked right at the site. You still have access to the bathrooms and other facilities at these sites, too (you just have to walk a little further). These sites are awesome in that they are also a bit away from the hustle and bustle of other campers, but not too far away from the action.
There are also backcountry campsites, which require a longer hike with your gear than the walk-in sites, and there are no facilities of any kind – no bathrooms, outhouses, water, or electricity. You get a fire ring, and a spot for your tent! But you are truly out in the wilderness and enjoying nature.
And if you’re lucky enough to have an RV – they’ve got plenty of sites for you guys too! So many RV sites are available at Georgia State Parks and beyond – no matter the size of your rig. Depending on the park, there are usually both back-in and pull-through sites available.
There are also options for large groups – think Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops. Many Georgia State Parks have special group campsites that accommodate dozens of campers. This is an awesome way to keep all of your campers together. I still remember camping with a group of family friends at the pioneer group camp at FDR State Park when I was a teenager – it was truly one of my best camping experiences ever.
YOU CAN SLEEP WHERE? UNIQUE CAMPING AT GEORGIA STATE PARKS
One of the neatest things about Georgia State Parks, is the very unique sleeping accommodations they offer. Whether you’re an experienced camper who wants to try something new, or an adventurer looking for that next exciting experience, Georgia State Parks have something you’ll love.
Yurts are hands-down the coolest things. With wood floors, and canvas walls and ceilings, yurts bring camping to a whole other level. They’re heated, and you’re well-protected from the elements, but you still get that camping feel. Each yurt comes with futons and bunk beds (they sleep 6), and they have decks, a fire ring, and a picnic table.
The bathhouses are within walking distance. And the inside is so spacious! You can really spread out in there. All you need to bring are your sleeping bags/linens and your food, and you’re good to go! (Pets are not allowed in or around the yurts.)
Yurts are currently located at Cloudland Canyon State Park, High Falls State Park (these yurts sleep 5), Red Top Mountain State Park, Fort Yargo State Park, Tugaloo State Park, and Sweetwater Creek State Park.
We stayed in the yurts at Fort Yargo, and it was truly the coolest experience for the kids! They were able to go fishing right off our back deck, and the whole thing was just – neat! Such a great way to experience a state park in a new way. The kids still talk about it, and we can’t wait to do it again. And we’ve just learned the yurts at Fort Yargo now have heaters, so don’t let cool weather deter you.
SQUIRREL’S NEST PLATFORM
At Unicoi State Park, they have something called a “Squirrel’s Nest Platform” for an extremely unique camping experience! An Adventure Guide will lead you to the platform area within the park, and it’s basically a wooden platform, with a wooden roof – but other than that, it’s open!
You bring your sleeping bag or hammock, and then you get to sleep under the stars. The platforms are all together in one area, kind of attached together – so it’s perfect for groups, too!
Just a short paddle from the parking area at Reed Bingham, there is a primitive group camping site on an island! (It sleeps 30.) At Chattahoochee Bend, you can either hike 5.5 miles or paddle down the river to one of eight backcountry sites. And at High Falls, you can paddle to a primitive campground with an outhouse that sleeps 25. Talk about getting away from it all!
Absolutely my favorite Georgia State Park adventure so far is the Hike Inn. It is an experience like no other.
The Hike Inn is only accessible by a 5-mile hike from the trailhead at Amicalola Falls State Park, and once you get there, you feel like you’re home. It’s beautiful, and wonderful, and exceptional. It’s a sustainably-designed lodge, where you can sleep in a rustic bunk room, and eat home-cooked, family-style meals, and truly unplug. (No, truly. There are no outlets in your room for charging electronics!)
It is amazing, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.
ZZZ’S IN THE TREES
Experts will help you find a spot in the 100-foot Southern Red Oak – “Naomi Ruth” – for a night under the stars. Climbers will need to bring their own dinner and breakfast, but they provide you with your “treeboat” for sleeping in the tree. How cool is that?!
Adirondack Camping is available at Chattahoochee Bend State Park near Newnan. These four shelters are enclosed on three sides, are screened in the front, and can fit eight sleeping bags in each.
The grills and fire ring are in a common area, and this would be the perfect unique experience for a group!
And for the horse lover in your group, there are also equestrian campsites at several Georgia State Parks! You can camp with your horse nearby at Hard Labor Creek, A.H. Stephens, General Coffee, and Watson Mill Bridge state parks.
THE VERY BEST THINGS TO DO WHEN CAMPING
There is so much to do when you’re camping at a Georgia State Park! These parks are surrounding some of the most beautiful sites in our state, so you have to explore while you’re there!
A wonderful way to discover a state park is to go geocaching. Geocaching is when you use your GPS (and geochaching.com) to find a hidden cache. When you find it, you can take a prize and leave one for the next person. It’s like a modern-day treasure hunt!
Georgia State Parks have taken it a step further and created a Parks GeoTour! The rangers have hidden 45 caches in 45 state parks. The GeoTour will take you from one state park to the next, and you can stamp your downloadable passport every time you find a new cache. Some of the caches are easy, and some are tricky, but they are fun for all ages. Once you’ve discovered a certain number of caches, you can get your custom geo-coin. CLICK HERE for more information.
Orienteering is an activity that uses a compass and a map to navigate through the woods from one point to another!
Georgia Orienteering Club offers permanent courses are Mistletoe State Park, Red Top Mountain State Park, and Sweetwater Creek State Park. Orienteering is also offered at Reed Bingham State Park and Hard Labor Creek State Park.
Hiking is one of my family’s favorite pastimes, and there is always a trail to discover at our state parks. There are trails for every type of hiker – challenging backcountry hikes, paved trails, waterfall hikes, and trails that take you to gorgeous mountain views.
- Amicalola Falls (Appalachian Trail access)
- Black Rock Mountain
- Cloudland Canyon
- F.D. Roosevelt
- Fort Mountain
- Providence Canyon
HARD-SURFACED TRAILS AT GEORGIA STATE PARKS:
Here is a list of hard-surfaced trails – perfect for wheelchairs and strollers!
- Amicalola Falls
- Cloudland Canyon
- Fort Yargo
- Panola Mountain
- Red Top Mountain
- Stephen C. Foster
- Tallulah Gorge
- Fort Mountain
- General Coffee
- Reed Bingham
- Skidaway Island
- Sweetwater Creek
- Watson Mill Bridge
BEST HIKES FOR KIDS
We all know that kids have boundless energy – and there are hikes for them too! Kids especially get excited about hikes that lead to something cool! Some of the best hikes for kids can be found at these Georgia State Parks:
- Fort Mountain (lake loop)
- General Coffee (farm animals)
- Reed Bingham (gopher tortoises)
- Skidaway Island (fiddler crabs)
- Sweetwater Creek (follows the creek)
- Vogel (lake loop and waterfall)
- Fort Yargo (lake loop, and old fort area)
- Watson Mill Bridge (the covered bridge, and shoals).
Anna Ruby Falls is located just outside of Unicoi State Park – and it’s amazing. There is also cascading water – so maybe not an official waterfall – at Sweetwater Creek and Watson Mill Bridge state parks.
Georgia State Parks have several clubs you can join for $15, which buys you a t-shirt you can wear while you complete the tasks at certain state parks.
Join the Canyon Climbers Club and work to complete the hikes that have the most steps! This is not for the faint of heart. You’ll have to climb the steps at Amicalola Falls (604 steps one-way), Cloudland Canyon (1200 steps both ways), Providence Canyon (1.5 miles both ways, about 2500 steps), and Tallulah Gorge (620 steps both ways). Once complete, you’ll get the bragging rights and shirt!
Want to try to Muddy Spokes Club? Break out your bicycle, helmet and stain-busting laundry detergent. Georgia State Park System’s Muddy Spokes Club challenges mountain bikers and casual cyclists to ride 12 trails from participating parks.
Want something for your four-legged friends? Bring your pup on a tail-wagging adventure. Tails on Trails Club offer a great experience with lakes, mountains, forests, and more in between, hikers and their four-legged friends are challenged to explore trails at Georgia State Parks.
And if you want a break from the heat, consider joining the Park Paddlers Club! Pick up your paddle to see Georgia’s rivers, mill ponds, lakes, and even the celebrated Okefenokee Swamp. Join the Park Paddlers Club and paddle through 12 of the participating parks. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner, this is a perfectly unique way to explore the parks and work toward a goal.
MORE AWESOME AND AFFORDABLE THINGS TO DO
One of the absolute best things about camping is that it’s affordable, right? And a great thing about Georgia State Parks is all the completely affordable experiences that you can participate in on-site!
There are adventure programs with a treetop zipline at Amicalola and Unicoi. Animal encounters at a lot of the visitor centers (like Amicalola, Crooked River, and Sweetwater Creek, to name a few), and canoeing (especially worth it at George L. Smith – best ever!).
Go fishing at dozens of parks, or participate in a full moon hike or paddle. You can kayak, take an archery class, or play mini golf at many of the parks for a small fee. You can swim in a bell-shaped pool at F.D. Roosevelt!
The possibilities seem endless! Some of the activities are free, and all of them are affordable.
GEORGIA STATE PARKS CAMPING RESERVATION GUIDE
So now you’re ready to make a Georgia State Parks camping reservation, right? All parks now have site-specific reservations, so you can reserve the perfect spot for you – right on the water, near the playground, near the bathrooms, away from everyone – whatever suits you!
GEORGIA STATE PARKS CAMPING NORTH OF ATLANTA
Amicalola Falls (Dawsonville): 57 resort-style lodge rooms, 14 cabins, 24 tents, trailer, RV sites (site-specific), plus four glamping sites. Read more from 365 on Amicalola Falls Hikes, The Lodge, and the River Trail. There is a restaurant on-site, Cascades, where traditional American and Southern classic cuisine with the beautiful backdrop of the park. The food is great and the views are unforgettable.
Black Rock Mountain (Rabun County): 10 cottages, 44 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 12 walk-in campsites, 4 backcountry campsites, 1 pioneer campground. Plus there is a 17-acre lake.
Cloudland Canyon (Rising Fawn): 16 cottages, 10 yurts, 72 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 30 walk-in campsites, 13 backcountry campsites, 4 pioneer campsites, 1 group lodge (sleeps 40) Read more from 365 on Cloudland Canyon, and hang gliding near the park.
Don Carter (Gainesville): 8 cottages, 44 tent, trailer, and RV sites, 14 primitive tent campsites.
Elijah Clark (Lincolnton): 20 cottages, 172 tent, trailer, and RV sites, 10 walk-in campsites, and 1 pioneer campground. It’s located on the 71,100-acre Clarks Hill Lake and has sandy beaches, boat ramps, and a Log Cabin Museum. It’s a great spot for boating, fishing, swimming, or skiing.
Fort Mountain (Chatsworth): 15 cottages, 70 tents, trailer and RV campsites (site-specific – some seasonal), 4 walk-in campsites, 6 platform campsites, 3 pioneer campsites, 4 backcountry campsites. Plus a 17-acre lake. Read more from 365 on Fort Mountain.
Fort Yargo (Winder): 16 cottages, 12 walk-in campsites, 6 yurts (with heaters!), 47 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 12 walk-in campsites, 1 pioneer campground. Plus a 260-acre lake.
If you’re looking for an upscale adventure, you’ll find Chateau Elan Winery Resort within close proximity to Fort Yargo State Park. (I mean if you’re glamping in a yurt, why not treat yourself?) Chateau Elan is where Southern charm meets French luxury and chefs create delectable local dishes with uncommon flavors. Chateau Elan Winery Resort was thrilled to be awarded CN Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards for 2022!
Hart State Outdoor Recreation Area (Hartwell): 42 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 16 walk-in campsites (site-specific). Located on beautiful Lake Hartwell, this park offers opportunities to boat, paddle, swim, ski, and more! Note: This park is no longer managed by the Department of Natural Resources, and is now managed by the City of Hartwell.
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd (Chattooga County): 4 cottages, 24 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (site-specific), 4 backcountry campsites, and 1 pioneer campground.
Moccasin Creek (Habersham County): 53 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, ADA accessible fishing pier, wildlife observation tower, located on 2,775 acre Lake Burton.
Red Top Mountain (Acworth): 20 cottages, 93 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 1 yurt, and 1 pioneer campground. Bringing a boat? There are boat docks, a marina, and sandy beaches. Located on 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona.
While visiting Red Top Mountain State Park, don’t miss the World’s first Coca-Cola wall sign in Georgia, only in Cartersville, dating back to 1894.
Richard B. Russell (Elberton): 20 cottages, 27 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (site-specific). Located on 26,650-acre Lake Russell. Read more from 365 on Richard B. Russell. There are bike, kayak, canoe, and even pontoon boat rentals.
Smithgall Woods (Helen): 6 cottages, 1 pioneer campground (youth and conservation groups only). Read more from 365 on Smithgall Woods. Smithgall Woods is an angler’s paradise. One of North Georgia’s premier trout streams, Dukes Creek, runs through this spectacular mountain property and is a favorite for catch and release fishing.
Sweetwater Creek (Lithia Springs): 10 yurts, 5 tent campsites. Read more from 365 on Sweetwater Creek. Jon Boat, Kayak, Canoe, Paddleboard, & Aquacycle Rental — available seasonally. Don’t miss the Textile Mill Ruins.
Tugaloo (Lavonia): 20 cottages, 6 yurts, 105 tent, trailer and RV sites (some seasonal), 11 walk-in campsites. Located on 55,590-acre Lake Hartwell.
Unicoi (Helen): 100 lodge rooms, 29 cabins, 82 private and group campsites, 51 RV sites, and four glamping sites. Read more from 365 on Unicoi State Park. Don’t miss nearby Helen, Ga where you can explore fun finds, great eats, and nearby tubing on the Chattahoochee River. Don’t miss downtown Helen, where German charm meets upscale shopping.
Victoria Bryant (Royston): 1 Bluebird Cottage (sleeps 8), 27 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 1 tent/RV combo site, 8 platform walk-in campsites, 2 pioneer campgrounds (sleeps 75).
Vogel (Blairsville): 34 cottages, 90 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (site-specific), 18 walk-in campsites, and 1 pioneer campground. Plus, there is a general store on-site and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum is open seasonally. There is miniature golf, and kayak, paddleboard, pedalboat, & aquacycle rentals – available depending on the season. Read more from 365 on Vogel in Blairsville.
Watson Mill Bridge (Madison County): 21 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (seasonal), 11 equestrian campsites, 1 buddy equestrian campsite, 3 log cabin bunk houses, and 3 pioneer campsites (seasonal).
GEORGIA STATE PARKS CAMPING SOUTH OF ATLANTA
A.H. Stephens (Crawfordville): 4 cottages, 25 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 29 equestrian campsites, 1 group camp (sleeps 150), 1 pioneer campground, 10-acre event field with 24 vendor hook-ups.
Chattahoochee Bend (Newnan): 37 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 8 tent-only drive-in campsites, 12 tent walk-in campsites, 8 platform campsites, 8 backcountry/paddle-in campsites, and 1 Adirondack group campsite. Read more from 365 on Chattahoochee Bend.
Hamburg (Washington County): 32 tent, trailer, and RV campsites.
Hard Labor Creek (Rutledge): 20 cottages, 51 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (some seasonal, site-specific), 11 tent/pop-up sites, 1 buddy campsite, 2 group camps (sleeps 75 and 120), 4 pioneer campgrounds, 11 equestrian campsites. Read more from 365 on Hard Labor Creek in Rutledge.
High Falls (Butts County): 6 yurts, 106 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (some seasonal, site specific), 1 pioneer campground, 1 paddle-in primitive campsite (sleeps 25). Read more from 365 on High Falls.
Indian Springs (Butts County): 10 cottages, 62 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 1 group camp (sleeps 130), 1 pioneer campground.
Mistletoe (Appling): 10 cottages, 1 Fisherman’s Cabin (with private dock), 1 tent cabin, 93 tent, trailer, and RV sites (some seasonal), 4 walk-in campsites, 3 backcountry campsites, 1 pioneer campground. Located on 71,100-acre Clarks Hill Lake near Augusta, this park is known as one of the finest bass fishing spots in the nation. Boat ramps provide easy access to one of the Southeast’s largest lakes.
Panola Mountain (Stockbridge): 5 primitive campsites, ZZZ’s in the Trees (special event). Read more from 365 on Panola Mountain State Park which is located partly in Henry County. For more things to do in the area, check out Visit Henry County GA.
GEORGIA STATE PARK CAMPING IN SOUTH GEORGIA
Florence Marina (Omaha): 7 cottages, 8 efficiency units, 41 tent, trailer, and RV sites. Read more from 365 on Florence Marina. This is a great place to camp while visiting nearby Providence Canyon State Park.
General Coffee (Coffee County): Burnham Cottage (sleeps 8) and Hawksnest House (sleeps 6), 4 cottages, 50 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 4 equestrian campsites, 4 backcountry campsites, 10 dry camping sites, 1 group lodge (sleeps 40), and 2 pioneer campgrounds. Learn more from 365 on General Coffee.
One of southern Georgia’s “best kept secrets,” this park is known for its agricultural history shown at Heritage Farm, with log cabins, a corn crib, tobacco barn, cane mill and other exhibits. Children enjoy seeing the park’s farm animals, which usually include goats, sheep, chickens, pigs and donkeys.
Gordonia-Altamaha (Reidsville): 10 cottages, 29 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 1 walk-in campsite.
Kolomoki Mounds (Blakely): 25 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 2 group camp shelters (sleeps 50 &120), 1 group camp (sleeps 135), and 2 pioneer campgrounds.
Laura S. Walker (Waycross): 6 cottages, 44 tent, trailer, and RV campsites (site-specific), 4 group shelters (sleeps 75-165), 1 group camp (sleeps 142), and 1 pioneer campground.
Little Ocmulgee (Helena): 60 lodge rooms, 10 cabins, 54 tent, trailer, and RV campsites. There are two restaurants located on-site: the Fairway Restaurant and Mulligan’s Grille.
Reed Bingham (Adel): 46 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 1 pioneer campground, 1 primitive paddle-in island campsite (sleeps 30).
Seminole (Donalsonville): 14 cottages, 50 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 1 treehouse campsite (sleeps 15), 2 pioneer campgrounds. The cottages are located along the lake here!
Stephen C. Foster (Fargo): 9 cottages, 63 tent, trailer, and RV sites (some seasonal), and 1 pioneer campground.
Veterans (Cordele): 14 lodge rooms, 64 villa guest rooms, 10 cabins.
GEORGIA STATE PARK CAMPING ON THE COAST
Fort McAllister (Richmond Hill): 7 cottages, 67 tent, trailer, and RV campsites, 2 backcountry campsites, 2 pioneer campgrounds.
*All photos courtesy of Georgia State Parks.
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