Do you happen to find yourself in the southeastern United States with nothing to do, and are wondering where are the best national parks in Georgia? This state has a southern charm that is hard to forget, but there are also plenty of great natural resources to see!
Georgia may not be at the top of everyone’s travel list, but many are surprised to see the sheer amount of places to see and things to do here. From scenic trails and mountain vistas to beautiful seashores and coasts, this is one place you do not want to miss!
List of National Parks in Georgia
With as much wilderness and nature to see in Georgia, you might be surprised to find out that there are actually no National Parks in the entire state. But, if you extend your exploration criteria to include National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, National Preserves, and State Parks, then your options will become almost unlimited!
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian Trail, also known as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, is a famous long-distance trail that begins in Georgia and stretches all the way north to the state of Maine. It is over,180 miles long, and you can start this trail at Spring Mountain in Georgia.
The Appalachian Trail is so well known in the United States and Canada because of so many hikers dream of tackling this extensive trail at least once in their lifetime. There are very few who do so and only the best thru-hikers can accomplish it.
Luckily you do not have to be an extreme hiker to enjoy the Appalachian Trail, and even hiking some smaller portions of it while in Georgia is well worth the time!
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
While not technically a National Park, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is run by the National Park service. This massive area spans over 40,000 acres and includes historic sites, beautiful landscapes, and two giant granite outcrops that have taken 400 million years to form.
There are plenty of hiking and biking trails alike throughout Arabia Mountain, with a 33-mile trail that connects some of the most popular attractions in the area.
If you not only enjoy scenic landscapes but historical sites as well, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area has plenty of different buildings, communities, and museums to explore.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area protects a number of areas along the Chattahoochee River between Atlanta and Lake Sidney. This 48 mile stretch of river has plenty of beautiful areas to explore as well as historic sites.
One of the most popular activities here consists of floating the river, but there are also opportunities to fish, hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
The great thing about the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is that it is the perfect spot to either spend a couple of quick hours or a couple of days, depending on your schedule as it can accommodate both.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest and southernmost island off of its coast. Here you can find maritime forests, undisturbed beaches, and giant marshlands full of wildlife.
There is no shortage of things to do on Cumberland Island, whether it is swimming on the beaches, kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or exploring the island looking for the perfect photography locations.
From beautiful sandy beaches to lush forests, Cumberland Island is a great place to visit when in eastern Georgia. If you are in the area you will not want to miss this one, just don’t forget your fishing pole and sunscreen!
Best State Parks in Georgia
Providence Canyon State Park
Known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon has different layers of red, orange, and pink canyon walls to see. You can either hike along the rim for some beautiful photo opportunities from a bird-eye’s view or venture down into the canyon itself.
Campers and backpackers can stay here overnight along the backcountry trails that wind through the canyon and nearby forests, or in one of the established campgrounds.
If camping isn’t your thing, the nearby Florence Marina State Park has plenty of cabins and rooms to stay in. No matter where you stay, Providence Canyon State Park is well worth the trip!
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Found in the northeastern corner of Georgia, Tallulah Gorge State Park is home to yet another spectacular canyon in this state. At nearly two miles long and over 1,000 feet deep, there are plenty of places to explore and see.
Down in the canyon itself, you will find no shortage of waterfalls, trails, rapids, and even a lake with a beach. You will also find a suspension bridge that spans 80 feet above the bottom, giving the perfect views of the river and nearby waterfalls.
While there is no camping in this park, the nearby Black Rock Mountain State Park has plenty of cabins and campsites to stay at.
Stone Mountain State Park
Only found 15 miles from the city of Atlanta, Stone Mountain State Park is easily Georgia’s most popular park. Besides its location, this might also be due in part to its many unusual attractions, such as a laser show that incorporates drones, flame cannons, fireworks, lights, and music.
Another attraction is the Summit Skyride that uses a Swiss cable car to give you some incredible views of the world’s largest relief carving and the surrounding mountains.
Camping is available at this park, and you will easily find no shortage of things to see or do at this exciting and strange state park!
Fort Mountain State Park
Fort Mountain State Park is a healthy mix of a historical site and nature preserve. It gets its name from an ancient stone rock wall that was built anywhere from 500 to 1500 CE. This 800 foot plus long wall was built on the crest of a mountain, and archaeologists still debate about what its intended use was.
Besides the incredible history, this park also has plenty of area for horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers with over 60 miles worth of trails to ride and explore.
Fort Mountain also includes a miniature golf course, a fishing lake with boat and kayak rentals, and a museum to visit. This state park has something for just about everyone, no matter their preferences!
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon is a nature enthusiast’s paradise. This park has over 3,500 acres of wilderness to explore, including multiple caves, waterfalls, and scenic views. The two waterfalls can be accessed by hiking down over 600 steps, just remember you have to hike back up!
There are over 64 miles of hiking trails, 16 miles of horseback riding trails, and 30 miles of biking trails to explore depending on your mode of transportation.
There is also an 18 hole disc golf course and geocaches throughout the park, so there is no end to the many possibilities that this amazing state park can offer you when you visit!
Fort Yargo State Park
Fort Yargo encompasses a 260-acre lake that gives you the opportunities to fish, swim, or go boating. There are also plenty of sandy beaches for picnics, sunbathing, etc.
With over 50 campsites, multiple cabins, cottages, and yurts, there are plenty of places to stay while you visit, and with its ideal situation between Athens and Atlanta, you could even stop in for a few hours.
From the multiple hiking or biking trails to the beautiful lake, Fort Yargo is often an underappreciated park to visit and maybe even unknown to people in the area but it is well worth the time to see!
Stephen C. Foster State Park
Stephen C. Foster State Park is a 120-acre state park found in the Okefenokee Swamp of Georgia. This remote park was specifically made to showcase the swamp and its unique ecosystem, from its wildlife to its vegetation.
Adventurers and photographers will be happy to know that there are abundant animals to see, from alligators, bears, deer, storks, raccoons, and hundreds of different species of birds.
At over 400,000 acres, Stephen C. Foster State Park has plenty of space to spread your legs and see some of the most pristine nature that the state of Georgia has to offer!
While Georgia may not have any national parks of its own, it is still home to some of the best nature parks and preserves in the country. It may be far from the most popular tourist destination in the United States, but it still offers some amazing destinations that you will want to put on your travel list!