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How to Get in Free at these National Parks in Georgia

  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

    Photo Credit: Bill Leffler

Georgia is home to 13 units of the National Park Service, offering outdoor recreation and glimpses of history across the state. Although most of Georgia's National Park Service sites are fee-free, four require visitors to purchase parking or entry passes.

However, those fees will be waived for special groups and occasions throughout the year, including National Public Lands Day, on Sept. 30, 2017, and Veterans Day Weekend, Nov. 11-12, 2017. In addition, the "Every Kid in a Park" program offers families with fourth grade students a free annual pass. Active duty military and disabled citizens can also get free passes.

Enjoy these national parks in Georgia any time of year, and mark your calendars for the special fee-free days.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Boating on the Chattahoochee River. Photo courtesy National Recreation Area Facebook.
Boating on the Chattahoochee River. Photo courtesy National Recreation Area Facebook.

Nearly 50 miles of the Chattahoochee River run through the protected Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The various land units stretch from downstream of Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek, and offer a variety of fun opportunities for exploring nature, history and enjoying Atlanta's outdoor experience. Float down the river, ride mountain bikes, explore ruins and watch for wildlife along the trails. Parking fees are usually $3 per day.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Exploring Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park by foot. Photo by Candy Cook.
Exploring Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park by foot. Photo by Candy Cook.

Originally established to preserve battlefields and military history, the Chickamauga & Chattahoochee National Military Park is one of the largest greenspaces in the Chattanooga area. In addition to hiking historic trails marked by impressive monuments, visitors also enjoy biking, horseback riding, rock climbing and paddling. Although some park attractions are already fee-free, Point Park at Lookout Mountain Battlefield requires an entry fee of $5 per person.

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Fort Pulaski. Photo copyright: Jason Tench. Source: Shutterstock.com
Fort Pulaski. Photo copyright: Jason Tench. Source: Shutterstock.com

Explore the construction, history and military innovations related to this historic fort through a film, museum and guided tours. The striking architecture at Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah makes an interesting subject for photography. Various trails also guide visitors through scenic wooded areas, leading an historic pier and beautiful views of the Savannah River. Entry fee is usually $7.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island is home to pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, wide marshes and historic sites.
Cumberland Island is home to pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, wide marshes and historic sites.

Accessible only by boat, this enchanting island near St. Marys is a must-see for Georgians and tourists, but because of damage from Hurricane Irma in September, the island is closed to all visitation until cleanup work is completed. When ferries begin operating again, head to the island to explore hiking trails winding through maritime forest and boardwalks overlooking the salt marsh. Camp under the stars and comb for shells on sandy beaches. The island is also home to the massive Dungeness mansion ruins, once owned by wealthy elites. Fees are usually $7 in addition to ferry tickets. Check https://www.nps.gov/cuis/index.htm for the latest information.

Candy Cook

Candy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

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