Woody Gap on the Appalachian Trail in Dahlonega, Georgia. Photo by @talkingexcitingly
National Park Service Sites in Georgia Not to Miss
Experience the incredible stories of influential people and places in American history at these nationally significant sites.
You may have experienced the unspoiled beauty of Georgia's Cumberland Island National Seashore. You also might have hiked or paddled your way down the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. But did you know that Georgia plays host to several other fascinating sites managed by the National Park Service?
Here's a quick rundown of lesser-known National Park Service locations in Georgia. Use this guide to start planning your own Georgia national parks vacation on ExploreGeorgia.org.
National Historic Sites & Parks
Andersonville National Historic Site near Americus
Tour Andersonville National Historic Site, the historic Civil War prison site and Andersonville National Cemetery, where veterans are still being buried. The on-site National Prisoner of War Museum pays tribute to prisoners of all American wars.
Jimmy Carter National Historical Park in Plains
As part of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, tour the Carter boyhood farm, the Plains High School Museum and Visitors Center, the Plains train depot and other points of interest in the 39th president’s hometown.
Read more: How to Experience President Jimmy Carter's Life and Legacy
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta
At Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, tour King’s birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center, where Dr. King and Coretta Scott King were laid to rest.
Read more: 6 Can't-Miss Spots at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon
See huge burial mounds constructed by the Mississippian culture around 1000 A.D. at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. Explore the exhibits, hike the trails and learn about a place that’s been occupied continuously for 17,000 years.
National Heritage Areas
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area east of Atlanta
Explore granite “mountains” (actually monadnocks), wetlands and forests, a nearby monastery and numerous other historic structures and exhibits at Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Plan to spend at least a day learning about the cultures that have populated the area, hiking or biking trails, and discovering the natural and cultural secrets that make this region truly amazing.
Read more: Hidden Gems in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area in Augusta
What once played a role in both the Civil War and Augusta’s once-booming textile trade is now a recreational corridor with easy access for paddlers and a towpath that can be used for hiking, biking and fishing. At the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, take a guided boat tour to learn more about the importance of the Augusta Canal in the area's history.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail has its southern terminus at Springer Mountain within the Chattahoochee National Forest. Even if you never leave the state of Georgia, the “AT” will lead past waterfalls, through deep, green forests and to the peaks of some of the state’s tallest mountains.
Read more: Tips for Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, starting at the New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun, the Trail of Tears commemorates the forced removal of members of the Five Civilized Tribes to Oklahoma beginning in 1838. Historic sites along the way include the homes of wealthy Cherokee leaders and the assembly points and gravesites that bear witness to the tragic mass relocation.
National Historic Monuments
Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island
At Fort Frederica, learn about the battle between Spain and Great Britain for contested lands between Florida and Georgia. Explore the museum, visitor’s center and archaeological site to learn more about this 18th century outpost.
Fort Pulaski National Historic Monument between Savannah and Tybee Island
Visit Fort Pulaski National Historic Monument to see the earthen forts that became obsolete during the Civil War, the moat that once protected the fort, the damage from Union bombardment, the Cockspur Island Lighthouse and interesting exhibits detailing the island’s history.
National Military Parks
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Fort Oglethorpe
Visit Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park to see markers and monuments that tell the story of the Battle of Chickamauga, and learn why the Confederate’s eventual loss here foretold the end of the Civil War.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Marietta
At Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, explore three battlefields with interpretive trails, a visitor center, preserved earthworks and a memorable view from the top of Kennesaw Mountain.
National Cultural Heritage Corridor
Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
The Gullah/Geechee culture, originating with West African slaves brought to coastal North and South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida, can be seen in unique communities that the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is meant to preserve. Keep your eyes open as you travel the Georgia Coast for remnants of this distinct and colorful culture.