25 Things to Do at Georgia's State Parks

With so much to do at Georgia's 63 state parks and historic sites, it can be hard to decide where to begin! Here is a list to get you started.

Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah, Georgia.

Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah

This bucket list includes items for adventurers, historians, sportsmen, academics and nature lovers. What's on your list?

Providence Canyon

Hike Georgia's Little Grand Canyon

Otherwise known as Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area, Georgia's Little Grand Canyon makes some of the prettiest photographs within the state. The canyon soil's pink, orange, red and purple hues make a beautiful natural painting at this quiet park.

Archery at Panola Mountain State Park

Learn archery

Eight Georgia State Parks have archery ranges, ranging from traditional static ranges to realistic targets. Some parks, including Panola Mountain State Park, offer archery lessons and events, so you can learn how to take aim like a pro.

Highland Walk Golf Course

Play championship golf

With designs that take advantage of the diverse terrain across the state, the eight Georgia State Park golf courses, such as Highland Walk Golf Course at Victoria Bryant State Park, will challenge your skills just as well as private courses and at a fraction of the cost.

Gopher tortoise

Look for Georgia's official state reptile

Residents of longleaf pine ecosystems, gopher tortoises are a threatened species and a candidate for listing as endangered. They can be found in the southern part of Georgia, including at Reed Bingham State Park.

Fort King George Historic Site

Explore colonial history

One of the original 13 colonies of the United States, Georgia has two coastal forts dating back to the 1700s: Fort King George Historic Site in Darien and Fort Morris State Historic Site in Midway.

Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site

Go birding on the coast

A stop on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site is an excellent spot to look for herons, egrets, ibis and painted buntings.

Dowdell's Knob at F.D. Roosevelt State Park

Enjoy a picnic with a view

At F. D. Roosevelt State Park, Dowdell's Knob is where President Franklin D. Roosevelt sometimes picnicked and pondered world affairs. A life-size sculpture of the president now welcomes visitors to the overlook.

Dog at Sweetwater Creek State Park

Take your dog for a walk

Bring your four-legged family member along to Georgia's State Parks, and you’ll see a wagging tail the whole time! Dogs are welcome on most state park trails, including the trail to the mill ruins at Sweetwater Creek State Park.

Cave hike with G3 Adventures

Experience a wild cave

At Cloudland Canyon State Park, a local guide service will show you the spectacular world underneath the North Georgia mountains. Reserve your guided tour through G3 Adventures Outpost.

Dahlonega Gold Museum

Learn about the nation's first major gold rush

Twenty years before the 1849 gold rush to California, thousands of gold seekers flocked into North Georgia to make their fortunes. Between 1838 and 1861, more than $6 million in gold was coined by the U.S. Branch Mint in Dahlonega. The Dahlonega Gold Museum offers visitors a look at Georgia's mining history.

New Echota Cherokee Capital State Historic Site

Learn about Cherokee culture

During its short history, New Echota State Historic Site was the site of the first Indian language newspaper office, a court case that carried to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the assembly of Indians for removal west on the infamous Trail of Tears. See several original and reconstructed buildings, interpretive exhibits and a short film.

Iron pour at Red Top Mountain State Park

Watch an iron pour

Celebrate North Georgia's rich 19th century history and mining traditions while watching an iron pouring demonstration at Red Top Mountain State Park. Check the park's calendar for dates.

Tallulah Gorge

Become a Canyon Climber

Georgia's Canyon Climbers Club is for those few who brave the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge, scale to the top of Amicalola Falls, explore the depths of Providence Canyon, and master the staircase in Cloudland Canyon. Hike all four parks and earn rewards for your adventures!

Wormsloe State Historic Site

Go geocaching

More than 40 state parks participate in the Parks GeoTour, and 14 historic sites are on the History Trail GeoTour. Take the geo-challenge at Wormsloe State Historic Site and search for multiple caches to solve clues and earn prizes.

SAM Shortline Train

Ride a train

Ride the rails on the Historic SAM Shortline Excursion Train through southwest Georgia in air-conditioned 1949 vintage cars. There are fun and exciting train stops, including at Georgia Veterans State Park at Lake Blackshear, the Telephone Museum, Americus and Plains, the home of President Jimmy Carter. Check the train's schedule for special events like visits from Thomas the Train and Santa!

Horse at General Coffee State Park

Camp with your horse

Seven Georgia State Parks welcome horseback riders, with some parks offering miles of horseback riding trails, equestrian campsites, horse stalls or riding rings. Guided rides are available at F. D. Roosevelt State Park.

Tree climbing at Panola Mountain State Park

Climb in the trees

At Panola Mountain State Park, you can climb into the canopy of a noble Southern Red Oak that tops out around 100 feet! Learn how to use ropes to lift yourself into the branches, and you can even spend a night in the tree. Check the park's calendar for introduction climbs, night climbs and sleepovers.

Mountain biking at Unicoi State Park

Go mountain biking

Join the Muddy Spokes Club, and set out to tackle 68 miles of trails at 11 state parks from Fort Mountain to Magnolia Springs. Complete all 11 parks and earn a t-shirt!

Camping at James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park

Try camping for the first time

The First-Time Camper Program lets you borrow gear, get expert advice and experience the great outdoors in a whole new way! At six state parks, including Don Carter and Gordonia-Alatamaha, you can test out great gear provided by REI & Coleman and get help setting up from a park ranger.

Tallulah Falls Whitewater

Kayak whitewater rapids

One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. The first two weekends of April and first three weekends of November are when the dam’s water release is high enough for paddlers to experience the rapids. Boaters must be quite skilled to tackle Oceana, Bridal Veil and the other falls. If you're not up for kayaking, spectating can be just as thrilling!

Mistletoe State Park

Study the night sky

View the wonders of the night sky through telescopes, and learn about the constellations from park rangers during astronomy programs at Georgia State Parks, including at Mistletoe, Hard Labor Creek and Red Top Mountain. Experience the parks like never before at other Parks After Dark Events, such as candlelight hikes, twilight paddles and campfire stories.

Okefenokee Swamp

Commune with alligators

Perhaps the most famous inhabitant of the Okefenokee Swamp is the American Alligator. Officials estimate that 12,000 of the country's largest reptile live within the 402,000-acre refuge. Keep an eye out for them while you explore Stephen C. Foster State Park.

CCC Museum display at Vogel State Park

Hear stories of the CCC Boys

Many facilities at Vogel State Park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp during the Great Depression. Hear stories of the CCC Boys in the park's museum, open seasonally.

Temple mound at Kolomoki Mounds State Park

Climb Georgia's oldest great temple mound

Occupied by Indians from 350 to 750 A.D., the historically significant Kolomoki Mounds State Park preserves seven Indian mounds, including the 57-foot-high great temple mound. Learn about the ancient people in the park's museum, built around an excavated mound.

Stephen C. Foster State Park

Experience the darkest skies in Georgia

Stephen C. Foster State Park is among the best spots in the world for star gazing. The gold-tier "International Dark Sky Park" located in the Okefenokee Swamp offers exceptional views of the moon, stars, planets and comets. Check the park's calendar for guided tours of the galaxy.

Published: April 2014