Cumberland Island Photo by Henry Sharp, @henrysharpphoto

Cumberland Island, Georgia. Photo by Henry Sharp, @henrysharpphoto

How to Get in Free to these National Parks in Georgia

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:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday on Jan. 18, 2021;
  • The first day of National Park Week on April 17, 2021; 
  • The one-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act on Aug. 4, 2021;
  • National Park Service's birthday on Aug. 25, 2021; 
  • National Public Lands Day, on Sept. 25, 2021; and
  • Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2021.

In addition, the "Every Kid Outdoors" program offers families with fourth grade students a free annual pass. Veterans and Gold Star families, active duty military and disabled citizens also can 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. Photo courtesy Visit Sandy Springs

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

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 $5 per day.

Visit Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Horseback riding at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Photo by Erik Ragan, @erikrragan

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Photo by Erik Ragan

Originally established to preserve battlefields and military history, the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is one of the largest greenspaces in northwest Georgia. 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 $10 per adult; children 15 and under are free.

Visit Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Fort Pulaski National Monument. Photo by Ace Andersson

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Photo by Ace Anderson

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 to a historic pier and beautiful views of the Savannah River. Entry fee is usually $10 per adult; children 15 and under are free.

Visit Fort Pulaski National Monument

biking on Cumberland Island, Georgia. photo by @thewildwildwhit

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Photo by @thewildwildwhit

Accessible only by boat, this enchanting island near St. Marys is a must-see for Georgians and tourists. Head to Cumberland 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. In addition to ferry tickets, fees are usually $10 per adult; children 15 and under are free. Check https://www.nps.gov/cuis/index.htm for the latest information.

Visit Cumberland Island

Published: January 2021
Written by: Candy Cook