For those of us who live in the Southeastern United States, the state of Georgia offers many outdoor recreation opportunities just a few hours from Metro Atlanta. Whether you’re hiking to the towering waterfalls of Amicalola Falls, kayaking in the Okefenokee Swamp, or exploring the Grand Providence Canyon, our home state offers spectacular green spaces perfect for a nature vacation.
1. THINGS TO DO NEAR AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK & LODGE
located eight miles from the southern end of the Appalachian Trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Amicalola Falls State Park is home to the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River and an abundance of breathtaking scenery.
There are more than 10 hiking trails to explore here, including three that will take you directly to the massive waterfalls of the 729-foot-high Amicalola Waterfall. These are the West Ridge Falls Access Trail, the mile-long East Ridge Trail, and most importantly, the new Appalachian Approach Trail.
2. ATTRACTIONS IN BLACK ROCK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Black Rock Mountain offers some of the most spectacular mountain views in Northern Georgia throughout the year. It dominates the eastern continental line at peak heights of 3,640 feet, making it the highest national park in Georgia.
The most popular hiking trail in the park is the 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail, which takes you to some of the highest viewpoints in the forest. There you can look almost 80 miles to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
3. CLOUD GORGE NATIONAL PARK
One of Georgia’s largest state parks, Cloudland Canyon, offers 3,538 acres of sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, lush forests and thousand-foot-deep ravines waiting to be explored. These include over 30 miles of mountain bike trails, 16 miles of equestrian trails, a fishing pond, geocaching, and an 18-hole disc golf course. The park also offers some of the best hiking in North Georgia, with 64 miles of beautiful, well-maintained hiking trails.
4. F. D. ROOSEVELT STATE PARK
F. D. Roosevelt State Park covers 9,049 acres, making it the largest state park in Georgia. This park was named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who often visited the area and swam in the hot springs to get rid of his poliomyelitis. There are relatively easy hikes like the 3.2-mile Mountain Creek Nature Trail which passes through several beautiful plant habitats. There are also longer hikes, such as the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail which takes you through some of the most scenic spots in the park. Other fun activities include 28 miles of horse trails, fishing in one of the park’s two lakes, bird watching, and geocaching.
5. FORT MCALLISTER STATE PARK
Located on the banks of the Ogeechee River, Fort McAllister State Park is one of GA’s most storied state parks, offering a combination of well-preserved historical sites and scenic beauty. If you just want to enjoy nature, the park also offers a number of other activities. This includes 4.3 Miles of Hiking Trails, bird watching on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, biking as well as fishing and boating along Redbird Creek.