Your comprehensive guide to Georgia’s state parks

Things to know about Georgia state parks.State park visitors pay $5 daily.There is a Library Loan Program that allows you to check out a ParkPass and Historic Site Pass, which offers exemptions from daily pass fees. .The parks offer various lodging for campers including yurts, cottages and lodges. .There are also historic sites including President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House

If you’re looking for a way to get outside this fall, visit one of Georgia’s nearly 50 state parks, each of which has its own unique character.

Whether you'd like to hike, fish, appreciate towering waterfalls or explore caves, you'll be able to do it at Georgia state parks far and wide.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources manages the parks and recommends these 25 things to do while visiting. And while you're there, you may want to make it an overnight or weekend trip, since you'll find accommodations that range from campsites to yurts to lodges. It's a safe way to get outside and doing some exploring during summer 2020.

‘Must-visit’ state parks

The Len Foote Hike Inn in Amicalola Falls State Park. Contributed by Len Foote Hike Inn

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The following are five of Georgia's "must-visit" state parks:

Amicalola Falls

280 Amicalola Falls State Park Road, Dawsonville. 706-265-4703

Amicalola Falls State Park is known for amazing views of its namesake waterfall, which, at 729 feet, is Georgia's tallest. It's also the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast. Amicalola can appeal to almost everyone, since it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, depending on your comfort level. To view the falls, visitors can choose an easier pathway or a more difficult trail. If you'd like to stay overnight, accommodations range from a campground to rustic cottages to a mountain-top lodge.

Smith Creek below Anna Ruby Falls located in Unicoi State Park, White County, Ga.

Credit: grady allen

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Credit: grady allen

Unicoi

1788 Highway 356, Helen. 706-878-2201

If you want to be active, you'll find plenty to do in Unicoi State Park's 1,029 acres. Fish for bream or trout in mountain streams, or rent a kayak or canoe to take out on Unicoi Lake. Guided tours are also available to help you explore the Lake Trail and see the fault line that the park rests on, as well as a large formation that contains fool's gold. Twelves miles of hiking trails are available, or you can take a quicker tour via zipline canopy. At the end of the day, rest in a "barrel" cabin or at the lodge.

Cloudland Canyon State Park includes interesting scenery such as deep canyons and wild caves.

Credit: gastateparks.org

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Credit: gastateparks.org

Cloudland Canyon

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn. 706-657-4050

This state park is known for its interesting scenery, which includes waterfalls, canyons that are a thousand feet deep and wild caves. Case Cave requires rappelling about 30 feet down into the cave, where you’ll be able to explore about three miles of passageways, including a lake. You don’t need ropes to explore Sitton’s Cave, which has formations such as stalactites that you’ll see as you travel along the muddy banks of its underground river.

Caves can be dangerous environments without the proper equipment and knowledge, so unless you’re an experienced spelunker, you should take a guided tour.

Hiking around Vogel State Park's 22-acre lake is a popular activity.

Credit: gastateparks.org

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Credit: gastateparks.org

Vogel

405 Vogel State Park Road, Blairsville. 706-745-2628

Vogel is located at the base of Blood Mountain and is a popular spot to leaf-peep in the fall. It's also home to a 22-acre lake, complete with a beach area where you can relax in the summer. Hikes range from an easy loop that leads to Trahlyta Falls to a more challenging 13-mile backcountry hike.

Many facilities in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression.

A life-size statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is located at Dowdell's Knob in F.D. Roosevelt State Park.

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Credit: gastateparks.org

F.D. Roosevelt

2970 Georgia Highway 190, Pine Mountain. 706-663-4858

Georgia’s largest state park comprises over 9,000 acres near Pine Mountain. You can find a life-size sculpture of FDR at Dowdell’s Knob in the park, where he sometimes enjoyed a picnic on his frequent visits to the state.

The park also has a pool that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps as well as 42 miles of hiking trails.

Other parks worth the trip

High Falls

76 High Falls Park Drive, Jackson. 478-993-3053

Cascades on the Towaliga River give High Falls State Park its name. High Falls Lake is one of the state's top spots to catch hybrid and white bass, and the park is home to the tallest cascading waterfall south of Atlanta.

Red Top Mountain

50 Lodge Road SE, Acworth. 770-975-0055

Located on 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona — only 45 minutes north of Atlanta — this park is known for its water sports, including water skiing, fishing and swimming. It also has 15 miles of forested trails.

Skidaway Island State Park borders Georgia's intracoastal waterway.

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Credit: gastateparks.org

Skidaway Island

52 Diamond Causeway, Savannah. 912-598-2300

Skidaway borders the intracoastal waterway, so expect to see terrain such as salt marsh and wildlife including fiddler crabs.

General Coffee

46 John Coffee Road, Nicolls. 912-384-7082

Learn about the state's agricultural history through Heritage Farm, which has log cabins, a tobacco barn, cane mill, farm animals and more. Its cypress swamp land is an ideal habitat for rare plants and wildlife such as gopher tortoises.

Heritage Farm at General Coffee State Park lets visitors learn about the state's agricultural history.

Credit: gastateparks.org

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Credit: gastateparks.org

What to know before you go

State park visitors pay $5 daily. If you visit the parks frequently, consider a ParkPass for $50, which is good for 12 months and exempts you from the daily fee.

For more information or to view an interactive map of state parks, visit gastateparks.org.

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