Savor the colors of fall at these Georgia parks

Watch the state turn shades of red, orange and gold.
Historic Banning Mills turns bright in the fall. Photo: Courtesy of Historic Banning Mills

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Historic Banning Mills turns bright in the fall. Photo: Courtesy of Historic Banning Mills

Leaf-peeping season has arrived with its showcase of colorful fall foliage and opportune time for outdoor adventures.

Now is the right moment to plan a trip to a local or state park as peak leaf season generally occurs in October and November. Throughout parks and often in your own neighborhood, green leaves turn into rich, bright hues of red, orange, yellow and gold. The weather is changing too, so be sure to grab a sweater or jacket before heading out.

Samantha Wilson, assistant park manager at Chattahoochee Bend State Park, noted that the leaves are already changing color there, but also that wildflowers are blooming and wildlife, including deer, birds, and armadillos, are hustling around the park.

While visiting one or all of the following six parks, bring a camera to capture panoramic views of nature or gear up for adventures such as zip lining, boating, hiking and electric ATV riding. Most of these parks are close enough to metro Atlanta for day trips but consider a fall getaway too, with overnight accommodations like yurts, tents, cottages and adult-sized treehouses.

For more information, check out the Georgia State Park Leaf Watch 2023 (gastateparks.org/leafwatch), which is a travel planner and statewide fall color tracker.

Piedmont Park offers stunning views in the fall. Photo: Courtesy of Piedmont Park Conservancy

Credit: Courtesy of Piedmont Park Conservancy

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Credit: Courtesy of Piedmont Park Conservancy

Piedmont Park

A morning or afternoon walk through this park in Midtown Atlanta can become an opportunity for an autumn escape. With almost 200 acres of space for pedestrians and bikers, this expansive park is ideal for daily visits.

Try taking a photo each day then looking at them collectively at the end of the season. It’s a great way to capture the changing of the leaves from green to a kaleidoscope of fall colors. In addition, the park’s website lets you sign up for the Piedmont Park Conservancy fall guide that features things to do, places to see and more. 1320 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275, piedmontpark.org.

Amicalola Falls State Park is another area with beautiful fall leaves.
Photo: Courtesy of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

Credit: Harris Hatcher

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Credit: Harris Hatcher

Amicalola Falls State Park

Head an hour north of Atlanta and you’ll arrive at this state park featuring a 729-foot cascading waterfall, zip lining, guided hikes and advanced level activities like GPS scavenger hunts, 3-D archery or survivalist camp.

There are, of course, picture-perfect autumn-hued leaves worthy of being printed, framed and given as gifts, hung on walls or posted on social media. The relatively short drive time makes it easy to plan day trips — multiple one, too — throughout the season, but it’s also great to create fall escapes and stay overnight in a cabin, lodge room or glamping tent. 418 Amicalola Falls Road, Dawsonville. 706-265-8888, amicalolafallslodge.com.

Chattahoochee Bend State Park

The park, which covers almost 3,000 acres, features biking, hiking, kayaking as camping as you watch a ribbon of autumn leaves fill the skyline. Chattahoochee Bend protects five miles of the river, making it easy for those with boats to access the water. Or you can stand on the observation deck, connecting with nature in a tranquil way. For accommodations, the park offers a camping section for RVs, tents or cottages by reservation. Prices vary. 425 Bobwhite Way, Newnan. 770-254-7271, gastateparks.org/ChattahoocheeBend.

Red Top Mountain State Park is one of the state's beautiful parks, especially in fall. Photo: Courtesy of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Red Top Mountain State Park

Vivid autumn foliage fills this state park on Allatoona Lake, less than an hour from Atlanta. In addition to visiting for day trips, the park is also home to cottages, tents and RV sites. While there, explore hiking trails, bike or fish, all of which offer unobstructed opportunities to gaze at leaves. The park includes seven picnic shelters too. 50 Lodge Road SE, Acworth. 770-975-4226, gastateparks.org/RedTopMountain.

You can zip through the colors at Historic Banning Mills.
Photo: Courtesy of Historic Banning Mills

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Historic Banning Mills

Located less than an hour from Atlanta, this 300-acre property is a mix of activities, fitness and relaxation. Visitors can partake in a zip line canopy course, hiking trails and horseback riding. They can also scale walls and walk or drive electric off-road vehicles across suspension bridges overlooking a scenic gorge.

The main focal point at this time of year are the leaves, which appear as brilliant-hued bouquets. Overnight guests can rent cabins, cottages, inn rooms or treehouses. The latter accommodation isn’t just for play, housing a king-size bed, bathroom, kitchen, covered back deck and up-close views of foliage. Prices vary for lodging. 205 Horseshoe Dam Road, Whitesburg. 770-834-9149, historicbanningmills.com.

Pine Mountain RV Resort

Throughout the fall, visitors can find a rich canvas of colors attached to cypress and tulip poplar trees. Located southeast of Atlanta, the resort offers cabins, glamping tents, yurts and RV sites. A pool, hot tub and kids splash pad are available through October. Prices vary for lodging. 8804 Hamilton Road, Pine Mountain. 706-663-4329, rvcoutdoors.com/pine-mountain-rv-resort.

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