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Enjoy outdoor life in Georgia's state parks

Posted by Jennifer Frazier on August 12, 2016

Mountains, lakes, waterfalls and gorges are among the natural sights to be enjoyed in Georgia's state parks. Our list of 6 favorite Georgia parks.

Ray Charles sang “Georgia on my Mind,” leaving visitors curious about the state baring the song’s name. Located in the heart of The South, the Peach State boasts many claims to fame, including the booming city of Atlanta, Callaway Gardens, the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and the sweet charm of Savannah. Don’t forget the nearly 50 state parks that call this state home. Operated by the Department of Natural Resources, the state parks of Georgia range from places to see mountains and lakes to sites with waterfalls and a gorge.  Grab your checklist and get ready to, one by one, experience the state parks of Georgia.

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This is the part of a series of articles about favorite state parks in the Southern United States. See also:

1. Tallulah Gorge State Park

Where: Tallulah Falls

Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep, making it one of the most breathtaking canyons in the country. Named after the gorge that is housed at the park, this 2,700-acre attraction allows athletes to hike the rim rails, or obtain a permit to travel below, into the gorge (faint-of-heart need not apply). Another option? Adventure seekers can cross a suspension bridge that hangs over the river. Since the park only permits 100 people per day to make the steep trek from the top to the bottom of this impressive canyon, make sure you plan in advance.

2. Chattahoochee Bend State Park

Where: Newnan

Located in a bend of the Chattahoochee River, this 2,910-acre park is one of Georgia’s largest state parks.  Protecting five miles of river frontage, it’s popular with paddlers, campers, geocachers and anglers. Make your visit more memorable with a stay on one of the park’s campsites.

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Having some fun at a campsite in Chattahoochee Bend State Park.

3. Seminole State Park

Where: Donalsonville

Sitting on the shores of the 37,500-acre Lake Seminole in southwest Georgia, this 604-acre state park offers a little of everything for outdoorsmen, from fishing and hiking to boating and swimming. Staying overnight? Choose from several camping options, including 50 campsites for tents, trailers or RVs up to 40 feet long. (The top photo in this article shows children fishing in Lake Seminole.)

4. Hard Labor Creek State Park

Where: Rutledge

Many things spring to mind when you hear “hard labor,” first being prison. No, this is not some nature-loving jail located in Georgia. It is, however, one of the prime places to golf in the state. Still unexpected, right? Golf?  Home to what has been called "the hardest starting hole in Georgia” (the first hole), this public campground is located within the 5,804-acre state park and offers 18 holes for golfers who love a challenge. Don’t love the game? You will also find more than 24 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding and a beautiful setting.

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Hard Labor Creek State Park has horse trails, bike trails, even its own gold course.

5. Mistletoe State Park

Where: Appling

If bass fishing’s your game, Mistletoe’s your kind of park. No, this isn’t a place about kissing come Christmas season. It is, however, about, not only a state park located on 72,000-acre Clarks Hill Lake near Augusta, but also some of the best fishing in the state. The park boasts 10 fully equipped cottages on the lake, five of which are log cabins. There’s also a campground that offers a view over the pretty lake.

6. Amicalola Falls State Park

Where: Dawsonville

Picture Niagara Falls. Now, imagine a waterfall four times taller and you have this Georgia beauty. Standing at 729 feet tall, the Amicalola Falls are the highlight of Amicalola Falls State Park, which was named after the Cherokee word meaning "tumbling waters.” This 829-acre Georgia state park is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. You’ll find hiking trails, a guest lodge, restaurant, cabins, a shelter for long-distance hikers, a campground and access to the Len Foote Hike Inn, not to mention the eight-mile trail that leads to Springer Mountain, which is famous for being the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

And that’s just the beginning of what Georgia has to offer. You can read about all of Georgia’s State Parks at gastateparks.org.

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All photos in this article courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Jennifer Frazier

After 10 years as a travel writer for Southern Living Magazine, Jen Frazier traded in the corporate world to stay home with her two children, three dogs and three hermit crabs.

Now she juggles carpool and laundry with writing for the Great American Country website, AAA Texas Journey Magazine and Texas Monthly Magazine, as well as blogging for thejensource.blogspot.com While she lives in the big metropolis of Dallas, she longs for weekends in the country. To learn more about this award-winning writer (recipient of the Barbara Jordan Award and the Luce Award), visit her website at jennifermfrazier.com

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