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Parks & Recreation

Holiday Shopping, Pioneer Harvest Festival and Native American Heritage Month at Georgia State Parks

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Let’s Go Leaf Watching

Georgia’s forests are blanketed with gorgeous fall color during early November. To best enjoy these autumn hues, use the Leaf Watch Travel Planner filled with tips to help you find top parks, campsites, cabins and more. You’ll find vibrant maples at F.D. Roosevelt State Park and copper-colored cypress needles at George L. Smith State Park. Instagrammers, tag your best fall photos with #GaLeafWatch and #GaStateParks for a chance to be featured on Leaf Watch.

November is Native American Heritage Month

Celebrate the culture of our land’s native people throughout November. More than 1,000 years ago, vibrant civilizations thrived across the Southeast. Their earthen mounds and legacy remain at Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site in Cartersville and Kolomoki Mounds State Park in Blakely. Later, in the early 1800s, the Cherokee Nation established its central government in north Georgia. New Echota Historic Site near Calhoun showcases this capital through original and reconstructed buildings, and nearby Chief Vann House Historic Site features a stunning 1804 home.

Pioneer Harvest Festival at General Coffee

Celebrate pioneer life with the Southeast Coalition of Authentic Reenactors at General Coffee State Park. On November 13, travel back to the late 1880s to watch soap making, butter churning, candle dipping, smoking meats, cooking, cane grinding and syrup boiling. Browse craft vendors, enjoy music and food, and mingle with the park’s farm animals. General Coffee is located in southeast Georgia and offers cabins, camping, walking trails, bike rental, fishing and picnicking. For a unique treat, stay overnight in the park’s historic Burnham Cottage.

Making Campfire Banana Boats

Relaxing next to a toasty campfire is the perfect way to end a day of hiking. Make it even sweeter with a yummy dessert cooked over your fire. In this video, Ranger Sarah shows how to make easy banana boats with chocolate, marshmallows and peanut butter. You’ll find more campfire recipes, park tours, historian interviews and more on the Georgia State Parks YouTube channel.

Holiday Shopping Made Easy

Winter nights are perfect for snuggling under blankets and cozying up to campfires. Their online gift shop features not just blankets, but also hiking stick medallions, patches, Canyon Climbers Club memberships, annual passes and more. They even have gift cards which can be used for cottage reservations, campsites, golf green fees and items in our gift shops. They make it easy to find the perfect holiday surprise. GaStateParks.org

November Events

Astronomy Night – November 6, Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin

Veterans Day Celebration — November 11, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain

Colonial Autumn Encampment — November 13, Fort King George Historic Site, Darien

Fall-Color Paddle – November 13, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Leaf-Looker’s Hike – November 13, Mistletoe State Park, Appling

Movie Night – November 19, Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross

“Come and take it!” Encampment – November 20, Fort Morris Historic Site, Midway

Thanksgiving Crafts – November 20, Victoria Bryant State Park, Royston

Opt-Outside Hikes – November 25, Many Georgia State Parks

Find more happenings on GaStateParks.org.

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Community

East Jones Bridge Multi-Use Trail Project to Begin this Week

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East Jones Bridge Multi-Use Trail Project

As part of the City of Peachtree Corners continued commitment to the expansion of the Corners Connector Trail System, the East Jones Bridge Road Multi-Use Trail Project will begin this week.

This project consists of approximately 1.65 miles of 12-foot-wide concrete multi-use trail connecting SR 141/Peachtree Parkway to Jones Bridge Park.

The project construction will begin at SR 141 and continue until completion at Jones Bridge Park.

Rendering of the trail sidewalk (Courtesy of the City of Peachtree Corners)

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Parks & Recreation

First Day Hikes, ParkPasses and More at Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites

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Fort Mountain State Park

Welcome 2022 with a First Day Hike

This New Year’s Day, join our park rangers for an inspiring First Day Hike. More than 40 guided treks let you connect with nature, friends and family. Outings range from a kid-friendly stroll through Mistletoe State Park’s campground, a three-mile hike through Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” and even a night hike at Reed Bingham State Park. (Some are even dog friendly.) Find the perfect First Day Hike for you. Want incentive to keep hiking? Join our Canyon Climbers Club quest.

Explore More in 2022

Where will your boots take you in 2022? Our newly published “Guide to Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites” is available in park offices or by calling 770-389-7286. The booklet is filled with ideas for spring break, romantic retreats, weekend outings and summer vacations. Do you visit often? Save money with an Annual ParkPass ($50) that provides parking at more than 40 state parks, plus the Historic Site Pass ($25 – $50) that covers admission fees at 15 sites.

New scratch-off posters and passports let you track your travels across Georgia, from Amicalola Falls in the mountains to Wormsloe near the coast.

Prescribed Burns Benefit Ecosystems

You’ve heard “good fires prevent bad ones,” but do you know how experts plan for them? Our latest blog post examines what goes into using prescribed burns to restore and protect Georgia’s ecosystems. Experts use prescribed fires to stimulate the growth of herbaceous plants like wildflowers and grasses, which are the foundation of a healthy wildlife ecosystem. Wildflowers are crucial for pollinators like moths, butterflies and bees, and their health has impacts up to the largest animals, such as bears and deer.

George T. Bagby State Park

Good news, campers! George T. Bagby State Park in southwest Georgia is now operated by the Department of Natural Resources. To best serve guests, plans are underway to replace the lodge with traditional state park amenities such as camping. Cottages and the group shelter will be improved as well. Visit soon to enjoy a meal in the restaurant, play a round at Meadow Links Golf Course, and go fishing and boating on Lake Walter F. George. 

Upcoming Events

Meet the Farm Animals, General Coffee State Park, Douglas – Fridays and Saturdays in January
Eye Spy Scavenger Hunt, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain – Saturdays in January
Colonial Medicine
, Fort King George Historic Site, Darien – January 2, 16, 22 and 30
Archery Class, Magnolia Springs State Park, Millen – January 8 and 22
Movie Night
, Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross – January 21
Living With Bears, Smithgall Woods State Park, Helen – January 22
Find more happenings on GaStateParks.org.

Look Who’s in the News

Northwest Georgia News – Georgia Parks, Historic Sites Offer Inspiring Adventures to Kick Off the New Year

Southern Living — The Best Stargazing Spots in the South

WSB TV Atlanta — White Christmas, cozy stays, holiday hikes on tap at state’s best kept secret

365 Atlanta Traveler — Gift the outdoors: Georgia State Parks Holiday Gift Guide

MSN Travel — Jaw Dropping spots to park your RV

LoveExploring.com — Your state’s most beautiful natural wonder

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Parks & Recreation

Holidays at Georgia State Parks in December

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Photos from Georgia State Parks Facebook page and website.

Holiday Happenings

Colorful lights, creative crafts and festive tours are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Celebrate by joining ranger-led programs across Georgia. Go on a sunset candy cane hunt at Tallulah Gorge, take a hayride at Magnolia Springs or whisper into Santa’s ear at Hard Labor Creek. You can even try your sleuthing skills at General Coffee’s escape room or walk through 10 acres of colorfully lit scenes at A.H. Stephens. Below are just a few choices from our event calendar, and you’ll find more on GaStateParks.org.

Hayride and S’mores, December 4, Laura S. Walker State Park, Waycross
Pearl Harbor Remembrance — December 4, Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site, Warm Springs
Christmas at the Gorge — December 4, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls
Pictures with Santa — December 10, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain
Winter Constellations — December 11, Crooked River State Park, St. Marys
Winter Muster, December 11, Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill
Christmas Campfire, December 17, Victoria Bryant State Park, Royston
Campfire S’mores and Stories — December 17, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Perfect Holiday Gifts

Georgia State parks can help you fit 39 yurts, 9 waterfalls and the Okefenokee Swamp into one little stocking. Georgia State Park gift cards can be used for a year full of adventure, including camping, boat rental, archery, outdoor gear and more. We make it easy to get your holiday shopping done on GaStateParks.org and in cheerful park gift shops. You’ll even find cozy blankets, hiking stick medallions, patches, clothing and toys as well. Happy holidays!

Mistletoe State Park

This December, plan a getaway to the park with the merriest of names. Mistletoe State Park is located on 71,100-acre Clarks Hill Lake, one of the top bass fishing spots in the nation. After a day of reeling them in, snuggle up in a cabin or build a toasty campfire. Most RV and tent sites offer spectacular views of both sunset and sunrise over the sparkling lake. Mistletoe is also one of the participating parks in the Georgia State Parks’ Muddy Spokes Club which challenges bikers to explore 12 trails across the state. Membership is $20 and makes a great gift for your favorite mountain biker. (Photo by @gypsydaisyxo)

Welcome the New Year with “First Day Hikes”

On New Year’s Day, park rangers across the country are inviting Americans to start 2022 with inspiring First Day Hikes. In Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites, more than 40 guided treks will encourage friends and families to connect with nature and each other. Outings range from a kid-friendly stroll through Mistletoe State Park’s campground, a three-mile hike through Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” and even a night hike at Reed Bingham State Park. Find the perfect hike for you on GaStateParks.org.

2022 ParkPasses Now Available

Ready to explore more in 2022? Our Annual ParkPass covers the daily parking fee at more than 40 state parks across Georgia, including Cloudland Canyon, Elijah Clark, Amicalola Falls, Providence Canyon and Skidaway Island. ParkPasses make thoughtful stocking stuffers for friends who love to travel. The pass is $50, with discounts for seniors and disabled veterans. Bulk discounts (10 or more) are available as well – perfect for large families or corporate gifts. 

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