If you have ever been to Georgia, you know how beautiful the great outdoors can be across the state. Georgia has so many natural resources and remains one of the best places to hike and camp in the nation. It may not surprise you to learn that there are more than 60 state parks throughout the state. Still, sometimes people are amazed to find out that there are state parks near the busy metropolitan area of Atlanta.
Sweetwater State Park
About 15 miles from downtown Atlanta Georgia is one of the most abundant state parks in the region. Sweetwater State Park is a relatively new state park. Though the property for the park was purchased in the mid-1970s, the construction of the facilities and the opening of the park did not take place until 2006. When it finally did open, it was a great credit to the state and has been praised as one of the most environmentally friendly facilities ever built. The park has state of the art solar and reusable energy in many forms. There is, of course, a gift shop and the visitors center has won awards for being the “greenest” building in the country. Perhaps the crown jewel is the Interpretive Center. This facility holds educational exhibits and wildlife displays that are fascinating for everyone in your group.
Sweetwater State Park gets its name from Sweetwater Creek, which runs right through the center of the park. The creek, as well as the lakes built on the land, make Sweetwater a fisherman haven. The park credits its rocky ledges, rolling hills, and mountain-like terrain to the Brevard Fault which also runs throughout the park. This geological fault is millions of years old, and while it has not seen movement in generations, it made unmistakable changes to the Earth.
Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Less than an hour away from Atlanta, GA is Chattahoochee Bend State Park. Of course, this massive park of more than 2,900 acres has plenty of breathtaking views and sites. There are new facilities (the park opened in 2011) and the camping, family-friendly trails, and picnic areas are spectacular. There are always a lot of other activities at the park, so reservations are needed. The events change often, but here are a few:
- Archery at The Park
- Bingo on the River
- Glow in The Dark Bowling
- Hooch Hike and Paddle-
This begins with a 5.5-mile Riverside hike. The group is led by the tour guide and instructions are provided. Most of the trail is easy going, but there are also some hilly areas. When you get to the end of the hike, enjoy your picnic and then hop into the kayaks that the Rangers have waiting for you. You can bring your own or rent them at the park. There is an easy paddle down the river.
F. D. Roosevelt State Park
While it is a little further, check out F. D. Roosevelt State Park as well. This state park is a camping ground and swimming area about 81 miles away from Atlanta. The state park stretches over 9,049 acres and has more than 40 miles of scenic hiking trails that are perfect for hikers of all skill levels. If you are looking for incredible mountain views and winding trails to enjoy this summer, then this park is well worth the trip.
For more information on state parks in Georgia and the unique features of them, check out the Georgia Department of Natural Resources State Park and Historic Sites website.