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Celebrate the Holidays with Georgia’s State Parks
If holidays get you in the spirit for outings with friends and family, plan a road trip to one of Georgia’s State Parks. The parks are open every day of the year, meaning you can enjoy walking trails, playgrounds, fishing ponds and quiet winter scenery on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Seasonal Events for the Coming Weeks
Many state parks have planned festive holiday events throughout December and the New Year. Rangers at Fort McAllister (Richmond Hill) will lead a 3-mile Christmas Eve hike on their low-country Magnolia Trail. Or hike with a ranger to the Civil War-era mill at Sweetwater Creek (Lithia Springs) on Christmas Eve. Do you prefer night-time celebrations? Seminole (Donalsonville), A.H. Stephens (Crawfordville) and James H. Floyd (Summerville) state parks have sparkling light displays that turn their parks into Winter Wonderlands.
On New Year’s Day, join the nation-wide movement to kick off 2017 with a “First Day Hike.” You’ll get your heart pumping and meet new friends — just in time to begin New Year’s resolutions. Parks all across the country have planned hikes for all ages and abilities. In Georgia, you can explore Chattahoochee Bend (Newnan), Cloudland Canyon (Trenton) or Magnolia Springs (Millen) — just to name a few.
Dozens of “First Day Hikes” and holiday celebrations are posted on our events page. Parking is just $5 and some events may charge a small fee. If your family includes four-legged members, call ahead to see if dogs are welcome at programs. In most cases, leashed dogs are welcome on Georgia State Park trails.
Save Some Money
Looking for a way to save on family fun, outdoor adventure and relaxation? Georgia State Parks offer special deals all year round.
Now through Christmas Eve, you’ll earn a $5 gift certificate for every $50 spent on State Park gift cards. The cards can be used on cottage or yurt rental, campsites, golf greens fees, gift shop items, boat rental, bike rental and much more. The parks also offer plenty of ways to save money during the off season. Throughout December and January, save 50% on campsites and 25% on yurts, Sunday through Thursday nights.
It’s not too early to start thinking ahead to next holiday season. Reservations are accepted 13 months in advance for park cabins, yurts and campsites. Enclosed group shelters are perfect for holiday meals, family reunions and birthday parties. Find maps and photo galleries on the Georgia State Parks website. To learn more or make reservations, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org or call 1-800-864-7275.
Photos courtesy Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.
About the Author
Kim Hatcher is the Public Affairs Coordinator for Georgia's State Parks & Historic Sites. She has worked for the Department of Natural Resources for 20 years and enjoys sharing the great outdoors with others.