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PrideDrive: Georgia State Parks

Whether you are looking to explore with friends or taking a much-needed road trip with a loved one, Georgia offers a number of beautiful state parks that are worth visiting. Here are just a few perfect for a weekend getaway.

Fort Yargo State Park

Overnight visitors to Fort Yargo State Park, located between Atlanta and Athens, can opt for fully equipped cottages, cozy campsites or lakeside yurts—20-foot round canvas-and-wood structures with pine floors, furniture and electricity. Clustered on a peninsula that juts into the 260-acre Marbury Creek Reservoir, each yurt comes with a canoe, which may be rented for a small fee. Disc golf, 18 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, plus a log fort circa 1792 are key attractions.

General Coffee State Park

South Georgia’s rich agricultural history comes to life at General Coffee State Park, where Heritage Farm houses a cane mill, tobacco barn and corn crib, as well as goats, sheep, chickens, pigs and donkeys. Spy rare and endangered plants along a nature trail and wetland boardwalk through a cypress swamp. Then settle in at a campsite, cottage or a 19th-century cabin that’s ideal for romantic getaways.

George L. Smith State Park

Join the Park Paddlers Club and kayak or canoe ten miles of water trails in southern Georgia’s secluded George L. Smith State Park, which requires maneuvering through dense strands of cypress and tupelo trees. With lakeside camping and cozy cottages, the park is best known for the refurbished Parrish Mill and Pond, a combination gristmill, saw mill, covered bridge and dam built in 1880.

High Falls State Park

Named for its tumbling waters on the Towaliga River, High Falls State Park is such a beautiful, untouched place that it’s hard to believe it sits just off I-75 northwest of Macon. An industrial center in the early 1800s, High Falls was abandoned after it was bypassed by a railroad. Today you can fish in the lake, cool off in the swimming pool or explore the ghost town.

Reed Bingham State Park

Just six miles off I-75 in southern Georgia, Reed Bingham State Park is home to nesting bald eagles as well as gopher tortoises, spotted turtles, American alligators and, during winter, thousands of black vultures and turkey vultures. A three-mile nature trail winds through habitat boasting 80 percent of coastal plain plant species, a spectacular display of biodiversity.

Stephen C. Foster State Park

Stephen C. Foster State Park is the southernmost entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp, one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders and a National Wildlife Refuge. Explore the black waters by canoe, kayak or guided pontoon boat trips. Watch for black bears, raccoons, deer, herons, ibis, turtles and at least 12,000 alligators lurking near cypress trees and other foliage.

Photos Courtesy of Explore Georgia

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