Georgia State Parks Near Atlanta

Georgia State Parks Near Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia is known as the "Big Apple of the South." Fortunately, there are many back country escapes outside the urban hub-bub, as the Georgia State Park System offers many parks near Atlanta. Find hiking trails, canoeing and kayaking, bouldering, bird-watching and mountain biking in these green respites from the city's rat-race.

Panola Mountain State Park

Panola Mountain State Park was made to protect the 100-acre granite monadnock, or mountain, and provide trails and ways to explore this distinctive stone spire. There are ranger-led nature walks at the park. Pets are not allowed on most of the trails at the park; check with rangers prior to heading out with Fido in tow. There is a dedicated PATH trail for bikers. Organized adventures like a treetop zip-line and roped tour of the tree canopy, kids fishing weekend, group hikes and a river clean-up day are offered at the park. Geocaching is available at the park as well. Panola Park is 22 miles from Atlanta.

Panola Mountain State Park
2600 Ga. Hwy. 155, SW
Stockbridge, GA 30281

Red Top Mountain State Park and Lodge

Red Top Mountain is 30 miles north of the city limits of Atlanta and offers a range of activities, including camping or renting a room at the lodge. Canoeing and kayaking, fishing, swimming and snorkeling are possible within the park at the 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona. Boat rentals are available. There is a public boat launch at the park. Saturdays in summer feature live music at the park, making a nice spot for a picnic lunch in the outdoors. The Iron Hill Trail is a four-mile bike trail. The park has 12.4 miles of dedicated hiking trails where there is bird-watching, geocaching and wildlife viewing.

Red Top Mountain State Park and Lodge
50 Lodge Road SE
Cartersville, GA 30121

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Sweetwater Creek State Park is 18 miles west of Atlanta. The park has a 215-acre lake for fishing, swimming and boating. Two public docks are in the park, and fishing from the docks is allowed. Hikers can trot along the park's nine miles of trails, keeping an eye out for migratory and native bird species. The park's staff hosts organized group hikes, nature walks, kid's ranger day-camps, full moon hikes and painting lessons with local artists. Picnic facilities and gazebos are on the property, and there is a large group activity pavilion available for rent.

Sweetwater Creek State Park
1750 Mt. Vernon Road
Lithia Springs, GA 30122

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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