Georgia State Parks Beckon Families with Summer Fun Close to Home

Summer vacation doesn’t need to cost a fortune or involve a hefty gas bill. Georgia State Parks offer a plethora of recreational offerings that make it easy for families to save money on gas and enjoy trips close to home. Simply pack a picnic lunch, grab a beach towel or hiking boots, and head to Georgia’s State Parks for affordable recreation that’s not only fun, but also encourages kids to get fit and spend time outdoors this summer. From free park admission and Junior Ranger Camps to swimming beaches and even a splash pad, there is something for everyone without breaking the bank.

Swimming Beaches, Pools and Splash Pad Make Fun Day Trips

Skip the trip to the coast this year and head to one of Georgia State Parks’ many lakeside swimming beaches. Grab your sunscreen and enjoy the simple pleasures of a sandy beach right near your own backyard. Or, if your family is more interested in getting in a few laps at the pool, Victoria Bryant, Magnolia Springs and High Falls state park pools are sure to please. Little Ocmulgee State Park offers a Splash Pad just for the youngest water lovers. For a list of recreational offerings, visit

Cabin Rentals Offer Affordable & Memorable Staycations

Start a new family tradition this summer by planning a getaway to the mountains, lake or marsh. Spend the day fishing, canoeing, hiking or just hanging out at a lake beach, then retreat to a comfy cabin without ever leaving the park. Many state parks feature cabins with fully equipped kitchens, rocking-chair porches and spectacular scenery — ideal for spending quality family time together. For help in planning a summer staycation, visit or call 1-800-864-7275. Rates range from $85 to $160 per night, and dogs are welcome in select cabins.

Free Park Admission & Natural Recreational Offerings

Planning a daytrip with the kids can be affordable and heart-healthy. No need to spend another day at a fast-food kids’ gym or the same neighborhood playground. Pack a nutritious picnic lunch and head to your favorite Georgia State Park for the day instead. A Georgia public library card is all you need to check out a ParkPass or Historic Site Pass. The passes are good for free parking or admission at any of the 63 state parks and historic sites statewide. For a listing of Georgia’s public libraries, go to Most Georgia State Parks offer playgrounds, picnic areas, miles of hiking and biking trails, and even wildlife viewing or nature centers. With a diverse geographic topography, Georgia’s state parks and historic sites offer adventures in northern mountains, midland swamplands, piedmont plains and along the beautiful Georgia coast.

Junior Ranger Day Camps (ideal for young explorers ages 6-12)

Kids ages 6 to 12 are invited to explore Georgia’s wildlife, nature and fascinating history first-hand as they earn their way through three badge levels. Nature hikes, arts and crafts, water games, fishing and outdoor cooking are just a few of the daily camp workshops offered at Georgia’s state parks. With more than a dozen Junior Ranger Day Camps offered through August 5, kids can meet new friends as they build self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. And, parents can have the satisfaction of knowing their children are entertained and learning an appreciation for the great outdoors. Families can also pick up a free Junior Ranger Activity Book at any state park or historic site and work through the activity requirements at their own pace. Or, receive the latest park news and learn more about Georgia nature and history by subscribing to The Georgia Junior Ranger, a free e-newsletter.

Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper
Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.


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