This holiday season, walk off that extra slice of pie with a heart-pumping hike. All of Georgia’s state parks are open Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day for visitors to enjoy peaceful scenery and active outings. While the park entrances are open, most offices will be closed as park staff enjoy the holidays with their families as well.
State parks are a great way to showcase Georgia’s natural beauty to your out-of-town visitors. For just $5 parking, guests can take a stroll around a sunlit lake or enjoy the horizon from mountain overlooks. Trails range from paved paths to challenging all-day treks. On New Year’s Day, nearly all Georgia State Parks will host guided “First Day Hikes” to kick-start healthy resolutions.
Georgia also has numerous state historic sites that make relaxed family outings this season. While closed on major holidays, most are open before and after these days. Dahlonega Gold Museum, Etowah Indian Mounds and Fort King George are just some of the locations that tell Georgia’s rich history. At New Echota, learn about the Cherokee nation’s capital, and at Roosevelt’s Little White House, see the cars FDR drove with hand controls.
During November and December, be sure to stop by state park gift shops for a selection of outdoor gear, books, toys and clothing. Parks even sell gift cards which make perfect stocking stuffers for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list.
If the holidays find you needing a longer escape, spend a few days in a fully equipped cabin, funky yurt or modern campsite. Some parks are offering winter specials such as stay-and-play golf at Richard B. Russell or yurt discounts at High Falls. For a list of all deals, visit www.GaStateParks.org/specials. To find a park or historic site near you, visit www.GaStateParks.org/map. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources. For a free brochure, call 1-800-864-7275.