If you’re looking for new outdoor adventures, you may love learning about camping in Georgia state parks! Known for its humid climate and lush greenery, Georgia is an amazing place to camp as long as you know how to prepare. That’s where we come in!
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about Georgia state parks camping trips.
What to Expect Camping in Georgia State Parks
What makes camping in Georgia state parks so unique and interesting? Let us explain!
The north part of Georgia is where you’ll find most of the state’s mountains, especially the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian range. In the middle is the elevated Piedmont plateau. The Coastal Plain encompasses the entire lower half of the state. As you get closer to the Atlantic Ocean, the elevation drops further.
With so much topographical variety, there are many activities to enjoy while camping in Georgia state parks. Your trip will simply depend on your preferences!
Most of Georgia has a subtropical climate, meaning that winters are short and mild, typically hovering at or above 50°F, while summers are long and scorching with an average of 95°F. There’s also high humidity and precipitation throughout the year, so droughts are uncommon.
Knowing this, you can usually plan a Georgia state park camping trip without worrying about cold or dry weather.
Numerous animals and insects are attracted to the heat and moisture that defines Georgia’s climate. For example, mosquitos, ticks, rattlesnakes, turtles, tortoises, and alligators are widespread. The state is also known for black bears, raccoons, opossums, armadillos, and white-tailed deer.
These animals are all fine to photograph, but keep your distance if you see them.
Birdwatchers may appreciate knowing about the species they can find while camping in Georgia state parks. Bluejays, northern cardinals, northern mockingbirds, house finches, goldfinches, great horned owls, and diverse types of rare woodpeckers all make their homes in Georgia.
Because of its climate, Georgia boasts many lovely and hardy plant species. Flowering dogwood, red maples, sugar maples, tulip trees, mountain silverbells, honeysuckles, and crossvines are all widely loved for their beauty and ecological significance to pollinators.
However, beware of poison ivy, which also grows extensively throughout the state.
What to Do in Georgia State Parks
Although every state park is unique, some activities are available throughout most of Georgia. Here’s what you can do when camping in Georgia state parks!
Hiking & Biking
The mountainous northern regions of Georgia are perfect for challenging and rewarding hikes and bike rides to stunning heights. However, you can also enjoy flatter, equally beautiful, hiking and biking trails in the forests of the Piedmont plateau or the beach trails near the coast.
To get the highest quality in both trail types, go to the famed Cloudland Canyon.
There are lakes and rivers scattered throughout the southern U.S., and many of them are accessible while camping in Georgia state parks. Numerous parks offer popular water activities like fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming.
Atlanta’s Red Top Mountain in Atlanta boasts a magnificent 12,000-acre lake where you can do all those activities and more, which makes it a crowd favorite.
On the coastline, you can also go snorkeling, scuba diving, or surfing in the Atlantic Ocean. Jekyll Island is especially renowned for its serene, family-friendly beaches and marine wildlife conservation efforts.
One of the many benefits of spending time in a state park is that you’re distancing yourself from light pollution. This means you can better admire the breathtaking sight of stars dotting the night sky. Plan to camp in a Georgia state park with particularly high or dark points so that the stars are even brighter for you. Stephen C. Foster State Park is especially renowned for this.
Many outdoor enthusiasts love the networking and sense of adventure in geocaching. In fact, it’s so popular that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has put together a web page where you can look up geocaching sites near you when camping in Georgia state parks.
If you’re up for a great geocaching adventure, try Georgia’s GeoTour for parks. It spans 45 parks, from the wilderness of Fort Mountain State Park to the peaceful beaches of Skidaway Island.
Do you love horses? If you want to camp at Georgia state parks with equestrian trails, consider getting an equestrian trail pass. With that, you can freely ride horseback on these trails for a whole year. Many riders agree that the Watson Mill Bridge State Park is one of the best to explore with horses.
Lots of people love the challenges and thrills of golfing, archery, or “FootGolf,” a fusion of soccer and golf. Luckily, you can enjoy all these sports and others while camping in Georgia state parks.
If you’ve never played FootGolf and want to give it a try, Jack Hill State Park is a great place to go. For a variety of sports adventures in one place, put Amicalola Falls State Park at the top of your list.
Basking in nature isn’t the only way to rejuvenate your mind while camping in Georgia state parks. You can also participate in any of the music, art, theater, and crafting events happening near your chosen site.
If you want a regularly held event to attend, however, consider Vogel State Park, where local musicians perform on Saturdays.
Since state parks are near historical sites, fascinating tours are easy to incorporate into a Georgia state park camping trip. Many of these sites are not only educational but entertaining, and they can increase your understanding and appreciation of your natural surroundings.
You’ll find enriching tours everywhere in Georgia, but why not visit the F.D. Roosevelt State Park? You can see the home of the president, whose vision led to the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was instrumental in establishing state parks in the first place.
How to Stay Safe
You’ll never regret camping in Georgia state parks thanks to their gorgeous scenery and diverse activities. However, considering the inherent dangers of the climate and wildlife, you should pack certain items to keep you safe. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but it’s better to be cautious.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is a basic necessity for any camping trip. Make sure yours contains hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion to treat poison ivy rashes. You should also have bandages and gauze of various sizes and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and protect cuts and wounds. Hydrogen peroxide may also alleviate pain from canker sores.
Soap and Water
A simple first aid kit may not be sufficient to treat rattlesnake bites. Keep bottles of soap and clean water handy, just in case.
If you get bitten, get as far away from the snake as you can, keep still, move into a position that keeps the bite at or below your heart, and remove any watches, rings, bracelets, or other items that could constrict your blood flow when venom causes your body to swell.
After that, wash the bite with soap and water and cover it with a bandage. This should slow the venom while you wait for an ambulance.
Soap and water are also crucial for properly washing your kitchenware, which keeps your campsite hygienic and discourages Georgia’s dangerous pests from wandering in.
Even if you’re planning a summertime camping trip in a Georgia state park, wear closed shoes, socks, hats, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts as much as you can stand. Covering your skin decreases your chances of getting bitten, scratched, or punctured by the insects, animals, and plants you’ll find throughout the state.
The heat and humidity make the weather pleasant for camping in Georgia state parks most of the year, but you could suffer from heat exhaustion if you don’t stay hydrated. Bring more water than you think you need, and supplement it with drinks that contain electrolytes and salt. Stay in the shade as much as possible, too.
Animal and Insect Repellents
Some animals and insects may want to intrude on your campsite, whether due to curiosity, hunger, or simple chance. To repel them harmlessly and naturally, keep candles or open containers of oils with scents like ammonia, citrus, garlic, rosemary, lavender, citronella, apple cider vinegar, black pepper, cayenne pepper, or sulfur. Most pests hate such smells.
Extra Containers and Trash Bags
Another sure way to discourage animals from entering your campsite is to hide the sight and smell of your food. Bring extra containers, boxes, coolers, and trash bags with which to store or discard your food and drinks so that you never run out. Take the trash bags to the nearest dumpster every night before bed.
How to Plan Your Meals
Since most of your energy is spent on enjoying activities and staying hydrated, meals should be quick and easy yet nutritious–and we can give you lots of meal ideas! Whether you bring a stove, grill, dutch oven, or prefer to cook the old-fashioned way over an open fire, follow a few meal-planning rules when camping in Georgia state parks.
Avoid serving entrees with sides to simplify mealtime and minimize messes, which would attract the animals and insects you’re most likely to encounter during a camping trip in a Georgia state park. Instead, try to combine all your ingredients in one dish.
In other words, cook mainly stews, soups, burritos, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches, burgers, or pizzas.
Whatever you want to eat, get your food ready to cook easily. Plan what meals you will eat each day of your trip, then slice, cut, or chop all the ingredients for each meal. Store them in plastic containers or coolers.
Also, remember that aluminum foil traps moisture and heat in your food, maintaining its flavor and speeding up the cooking time even if you’re working with weak heat. The foil also keeps the ingredients secured in one place, making them less likely to become scattered where pests can smell them.
Consider wrapping your meals in foil before packing them.
Have Backup for the Cooler
Your cooler might break while you’re camping, or maybe you don’t have one at all. To make sure you don’t go hungry, pack foods that won’t spoil without a cooler, like chips, crackers, nuts, jerky, granola bars, bread, and fresh, dried, or canned fruit. Include canned meat and condiment packets for well-rounded meals.
Line the Pots and Pans
Both parchment paper and aluminum foil can enhance the quality of your cooking, as they regulate the heat and prevent the food from getting stuck to the pots and pans. When camping in Georgia state parks, they have the added benefit of helping you clean efficiently. You can simply scoop up your leftovers, ball them up, and throw them away!
Get Disposable Kitchenware
Bringing regular dishes may be economical and environmentally friendly, but you risk drawing animals and insects to your campsite if you don’t wash each dish thoroughly after use. Bringing paper or plastic cups, plates, and utensils is safer.
How to Make Reservations
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources lets you make reservations through their site. Although you can get details on their camping policies, these are a few basic rules to remember:
- Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance.
- Campsites can have a maximum of six campers
- You can only camp for 14 days consecutively
- You must reserve a minimum of three nights for major holidays
Get Ready for Georgia State Parks Camping!
Do you feel ready to try camping in Georgia state parks now? As long as you follow our guide, you’ll love every trip you take to the parks in the Peach State.
However, if you’re open to considering more campsites besides state parks, we’ll let you know all the Best Camping Spots in Georgia!