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11 Gorgeous National Parks in Georgia

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Did you know that there are 11 national parks in Georgia? It turns out that Georgia has a lot more to offer than Atlanta’s Coca Cola Factory and Savannah’s comfort food and southern charm. These important places showcase everything from civil war history to scenic beaches. Below, you’ll find a complete list of the national parks in Georgia along with itineraries, maps, and a free checklist.

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Map of National Parks in Georgia

A map displays the state of Georgia in blue and each of the national parks in Georgia in green

National Parks in Georgia Road Trip Itinerary

A map shows Georgia with the surrounding states shaded. There is an itinerary for a road trip to the national parks in Georgia as part of the map.

Fly in/out: Atlanta

Day 1: Start your day by visiting Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta.

Day 2: Next, head south to Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park (1.5-hour drive). Then, drive toward Savannah and your next two stops (3-hour drive).

Day 3: Spend the day exploring Fort Pulaski and Fort Frederica National Monuments (2-hour drive). You can either stay the night in Savannah again or continue south toward Cumberland Island National Seashore (1-hour drive). Ferries to the island depart early, so this might be a good idea.

Day 4: Spend the day on Cumberland Island National Seashore. I highly recommend the Lands and Legacies Tour.

Day 5: Head west to the hometown of Jimmy Carter to visit Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (4-hour drive). Then, drive up to Andersonville National Historic Site to pay tribute to fallen soldiers (32-minute drive).

Day 6: Drive up to Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and explore for the day, spending the evening in Chattanooga, Tennessee (4-hour drive).

Day 7: On your way back to Atlanta, stop by the start of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (1.5-hour drive), then meander to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (1-hour drive) and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (30-minute drive).

My Road Trip Through Georgia’s National Parks

I’ve visited Georgia’s national parks on three separate occasions, slowly crossing sites off of my checklist of all 400+ national parks in America.

In 2017, I drove from Montgomery, Alabama to Rapid City, South Dakota and stopped at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Miltary Park.

Then, in 2018, my mom and I took a girls’ trip to some of the national parks in Florida (Fort Caroline and Timucuan) and Cumberland Island National Seashore.

In 2019, I covered the most ground on a completely unexpected trip. I was at the airport boarding my flight for my 12-day Southwest road trip when I got a call that my grandfather had died. I was in line to board the plane, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Was I supposed to get on the plane? Did I need to go talk to a gate agent and get on a different flight to Kansas?

I ended up boarding the plane to the Southwest, and it was great to have a trip with my girlfriends. But I felt a little guilty the whole time. Here I was, road-tripping through some of America’s most scenic places, while elsewhere my family was grieving. My dad and aunt both encouraged my decision to stick to my plan, and in the end, I felt good about my choice.

A woman and a man goofing around near the edge of a river

Then, my fate stepped in. My dad inherited my grandfather’s car and needed to drive it from Kansas back to Florida. Within a matter of hours, he had called and arranged for me to fly from Las Vegas to Nashville and complete half of the road trip with him.

We spent a few days traveling across Georgia on our way to Florida, visiting as many of the national parks in Georgia as we could along our route. This enabled us to see some of Georgia’s best attractions and also allowed us to heal. I finally got to grieve and be there for my dad in his time of need, and we did it while doing something we always loved: exploring.

The national parks in Georgia have played a significant role in my life, and I can’t wait to visit the two I have yet to see. I’ve always said that Georgia is my least favorite of the 50 states, but this trip swayed me. The national parks in Georgia swayed me. A beautiful, meaningful road trip with my father swayed me.

Andersonville National Historic Site

Multiple lines of white gravestones including one for the unknown soldier with an American flag placed in front of it

A large brick wall with a status of a man and a stream of water in front of it, serving as a memorial   A national cemetery with white gravestones for fallen soldiers

Once known as Camp Sumter military prison, Andersonville National Historic Site preserves the location of one of the Civil War’s most brutal sites. In its 14 months, 45,000 Union soldiers were imprisoned here and 13,000 lost their lives. The site also serves as a memorial to all prisoners of war.

In addition to the haunting National Prisoner of War Museum and the fascinating stories told here, you’ll also find the Andersonville National Cemetery on-site. Of all the national parks in Georgia, Andersonville struck me the most.

How to Get There: To reach the park’s main entrance, use the address 760 POW Road, Andersonville, GA 31711. Driving directions are available here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Audio driving tour, cemetery, military staff rides, museum, ranger programs

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Quality Inn, Hampton Inn, Days Inn

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (229) 924-0343

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

A survey marker for the Appalachian Trail secured in the ground surrounded by fallen yellow and orange leaves

The Appalachian Trail begins in northern Georgia and runs all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine. You can access the Georgia portion of the trail from Springer Mountain near Amicalola Falls State Park. From here, it’s 73-miles until you reach the next state border. Along the way, you’ll gain 19,799 feet! Click here for more information on hiking the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.

How to Get There: The Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine. You can hike any portion of the trail via multiple trailheads or thru-hike all 2,180+ miles. Use one of the maps below to help you plan.

Map: download here or here

Things to Do: Backpacking, camping, hiking

Park Entrance Fee: There is no fee to hike the trail, but some national and state parks along the route may charge a fee.

Where to Stay: There are shelters along the way for camping. In Georgia, there is also the Amiacacola State Park Lodge.

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (304) 535-6278

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

A muddy trail through the woods   Water falls down a small ledge in the river

A wooden bridge allows a trail to cross a creek

If you’re looking to escape the sprawling metropolis of Atlanta, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is your answer. It’s not far from the bustling city and offers a staggering amount of recreational activities. The Island Ford area had a charming nature center and kind park rangers offering advice on hikes we could complete on a rainy day.

How to Get There: The Island Ford Visitor Center is located at 8800 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350. For more information on how to reach Chattahoochee River, click here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Cycling, fishing, floating, hiking, paddling

Park Entrance Fee: $5 per vehicle per day

Where to Stay: Comfort Inn, La Quinta, Aloft

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (678) 538-1200

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

A canon on a cliff overlooking a river and large city   A large monument with columns on the bottom, a tall long tower, and a statue of a man on top

Chattanooga, Tennessee was a hot spot in the American Civil War. Known as the “Gateway to the Deep South”, the Union and the Confederacy both fought for it. In 1863, two battles took place. One in September saw a Confederate victory in Chickamauga. However, in November, the Union claimed a victory in the second battle in Chattanooga. Today, there are many areas of the national park in both Georgia and Tennessee for you to visit. While there, ponder the sacrifices made in the fight.

How to Get There: There are two battlefields preserved by this national park. The one in Georgia is located at 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742. For detailed directions and information on the Tennessee site, click here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Biking, guided tours, hiking, horseback riding, museum, paddling, rock climbing

Park Entrance Fee: The only area of the park that charges an entrance fee is Point Park in Tennessee. That fee is $10 per person, valid for 7 days.

Where to Stay: Econo Lodge, Super 8, Trails End, Clarion Inn, more

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (706) 866-9241

Cumberland Island National Seashore

A group of wild horses grazing

A sandy road winds through canopy trees   An old mansion destroyed in a fire

A small white building with a red roof

A pristine sandy beach with some shrubs in the foreground   A large white house with three columns on its front porch

Of all the national parks in Georgia, Cumberland Island is my favorite (at least so far… I still have two more to visit). It’s got a little bit of everything. There are wild horses grazing near pristine beaches filled with a fascinating history. After doing the Lands and Legacies Tour, I couldn’t believe how much had occurred on one small island.

In the above photos alone, you see the Carnegie family’s Plum Orchard Mansion and ruins of their Dungeness Mansion, the small chapel where John F. Kennedy, Jr. got married, and scenic views with wild horses.

Need to Know: Cumberland Island is only accessible by boat. There are no services on the island, so you’ll need to bring your own food and water. Pack out everything you carry in. You’ll also want to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and extra clothes if you plan to swim.

How to Get There: The visitor center is located at 113 St. Marys St W, St. Marys, GA 31558. Click here for driving directions.

Maps: Visitor Center/Parking/Ferry dock map, more maps

Things to Do: Biking, birdwatching, camping, hiking, history, swimming, tours, wildlife viewing

Ferry Reservations: here; book well in advance.

Camping Information and Reservations: here; book well in advance.

Park Entrance Fee: $10 per person, valid for 7 days. This does not include your ferry ticket or camping fees.

Where to Stay: Cumberland Inn, Spencer House B&B, Goodbread House, Beach Town Hideaway

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (912) 882-4336

Fort Frederica National Monument

Fort Frederica, Saint Simons Island Georgia, 11-25-2017

Here, on St. Simons Island, the Spanish and British fought for control over the territory we now know as Georgia. In 1742, the British defeated the Spanish and won Georgia as a British colony. In 1758, the fort and town were mainly destroyed in a large fire. While the fort is only ruins today, you will find thousands of archaeological remains in a beautiful setting.

How to Get There: Detailed directions can be found here. For your GPS, you can use the address 6515 Frederica Rd., St. Simons Island, GA 31522.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Archaeological site, museum

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Sea Palms Resort, Sea Island Inn, Hotel Simone, Best Western Plus, more

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (912) 638-3630

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Fort Pulaski -- Cockspur Island (GA) 2012

During the Civil War, the Union forces attacked Fort Pulaski with such vigor that the Confederate troops were forced inside and surrendered shortly after. This was an experiment that turned out to be an incredibly successful military tactic.

How to Get There: Fort Pulaski is located on Cockspur Islands near Savannah. Detailed directions are available here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Guided tours, hiking, museum

Park Entrance Fee: $10 per person, valid for 7 days.

Where to Stay: Lighthouse Inn B&B, Surf Song B&B, Tybee Island Inn, more

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (912) 786-5787

Jimmy Carter National Historical Park

A sign shaped like a half-circle enscribed with the words "Jimmy Carter National Historic Site"

A woman sits at the pretend desk of the President in the oval office   A white house with a screened in porch and two ramps leading to the door

In my opinion, one of the kindest presidents the nation has had was Jimmy Carter. He founded Habitat for Humanity and strives to do nothing but good. In fact, he was so beneficial to the National Park system that they made him an honorary park ranger, an honor very few have received.

In his hometown of Plains, Georgia you can visit the school he attended (which doubles as the visitor center), the home he grew up in, and his campaign headquarters. Jimmy Carter and his wife still reside in Plains.

How to Get There: Plains is located in southwestern Georgia. The visitor center is located inside Plains High School, and the address is 300 North Bond Street, Plains, GA 31780. For more detailed directions, click here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Guided tours, hiking, museum

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Quality Inn, Hampton Inn, Days Inn

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (229) 824-4104 x0

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

A large black canyon sits outside on a tiled ground   A large canon under a tree

A woman holds a sign that reads "200" outside of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park visitor center

While Kennesaw Mountain is most famous as a Civil War battlefield, the area and the national park tell a much greater story. The Cherokee people have lived here since 1000 BC or earlier, women and African-Americans sought change, the Atlanta Campaign was fought here, and more. There are many hiking trails in addition to a scenic drive to the top of the mountain and a museum here in one of the national parks in Georgia.

How to Get There: The visitor center address is 900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr., Kennesaw, GA 30152. More detailed directions are available here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Hiking, museum, ranger programs, scenic drive

Park Entrance Fee: $5 per vehicle per day

Where to Stay: TownePlace Suites, Hampton Inn, La Quinta, Comfort Inn, more

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (770) 427-4686 x0

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

A walkway with tiles placed in the sidewalk   A yellow house with brown window sidings and a brown roof.

A stone sign with two hands carved into it reads, "Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site".

An eternal flame burns in front of the graves of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta.   The dual coffin of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, sits on a fountain.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born and raised in this corner of Atlanta. You can tour the home he was born in with a park ranger, free of charge. He grew up attending service at the Ebenezer Church, where he later become Pastor. His funeral was later held here, bringing his life journey full circle after he fought so hard for justice.

Around the corner, you’ll find The King Center and the main visitor center, which includes a museum. The visitor center complex also hosts the tombs of Martin and his wife and a world peace garden.

Of all the national parks in Georgia that I have visited, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic was the most moving.

How to Get There: The address for the parking area is 423 John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312. You can reach the park via car or public transportations; more information is available here.

Map: download here

Things to See: Birthplace Home, Ebenezer Church, Fire Station No. 6, The King Center Complex, Museum, Visitor Center, World Peace Garden

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: The Peach HouseInman Park B&B, Sheraton, more

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (404) 331-5190 x5046

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park

The entrance to an earth mound home built into a grassy hill

A wooden bridge with rounded metal sides    A boardwalk trail with many steps leads to the top of a hill

This national park preserves the earth lodges created by American Indians. They arrived 17,000 years ago while hunting mammals. Over the centuries, many different Native American cultures have called this place home. The largest archaeological dig in American history also took place here and uncovered millions of artifacts.

Today, hiking trails will lead you to various earth mounds, including the Great Temple Mound. To learn even more about the culture of those who lived here, visit during the annual Ocmulgee Indian Celebration (held in September 2020).

How to Get There: Use the address 1207 Emery Hwy, Macon, GA 31217 to find the park. Additional information can be found here.

Map: download here

Things to Do: Biking, fishing, hiking, museum

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Marriott, Burke Mansion, Hilton Garden Inn, TownePlace Suites

Official Website: click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: Call (478) 752-8257 x222

Pin National Parks in Georgia

Did you know that there are 11 national parks in Georgia? Click here to see the list and download your free Georgia national parks checklist! National Parks in Georgia | Georgia National Parks #georgia #nationalparks #usa Did you know that there are 11 national parks in Georgia? Click here to see the list and download your free Georgia national parks checklist! National Parks in Georgia | Georgia National Parks #georgia #nationalparks #usa Did you know that there are 11 national parks in Georgia? Click here to see the list and download your free Georgia national parks checklist! National Parks in Georgia | Georgia National Parks #georgia #nationalparks #usa Did you know that there are 11 national parks in Georgia? Click here to see the list and download your free Georgia national parks checklist! National Parks in Georgia | Georgia National Parks #georgia #nationalparks #usa

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