Georgia’s state parks: 5 ways to have affordable fun

Southern families on the lookout for an affordable getaway will find plenty of options in Georgia’s state parks. Whether you want to camp in a tent, go glamping in a yurt or stay at a full-service inn, there is an array of accommodation options as well as myriad kid-friendly activities that won’t break the bank.

Here are five memorable ways to have fun with kids at Georgia’s state parks.

1. Be a history detective.

(Flickr: Jeff Gunn)

At Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah, families can trace the Georgia State Parks History Trail by solving puzzles that unlock geocaches on the grounds. You can collect the trading cards hidden in the caches and turn them in for special history tokens.

2. Hike the Little Grand Canyon.


About two hours east of Montgomery, Alabama, Providence Canyon State Park contains “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” whose massive gullies expose 43 different shades of soil, ranging from light orange and red to white and pink. The Canyon, as much as 150 feet deep in places, is the result of poor farming practices in the 1800s.

3. Go spelunking.

(Flickr: Doug Waldron)

About 30 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Cloudland Canyon is one of Georgia’s most scenic parks, both above ground and underground. This area of northern Georgia has some of the best caving in the country. For beginners, try a guided cave tour with the Georgia Girl Guides, who will have your family wading through underground rivers, crawling in chocolate mud creeks and having a messy blast.

4. Sleep in a tree.


Feeling adventurous? At Panola Mountain State Park, 20 miles southeast of Atlanta, families can experience the world from an owl’s perspective on a unique sleepover opportunity. The park offers treetop canopy climbs and sleepovers in a treetop bivouac camp. Don’t dig the dark? Daytime climbs are also offered.

5. Ride the rails.

(SAM Shortline)

The SAM Shortline is a 1949 vintage train operated by the state park system that runs between Cordele and Plains, Georgia. The route travels beside lakes, through cotton fields, and makes a number of stops, including the boyhood farm of President Jimmy Carter. Along the way, families can sample a slice of life in the rural South as well as delicious local peanut butter ice cream.

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