Georgia State Parks And Historic Sites Offer Affordable Star-Spangled Celebrations

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - by Kim Hatcher

Grilling burgers in the shade and camping under the stars are some of the favorite July 4th activities offered in Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites.  Want to learn about our nation’s independence?  Visit Fort Morris near Darien for their Colonial Faire and cannon firings. Want to see fireworks? Gather at Seminole State Park on July 2 for early festivities on the lake.  Whether you have just a few hours on the 4th or the extended weekend, Georgia’s State Parks make for a fun-filled holiday.

July 4th weekend is always one of the busiest holidays in Georgia’s state parks, so visitors are encouraged to reserve campsites, cabins, picnic shelters and yurts in advance.  Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance by calling 1-800-864-7275 or online at

Can’t get away for the whole weekend?  State parks welcome visitors to come for just the day as well.  For a $5 parking fee, guests can cool off at lakeside beaches, explore hiking trails, and even fish for their dinner – all for free. Many state parks rent stand-up paddleboards, aquacycles, bikes and kayaks for a small fee.  Some of the state’s historic forts will showcase America’s history with musket firings, military drills and displays.  

Park rangers encourage visitors to bring picnics, but to leave fireworks at home because sparklers and explosives are not allowed in Georgia’s state parks.  However, many parks are close to towns with their own displays planned, such as Crooked River State Park near St. Marys.

Want more ideas on affordable July 4th activities?  The State Park System has these suggestions:

• Find ranger-led hikes, old-timey games, firework displays and more programs at

• Covered picnic shelters and enclosed group shelters can be reserved for family reunions and parties.  All offer pretty views, and grills and restrooms are nearby.  Reservations should be made in advance for these popular shelters.  Individuals can use picnic tables scattered throughout all of Georgia’s state parks for free.

• Lakeside swimming beaches are free once visitors pay a $5 parking fee.  Popular spots include Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier, Tugaloo on Lake Hartwell and Hard Labor Creek near Rutledge.  More sandy beaches are listed at

• Splash pads for small children are offered at Magnolia Springs in Millen, Gordonia-Alatamaha in Reidsville and Little Ocmulgee near McRae.

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