Explore America's Campgrounds
From the high Blue Ridge Mountains to the salt-air marshy coast, the Peach State protects many of its scenic natural treasures as part of the Georgia State Parks system. Georgia maintains more than 60 park units, ranging from historic sites and recreation areas to scenic state parks. Nearly half of the parks have cabins -- aka cottages. Styles and ages vary widely, but all the cabins have full kitchens and bathrooms, as well as heating and air-conditioning.
By far, the most popular state parks in Georgia are the ones in the northern part of the state. The Blue Ridge Mountains are king here, dotted with small, shimmering lakes beneath the forested rolling peaks. The cabins at Unicoi, Vogel, Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain and Black Rock Mountain state parks provide a nice respite from the sweltering Georgia summers, or a cozy place to cuddle up in the winter. If elevation is what you're after, head to Black Rock Mountain, Georgia's highest state park, which is bisected by the Eastern Continental Divide. If staying by the water is more your style, try one of the lakeside or creekside cabins at Unicoi.
Georgia's largest city, Atlanta, is also home to the world's busiest airport, so many travelers base their trips from the state capital. For a state park cabin getaway close to Atlanta, Red Top Mountain, Amicalola Falls, Don Carter and Fort Yargo are your best options. All are easily accessible from major highways and interstates. Red Top Mountain and Don Carter are on major lakes; Amicalola Falls is a hiker's paradise in the mountains due north of the city. Fort Yargo, an all-around recreation destination near the east metro area, gets very crowded with locals on the weekends.
Georgia's 100 miles of coastline is made up of a string a barrier islands backed by expansive tidal marshes. While a number of state parks and historic sites lie along the coast, only two of them have cabins -- Crooked River and Fort McAllister. The cabins at both of these parks are adjacent to the scenic salt marshes and tidal creeks, the ones at Fort McAllister raised up on stilts so you're actually in the tree canopy. Skidaway Island provides camper cabins, which are smaller than regular cabins and have air conditioning, kitchens and bathrooms. But you must bring your own linens, towels and kitchen supplies, unlike with regular Georgia state park cabins.
South Georgia, a mostly rural, rolling landscape, has a number of remote state parks. Some of the more notable parks with cabins are Stephen C. Foster in the Okefenokee Swamp, Florence Marina on Lake Eufaula, F.D. Roosevelt at Pine Mountain and Little Ocmulgee near the tiny town of Helena. The latter, with its 18-hole golf course, mini-golf course, swimming pool and toddler splash pad, is a good choice for golfers traveling with young children. F.D. Roosevelt is Georgia's largest state park, with a wealth of activities including hiking the famed Pine Mountain Trail and miles of equestrian trails. The stone cabins here are historic structures, built by FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the New Deal during the 1930s.
Blake Guthrie covers travel, entertainment and outdoor recreation for many outlets, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he is a regular contributor. With years of experience as a professional cook, Guthrie also relishes writing about food and beverage topics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from Auburn University.