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Georgia’s outdoor oasis near Atlanta: Explore Red Top Mountain State Park

Almost any time of year is perfect to get out and enjoy nature at one of the prettiest spots in Georgia, and the icing on the cake is that Red Top Mountain State Park isn’t far from Atlanta. It’s 45 minutes from the heart of the city and a straight shot up Interstate 75 once you make it outside the perimeter.

With 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona factoring prominently into the park’s layout, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enjoy the tranquility of the water. Do it from a boat, whether you bring your own or rent from the park marina, and whether you choose to indulge in a day of water skiing, fishing, or both! Boaters are expected to know and observe state boating safety regulations, and if you’re looking to dip a line in the water, make sure to have a current Georgia fishing license and be prepared to understand and follow state fishing laws. Once those boxes are checked, you can cast a line from any of the park’s banks!

You’ll find a pristine beach in the southeastern portion of the park, where a roped-off area in the water lets kids and adults alike enjoy the lake from morning to night. Beach hours are 7:30 a.m. to sunset, so bring your chairs, umbrellas and towels!

On land

Shade and great views are the norm along the 15 miles of trails that provide hikers and bikers with myriad routes to carry them through the park. See the lake from the 4-mile-long Iron Hill Trail, and if a wheelchair or stroller helps a member of your group get around, consider the paved trail beyond the park’s office. You’ll find the reconstruction of an 1800s homestead at the end.

Don’t leave so soon

And if you make it an overnight stay, you’ve got plenty of options. From rustic to more modernized, you’ll find accommodations for your camping style. Consider the 131-site campground with electricity access, covered picnic areas, and walk-in-only access — perfect for tent camping. Or try the cottages featuring two or three bedrooms; some are wheelchair accessible.

If tents and cottages don’t fit the bill, find a happy medium with a yurt. These structures give the rustic feel of a tent, but they’re permanent with some amenities like heat. And most are located close to park comfort stations and fire rings. And if you prefer to bring your own living space, you’ll find RV and trailer campsites where pets are allowed, and pull-through drives and full hookups are the norm.

Pickleball or tennis might be the way to go if a team effort appeals to you while enjoying nature with family and friends. Start a game almost any time of day, every day, with guest access to equipment for pickleball stretching from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tennis court availability from 7 a.m. to sunset.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a hike through the woods, a trip out onto the water, a rousing game of pickleball, or an overnight stay, Red Top Mountain offers up all the possibilities, and you’re well on your way now to planning a reinvigorating visit.

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