- By Joe Lanane
Campers have been able to place online reservations at their favorite Georgia state park for years.
But now, site-specific reservations have expanded from four to six Georgia State Parks. Richard B. Russell State Park, Laura S. Walker State Park, James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park and Reed Bingham State Park were the first properties to utilize the new online reservation feature. Now Hart Outdoor Recreation Area and Amicalola Falls State Park have joined the fun.
The ability to reserve specific sites should make camping at these parks less stressful, Kim Hatcher, Georgia State Parks public affairs coordinator told the AJC in 2016.
"It does benefit campers who cannot arrive on Thursday night or early Friday morning to pick their favorite spot," Hatcher said via email. "They can relax and arrive at a later hour."
Russell State Park, located approximately 120 miles northeast of Atlanta in Elberton, features 28 campsites ($27-$30) and 20 cottages ($155-$175) along Russell Lake. There is also an 18-hole golf course and on-site disc golf course.
Walker State Park, a four-hour drive to Waycross, includes 44 campsites ($30-$40), six cabins ($125) and a mix of group sites. The park is lined with trails and is adjacent to a 120-acre lake and a championship 18-hole golf course.
Floyd State Park, located in Summerville about 90 miles northwest of Atlanta, offers 25 campsites ($25-$28) and four cottages ($150-$165). The northwest Georgia state park is popular among fishing enthusiasts because of its 51 acres of lake property. Hikers also can take advantage of the park's vicinity to the 60-mile Pinhoti Trail.
Bingham State Park, found near Adel just north of Valdosta, is about a three-hour drive from Atlanta. There are 46 campsites ($30-$38) and a paddle-in campground ($35-$38) at Eagle Island. Situated around a 375-acre lake, the state park is known most for its boating and fishing opportunities.
Hart Outdoor Recreation Area, near the town of Hartwell, not far from the South Carolina state line, has 77 campsites ($20-$30). The park is on Lake Hartwell and has a boat ramp so it’s a great gateway to the lake.
Amicalola Falls State Park, near Dawsonville, is about an hour and a half drive from Atlanta. There are 56 lodge rooms, 20 hike-in rooms, 25 campsites and 14 cabins. Amicalola Falls is the tallest waterfall in the southeast at 752 feet and the park is a prime leaf-watching destination in the fall. Visitors staying at the Len Foote Hike Inn begin their 5-mile hike from Amicalola.
Site-specific reservations have been very popular and more state parks are likely to come online in 2018. Check out this site for new additions.
All Georgia State Parks charge $5 for admission in addition to camping fees. Visitors can instead purchase a $50 annual pass, which is good for one year from the date of purchase. Seniors and military members respectively receive 50 percent and 25 percent discounts on annual passes.
Reservations to any state park can be made online or by calling 1-800-864-7275.