Press Room

Have a Star-Spangled Fourth of July with Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

ATLANTA, June 11, 2010 — Picnics and campouts will be just a part of this year’s Independence Day Celebration at Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites. The parks have scheduled dozens of events, ranging from sack races to bicycle parades, and cannon firings to flag raisings. Sparkling lakes, boat rentals and fishing docks will keep water-lovers happy, while the youngest members of the family can burn off energy on playgrounds and nature trails.

Lakeside swimming beaches help park guests escape the summer heat, and admission is free once they pay a $5 parking fee. The largest state park beach is at John Tanner, but Hard Labor Creek, Elijah Clark, Mistletoe, Indian Springs, Red Top Mountain, Tugaloo, Tallulah and many others have sandy beaches as well. Swimming areas are well marked, and rangers urge visitors to stay keep an eye on children at all times.

Swimming pools will be open for the holiday at F.D. Roosevelt, High Falls, Little Ocmulgee, Magnolia Springs and Victoria Bryant state parks. Because lifeguards are provided, a small fee is charged. George T. Bagby State Park has a pool for lodge guests only, and Little Ocmulgee State Park has a whimsical “splash pad” for younger visitors.

July 4th is always one of the busiest holidays in Georgia’s state parks, so guests wanting to stay over the weekend are encouraged to reserve accommodations early. Camping is the most affordable mini-vacation, but Georgia’s state parks also rent yurts, cottages and hotel-style lodge rooms. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275 or online at Check the website for weekday specials after the fourth.

Burger lovers will be happy to know that all state parks have picnic tables and grills available for free. Most state parks have covered picnic shelters and enclosed group shelters that can be reserved for a fee. These are quite popular for parties and reunions, so reservations are highly encouraged.

Since fireworks are usually associated with July 4th, park rangers remind visitors to leave them at home. While sparklers and explosives are not allowed in Georgia’s state parks, Georgia Veterans State Park will have a fireworks show on Sunday night. Elijah Clark State Park will have fireworks the following Saturday, July 10.

To learn more about Georgia’s 63 state parks and historic sites, visit or call 1-800-864-7275. Want more ideas on affordable July 4th activities? Below is a list of July 4th weekend events, divided by region.



Independence Day Celebration
Friday, July 2 through Sunday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville
A weekend of family fun to celebrate the nation’s independence! Join us for relay races, patriotic crafts, and the famous watermelon seed-spitting contest. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.

July 4th Mountain Style
Friday, July 2 through Sunday, July 4
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
The weekend will include fun such as a watermelon eatin’ seed spittin’ contest, sack races, music concert and hoedown. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Holiday Gorge Floor Hike
Saturday, July 3 through Monday, July 5, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls
This guided hike will take you from rim to river while learning about the gorge's unique environments. Be sure to wear proper footwear (no flip-flops or Crocs). This hike is strenuous and will involve rock hopping and getting wet. Bring a lunch and lots of water. For ages 10 and older. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 754-7981.

Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
Saturday, July 3
Tugaloo State Park - Lavonia
Events will begin with our 10 a.m. bicycle parade. Old-time games on the ballfield at 1 p.m. include sack races, three-legged races, relays, egg and water balloon tosses, and other events. At 3 p.m. we will hold our annual putt-putt tournament for ages 12 and younger. $3 for putt-putt tournament, plus $5 parking. (706) 356-4362.

Visiting Artist Series at Unicoi
Saturday, July 3, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
The program lasts each weekend from Memorial Day through mid-November. Several talented artists and craftspeople will demonstrate and have samples of their work for sale. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Saturday Evening Concert Series
Saturday, July 3, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
Every Saturday from Memorial Day through mid-November, some of the best musicians in the area perform a variety of music, from Appalachian Mountain to bluegrass to Southern gospel. "Pass-the-hat" donations. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Independence Day at Vogel
Sunday, July 4, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville
Celebrate our independence with a special flag-raising ceremony, bicycle parade, pedal boat races, sandcastle building competition, watermelon eating, sack races, egg tosses and greased pole climbing. $5 parking. (706) 745-2628.


Cannons Across the Marsh
Saturday, July 3, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Site - Darien
Join the garrison for a day of artillery drills, musket firings and soldier's life activities to honor Independence Day. Free watermelon and lemonade will be served. $3.50-$5. (912) 437-4770.

Independence Day Colonial Faire
Saturday, July 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Fort Morris Historic Site – Midway
Celebrate the 4th with colonial games, contests of skill, period music, musket firings, cannon firings and activities. Prizes will be awarded to all participants. Sponsored by the City of Flemington, Ga. (912) 884-5999.

Independence Day Celebration
Saturday, July 3 through Sunday, July 4
Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah
Celebrate good times with a patriotic decorating contest (pets, yourself, your bikes, etc.), hayrides, crafts, a greased pole climb and other challenges. Join our evening campfire. $5 parking. (912) 598-2300.

Kayak the Salt Marsh
Sunday, July 4, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Crooked River State Park - St. Mary's
Kayaking the marshes around Crooked River offers opportunities to look for birds and learn about the importance of the marsh ecosystem. Reservations are required and space is limited. $35 single, $45 tandem. Call for family rates of 3 or more. $5 parking. (912) 882-5256.

July Fourth Celebration at Fort McAllister
Sunday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Celebrate our nation's birthday with Civil War troops as they fire special salutes for those who have died so we may be free. Also join us for period games and a cool slice of melon. Pack a lunch and enjoy the day. $3.50 - $5. (912) 727-2339.


July 4th Celebration
Friday, July 2 through Sunday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park – Omaha
Celebrate the Fourth with games, watermelon eating contest, and educational boat tours. $4 plus $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

Ol’ Time 4th at Jarrell Plantation
Saturday, July 3, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette
Demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills. Competitions in 3-legged race, sack race, egg toss and tug-of-war. A reading of the Declaration of Independence will be at noon. $3.50-$5.00 (478) 986-5172.

200th Birthday of Robert Augustus Toombs
Saturday, July 3, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Robert Toombs House Historic Site - Washington
This living-history event will honor Robert Toombs' life from acts: Act 1 "The Formative Years," Act ll "Baron of Wilkes County," Act lll "Premier of the Confederacy," Act lV "A Man Without a Country." Refreshments will be served. Free. (706) 678-2226.

Fireworks on the Flint
Sunday, July 4, 9:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Georgia Veterans State Park – Cordele
A spectacular display of fireworks highlights the Fourth of July. $5 parking. (229) 276-2371.