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Old Fashioned Fourth of July at Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites

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Old Fashioned Fourth of July at Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites

ATLANTA, JUNE 13, 2011 – Grab your beach towels, pack a picnic and spend the Fourth of July weekend at your favorite Georgia State Park. From lakeside swimming beaches to shaded picnic areas and playgrounds, a Georgia State Park visit is a great way to build lasting family memories that are also easy on the pocketbook.

All across Georgia, state parks have scheduled dozens of events, ranging from relay races, bicycle parades and watermelon eating contests to boat tours, cannon firings, flag raisings and even firework displays. For active lifestyles, there are also canoe trips, guided hikes and even a 5K race.

For families with small children, playgrounds, nature trails and beaches provide plenty of chances to burn off energy. Fireworks enthusiasts can skip the crowds and watch Atlanta’s displays atop Panola Mountain or head to Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele for a special show on the lake.

Park visitors are encouraged to reserve accommodations early since holidays fill up quickly. In addition to campsites, many Georgia state parks offer cabins with fully equipped kitchens and hotel-style lodge rooms. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275 or online at

Below is a list of July 4th weekend events, divided by region. A full calendar is found at You can also become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Independence Day Celebration
Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville
This weekend of family fun celebrates our nation’s independence. Join us for relay races, patriotic crafts, and our famous watermelon seed-spitting contest. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.

Holiday Gorge Floor Hike
Friday, July 1, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 2, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 3, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Monday, July 4, 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.

Group Hayrides
Friday, July 1
Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston
Bring your group for a fun-filled, old-fashioned hayride, available every Friday from March 4 until November 25. A minimum of 15 people is required and groups must register in advance. $5 per person. $5 parking. (706) 245-6270.

Dahlonega Appalachian Jam
Saturday, July 2, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site – Dahlonega
Mountain music pickers and singers flock to the Dahlonega Gold Museum for the Appalachian Jam. Tour the museum then enjoy the live entertainment in our courtyard from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bring a folding chair and listen or bring your instrument and join in! $3.50 - $5 (706) 864-2257.

July 4th Mountain Style
Saturday, July 2 through Monday, July 4, 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge – Helen
For the 4th of July Mountain Style, come join in on the festivities which include fun such as a watermelon eatin’ and seed spittin' contest, sack races, music concert, hoedown, and fun for the entire family. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
Saturday, July 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tugaloo State Park – Lavonia
Events will begin with our 10 a.m. bicycle parade. Old-time games on the ballfield at 11 a.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. $4 for putt-putt tournament, plus $5 parking. (706) 356-4362.

Music in the Park
Saturday, July 2, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville
Come to the Lake Trahlyta Pavilion and enjoy a cool mountain evening while listening great music. Donations to the performers are appreciated. $5 parking. (706) 745-2628.

Independence Day at Vogel
Monday, July 4, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville
Come to one of our nation's oldest state parks as we celebrate our independence with a flag-raising ceremony. Also there will be a 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 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Park - 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.

July Fourth Celebration at Fort McAllister
Monday, July 4
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
Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
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. Learn about patriotic animals and join in a fun campfire. $5 parking. (912) 598-2300.

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


July 4th Weekend
Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4
George T. Bagby State Park and Lodge – Fort Gaines
Come by Friday for hikes and arts & crafts. Saturday, hit the golf course. Sunday, kids will learn about the health of the lake, go on hikes, and participate in watermelon eating contests and water balloon games. Monday, relax and have a picnic, then play volleyball on the beach. $5 parking. (229) 768-2571.

Fourth of July Weekend
Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel
Come celebrate our nation’s independence at the park. Participate in games, live animal shows, arts and crafts, hikes, and a campfire with s'mores. $1 for animal shows and crafts. $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

Fourth of July Celebration
Saturday, July 2 through Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park – Omaha
This celebration includes a weekend of fun for the whole family, crafts, watermelon-eating contest, and educational boat tours. $1 - $5 $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

Couch Potato to 5K Running Program
Saturday, July 2, 8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
High Falls State Park – Jackson
It's time to get off the couch! This program will take you from sitting to running a 5K (3.1 miles) in 9 weeks. No running experience needed. Motivation provided. Wear running shoes and bring plenty of water. Meet outside the park office on the lakeside. $20 for 9 weeks. $5 parking. (478) 993-3053.

Evening Canoe Trips at High Falls
Saturday, July 2, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
High Falls State Park – Jackson
Take a summer evening guided canoe trip on 650-acre High Falls Lake. Trips require advanced reservations, and prior canoe experience required. $15 plus $5 parking. (478) 993-3053.

Ol’ Time Independence Day Celebration
Saturday, July 2, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette
Noon reading of The Declaration of Independence followed by old time games and craft demonstrations. $3.50-$6. (478) 986-5172.

4th of July Weekend
Saturday, July 2 through Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park – Blakely
Join us on this holiday weekend and participate in activities such as nature hikes, arts & crafts, scavenger hunts, tours of the mounds, campfire programs, evening hikes and much more. Programs offered each day will vary and are subject to change. Please check with park office for more details! $5 parking. (229) 724-2150.

Our Confederate Heritage 1861: Part ll
Saturday, July 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Robert Toombs House Historic Site – Washington
"Robert Toombs, his family and friends" will celebrate General Toombs' birthday with a living history program that will focus on events of July of 1861. Highlights will include Toombs' decision to resign as Confederate Secretary of State and his acceptance of an appointment as a Brigadier General in the Army of Northern Virginia. Free. (706) 678-2226.

Summer Fitness Hikes
Sunday, July 3, 8 a.m.
George T. Bagby State Park and Lodge – Fort Gaines
Take advantage of the beautiful scenery Fort Gaines offers by joining the George T. Bagby Summer Hiking Group. Conquer the trails along the picturesque Walter F. George Lake and log 45-90 minutes of low-impact exercise. Discussions on nutrition, gear, motivation, etc. Lodge guests are encouraged to attend as well. $5 parking. (229) 768-2571.

Fireworks on the Flint
Monday, 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.


Starlight and Fireworks
Saturday, July 2, 7:30 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Listen to whippoorwills and owls as hundreds of fireworks shower the skyline of Atlanta. Panola Mountain is the best place for a quiet and colorful view of all of Atlanta's displays seen at once from atop the Mountain. Bring flashlights and comfortable clothing. Fireworks not allowed inside the park. $10 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Mountain Music Series
Saturday, July 2, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park – Cartersville
Relax and enjoy a bluegrass concert at the Vaughan Cabin from 8 - 9 p.m. Not enough music for you? Bring your instrument and a buddy for jamming from 2 - 5 p.m. $5 parking. (770) 975-0055.

Sunday Mountain Hike
Sunday, July 3, 4 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
This hike allows visitors to see Panola Mountain up close, as the Ranger explains why it’s protected and what we can do to preserve the natural beauty of granite outcrops. Bring sturdy shoes, water, bug spray, and your camera. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Sunday Afternoon Fly Fishing Clinic
Sunday, July 3, 2 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge
Casting is the backbone of this clinic; however, safety issues and other tricks of the trade will also be covered. Wear long pants/shorts and hiking shoes, and bringing snacks, water and sunscreen. Georgia fishing license required. Register in advance. $15 or $12 with own gear. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

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Photography: High-resolution images available by request.