The holidays are right around the corner, so time to start planning and shopping. Looking for a unique gift for the holiday season? Give your friends and family the gift of the outdoors. Wow them with waterfalls, lakes, and swamps; surprise them with trails, geocaching, and mountain tops; and excite them with overnight stays in yurts, cabins, and cottages. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites have amazing gift ideas for every outdoor enthusiast this year.
- Combo Pass – **Best Buy of the Season** Save money when you buy a year’s worth of exploration. Our new combo package includes both an annual ParkPass and Historic Site Pass, giving you access to more than 60 attractions across Georgia. A $100 value; the combo sells for $85. Valid for 12 months from purchase.
- Gift Cards – Fit 37 lakes, seven waterfalls, three canyons, and a swamp into one little gift bag. Convenient gift cards can be used on campsites, cabins, yurts, golf greens, picnic shelters, museums, boat rentals, gift shops, and more. They come in any denomination starting at $5 and can be purchased at most Visitor Centers or online at GaStateParks.org/GiftCards. With no shortage of possibilities, gift cards are the perfect solution to the gift-giving conundrum.
- Historic Site Annual Passes – Squeeze 18 outings into one little card with a Georgia State Historic Site Annual Pass. Perfect for Georgia newcomers or students, the pass is good for admission to Wormsloe Historic Site, Dahlonega Gold Museum, Roosevelt’s Little White House, Fort King George, and numerous other destinations on GaStateParks.org/History. Passes may be purchased on GaStateParks.org/ThingsToKnow or at historic sites.
- Georgia State Parks Annual ParkPasses – With 48 state parks across Georgia, there are many ways to treat family or friends to a year of outdoor fun long after the seasons change. Annual ParkPasses are $50 and help fund trail work, dock maintenance, and shelter renovations. Half-off ParkPass discounts are available for seniors 62 and older, as well as 25% off for active-duty military and veterans. Equestrian Trail Annual Passes are also available for purchase. Bonus: Buy a Friends of Georgia State Parks membership and receive an Annual ParkPass in return, along with more benefits. To purchase, visit any Georgia State Park or GaStateParks.org/ThingsToKnow; GaStateParks.org/Retail
While planning for the holidays, get out your calendar. A number of festive events are sure to get your family outdoors and in the holiday spirit.
- Holiday Lights at A.H. Stephens – Come see Christmas light displays every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning November 24, 2023, and ending December 25, 2023. Tour a 10-acre field and see displays that have been set up by a host of site partners, volunteers, and area businesses.
- Victorian Christmas at Hardman Farm – Step back in time to Christmas of 1877. Come see the Mansion at West End decked in gorgeous period holiday decor and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions from reenactors in period dress. This open house on Friday and Saturday nights in December is highlighted by twinkling candle lights, live music, smores around the campfire, and more.
- Christmas Tour at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation – Visitors can walk along the candlelit path under centuries-old oaks and will be treated to a guided tour of the antebellum home. Living history enactors, musket and cannon firings, Santa Claus, carols, hot wassail, and cookies will highlight the event.
- Selfies with Santa - The friends of Hamburg State Park will host an evening with Santa Claus at the Hamburg Mill. The evening will include a holiday craft, refreshments, and pictures with Santa.
- Holiday Wagon Rides with Santa - Enjoy a wagon ride around the campground and cottages with a special guest -- Santa! Before the ride, get warm by the campfire and indulge in some hot cocoa.
- Christmas at The Gorge - Come and see Santa, make crafts, enjoy Christmas music and have a snack and go on a hayride here at the park.
- Holiday Jamboree on the Mountain - Enjoy the holidays on top of Black Rock Mountain State Park with live music, holiday nature crafts, a visit from Santa, and hayrides.
While you are planning, mark your first workout of the new year. Get a jump on those resolutions by lacing up and heading out to one of Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites to celebrate ranger-led First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day. First Day Hikes is a national initiative created to encourage people to get out and explore the great outdoors. Hikers are invited to enjoy the beauty and inspiration found in nature that awaits right in Georgia’s backyard. Distance and difficulty vary from park to park, allowing hikers of all levels to connect with nature and each other. Hikes range from a kid-friendly stroll through Mistletoe State Park’s campground to a three-mile hike through Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” -- or even a night hike at Reed Bingham State Park.
Learn more at GaStateParks.org.
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