It's Valentines season, so we thought we’d put together a list of the 5 most romantic Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. If you aren’t near any of the parks on the list but are still in the mood to view some parks this Valentine's season, don’t sweat it! Many parks are offering Valentine's-themed programs like a Valentine’s couples challenge at Mistletoe State Park, a couples sunset hike at Panola Mountain, or a Valentine's archery class at Hard Labor Creek. View full list of events
You can find a hidden heart on the side of the Fort Mountain fire tower.
At the highest point of Fort Mountain State Park sits an old fire tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the great depression. The project was overseen by the foreman Arnold Bailey. While it was in construction, Bailey placed a heart-shaped stone in the tower as a present for his girlfriend Margaret Reece back home. After they completed the tower, he brought her back to show her the heart as a display of his love. She found the gesture so romantic that they married and remained together for the rest their lives. While the Baileys are no longer with us, the heart shaped stone remains after nearly 100 years since it was placed. Bring your special person to view the heart, and don’t forget to check out the West Overlook at sunset while you’re there.
A sunset view from the West Overlook Photo credit: @billrubino
Deep in the heart of the Okefenokee swamp lays one of Georgia’s most remote state parks, Stephen C. Foster. Because it sits in the middle of the Okefenokee, it has little light pollution, making it an incredible spot to view the stars with your boo. Stephen C. Foster State Park has such great star-gazing that it was recently certified as a gold-tier dark sky park by the International Dark Sky Association. It is difficult to find many places better to watch the stars in the Southeastern United States. Once the sun rises, consider going on a boat tour with a park ranger. This is a great way to see the swamp and impress your special someone with your bravery as alligators swim beside your boat.
We all remember when Noah took Allie out on a canoe surrounded by cypress trees and swans in The Notebook. While we can’t guarantee there will be a flock of swans surrounding you and your beloved, we can guarantee that the lake at George L. Smith looks exactly like the swamp in the movie. The park offers kayak and canoe rentals so you don’t have to remember to bring down a ring AND a boat. We aren’t saying you must propose while you’re out on the water, but the beauty of the lake might make you want to.
George L. Smith has affordable cabins to stay at after your romantic paddle through the cypress trees.
Cloudland Canyon may be the most photographed place in Georgia. Its stunning overlooks and waterfalls make it a perfect place to hike with your darling. The main overlook is a great place to go at sunset, but if you have more time, try the longer West Rim Loop Trail. In 2021 the West Rim Loop Trail was rated the best hike across Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites by over 200 state park visitors. You can view the full list of the best hikes at our website here: https://gastateparks.org/Hiking/Top5Trails
Cherokee Falls and The West Rim are two of the best places to view Cloudland Canyon’s beauty.
This is on the list because of its beauty and seclusion. Smithgall Woods has some of the most luxurious cabins in the Georgia state park system. So if you’re trying to treat your boo to some of the finer things in life, you should consider staying here. Two of our favorite cabins are the Garden Cottage and Laurel Cottage because each of them have a hot tub. Once you have spent enough time relaxing, check out the beautiful Dukes Creek Falls. Or if you or your significant other likes to fly fish, Smithgall Woods is known for its trout fishing on Dover Creek.
The Garden Cottage at Smithgall Woods