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National Parks In Georgia – What to See

  • By Kate Moore
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As the last of the 13 original colonies, Georgia has a rich history with historic sites, monuments, and battlefields to explore.

While the state of Georgia has no National Parks, there are 13 historic sites, recreation areas and National Monuments maintained by the National Park Service.

trail hiking through cumberland island national seashore run by the georgia national park service

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Just 1 mile off the Atlantic coast, Cumberland Island is a large, undeveloped barrier island. Cumberland Island National Seashore features 36,000 acres of sand dunes, maritime forest, and marshes.

Almost one-third of the island, 9,800 acres, is a Congressionally-designated wilderness area. A visit to Cumberland Island is perfect for disconnecting and getting away from everything, especially since the only way to access the island is by boat.

A ferry runs three times each day in the spring and summer, and twice daily in the fall and winter. A quick day trip is perfect for getting a peek at the beaches or taking a dip in the water.

To explore more of the island, you’ll need to stay overnight since most of the hiking trails and wilderness areas are too far for a one-day visit.

old ruins at the cumberland island national seashore in georgia

Things To Do At Cumberland National Seashore:

  • Visit Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum, on the mainland near the park’s Visitor Center
  • Visit the Icehouse Museum, which is a smaller, on-island, version on the Seashore Museum
  • Take an all-day Land and Legacies tour focused on the history of the island
  • Hike on 50 miles of trails
  • Camp in two developed campgrounds or three wilderness camps
  • Kayak though a marsh, or along the inland shore
  • Go surf fishing in the backwater between the island and mainland
  • Stargaze in an area with the lowest light pollution on the East Coast
  • Swim off the beaches
  • Watch wildlife, including seabirds and wild horses
  • Stroll along the beach and search for shells and sharks’ teeth

Nearby Attractions:

Cumberland National Seashore is located in St. Marys, Georgia. The town, and Camden County, offer a range of attractions that may be tempting to park visitors.

  • Visit Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum, on the mainland near the park’s Visitor Center
  • Visit the best preserved freshwater system at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Visit St. Marys Submarine Museum
  • Stay in a cottage among the Spanish-moss filled oaks at Crooked River State Park
  • Explore Fort Frederica National Monument
jimmy carter boyhood home and national histroic site in a park

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

The 39th President of the United States credits his rural upbringing in Plains, Georgia with his success. The former President, and his wife Rosalyn, still live in Plain and maintain close ties to the community.

Much of the city, and the sites of significant events in Carter’s life, makes up the historic site. The Jimmy Carter National Historic Center seeks to preserve a slice of the President’s life while giving younger generations a peek into the history of the rural South.

All of the museums and structures that make up the Historic Site are an easy drive from each other and be be visited in roughly four hours. The home where the Carters currently live is officially part of the Historic Site, but is not accessible to the public.

Things to do at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

  • Take a self-guided tour of the area
  • Visit Plains High School Museum at the site where Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attended classes
  • Stop by the Plains Train Depot, which was home to Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Campaign Headquarter and is now a museum
  • Visit the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm, for a self-guided tour or guided tour with a Park Ranger on the weekend

Things to do in Plains, GA and Americus, GA

The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site makes up the bulk of the town of Plains. However, the town of Americus is just ten miles away.

  • Visit the Billy Carter Bas Station Museum in Plains, where Jimmy Carter’s brother managed a service station, ran the family’s peanut business and assisted in the presidential campaign
  • Shop at the Historic Inn & Antiques Mall on Main Street in Plains
  • Visit Wolf Creek Plantation to tour the vineyards and winery, and sip wine in the tasting room
  • Stop by the Lindbergh Memorial at the site where Charles Lindbergh made his first solo flight
martain luther king jr. national historic site and preservation area in georia maintained by the national park service

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

Before becoming one of the foremost civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in segregation-era Atlanta. Today, many of the sites and buildings that were significant in King’s life form the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park.

Rather than one place, the Historic Park is made up of over a dozen monuments, homes, buildings and museums near downtown Atlanta.

The best place to start is the Visitor Center where you can see exhibits on King’s life and the civil rights movement, watch a movie and pick up maps of the area. With your map in hand, decide which sites appeal to you most.

A quick visit, to just the Visitor Center and the home where King was born, takes about half and hour. For a complete visit to the bulk of the sites, plan to spend between four hours and a full day.

Things to do at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park

  • See exhibits and watch a film at the Visitor Center
  • Take a guided tour of the home where King was born and raised
  • Listen to recorded sermons and speeches at Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • Visit The King Center to see the tomb of Dr. and Mrs. King, and their eternal flame
  • Visit the “Sweet Auburn” neighborhood where Dr. King grew up
  • Walk along the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame which honors people who have worked towards equality and nonviolence
  • Stroll through the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden

Things to do in Atlanta, GA

The 38-acres that are home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park are tucked inside a major metropolitan area. Atlanta, GA is full of fun activities for the whole family.

  • Get close to sea life at the Georgia Aquarium
  • See a show at the Alliance Theater
  • Take in the blooms at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Boat along the Chattahoochee River
  • Learn about a former President at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum
hiking national park trails in georgia

Georgia National Trails

Two National Trails cross through Georgia including the Appalachian Trail which stretches 2,190 miles from Maine to Hennessy, Georgia.

National Parks In The Surrounding Area

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Kate is the lead content creator for and has spent over two years living in a camper van conversion. She has traveled through 48 US states and writes about van life, camping and RV living.

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