Victoria Bryant State Park

It’s fall in Georgia, which means it’s a beautiful time of year. Our state parks are great destinations for a weekend away, a hike, or just to see autumn leaves. This year, fall color should be at its peak in late October in North Georgia. Head to these less visited Georgia State Parks to save yourself from worrying about crowds.

Enjoy Georgia’s Newest State Park, Don Carter State Park

Don Carter is on 38,000-acre Lake Lanier. Paved hiking trails include the 0.5-mile Parallel Trail, the Overlook Trail and the 1.5-mile Woodland Loop. You can also hike longer trails, go on a paddling trail, or go on a horseback riding trail. 5000 N. Browning Bridge Rd., Gainesville. 678-450-7726. Parking, $5. gastateparks.org/DonCarter

See a Life-Size Presidential Sculpture at F.D. Roosevelt State Park

This state park is Georgia’s largest at 9,049 acres, so there’s plenty of room to spread out, including the 40 miles of trails featuring hardwoods, pines, creeks and small waterfalls. Hike part of the popular 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail, and see the life-size sculpture of FDR on the overlook. 2970 Georgia Hwy. 190, Pine Mountain. 706-663-4858. Parking, $5. gastateparks.org/FDRoosevelt

Feed Ducks at James H. Floyd State Park

Surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest, this park has fishing, hiking, pedal boats and more. Hike along three miles of lake loop trails, or if you’re looking for a challenge, the moderate Marble Mine Trail follows the old road to Marble Mine and connects to the 330-mile National Scenic Pinhoti Trail. If rainfall has been good, you’ll see a small 35-foot waterfall. 2800 Sloppy Floyd Lake Rd., Summerville. 706-857-0826. Parking, $5. gastateparks.org/JamesHFloyd

Experience a Mountain Retreat at Smithgall Woods State Park

Hike trails to see birds, wildflowers and streams. The easy Wetland Loop Trail passes a beaver pond and wetland area, and the moderate Cathy Ellis Trail leads to a beautiful waterfall. Go trout fishing on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from October to May in the Dukes Creek Watershed. 61 Tsalaki Trail, Helen. 706-878-3087. Parking, $5. gastateparks.org/SmithgallWoods

Play Miniature Golf at Tugaloo State Park

With four miles of trails, see spectacular views of the 55,590-acre Lake Hartwell, and wind through oak, walnut, mulberry and cherry trees. The site also has a sand beach, tennis court, volleyball court, mini golf and fishing. 1763 Tugaloo State Park Rd., Lavonia. 706-356-4362. Parking, $5. gastateparks.org/Tugaloo

Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife at Victoria Bryant State Park

A beautiful stream flows through this park in North Georgia, and two ponds are available for fishing. Follow the short nature trail for an easy hike, or take on the longer perimeter trail traveling through hardwoods and passing creeks. 1105 Bryant Park Rd., Royston. 706-245-6270. Parking, $5. gastateparks.org/VictoriaBryant

– Emily Webb

Check out these popular state parks for fall family fun.

  • Amicalola Falls
  • Black Rock Mountain
  • Chattahoochee Bend
  • Cloudland Canyon
  • Fort Mountain
  • Fort Yargo
  • Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site
  • Providence Canyon
  • Sweetwater Creek
  • Tallulah Gorge
  • Unicoi State Park & Lodge

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