FIVE ACTIVITY-CENTERED CAMPING SPOTS WITHIN TWO HOURS FROM BUCKHEAD
Red Top Mountain State Park in Acworth
DRIVE TIME: 34 MINUTES • GO FOR: WATER ACTIVITIES
Want to break free of land-locked ATL? Head to this pretty camping site that sits on Lake Allatoona. Choose from boating (rent one from nearby marinas or bring your own), water skiing, kayaking and swimming off a sand beach (a seasonal pursuit).
High Falls State Park in Jackson
DRIVE TIME: 1 HOUR • GO FOR: FISHING
If throwing a line is your ideal respite, this park’s lake is known as one of Georgia’s top fishing spots for hybrid and white bass. Plus, overnight visitors can stay in a lakeside yurt, a large canvas-and-wood tent that has a small deck, picnic table, grill and electrical outlets to prepare your day’s catch.
Unicoi State Park and Lodge in Helen
DRIVE TIME: 1 HOUR 44 MINUTES • GO FOR: MOUNTAIN BIKING
Nestled in the North Georgia mountains, Unicoi offers mountain biking on scenic trails, including a laid-back lake loop, a more challenging trek to Anna Ruby Falls, an attractive 3-mile trail to downtown Helen and a rugged 8-mile single-track route.
Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge
DRIVE TIME: 1 HOUR 31 MINUTES GO FOR: GOLF AND HORSEBACK RIDING
More than 24 miles of trails are available for horseback riders through pine and hardwood forests, deep gorges and granite outcroppings. There is even a large equestrian riding ring on the property and horse owners have their own private camping area near stalls. Golfers can enjoy the Creek Golf Course’s driving range and pristine 18-hole course in a natural setting.
Chattahoochee Bend State Park
DRIVE TIME: 1 HOUR 14 MINUTES • GO FOR: PADDLING
Located in a lovely curve of the Chattahoochee River, Chattahoochee Bend, one of Georgia’s largest state parks (at 2,910 acres), protects 5 miles of riverfront, making it a go-to spot for paddlers. Tent campers can choose waterfront platform sites, and a boat ramp provides easy access.
Mountain High Outfitters rounds up the latest must have items for every camper.
Helinox Chair ($100) A comfortable chair for sitting around a campfire is a must. This 2-pound folding seat with breathable mesh packs down smaller than The New York Times Sunday edition!
Salewa Men’s Alp Flow Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots ($239) Hiking boot essential features include being fully waterproof, breathable and comfortable. That’s what this high-tech pair is all about, along with a high cuff (read: protection from ticks).
Arc’teryx Women’s Cerium LT Down Hoody ($365) Stay warm on the trail or at basecamp in dry conditions with this streamlined, lightweight and easily packable, wind-resistant down jacket with hood.
Big Agnes Lone Spring 2-Person Tent ($230) This durable tent is made from breathable lightweight nylon and polyester with a mesh body for excellent ventilation, and it offers interior mesh pockets for keeping your gear organized.
Jetboil Java Kit Flash Boiler ($100) Oh, snap! This 1-liter cooking cup with an adjustable burner and push-button igniter just made it a cinch to enjoy fresh-brewed coffee while you play outdoors.
Georgia State Parks
Mountain High Outfitters
1248 West Paces Ferry Road N.W.
STORY: Karina Antenucci
Managing Editor and Wellness Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Blogger at Badass + Healthy.