Visit These 8 Great Georgia State Parks Close to Augusta

Mistletoe State Park (©Linda Hendrickson/Shutterstock)

By Jennifer McKee

Looking to get back to the Great Outdoors for the long weekend? Whether you want to just kick back in a cabin, go horseback riding, explore history or take part in watersports, these Georgia state parks have it all—and are two hours or less from Augusta.

Mistletoe State Park
Distance from Augusta: 45 minutes

Just around the corner from Augusta, Mistletoe State Park sits on the shores of the 71,000-acre Clarks Hill Lake, Georgia’s largest reservoir and also known as one of the best bass fishing spots in the nation. Three boat ramps provide easy access to the water, and there’s also a sandy beach open seasonally. Hikers will find 15.5 miles of trails; bikers can explore the park as part of the Muddy Spokes Club. There are great a number of lodging options here, such as five log cabins, a tent cabin with electricity and water and a fisherman’s cabin with a private dock, in addition to regular and premium campsites.

Elijah Clark State Park (©EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG)

Elijah Clark State Park
Distance from Augusta: 1 hour

Also located on Clarks Hill Lake (on the western shore), history buffs should put Elijah Clark State Park on their lists. It’s named for frontiersman and Georgia war hero Elijah Clark, who led pioneers during the Revolutionary War. The log cabin replica of Clark’s home contains furniture, tools and utensils from 1780 (open weekends from April-November), and visitors can also visit the final resting places of Clark and his wife Hannah. Lodging options include one pioneer campground, 20 cottages, 10 walk-in campsites and more.

Magnolia Springs State Park (©EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG)

Magnolia Springs State Park
Distance from Augusta: 1 hour

Due south of Augusta lies Magnolia Springs State Park, known for its crystal-clear springs, from which seven million gallons of water flow each day. Perfect for wildlife enthusiasts, alligators and turtles can be seen here; take a walk on the boardwalk that looks out over the water for sighting opportunities. It’s also home to the Camp Lawton museum; during the Civil War, the site was a Confederate military prison, and the museum contains numerous personal effects from soldiers detained here. Find nine cottages, 26 tent, trailer and RV campsites and a pioneer campground for overnight stays.  

A.H. Stephens State Park (@EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG)

A.H. Stephens State Park
Distance from Augusta: 1 hour

Named after the vice president of the Confederacy and governor of Georgia, A.H. Stephens State Park’s Confederate museum has a noted collection of Georgia Civil War artifacts. Stephens’ home, Liberty Hall, can also be found here; it’s renovated in 1875 style and is open for tours. Love horses? This is the place for you—there are 21 miles of trails for horseback riders, with 29 equestrian campsites (in addition to cottages and traditional campsites). Three lakes afford opportunities for boating, fishing and watersports.

Hamburg State Park (©Neil Wellons/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Hamburg State Park
Distance from Augusta: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serenity calls at Hamburg State Park, situated on the quiet Hamburg Lake. Anglers will enjoy fishing for crappie, bream and largemouth bass, and wildlife enthusiasts can spot alligators, turtles, raccoons, deer and birds within the park. Of particular interest is a restored 1920s-era gristmill that grinds corn during special events. Take a picnic and seek at your very own spot on the 225-acre lake; should you wish to stay overnight, there are 32 tent, trailer & RV campsites.

George L. Smith (@Jeremy Wilburn/Flickr, Creative Commons)

George L. Smith State Park
Distance from Augusta: 1 hour, 25 minutes

George L. Smith State Park also beckons with peaceful environs. It’s best known as home to the refurbished Parrish Mill and Pond, a combination grist mill, saw mill, covered bridge and dam built in 1880. Those who make their way out onto the pond will find thick strands of cypress and tupelo trees draped in Spanish moss to explore; while on the water, be on the lookout for beaver dams, blue herons, white ibises and other wading birds. When on land, keep your eyes peeled for the gopher tortoise, Georgia’s state reptile. Accommodations include lakeside campsites and cottages nestled into the woods.

Richard B. Russell State Park (©Shawn Taylor/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Richard B. Russell State Park
Distance from Augusta: 1 hour, 40 minutes

If great golf is a major factor in your getaway plans, head to Richard B. Russell State Park. A fun pastime for all ages, the park features a well-maintained disc golf course; traditionalists should seek out the 18-hole Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course. Of course, most nature enthusiasts come here for the 26,650-acre lake and nature trail that loops around it—most park facilities were designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind, including the beach. Private boats are permitted, or you can rent a pontoon, kayak or canoe. There are 20 cottages and 27 campsites on site.

Victoria Bryant State Park (©EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG)

Victoria Bryant State Park
Distance from Augusta: 2 hours

Golfing can also be had at Victoria Bryant State Park, home to the Highland Walk Golf Course. It’s built on steep, rolling hills with broad, crowned Bermuda fairways, leading to sloping Bermuda greens. One day of golf not enough? Rent the course’s Bluebird Cottage for overnight golf packages. The scenery also makes the park the perfect spot for a leisurely hike, and visitors can walk alongside a gorgeous stream that flows throughout. The perimeter trail is stocked with food plots, so be on the lookout for animals. Two small ponds are available for public fishing.

RSS Augusta Magazine’s Front Porch

  • Episode 11: Jay Jefferies
    Jay Jefferies stops by to deliver the weather and much more!
  • Episode 10 - Nesia Wright
    We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nesia Wright, owner and CEO of the Georgia Soul Basketball Team. Ashlee and Nesia discuss life as the owner of a basketball team, retirement and more.
  • Episode 9: Venus Morris Griffin
    Venus Morris Griffin, one of the top real estate agents in the Augusta area, stops by our front porch to talk about her success and her upcoming book. This episode is sure to set a fire in you to go for your dreams!
  • Episode 8: Michael Romano
    Michael Romano, self-proclaimed carbohydrate king and executive pastry chef for Edgar's Hospitality Group stopped by our front porch to chat with Ashlee.


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