Georgia’s State Parks aren’t just for Atlanta homeowners anymore. They want you to know that you can bring your pets to stay and play, too! By spending time in parks, both you and your dogs can get a little bit of exercise this summer. Here’s a look at some of the numerous ways that your dog can enjoy the great outdoors while traveling to many of Georgia’s State Parks:
Camping in the woods is for your furry friends, too. More than 40 Georgia State Parks have pet-friendly campgrounds, as long as dogs stay leashed and are accompanied by their owner at all time. Park campgrounds typically include hot showers, laundry facilities, water and electric hookups. Dog favorites include Fort Mountain State Park near Chatsworth and Mistletoe State Park on Clarks Hill Lake.
If you and your pets prefer more creature comforts, a cabin rental may be the perfect option. More than 30 state parks in Georgia offer dog-friendly cabins that include fully-equipped kitchens and great views. Cabin rentals do require a $45 pet fee per pet, and reservations are highly recommended. Check out the cabins at Cloudland Canyon State Park near Dalton, Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen or Crooked River State Park in St. Marys.
For those pet owners that are looking for more physical activity, it’s important to note that nearly every Georgia State Park offers walking (or sniffing) trails. For everyone’s safety, dogs must be leashed at all times. If you and your sidekick would like to meet other dogs and their owners, you can join ranger-led dog walks at both Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta or F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain.
Georgia’s State Parks have also partnered with the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association to encourage dog walking, because man’s best friend needs exercise just as much as we do. Dogs can receive a “prescription” for a healthy walk, which is redeemable for a $5 parking pass. Trails range from easy to challenging, based on the individual’s needs. Less active dogs may start at Laura Walker State Park in Waycross, and long distance hikers would probably prefer the trails at Victoria Bryant State Park near Lavonia.
All Georgia State Parks are operated by the Department of Natural Resources and offer pristine natural beauty, from coastal marshes and midland swamps to piedmont plains and breathtaking mountains. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaStateParks.org. Sign up for their monthly newsletter for even more information.