Leaf Watching, SAM Shortline Train, Okefenokee Swamp

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Camping at Red Top Mountain State Park

October 2022

Leaf Watch Travel Planner

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Leaf Peepers, we’ll help you track autumn hues as they move across the Peach State this fall. Leaf Watch is filled with top trails and overlooks, mountain cabins and campsites, fall events and hiking safety tips. Show off your favorite shots by tagging #GaStateParks and #GaLeafWatch for a chance to be featured on GaStateParks.org, Facebook and Instagram. Join park rangers for guided hikes, leisurely paddles, kids crafts and more events highlighting this year’s program theme of “Turn Over a New Leaf.”

SAM Shortline Train turns 20

Sam Shortline Train

It has been 20 years since SAM Shortline’s whistle announced its inaugural excursion. Since then, the tourist train has taken passengers across southwest Georgia, crossing Lake Blackshear and stopping at quaint towns along the way. To celebrate, SAM Shortline is offering three anniversary train rides. On October 22, Presidential Flyer travels from Georgia Veterans State Park to Plains, and then Former President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood farm. On October 26, Leslie Explorer lets you tour Georgia's Rural Telephone Museum. On October 29, depart from Americus to enjoy dinner aboard the train, plus a layover in Plains to watch little ghosts and goblins trick-or-treating. All aboard!

Hurricane Ian Efforts in Georgia

Hurricane Ian crew

Our hearts go out to those who lost so much during historic Hurricane Ian. The Department of Natural Resources was prepared for the impact in Georgia with search and rescue teams, as well as debris removal equipment. Around 2,000 evacuees and pets from Florida and South Carolina sought refuge in our campgrounds, cottages and horse stables. Our sites had minimal damage, and only two trails at Skidaway Island and Fort McAllister state parks remain closed for cleanup.

The Okefenokee Swamp


North America’s largest blackwater swamp is home to mysterious wildlife, primordial scenery and some of the darkest skies you’ll find. Stephen C. Foster State Park serves as the western entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp, where you can spend days fishing and boating, followed by evenings gazing at the stars. Sign up for a ranger-led boat tour or rent a kayak to look for alligators, herons, turtles, red-cockaded woodpeckers and other wildlife. Campers can sleep under Spanish-moss draped trees, and cottage guests can enjoy morning coffee on their private porch. The park was recently featured on 13WMAZ TV in Macon.

Kolomoki Festival is October 8

Kolomoki Festival

Kolomoki Mounds State Park near Blakely is gearing up for its biggest event of the year. This annual festival will include music, an antique tractor parade, pontoon boat tours, crafts and food vendors. You’ll learn about primitive skills such as flint knapping, hide tanning, archery, pottery and more while visiting one of the most significant Woodland Indian sites in the Southeast.

Look Who's In The News

CBS 46 Atlanta – Hurricane Ian Evacuees Head to Georgia State Parks to Wait Out Storm

Albany Herald -- Georgia State Park and Historic Site Managers Receive Accolades

Adel News Tribune -- Reed Bingham Manager Receives Park Ranger Bravery Award

Jackson Progress-Argus – State Park Employees Honored

Monroe Local News -- Hard Labor Creek State Park Receives Outstanding Golf Course of the Year Award

Fodors – Best Leaf Peeping Across the American South

Albany Herald – Fall Brings Leaf-Watching Season to Georgia State Parks

Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- 4 Fabulous Glamping Destinations in Georgia

365 Atlanta Traveler – 31 Awesome Drivable Adventures

MSN.com -- How to Find the Best Waterfalls in North Georgia

365 ATlanta Traveler – FDR State Park: 25 Ways to Explore & Enjoy this Treasure

October Programs & Events

Trees are a part of nearly every park adventure, from campfire programs, to guided hikes, to learning how to make a dugout canoe. Our program theme for 2022 is “Turn Over a New Leaf,” and our calendar is filled with arbor-themed activities. Find these and more happenings on GaStateParks.org.

Private-Group Escape Rooms – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October, Fort King George Historic Site, Darien

Full-Moon Paddle --- October 9, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain

Kids Fall Fun Celebration – October 10, 11, 22 and 29, Mistletoe State Park, Appling

Falling Leaves Hike – October 13, Fort Yargo State Park, Winder

Ghosts and Legends of Hofwyl-Broadfield – October 14, 21 and 28, Hofwyl-Broadfield Historic Site, Brunswick

Voices of the Past Lantern Tour – October 14, 15, 21 and 22, Jarrell Plantation Historic Site, Juliette

Tree Climbing – October 15 and 16, Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge

Meteor Shower Watch – October 21, James H. Floyd State Park, Summerville

43rd Annual Candle Lantern Tour – October 22, Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill

Fall Festival – October 22, Hamburg State Park, Mitchell

Haunted Village – October 22, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Farm Animal Fun Day – October 22, Hardman Farm Historic Site, Sautee Nacoochee

Autumn Inspiration Hike – October 28, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls

Haunted Evening – October 29, A.H. Stephens State Park, Crawfordville

Campsite Decorating and Pet Costume Contest – October 29, Florence Marina State Park, Omaha

Tag us on Instagram for a chance to be featured.  #gastateparks @gastateparks