Summer is here, and the outdoors have proven to be a safe place to get out of the house and take a breath of fresh air, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, there are a variety of National Parks open around Atlanta and beyond, not to mention Georgia’s wonderful State Parks.
Here are some of the sites you may enjoy:
- The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area: We have to start with this one! Parts of the Arabia Mountain NHA are open and parts remain closed due to COVID. You can currently hike on the Arabia Mountain PATH and at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve and Panola Mountain State Park, while historic sites such as the Flat Rock Archives and Monastery of the Holy Spirit (as well as the AWARE Wildlife center) remain closed.
- The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area: Running through the heart of Augusta, GA, the Augusta Canal offers a variety of opportunities to discover nature, industrial history, and the current city, all woven together along the length of the only remaining intact industrial canal in the Southeast. Learn more and plan your visit here.
- The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area: You can hike along the banks of the beautiful Chattahoochee River this summer, escaping the bustle of the city while barely having to leave it. Be sure to check the park’s website for updates before you go.
- The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor: If you want to go a little further afield, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, the third of Georgia’s National Heritage Areas, runs along the coast and celebrates the history and legacy of the Gullah Geechee community. This network of historic sites and greenspace includes gems like the spectacular Cumberland Island National Seashore (learn more here). Plan your trip to the Gullah Geechee NHC here.
- Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park: You can discover a powerful Civil War battlefield site and enjoy sweeping views of metro-Atlanta at Kennesaw Mountain. Like the Chattahoochee, make sure to check the park’s website before visiting.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park: Due to COVID-19, much of this park dedicated to the history and impact of one of America’s foremost Civil Rights leaders remains closed, unfortunately. The park will continue to post updates on its website. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t enjoy it at all! Take a walk along Auburn Avenue to see some of the historic buildings, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birth Home.
This list is just the beginning of places to explore – and there are plenty of fantastic National Park units that we didn’t include! You can find a whole list of National Park sites to visit here. From the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park (link) on the Tennessee border to the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (link) in Plains, GA, Georgia’s natural and historic heritage is a landscape waiting for discovery. Check the website to see what’s open, bring your mask and hand sanitizer, and get exploring.