National Parks Near Atlanta

South of the Chattahoochee River, situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and only five hours west of the Carolina-Georgia coastline, Atlanta is one of the best cities in the Southeast to take advantage of the outdoors.

Photo By: Beth Rucker

Photo By: Katie Hausauer

Photo By: Kelly Smith Trimble

Photo By: Beth Rucker

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Photo By: Tim Doyle

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Photo By: Will Hollerith

Photo By: Will Hollerith

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Not more than 175 miles from the Atlanta metropolitan area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is by far the most visited national park in the country.

A Park for All, and All Seasons

Most park visitors explore by car on one of the major scenic roads such as Cades Cove Loop or Newfound Gap Road. To beat the crowd, you can avoid busy times of year like July, August and October.

How to Escape the Crowds

Fortunately, with 384 miles of mountain road, the Smokies offer plenty of space to escape the crowd. Hiking is also enjoyed all year where the park'€™s old-growth deciduous forests bring a different reward with each season.

Appalachian Trail

Stretching approximately 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the premier hiking trail of the Eastern U.S. The trail is so popular that there is an entire subculture of books, memoirs, websites and fan clubs for passionate enthusiasts. The southern terminus of the trail is Springer Mountain approximately two hours north of Atlanta; many thru-hikers choose to start there.

Congaree National Park

As an important bird sanctuary, visitors to Congaree National Park, one of our nation'€™s newest parks, can stroll boardwalks watching wood duck, wild turkey, barred owls, and whippoorwill amongst cypress trees.

Cherokee National Forest

Though not technically a national park, Cherokee National Forest is well worth nothing. A truly notable feature of Cherokee National Forest is the Ocoee River, used during the 1996 Summer Olympics; the Ocoee has some of the greatest whitewater rafting and kayaking destinations in the Southeast.

Chattahoochee National Recreation Area

This national park north of the city gives access to a 48-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River. Residents of large northern suburbs like Marietta and Roswell can access the recreation area within minutes, while those living downtown or other coordinates along the city’s perimeter can be there in less than an hour.

The Lowcountry

Made up of a stretch of coastline that extends through South Carolina and into Georgia, the Lowcountry is a region bustling with natural as well as cultural beauty. One national park is Fort Sumter outside Charleston, S.C.

The Lowcountry

Tidal marshes, rivers, estuaries, barrier islands and the Atlantic Ocean make the Lowcountry rich with national forests, wildlife preserves, and cultural heritages sites that provide a bounty of recreation and accommodation options to visitors. One such site is Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia's largest barrier island and former Carnegie family escape.

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