UPDATED on 4/20/20 for National Parks Week
National Parks Week goes from April 18th to 26th this year.
While there are no special events that you can attend in person, the Park Service invites you to go virtual this year. It has put together a bucket list of 20 virtual ideas for 2020, and you can find it here.
The virtual bucket list includes things like:
- Visiting a park virtually via webcam
- Collecting virtual passport stamps for your National Parks Passport
- Joining in the Junior Ranger Program for kids
- And much more!
For info on the current status of the parks nearest to Atlanta, see the links below.
Which National Parks are close to Atlanta?
In this post you’ll find a complete list of National Parks in Georgia, as well as Georgia’s National Heritage Areas, with a spotlight on those within an easy drive from Atlanta.
This spring, all National Parks offer FREE entrance — in an effort to let you avoid crowds while enjoying springtime outdoors.
Some national parks are ALWAYS FREE, while others charge an average of $5 for entrance/parking.
Note: Every year there are 5 National Parks free entrance days, when the fees are waived everywhere.
Most of the 11 National Parks in Georgia are near the North Georgia Mountains and Coastal Georgia, but there are 4 national parks near Atlanta.
The closest National Parks to Atlanta are:
- Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Sandy Springs — currently closed. Details here
- Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park — currently closed. Details here
- Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area — some parts are still open! Details here
The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is a popular recreation and hiking spot close to Atlanta.
Arabia Mountain is just 30 miles from Perimeter Mall, 29 miles from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, and 25 miles from Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta.
NOTE: Due to current health concerns, the Pulaski National Monument announced plans to shut down.
The Martin Luther King National Historic Site in Atlanta is CLOSED until further notice.
FREE entrance nation-wide to national parks this spring
Avoiding crowded places doesn’t mean you have to stay home. There are wide open spaces in the National Parks, and most are open for your enjoyment.
We recommend using good hygiene wherever you are, and bringing hand sanitizer with you.
From the press release:
This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks. Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.
Want to experience the tranquility and calm of nature without actually visiting a park? Just spend a few minutes listening to PARKTRACKS — sounds captured in parks by the National Park Service.
Annual FREE admission days at National Parks
Come experience the national parks! On five days in 2020, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.
This includes all the National Parks near Atlanta and in Georgia.
Mark your calendar for these free-entrance days in 2020:
- January 20: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 18: First day of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 26: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Note that only the entrance fee is waived.
Depending on what you plan to do at the park, you’ll still need to pay for things like campsites, boat launches, walking tours, etc.
Complete list of the National Parks in Georgia
There are 11 National Parks in Georgia, plus three National Heritage Areas.
The National Parks in bold text are those that are closest to the Atlanta metro area. The links will click through to the corresponding National Park Service web page.
- Andersonville National Historic Site
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Sandy Springs (Daily park pass is $5)
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
- Cumberland Island National Seashore
- Fort Frederica National Monument
- Fort Pulaski National Monument
- Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains
- Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (Daily park pass is $5)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site — ALWAYS FREE!
- Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park
National Heritage Areas include:
- Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area — ALWAYS FREE
- Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
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