With the cooler temperatures and the gorgeous leaves, I find myself giving thanks daily that I live in north Georgia. Especially during this time of year. I want to be outside all the time. For all the things. Hayrides, pumpkin patches, family hikes, bonfires, farm tours. Autumn is my jam.
If your family is like mine and you love being outdoors during this season, family camping trips are awesome adventures. Whether it’s a dream come true or your worst nightmare, memories are sure to be made and they will last a lifetime! I grew up in Florida and we would spend our vacations camping in North Georgia. Some of my earliest childhood memories include sleeping bags, mountain air, and grumpy geese.
So if you’re ready to add some solid points towards that “Mom of the Year” title, here are a few of my favorite campgrounds. They’re so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re roughing it.
Vogel State Park, Blairsville
Georgia State Parks are always a great bet. But Vogel is one of the oldest and most popular. Get your reservations early! I have so many awesome childhood memories here. It’s located at the base of Blood Mountain and offers a variety of hiking trails that will challenge experienced hikers or allow the whole family to participate. The 22-acre lake offers a seasonal swimming beach, non-motorized water sports, a relaxing pavilion, and gorgeous mountain views. There’s a beautiful waterfall, playgrounds, a general store, a mini-golf course, and mountain streams for rock hopping. My favorite campsites are those neighboring the streams. We spent hours playing in the water, trying to catch fish with our bare hands. Spoiler: We caught exactly zero. And if you aren’t into roughing it, there are plenty of cottages available for rent.
Vogel offers lots of activities for the family all year long. In the summer, we panned for gemstones. In the winter, there’s a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that is a great way to kick off the holiday season. If you’d like to venture out of the park, you can visit nearby Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. No matter the time of year, there is always a lot of fun to be had at Vogel!
Enota Mountain Retreat, Hiawassee
Enota truly has something for everyone! Tent camping, RV sites, cabins, and motel rooms are all available in the gorgeous park. Located at the highest private elevation in Georgia, the 60-acre nonprofit conservation facility has provided a fun escape from the daily hustle and bustle. There are four waterfalls, streams, and creeks, a stocked trout pond for fishing, in-ground trampolines, a playground for the kids, and even a spa for mom. My favorite is the working organic farm. You can help with the daily feeding of the animals (chickens, bunnies, goats, cows, mini horses, and more) and even help milk the cow. There are hayrides and bonfires, produce picking during the season, and educational farm tours. The beautifully restored lodge has a fireplace and movies for those rainy days.
All the activities are included for overnight guests. If you would like to check it out without packing a tent, you can get a day pass for all the fun. Just be sure to check their website to confirm the activities schedule.
Mountain Lakes Resort, Cleveland
Truthfully, I almost didn’t include this one for purely selfish reasons. This was the coolest place we’ve ever camped. Technically, we were “glamping” because we weren’t in a tent but in a VRBO camper-cabin. Because there was a toilet at the foot of our bed, I’m still gonna say it counts as a camping adventure.
Mountain Lakes Resort is an eight-minute drive from Helen and all the fun shops and restaurants. But I doubt you’ll want to leave the resort. It has everything you could possibly want. For a minimal daily resort fee (between $3-6 per day), you have access to everything. There are canoe and paddleboat rentals for the huge lake there. You can fish license-free and buy bait at the general store. There is a water slide, two separate outdoor pools and an indoor pool with a huge jacuzzi and an even bigger fireplace. The clubhouse offers a sauna, tons of books and board games, billiards, and scheduled events like karaoke and bingo. They have a little country chapel with Sunday services, a mini-golf course, and an old-fashioned diner. There are tons of trails and horseback riding. The stables are beautiful and the employees are very welcoming.
Mountain Lakes is set up like a community. Many are yearlong residents in tiny homes, RVs, or camper-cabins. There are cabins, chalets, and campgrounds all available for family getaways.