December Events at Your Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

Explore Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites this month as you celebrate this season of joy and cheer.  Parks and Friends groups across the state are planning special events for you and your family's enjoyment. Read More for a list of a few of these great events, divided by region so you can easily find what the programs happening near you. 

NORTHERN GEORGIA

Christmas Open House
Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville
Enjoy musical performances and meet our visiting artists. Kids can join the park's volunteers in the craft room to make seasonal ornaments to take home. View gingerbread house creations and vote for your favorite. Get cozy by the fire and visit with Santa, then wind down with a holiday story or two. $5 parking. (706) 265-1969.
 

Christmas for Travelers
Saturday, December 8, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Travelers Rest Historic Site – Toccoa
Visitors will enjoy live music and period dances by the 1860s Civilian Society. Craft demonstrators will show their skills in blacksmithing, knitting, crocheting, spinning and more -- all in an 1800s seasonal setting created by the Friends of Traveler's Rest. Cider and tea cakes are served. $2.50-$4.00 (706) 356-4362.

Christmas Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville
Join us for the tree lighting, caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus visit, bonfires, hot chocolate and cider. Also help support the "Give A Gift Toy Drive" sponsored by the Union County Sheriff's Department, bring an unwrapped gift for kids of 0-12 years of age. No toy guns, knives or dangerous items. (706) 745-2628.
 

Dahlonega Gold Museum Christmas Open House
Sunday, December 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site – Dahlonega
Enjoy living history demonstrations in the lower lodge lobby. Explore the magic of handmade folk toys, and try your hand at churning butter. Reservations required for the lodge's very popular Thanksgiving Buffet. $5 parking. (706) 344-1505.

Cherokee Christmas by Candlelight
Friday, December 14 through Saturday, December 15, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Chief Vann House Historic Site – Chatsworth
In 1805, Cherokee Chief James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. To honor this tradition, visitors are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 19th century Christmas in one of America's best-preserved Cherokee Indian homes. $3.50–$6.00. (706) 695-2598.

Fun at the Fort
Saturday, December 15, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder
Experience a picturesque and fascinating historic site within the state park, while learning about life in the late 1700s. Tours includes various interactive activities and educational opportunities. $3 plus $5 parking. (770) 867-3489.

Carols Through The Park
Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston
What's better than Christmas Parties? How about Caroling Hayrides, Homemade Ornaments & Sugar Cookies? Caroling Through the Park will have that and much more. It will be $1 per person for the hayride, $5 per photo for Pictures With Santa. $5 parking. (706) 245-6270.

Holi-Day Camp for Juniors
Tuesday, December 18, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
Kids, give your parents time to buy more presents while you enjoy almost winter in the great outdoors. Outdoor playtime is mixed with indoor craft-time to keep noses warm and spirits high. Kids ages 6-8. Register in advance. $25 or $30 if paid after December 4. $5 parking. (706) 878-3087.

Holi-Day Camp ll
Wednesday, December 19 through Thursday, December 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen
Finding the Yule Log in the woods has become part of the Holi-Day Camp tradition. Kids ages 9-12 can enjoy a bit of fun and skill in orienteering, along with learning about Appalachian holiday traditions and more. Advance registration required. $45 for both days or $55 if paid after December 5. (706) 878-3087.

COASTAL GEORGIA

Colonial Christmas at Fort King George
Saturday, December 8, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Site – Darien
Join the garrison for a traditional dinner in the soldier's barracks and an evening of colonial-style Yule Tide jollification. $35 for dinner. Reservations required. (912) 437-4770.

Winter Muster & Battle at Fort McAllister
Saturday, December 8, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill
Watch Confederate troops prepare for their final battle. The fort will be open with the battle taking place around 5pm. A self-guided tour will be held right after the battle at which time visitors will learn about the destruction of war. $3.75-$6.50 (912) 727-2339.

A Colonial Christmas at Fort Morris
Saturday, December 8, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Fort Morris Historic Site – Midway
Get away from the over commercialization of the holidays and visit Fort Morris for a more peaceful celebration. Join park staff for colonial refreshments, a yule log, bonfire, 18th century music, caroling, dance and firing of the Christmas guns. (912) 884-5999.

Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe
Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah
Participate in activities such as caroling, burning of the yule log, dancing to live period music, and other holiday observances of the colonial period, including games and refreshments. $4.50-$8. (912) 353-3023.

Fun at the Fort
Saturday, December 15, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder
Experience a picturesque and fascinating historic site within the state park, while learning about life in the late 1700's. Fun for the whole family; tours includes various interactive activities and educational opportunities. $3 plus $5 parking. (770) 867-3489.

Luminary Night with Santa
Saturday, December 15, 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah
Bring your children and pets for pictures with Santa. Enjoy a walk along our enchanted luminary trail and take a hayride around the park. Sip on hot chocolate while decorating cookies and making holiday crafts. $2 - $5 photos and hayrides. $5 parking. (912) 598-2300.

SOUTHERN & CENTRAL GEORGIA
Bells Over Plains: Train Ride
December 6, 13 and 14, 10 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Take a train ride to Plains from Ga. Veterans State Park. You will experience a trip from Santa and 1 hour in Plains. Remember to purchase lunch and activity kits ahead of time so you can enjoy. 1-877-427-2457.

Liberty Hall Candlelit Tour
Friday, December 7, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
A.H. Stephens Historic Park – Crawfordville
Hosts in period costumes will lead visitors through the beautiful, candlelit home of the Confederate Vice President. Enjoy the house with no electric lights on for the night and walk in the footsteps as they did back then. $2.50 - $4.00 (706) 456-2602.

General and Mrs. Robert Toombs: An Evening At Home
Friday, December 7, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Robert Toombs House Historic Site – Washington
A progressive living history program will be presented at both the Robert Toombs House and the Washington Historical Museum, once the home of the Barnett Family. The date is December 1880. General and Mrs. Toombs sent and invitation to the Barnett family to attend the wedding reception of their grandson. Free. (706) 678-2226.

School Express
Friday, December 7, 10:15 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele
All Aboard! Bring the kids and come rid in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars. You'll board at Georgia Veterans State Park and travel to Americus and Plains. Be sure and take advantage of our special St. Nick's HOBO Lunch Package for only $11.99 and the Wonderland Kit of lots of special items for only $8.99. Ticket prices vary. Visit SAMShortline.com for more information. 1-877-427-2457.

Rudolph's Favorite
Friday, December 7 and 21, 6:30 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.
Friday, December 21, 6:30 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele
Enjoy a relaxing ride from Georgia Veterans State Park into Cordele. Vendors will be awaiting your arrival to show you all the exciting things for Christmas. Games, music and reading of The Polar Express await younger ones. 1-877-427-2457.

Colonial Log Cabin Christmas
Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Elijah Clark State Park – Lincolnton
Join us as we recreate the first Christmas of Elijah and Hannah Clark in the year of 1773. Colonial refreshments to be served. You will also be able to enjoy mountain dulcimer music, tractor pulled hayrides, pictures with Santa, and pioneer toys will be given to the children. $5 parking. (706) 359-3458.

Christmas On The Lake
Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park – Omaha

Make Christmas decorations out of natural ornaments such as pine cones, sweetgum balls, magnolia seedpods and seashells. We provide all the materials you will need. Then from 1 to 3, be sure to bring your wish list as pictures will be taken with Santa Claus. $1 - $3 $5 parking. (229) 838-4706.

A Jarrell Plantation Christmas
Saturday, December 8, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette
Traditional Christmas in the country. Natural greenery decorations, candles, and refreshments, folk craft demonstrations, and stories. $4-$6.50 (478) 986-5172.

Christmas Crafts With Kids
Saturday, December 8, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Mistletoe State Park – Appling
Parents, use the morning to do holiday shopping while kids have their own time to make special gifts for the family. Kids ages 6-12 will have fun making key chains, jewelry from recycled paper, strings of popcorn, angels, and more Christmas and nature crafts. Register in advance. $20. (706) 541-0321.

Archaeology At Camp Lawton
Saturday, December 8
Magnolia Springs State Park – Millen
Talk with Georgia Southern University's archaeology team about recent findings at Camp Lawton, a Confederate Prison Camp for Union POWs. Learn about the camp's history and daily lives of the prisoners, and see some of the equipment being used to uncover artifacts. Photos of the artifacts will be available for viewing. $5 parking. (478) 982-1660.

Heritage Festival
Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Magnolia Springs State Park – Millen
Enjoy a living history encampment, full-scale replica of the Hunley, crafts, and archaeology. This festival commemorates the anniversary of General Sherman's "March to the Sea" during the American Civil War. $5 parking. (478) 982-1660.

Plains Festival of Lights Excursion
Saturday, December 8, 3 p.m. – 10:25 p.m.
SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele
Get your tickets today and see President and Rosalyn Carter light the trees at the Plains Festival of Lights. You'll be riding in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. 1-877-427-2457.

Second Sundays on the Farm
Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
General Coffee State Park - Nicholls
The Heritage Farm will feature demonstrations of late 1800s farm life on the second Sunday of every month. A different demonstration will take place every month. $5 parking. (912) 384-7082.

Across the South

Wednesday, December 12, 9:30 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – All Aboard! – Cordele

Take a trip on the SAM Shortline Excursion Train "Across the South." We'll board at Georgia Veterans State Park and travel to Americus, Plains, Archery and back. You'll ride in air-conditioned, 1949 vintage train cars and get a taste of how traveling in South Georgia used to be. 1-877-427-2457.

Christmas on the Park

Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Reed Bingham State Park – Adel

Celebrate Christmas with Friends of Reed Bingham and staff at our beach pavilion with lights, decorations, hot chocolate, refreshments, Christmas crafts, music, a silent auction, and a guest appearance from Santa. $1 for crafts. $3 for picture with Santa. $5 parking. (229) 896-3551.

Reading of the Polar Express

Saturday, December 15, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Roosevelt's Little White House Historic Site – Warm Springs

A real train conductor will read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg to children in the cozy living room of Mustian Place. Children will be given tickets to take a seat as we celebrate the season with refreshments and a visit from Santa. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas will receive a reindeer bell as a gift. $8-$12. (706) 655-5870.

Enchanted Evening Train Ride

Saturday, December 15, 2:45 p.m. – 9:05 p.m.

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Enjoy this holiday special train ride as you visit the older days of farm life. While in Archery, you will enjoy hot cider and seeing old timey Christmas decorations. Then travel to Plains for the special firepots in the streets with marshmallows to roast. The air is filled with musical tunes that are very familiar and the jolly ole man himself will be there. 1-877-427-2457.

Christmas on the Pond

Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

General Coffee State Park – Nicholls

Join us to usher in the holiday season. Visit with Santa, enjoy storytelling, hayrides, a marshmallow roast and homemade refreshments. Donations appreciated. $5 parking. (912) 384-7082.

Introduction to Archery

Saturday, December 15, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Archery has been around for over 1,000 years. Try your skill at shooting a "Bull's Eye", and learning the basics of this fun outdoor sport. Space is limited, pre-registration required. 10 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

Tour of Lights Festival

Saturday, December 15, 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Seminole State Park – Donalsonville

The festivities begin at 3pm and will feature live bands, vendors, activities for the kids to enjoy, and of course, the Christmas lights. We will announce the winner of the Christmas light contest, followed by the Christmas Boat Parade. We may even get a visit from Santa himself! $5 parking. (229) 861-3137.

Moonlight Hike

Saturday, December 29, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Join a park ranger on this guided hike under the full moon. Wear comfortable shoes, insect repellant, and bring a camera to record the journey, as we listen for insects, frogs and other nocturnal creatures. Meet at the Hard Labor Creek Trading Post. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

Trains, Boats & Plains Ride

Monday, December 31

SAM Shortline Excursion Train – Cordele

Take a tourist train across southern Georgia. Groups and parties welcome. 1-877-427-2457.

METRO ATLANTA

Basic Fly Fishing Clinic

Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge

The clinic covers casting, safety issues and other tricks of the trade. If time permits participants may stay to catch the Fish of Fish. Instructors suggest wearing long pants/shorts and hiking shoes, and bringing snacks, water and sunscreen. Georgia fishing license required. Register in advance. $15 or $12 with own gear. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Lost Person Prevention

Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge

Learn simple techniques for not getting lost and keeping track of your family when venturing into the great outdoors of Georgia. Search and Rescue Dog Team will be joining the class unless a SAR activity is occurring. Meet at the nature center. We recommend arriving 30 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Atlanta Audubon Society Bird Walk

Sunday, December 9, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Bring your binoculars for this gentle hike through the park's Power of Flight area. Basic identification techniques and common birds will be discussed. Good for all ages. We recommend long pants and sleeves. Meet at the Alexander Lake Area. Register in advance. Donations of birdseed are appreciated. $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Backcountry Geology Hike

Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

Geologist and Friends member John Johnston will lead a moderate three-mile hike identifying rock types and explaining how they formed. Explore the beautiful Jack's Branch area and the seldom-visited rock quarry of New Manchester. Meet in the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Tree Top Excursions: Introduction Climb

Saturday, December 15, 1 p.m.

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Join us "on rope" for an adventure exploring the canopy above. Participants will use rope and harness for this moderately strenuous activity. One group will start at 1PM; another group will start at 3PM. Please arrive 15 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Candlelight Hike to the Mill

Saturday, December 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

This mile-long guided night hike is easy to moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War era textile mill ruins of New Manchester. Candle lanterns will be provided. No children under 6 years or dogs permitted. Space is limited and is on a first-come first-serve basis. Meet and register at the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Full Moon Night Hike

Saturday, December 22, 4:30

Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Listen to whippoorwills and owls as the sun slowly sets and the moon begins to rise. Panola Mountain is one of the best places to see the wildlife of the night. Bring flashlights and hiking boots. Meet at the nature center 15 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $7 plus

$5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

"Ruins to Rapids" Full Moon Hike

Friday, December 28, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

This 1.5-mile hike is moderately difficult and goes inside the Civil War-era textile mill ruins of New Manchester and follows the lovely rapids (up to class IV) of Sweetwater Creek. A flashlight and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are required. No children under 6 or dogs. Meet inside the Visitor Center. Register in advance. $6 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

For more details and updates on these events, visit the Georgia State Parks event page by Clicking Here.