State parks set holiday happenings


Dozens of parks across Georgia are hosting old-fashioned holiday celebrations that will remind you of yesteryear.

Below is a sampling of events, and the latest calendar can be seen at Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources. To reserve cabins, campsites and yurts, call 1-800-864-7275 or visit

Christmas at the Cabin: Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Red Top Mountain State Park, Acworth. Yuletide celebrations of the 1800s come to life as demonstrators take you back in time to Christmas at the Vaughan cabin. Santa will be available for families to take their own photos and for special Christmas visits. $5 parking. 770-975-0055.

Lights Up on the Lake: Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 5-28, 5-10 p.m., James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park, Summerville. Enjoy a drive through a winter wonderland at the picnic area by the lake. Several lit scenes will grace the roadside as we welcome the coming of the holiday season. If you would rather walk, park at the office and cross the boardwalk into the festivity of lights. $5 parking. 706-857-0826.

Holiday Tours at Hardman Farm: Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 7-14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Hardman Farm, Sautee Nacoochee. Tour the “Big House” at Hardman Farm, gently dressed with simple holiday decor from the natural world. Tours are available at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. An additional 5:00 p.m. tour will provide an opportunity to see the candle-lit house at twilight. $8 Adults, $7 Seniors 62 and over, $5 Children 6-17, $3 Children 5 and under. 706-878-1077.

Christmas by Candlelight: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12-13, 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. $4-$6. 706-695-2598.

Victorian Christmas: Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Traveler’s Rest Historic Site, Toccoa. Visits Georgia’s last standing stagecoach inn while halls are decked with decorations reflecting the Victorian Era. Historical interpreters dressed in period style clothing will be on hand to help you experience the inn as an 1830s visitor. Free hot cider and teacakes will be served. $3-$5. 706-356-4362.

Caroling Through Victoria Bryant: Saturday, Dec. 13, 6-8 p.m., Victoria Bryant State Park, Royston. What’s better than Christmas parties? How about caroling, hayrides, homemade ornaments and cookies? $2 for the hayride, $5 per photo for Pictures With Santa. $5 parking. 706-245-6270.

Christmas Tree Lighting: Saturday, Dec. 13, 4:30-8 p.m., Vogel State Park, Blairsville. Join us for the 11th annual Llighting of a 35-foot live Blue Spruce. There will be caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus’ visit, bonfires and refreshments. Please bring an unwrapped gift for a child 0-12 years of age; no toy guns or knives. The donations will help the Union County Sheriff’s Office toy drive. 706-745-2628.

Christmas at A.H. Stephens: Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 5-28, 6-10 p.m., A.H. Stephens State Park, Crawfordville. Tour the new 10-acre event field and visitor center area which has been beautifully decorated by a host of site partners, volunteers and local businesses. $5 parking. 706-456-2602.

Christmas On The Lake: Saturday, Dec. 6, 1-4 p.m., Florence Marina State Park, Omaha. Make Christmas decorations out of natural ornaments such as pine cones, sweet gum balls, magnolia seedpods and seashells. We provide all the materials you will need. Then bring your wish list as pictures will be taken with Santa Claus. $1 – $5 plus $5 parking. 229-838-4706.

A Jarrell Plantation Christmas: Saturday, Dec. 6, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Jarrell Plantation Historic Site, Juliette. Greenery from the woods decorates the 1847 plantation house and 1895 farm house. Learn to make simple paper decorations. Enjoy homemade spiced cider cooked on the wood burning stove and old style cookies, and warm up by the fireplace for music and stories. $4-$6.50 478-986-5172.

Festival of Lights and Frosty 5k Race: Saturday, Dec. 6, 4-9 p.m., Seminole State Park, Donalsonville. Celebrate the park’s 3rd annual Festival of Lights with a visit from Santa, inflatables for the kids, crafts, music and food. For the Merry Mile and Frosty 5k, come dressed in holiday attire and you may find your picture on our Facebook page. Registration forms available from Friends of Seminole, our Facebook Page and the park office. $5 parking. 229-861-3137.

Christmas Comes to Liberty Hall: Saturday, Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., A.H. Stephens State Park – Crawfordville. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens’ home, Liberty Hall, will be decorated with styles of the Victorian Christmas past. Come enjoy Victorian Era games, music, role players, our Confederate museum. Refreshments will be served. $1 – $5 706-456-2602.

Candy Cane Express Train Ride: Dec. 5, 9, 11 and 15, 10 a.m.-2:20 p.m., SAM Shortline Train, Cordele. Enjoy a popular excursion with an hour and ten minute layover in Plains. The town will be all dressed in its Christmas wrapping and ready for your visit. Free candy canes for every passenger. Santa will be aboard for the ride. Buy tickets in advance. 229-276-0755.

Lake Paddle with Santa: Saturday, Dec. 13, 2-3 p.m., F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain. Join Santa’s flotilla on Lake Delanor. Hot chocolate and cookies included. We provide Santa and basic paddle instruction for canoe or kayak. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. 706-663-4858.

Christmas on the Pond: Saturday, Dec. 13, 6-8:30 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.

Christmas at the Park: Saturday, Dec. 13, 6-8 p.m., Reed Bingham State Park, Adel. Celebrate Christmas with lights, decorations, hot chocolate, refreshments, Christmas crafts, music, a silent auction, and a guest appearance from Santa. $1/craft $5 parking. 229-896-3551.

Holiday Crafts with Santa and Sleigh-Hayride: Saturday, Dec. 20, 1-3 p.m., F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain. Join up with our picture perfect Santa and his elves at their workshop. Create holiday ornaments and crafts to take home. Enjoy music, hot chocolate, and a 15-minute hayride around the campground. Pay in advance at office and bring receipt. Cash only at the door. Meet at Group Shelter below Lake Delanor dam. $6 ages 4 and up $5 parking. 706-663-4858.

33rd Annual Plantation Christmas: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5-6, 6-9 p.m., Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site, Brunswick. This magical experience will demonstrate how Christmas was celebrated on a Southern rice plantation during the 1850s. Take a candlelit stroll down the old carriage road and enjoy candlelit tours of an antebellum plantation house, hot wassail and cookies, Civil War re-enactors, Christmas carols and a special appearance by Santa Claus. $5-$8. 912-264-7333.

A Colonial Christmas at Fort Morris: Saturday, Dec. 6, 5-8 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. Free admission sponsored by the Friends of Ft Morris, Flemington and Liberty County. 912-884-5999.

Colonial Christmas at Fort King George: Friday, Dec. 12, 7-8:30 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. Menu consists of traditional colonial Christmas fare. Event ends with a cannon firing. $35 for dinner. Reservations required. 912-437-4770.

Luminary Night with Santa: Saturday, Dec. 13, 6-8 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. $5 picture, $2 hayrides. $5 parking. 912-598-2300.

Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe: Sunday, Dec. 21, noon-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-$10. 912-353-3023.