Celebrate Traditional Holidays With Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 09:00

If shopping-mall Santas and crowded parking lots have your family saying “bah-humbug,” plan an outing to one of Georgia’s State Parks or Historic Sites.

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 GaStateParks.org/Events. Georgia’s State Parks and State Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources. To reserve cabins, campsites and yurts, call 1-800-864-7275 or visit GaStateParks.org/Reservations.

Coastal Georgia

Hofwyl Plantation Christmas
Friday, December 2, 2016, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site - Brunswick, GA
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. There will be hot wassail and cookies, Civil War reenactors, Christmas carols and a special appearance by Santa Claus. $5–$10. 912-264-7333.

Colonial Christmas at Fort King George
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Fort King George State Historic Site - Darien, GA
Join the Friends of Fort King George for a traditional dinner in the soldier's barracks, followed by a cannon firing. Reservations required. $40. 912-437-4770.

Luminary Night with Mrs. Claus
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Skidaway Island State Park - Savannah, GA
Bring your children and pets and join Mrs. Claus for a special night. 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. All activities are $2 per person. $5 parking. 912-598-2300.

Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe
Saturday, December 17, 2016, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Wormsloe State Historic Site - Savannah, GA
Participate in caroling, burning of the yule log, dancing to live period music and other holiday observances of the colonial period, plus games and refreshments. $4.50–$10. 912-353-3023.

Metro Atlanta

A Civil War Christmas at Pickett’s Mill
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pickett's Mill Battlefield State Historic Site - Dallas, GA
Gather the family and join us at our 1850s log cabin to help decorate the tree. Civil War soldiers will be home for the holidays. The cabin will be the setting as period reenactors demonstrate farm life, chores and celebrations of the period. Play with the toys pioneer children would have enjoyed. $3.00–$5.50. 770-443-7850.

Christmas at Red Top’s Cabin
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park - Acworth, GA
Yuletide celebrations of the 1800s come to life as demonstrators take you back in time to Christmas at the Vaughan cabin. Play with the pioneer toys that would have been given as presents. Santa will be available for photos and Christmas visits. Help decorate the Christmas tree and see dinner cooked in the fireplace. $5 parking. 770-975-0055.

Holiday Elf Hike
Saturday, December 17, 2016, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge, GA
Elf tired of sitting on a shelf? Fresh air is good for our magical friends too. Bring your elf, doll or favorite stuffed friend for a hike and craft. Get a goody bag and hot cocoa for you, and a special gift for your elf. Must register in advance. $10 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Middle & South Georgia

Seminole Tour of Lights
December 1–26, 2016, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Seminole State Park - Donalsonville, GA
Drive through the park decorated like a Winter Wonderland filled with holiday lights. $5 parking. 229-861-3137.

Christmas at A.H. Stephens
Fridays, Saturday, Sundays, December 2-23, 2016, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A.H. Stephens State Park - Crawfordville, GA
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. Free treats and holiday themed movies will be shown nightly. $5 parking. 706-456-2602.

Candy Cane Express Train Ride
Friday, December 2, 2016, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
SAM Shortline Train at Georgia Veterans State Park - Cordele, GA
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. Additional holiday rides are planned through December. 229-276-0755.

Christmas on the Pond
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
General Coffee State Park - Nicholls, GA
 Visit with Santa, enjoy storytelling, hayrides, a marshmallow roast and homemade refreshments. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. and be available until 8:30 p.m. Hayrides will start at 5:30 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Donations appreciated. Hayrides 50 cents. $5 parking. 912-384-7082.

Candlelight Christmas
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site - Juliette, GA
Take a nightly stroll by candlelight and enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas. You will have the chance to visit two of the historic homes of the Jarrell family and enjoy natural greenery and homemade decorations along with warm cider and cookies. $4–$6.50 478-986-5172.

Breakfast with Santa Train Ride
Saturday, December 24, 2016, 10:15 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.
SAM Shortline Train at Georgia Veterans State Park - Cordele, GA
Enjoy a special breakfast meal and train ride over Lake Blackshear with Santa aboard the SAM Shortline Train. Includes meal and games and activities at the depot. $19.99–$29.99 229-276-0755.

Northern Georgia

Holiday on the Hill
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 3-25, 2016, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
James H. Floyd State Park - Summerville, GA
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.

Christmas at the Gorge
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Tallulah Gorge State Park - Tallulah Falls, GA
Come and see Santa, make crafts, enjoy Christmas music and have a snack here at the park. $5 parking. 706-754-7981.

Christmas by Candlelight
Friday, December 9, 2016, and Saturday, December 10, 2016, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Chief Vann House State Historic Site - Chatsworth, GA
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. $5.50–$6.50 706-695-2598.

Caroling Through the Park
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Victoria Bryant State Park - Royston, GA
What's better than Christmas parties? How about caroling hayrides, homemade ornaments, hot chocolate and pictures with Santa? $2 for hayride $5 parking. 706-245-6270.

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