A couple of weekends ago, we embarked on a relatively spontaneous trip to Helen, GA. On Sunday, I remembered that the Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race & Festival was that weekend. So, we made reservations at Unicoi State Park and began planning our trip.
When we go to Helen, Unicoi State Park is usually our go-to place for lodging. We like to camp. However, there are a number of lodging options to choose from.
- 100 Lodge Rooms
- 82 Campsites
- 1 Squirrel’s Nest
- 30 Cottages
We go for sites that don’t have electric or water hook-up at the site, which is known as a Walk-In Campsite. Upon check-in, you have your choice of the available campsites. The Walk-In Campsites are located in an area known as Hickory Hollow.
We chose a campsite that we could park our car near. After all, we enjoy not having to carry all of our gear incredibly far. This particular campsite was also very close to the bathroom, and shared water with two other campsites in the area. Plus, it seemed like it would be in the shade for a majority of the day. So, the site was pretty much perfect for us!
The Walk-In Campsites include a 16′ x 16′ gravel pad, picnic table, fire ring, grill top, and lantern post. Upon claiming our site, we got to work setting our tent up on the pad. We also set up our chairs around the campsite. We left our cooler in the car. After our incident with the bear last time we visited Unicoi, we weren’t taking any chances this time!
There are many things to do while at Unicoi State Park:
- 53 Acre Lake- privately owned non-motorized boats are permitted
- 4 Tennis Courts
- Swimming Beach
- 7.5 Miles of Hiking Trails
- 8 Miles of Mountain Biking Trails
One of Raileigh’s favorite activities to do while at Unicoi is go to the playground– all of them! There are three playgrounds that I can think of off the top of my head- one near the Visitor Center and Hickory Hollow Walk-In Campsite area, one in the Day Use Area, and one near the top entrance to the Lodge and the beginning of the Unicoi-Helen Trail.
Speaking of the Unicoi-Helen Trail… we spent one incredibly hot morning hiking a portion of the trail. We went in search of the Georgia State Parks GeoCache, which is actually hidden off of this trail. Though we didn’t actually find the GeoCache, thanks to a non-working GPS. However, we did have a fun time on the trail and will definitely be returning later to snag that GeoCache.
If all of those activities aren’t enough, there are a plethora of programs that Unicoi State Park offers daily. In fact, we attended one of these programs- S’mores and Stories- one night while we were there. One of the park rangers brought all the fixings for s’mores and got a camp fire going in the fire ring near the visitor center playground. We all grabbed roasting forks and prepared a few marshmallows over the fire. Then, we enjoyed several stories as a group that got everyone involved.
If you’re looking for a very affordable, yet fun-filled family adventure, then be sure to check out Unicoi State Park or one of the other Georgia State Parks locations around the state.
I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from our stay at Unicoi State Park.
Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post. I have worked with Georgia State Parks in the past and will again in the future. However, I just really like Georgia State Parks, their facilities, and all that they have to offer!