Georgia’s State Parks Celebrate the “Moon and Stars” with Themed Evening Programs

Dusk Canoeing at Georgia State Parks

Georgia State Park August Events

Georgia’s State Parks are celebrating the enchantment of the “Moon and Stars” with themed nighttime events the entire month of August.  With the Perseid meteor shower peaking on August 11 and a full moon on August 31, it’s the perfect time for families to cool off and enjoy starry summer nights or go for a moonlit stroll.  The rare moon occurrence (two full moons in one month) is referred to as a “blue moon” and happens only every two and a half years.

Outdoor enthusiasts interested in astronomy or who simply want to enjoy the parks by moonlight can take advantage of a variety of evening programs.  Hikers can explore trails by moonlight at Tallulah Gorge, Sweetwater Creek, Panola Mountain and Hard Labor Creek state parks.  Full moon paddle excursions are offered at George L. Smith, James H. Sloppy Floyd and Sweetwater Creek state parks.  Serious stargazers will want to head to Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp, home to some of the darkest skies in the state, or to Hard Labor Creek State Park’s observatory.

Below are just a few examples of evening programs planned this month.  A full calendar is available at


Twilight Paddles
August 10, 17 and 24, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

Join us for a ranger-led, peaceful outing on the lake at sunset. This trip is for those 16 years or older who can swim or children 6 years or older who can swim and are accompanied by an adult.  Meet at the Bait Shop. Register in advance. $15 includes equipment. $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Evening Kayak and Wildlife Watching Adventures
August 10, 17, 18 and 31, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

The stealthy kayak is a great vessel to sneak up on all sorts of wildlife. This ranger-led paddle will take participants around Lake Rutledge for viewing birds, mammals, dragonflies and other wildlife. Ages 4 and older. Register in advance. $15 includes equipment. $5 parking. (706) 557-3001.

Perseid Meteor Shower
August 10, 8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo/Okefenokee

Come out to the darkest skies in the state for a spectacular view of the Perseid meteor shower. Ask about our new astronomy permit that allows you to stay between 2 and 4 a.m. to see up to 100 meteors per hour. $5 refuge parking fee. (912) 637-5274.

Legend of the Stars & Moon Marshmallow Roast
Saturday, August 11, 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Mistletoe State Park – Appling

Join us in roasting marshmallows around the campfire while listening to an Indian legend of how the moon and stars were created. $5 parking. (706) 541-0321.

Astronomy Night
August 11, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Georgia Veterans State Park – Cordele

Spend a night exploring the heavens, featuring the Perseid meteor shower, stars and planets. $1 plus $5 parking. (229) 276-2371.

Perseid Meteor Shower
Sunday, August 12, 2 a.m.
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn

If you have never seen a meteor shower before, this is one of the most consistent and active of the whole year. The local Astronomical Society will be available to answer any questions. Please bring a red-cellophane covered flashlight along with a chair or blanket. Meet at the Tennis Courts. $5 parking. (706) 657-4050.

Georgia State University Astronomy – Observatory Open House
August 18, 8:20 p.m. – 10:40 p.m.
Hard Labor Creek State Park – Rutledge

Georgia State University’s Observatory will have an open house monthly. In case of inclement weather, facilities will be open for a tour and slideshow.  (706) 557-3001.

“Wagging Trails” Nighttime Dog Hike
August 18, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs

Bring your leashed four-legged friend as we cover 2 1/2 miles including walking alongside the whitewater rapids and visiting the five story ruins of the Civil War era New Manchester textile mill.  $5 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Full Moon Night Hike
Saturday, August 18 and 25, 7:30 p.m.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge

Join us for an enchanted evening as we hike to the mountaintop under the full moon. We’ll head out just before sunset and enjoy the stroll as the moon begins to rise. Bring flashlights, hiking boots and water. Meet at the nature center 15 minutes before each program. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. (770) 389-7801.

Full Moon Bike Ride Down Suwannee River Sill
August 31, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo

Bring your bike for this ranger-led ride under the full moon. Look for alligators eyes shining bright red. Listen to owls and a chorus of frogs and toads. Watch bats overhead. Cross your fingers for a shooting star! $5 Refuge Parking. (912) 637-5274.

Blue Moon Paddle
August 31, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park – Summerville

Join us for this peaceful, ranger-led outing at sunset for the first blue moon in almost three years. This trip is for those 16 years and older who can swim. Register in advance. $8 includes equipment. $2 with own gear. $5 parking. (706) 857-0826.

Full Moon Hike in the Gorge
August 31
Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls

Enjoy the gorge in the magical, shimmering light of the full moon. The hike will begin at the Interpretive Center, following the North Rim Trail, with a descent of the Hurricane Falls Trail staircase to the suspension bridge over Hurricane Falls. This is considered a strenuous hike, consisting of approximately 1.5 miles and 1,099 steps. Register in advance. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 754-7981.

“Ruins to Rapids” Full Moon Hike
August 31, 8 p.m. – 10 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 rapids of Sweetwater Creek. A flashlight and sturdy shoes are required. No children younger than 6 or dogs. Meet inside the Visitor Center. Register in advance. $6 plus $5 parking. (770) 732-5871.

Georgia State Parks offer affordable overnight options from modern campsites and cozy cabins, to yurts and even hotel-style lodge rooms.  Staying overnight in the parks makes it easy to enjoy evening programs, the moon and stars.  For more information, visit or to make reservations call 1-800-864-7275.

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