Ga state park yurts

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Yurt Camping On Lake Hartwell (Glamping In Georgia)

After a recent trip going yurt camping on Lake Hartwell, I can definitely recommend staying in one of the yurts in Georgia State Parks. There are several benefits to camping in yurts, and fortunately, there are several parks in Georgia that offer yurts for your glamping pleasure.

This was the first time that I’d ever stayed in a yurt, and I really liked the convenience of staying in a yurt versus traditional tent camping. Not only was it fun to stay in such unique accommodations, but we had a blast playing in the lake.

After you see all the pictures of our yurt, I know you’re going to want to go stay in one yourself!

Yurt Camping On Lake Hartwell

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exterior of yurt in tugaloo state park showing deck with red adirondack chairs and green yurt tent with windows open

When I told my friends and family I was taking the kids camping in a yurt, they all had the same question: what is a yurt? A yurt is simply a round structure made of sticks or poles that are covered in fabric. Basically, it’s a giant round tent.

Yurts usually have windows and a skylight, and in Tugaloo park, they also have electricity and furnishings. It takes away a lot of the packing and work to set up camp when you first get in which is nice for short trips like ours.

Interior of yurt showing the wooden poles that support the canvas tent

Benefits of yurt camping

  1. Your tent is already up and waiting for you at the campground – no fighting poles and tarps
  2. It has a ceiling fan and overhead lighting – great for summer camping
  3. Space heaters are provided for fall and winter camping
  4. There are 3 beds/futons that sleep six – no hauling air mattresses or sleeping on the ground
  5. Each yurt has a private lakefront deck with Adirondack seating for 4

Not having to pack, set up, and take down a tent took a lot of the work out of camping with kids. It was such a pleasure to arrive at camp and instantly start having fun!

While it was hot inside the yurt when we arrived, it quickly cooled off after we opened the windows and turned on the fan. Outlets around the yurt make it easy to add additional fans, and overnight it was quite comfortable for us even in early June.

The mattresses in the yurt are covered in a waterproof fabric and appeared clean. I was a little worried they’d have stains or look dirty, but they didn’t.

Interior of yurt in tugaloo park showing bunk beds

As far as comfort, the mattress is very firm but much better than the floor. The adults in our group were a little sore after sleeping there, but the kids were very comfy.

I was up the earliest in the morning, and the lake view and Adirondack chairs were the perfect place to enjoy a hot cup of coffee before the rest of the crew started stirring.

What the yurts do not have:

  1. There’s no air conditioning, but with the ceiling fan and a box fan you can keep it nice and cool.
  2. There’s no running water inside the yurt. So no toilet, sink, or kitchen. In fact, cooking in the yurt is prohibited.
  3. Sheets or pillows – make sure to bring your own!

None of those is really an issue to me since we’re supposed to be camping. Because there are beds and electricity, I think yurt camping qualifies as glamping (glamorous + camping).

interior of yurt with bar height table and stools and brown futon with blue pillows

It would be so fun to up the glamorous part with expensive linens and fluffy pillows. I recommend taking one of these camping mattress pads to make the futon cushier.

Some twinkle lights, battery operated candles (don’t use fire inside the yurt, duh), and maybe some breezy curtains would add a romantic feeling…and some privacy.

I think it would be hard to see into the yurts from the other parts of yurt village, but definitely not impossible – especially at night. So having the curtains would be a nice additional layer of privacy. It would be easy to hang them, just bring some string and tie them to the yurt structure.

Yurt village in Tugaloo Park

In addition to the yurt tent, each yurt site also has a fire ring, charcoal grill, and picnic table. There are six yurts that rent for $75/night in Tugaloo. All the yurts are collected together in their own little area, and they share a central restroom facility.

View of lake from picnic table at yurt 6 Tugaloo State Park

We stayed in Yurt 6 which was very private and had (fairly) easy access to a small beach area and excellent lakefront views. I liked that this yurt was one of the closer ones to the restrooms, but it was down a steep hill as they all are.

All of the yurts are well spread out, so you don’t feel like you’re camping with your neighbors. While you can definitely hear other families and kids having fun in yurt village, we didn’t see them very much and had the beach area to ourselves.

What to bring yurt camping

While the yurt itself has much of what you’ll need for shelter and sleeping, you still need to bring other camping gear.

  • Bed linens and pillows
  • Mattress pad if desired
  • Fans for inside yurt (definitely needed in summer)
  • Flashlight or lanterns for night trips to the restroom
  • Portable potty and kitty litter for inside the potty bag (very helpful when camping with toddlers)

Of course, you don’t want to forget supplies for your camp kitchen, and we also brought folding chairs to put on the beach and around the campfire.

For activities, bathing suits, life jackets, and fishing gear came in handy for playing in the lake. Bream fishing off the small beach was great, and the kids had a great time playing in the water.

We also brought board games which were fun to play at the table in the yurt after the sun went down.

photo collage: Man and boy fishing from banks of lake. Man hands remove hook and worm from caught crappie. young girl in lifejacket plays in lake.

Where to go yurt camping in Georgia

Tugaloo park on Lake Hartwell is not the only Georgia State Park with yurts. There are actually 5 other locations that offer similar accommodations.

Interior of yurt looking in from the front door

Sweetwater Creek

Just a short drive west of Atlanta, this state park in Lithia Springs has 10 yurts available for $95 per night. This park encompasses 2,549 acres and has a 215 acre lake. In addition to camping, there are fishing docks, a boat ramp, playgrounds, and a museum and gift shop.

Cloudland Canyon

Located on the edge of beautiful Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia, this state park in Rising Fawn has 10 yurts available for $100 per night. If you love hiking, there’s plenty to discover in Cloudland Canyon state park. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring canyons, cliffs, caves, waterfalls, creeks, and more in this impressive park.

Redtop Mountain

North of Atlanta on Lake Allatoona, this state park in Acworth has 1 yurt that rents for $90 per night. Enjoy fishing, hiking, and picnicking. Bring your own boat or rent one at the nearby marina.

Fort Yargo

This state park in Winder located between Atlanta and Athens has 6 yurts that rent for $85 per night. There’s plenty to do including fishing, boating, biking, and hiking. Or try your hand at the challenging wooded frisbee golf course.

High Falls

Traveling south of Atlanta toward Macon, this state park in Jackson has 6 yurts that rent for $75 per night. A 650 acre lake offers fishing and boating, or hike along the river and through the hilly forest to explore the remains of a hydroelectric power plant foundation.

Have you ever been camping in a yurt?

Share your experience in the comments below!

Where to glo yurt camping on lake hartwell. Dark teal text with image if yurt tent overlooking lake hartwell





Georgia Park Yurts Are Popular Camping Alternative

Gers. Jirgas. Yurts.

What began as simply-constructed, round portable living huts on the steppes of Central Asia more than 3,000 years ago have evolved into trendy weekend getaway cabins all over the world.

Initially called “gers” by their nomadic Mongol creators, these abodes are now known most commonly by their old Turkic name, “yurts,” according to

As the huts made their way across Asia, Islamic leaders named them after their own assemblies, or “jirgas.”

In contemporary times, yurts have become an attractive indoor alternative to camping, permanent structures with roomy, comfortable interiors.

Oh, and there’s a word for that too ─ “glamping,” or glamour camping. As a recent travel piece in The Wall Street Journal put it, sleeping in yurts is “roughing it minus the rough parts.”

Made of wood and canvas, and featuring decks, outdoor grills, electricity, heaters and furniture, the modern-day yurt typically holds up to six people.

Six Georgia state parks have a handful of yurts available for rentals, including most recently at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, as well as Stone Mountain Park.

Those are the yurts closest to metro Atlanta, but regardless of where you may want to go, they’re hard to come by this fall.

Kim Hatcher, a spokeswoman for the Georgia state parks, said yurt rentals for most weekends, “even through November and December,” have already been booked.

She said there are a few openings during the week, and it never hurts to call about possible cancellations. But her best suggestion is to get a head start and reserve a yurt for 2016.

Georgia state parks take reservations 13 months in advance, so it’s not too early to imagine yourself snuggling up in a yurt this time a year from now.

Hatcher said for those looking to find space this fall, the Georgia state parks require a two-night minimum, although one-night stays can be arranged by calling the desired park directly.

In addition to Sweetwater Creek, yurts can also be rented at the following Georgia state parks:

  • High Falls State Park, Jackson

  • Red Top Mountain, Acworth

  • Fort Yargo State Park, Winder

  • Cloudland Canyon, Rising Fawn

  • Tugaloo, Lavonia.

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Sweetwater Creek State Park In Georgia Has A Yurt Village, And It’s As Great As It Sounds

What’s the most beautiful campground in Georgia?

Whether you’re camping or glamping in Georgia, oftentimes people want to seek out the best of the best. Or in this case, maybe the most beautiful. If you’re looking for the most beautiful campground in Georgia, then we recommend Skidaway Island State Park. Located near Savannah, Georgia, this hidden gem is right on the water and features a ton of stunning pockets of nature. Even if you don’t have a tent, you can always park your RV or rent a cabin, too.

What are the most unique state parks in Georgia?

Out of the nearly 50 state parks in Georgia worth exploring, there are a handful of parks that are really, really unique. Sweetwater Creek State Park in Georgia as mentioned above is one of the many that offer an incredible history lesson missed with a dose of nature. But what about the other unique parks? Unicoi State Park outside of Helen is worth a visit, nestled high in the mountains surrounded by nature. Also, Don Carter State Park is the newest state park in the state! Don Carter also is the very first park to be located on the banks of Lake Lanier.

What is the oldest campground in Georgia?

When you’re searching for the best campgrounds in Georgia to visit, we also recommend checking out one of the oldest. Indian Springs State Park has been operated as a public park since 1825, making it one of the oldest state parks in the entire country! In turn, the campground within the park is the oldest in the state. Many people visit this state park for the history of the area and the mineral spring, but it’s also that the beauty and simplicity of the park are worth checking out.

Address: Sweetwater Creek State Park, 1750 Mt Vernon Rd, Lithia Springs, GA 30122, USA


You don't have to look far from the busy streets of Atlanta to find a natural paradise. Mountain lakes, stone domes, and rugged forests are right at your fingertips. Ready for adventure? Just an hour's drive from downtown Atlanta brings you to secluded campgrounds and unspoiled Georgia state parks.

Spanning 3,200 acres, Stone Mountain Park is one of the most-visited spots in Georgia. You can't help but gawk at the huge quartz mountain looming 825 feet high. While you're there, hop on one of the hiking trails, ride the scenic railroad, or take the tram to the Stone Mountain summit. The park campground has almost 500 campsites (no kidding) and includes RV sites.

If big crowds aren't your thing, check out Sweetwater Creek State Park. The quiet hideaway is a lush haven for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. At Panola Mountain State Park, rugged mountain trails abound. It's easy to forget downtown Atlanta is only 20 miles away.

If you're camping with kids, Red Top Mountain State Park is a solid choice. Nestled on Lake Allatoona, the park has 15 miles of trails, a swimming beach, and a marina with boats for rent.

Want to stay close to the city? There are plenty of RV parks in Atlanta offering picnic tables, swimming pools, Wi-Fi, and other extras. If glamping is more your speed, you're in luck. The state parks and private campgrounds keep it classy with yurts, safari tents, and deluxe cabins.


Yurts park ga state

5 Georgia State Parks That Offer Yurt Camping

Looking for a middle ground between tent camping and a cabin? Try a yurt. These funky, circular dwellings have been used by Central Asian nomadic cultures, particularly in Mongolia, for thousands of years. In fact, some Mongolian towns still have yurt quarters, and the trend has caught on here in the States. Yurts are great intermediary dwellings for those looking for a sampling of rugged living with a touch of glamping (glamour camping).

Five Georgia State Parks now have yurts, with a sixth park adding them later this year. These welcoming structures are built out of flexible wood lattice and wrapped in canvas, and each includes a skylight built into the domed roof. The yurts in Georgia State Parks have many of the same features that a cabin has: a back deck, a ceiling fan, a space heater, furniture, and an outdoor picnic area with a fire ring, grill, and water spigot. There’s no air conditioning, but you’ll find electrical outlets. While you aren’t exactly roughing it, you still have to walk to the community bathroom. And there’s no refrigerator, so bring a cooler.

Yurts are somewhat reminiscent of an outdoor dorm room, where groups of six friends or family (five at High Falls State Park) can bunk up for a rustic night's sleep away from home. Here’s where you can find yurts in the Georgia State Park system, and what to do during your stay in the yurt village.

1. High Falls State Park

50 miles Southeast of Atlanta in Jackson, Georgia

A yurt at High Falls State Park

High Falls State Park is best known for High Falls, the largest waterfall in middle Georgia. Whitewater rushes over the sloping rocks, tumbling 135 feet into the Towaliga River. High Falls’ six yurts line the eastern edge of the lake under a sunlight-filtered canopy of pine and deciduous trees. Yurts 1 and 2 are right next to each other, so book as a pair for a large group of friends. High Falls Lake teems with white bass, so rent a jon boat and launch from the boat dock, just beyond the yurt village. Also close to the campgrounds is the swimming pool (lake swimming is prohibited), and the High Falls Trail is just across the main road.

2. Red Top Mountain State Park

36 miles North of Atlanta in Cartersville, Georgia

Interior of the yurts at Georgia State Parks

Red Top Mountain State Park’s peninsula sits like a leaf on Lake Allatoona, and its jagged edges breach the shores of the 12,000-acre lake. Book in advance, because there is only one yurt at the park. The yurt is hidden, and accessing it evokes the feeling of a top-secret hideaway; a code is even required to enter the campgrounds. Red Top Mountain’s red-soiled trails weave through 15 miles of rolling hills—perfect for a long distance trail run or hike. Your shoes are bound to tint slightly red from the soil’s high iron-ore content. Every Saturday evening in summer , pack a picnic and meander to the Old Vaughn Cabin to listen to a live bluegrass concert.

3. Fort Yargo State Park

50 miles Northeast of Atlanta in Winder, Georgia

Fort Yargo State Park yurt village

Just south of Athens, Fort Yargo State Park is a true retreat, where you’ll find a sense of solitude and pristine beauty. Marbury Creek Watershed is a mere 260-acres and cuts through the center of the park. The yurt village clusters a group of five yurts on their own peninsula of the lake. Yurt 3 has the best views, as it sits on the elbow of the lake’s biggest bend. You’re surrounded by water on all three sides, giving views of the lake’s west and northern banks. Sitting on the back deck mimics the feeling of being on the water. The yurts are located a few hundred yards from the boat ramp, and a canoe rack is in the village, where $15 will rent one for your stay. Fort Yargo State Park is a good training ground for mountain bikers looking to hone their skills on an intermediate track. The 12.5-mile trail circles the perimeter of the park in a series of twists and turns on predominantly singletrack dirt trails.

4. Cloudland Canyon State Park

121 miles Northwest of Atlanta in Rising Fawn, Georgia

A yurt at Cloudland Canyon.

A fine example of Georgia’s natural beauty can be found at Cloudland Canyon . Sitton Gulch Creek carves out the park’s deep gorge, and a hike down the West Rim Trail takes you down 600 steps to the belly of the gorge’s floor. The trail leads right by the yurt village, and 10 yurts are nestled in the thick brush of towering pines and hardwoods. This village is more secluded than any of the other campgrounds in the park, but it's still only a few hundred paces to your car. With the yurt’s convenient access to the West Rim Trail, rise early and hike east across the bridge to link up with the Overlook Trail. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to see the fog clinging to the lip of the gorge. Since there’s a minimum two-night stay in these yurts, spend the second day doing a caving tour with Georgia Girl Guides.

5. Tugaloo State Park

100 miles North of Atlanta in Lavonia, Georgia

Tugaloo State Park's yurt.

Tugaloo State Park’s claim to fame is its stretch of real estate on Lake Hartwell, one of the Southeast’s largest lakes. Many flock to the 55,590-acre lake for boating, where you can fish for largemouth bass, waterski, or canoe around the border of the park. While you’re spending the day on the crowded waters, the yurt village offers an escape from the populated campgrounds of the park. Each of the six yurts branch out from the main yurt village path to provide a personal waterfront view of Lake Hartwell. If you can snag yurt 4, it’s the closest to the knob of the peninsula, and the back porch offers a stunning view of the lake. The yurt village takes a step up in luxury with an additional group pavilion. With Tugaloo State Park so close to the South Carolina border, it’s an hour drive north to Greenville.

Finally, keep one more location on your radar: Yurts soon will be just beyond the perimeter, south of Atlanta at Sweetwater Creek State Park.  The yurts   are expected to be available by the end of summer 2015.

Yurt #17, Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, Oregon

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