Tugaloo State Park is located in a scenic corner of the Northeast Georgia Mountains, offering some of the state’s finest natural sights. A peninsula that juts out onto the 55,590-acre Lake Hartwell, Tugaloo State Park is surrounded on three sides by beautiful emerald water and provides guests with hundreds of acres of forest to explore.
The lake will give visitors a taste of Georgia’s natural wonder as they go boating and fishing surrounded by the beautiful Northeast Georgia Mountains or take a scenic hike along the lakeshore. The Muscadine and Sassafras Trails, easily accessed from campsites throughout the park, offer miles of hiking through cherry and oak filled forests that will leave guests in awe as the green spring leaves turn into vibrant autumn colors.
Easy RV access and multiple campsites provide campers with the flexibility that they need to meet their family’s needs. Guests can even rent out a cottage if they require more space or want a private dock with lake access. Tugaloo State Park can be visited year-round, although the temperatures do drop into the mid-40’s during the winter. The lake tends to be busiest during the summer and the hiking trails have more traffic during the fall months.
Located in northern Georgia, Tugaloo State Park is within driving distance of many major cities including Atlanta, Knoxville, Greenville, and Charlotte. The park can be reached after just a few hours of driving from any of these cities. Guests can easily navigate to the park using state highways. Once off the highway, they will have to drive a few miles on local roads before they will reach the park entrance. Tugaloo State Park has well-paved roads that wind through the park so even the largest of rigs should not have any trouble as long as they drive slowly on the turns.
Parking is available at the park entrance and near the campsites. There are dozens of back-in and pull-through campsites located throughout the park, so guests will have plenty of different options depending on what kind of campsite they prefer. The campground can fit rigs up to 50 feet long.
Tugaloo State Park features one of the most picturesque campgrounds in all of Georgia. Nestled on the banks of the stunning and massive Lake Hartwell, this park’s campground features 105 campsites that are available for tents and RVs. Reservations can be made 13 months ahead of time, but campers should be aware that some sites are only open seasonally.
Each site is equipped with electrical and water hookups and features a fire pit, grill, and picnic table. Guests can enjoy cable TV access, which isn't offered at many campgrounds. A few host sites even offer full hookups, which includes electric, water, and sewer connections. Pets are welcome in the campground as long as they stay on a leash when outside of the RV.
Several restroom facilities are located throughout the campground and a dump station is positioned near the entrance. A playground and all the fun-filled lake activities are within walking distance. There are many other facilities near the campground that the whole family can enjoy, including a mini-golf course, tennis court, volleyball court, and horseshoe pits.
For guests who want to experience the full beauty that nature has to offer, the park offers 11 walk-in, tent-only campsites available by reservation only. Each campsite includes a camping pad as well as electricity and water available for camper use. Additionally, each site has its own fire ring and restrooms with showers are nearby.
Visitors who are making a spontaneous trip to Tugaloo State Park can try their luck at finding an unreserved campsite. Campsites that have not been reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, it is not guaranteed that any sites are available, so guests will want to make sure to call the park before they arrive to see if any campsites are available. Also keep in mind that reservations are highly encouraged, especially during the peak season.
For campers who want to try a different style of camping, the park offers six yurts that are available by reservation only. Each yurt can accommodate up to six people, has electricity and water, and is equipped with heating. Note that there is no air conditioning, but a ceiling fan is provided. The yurts are furnished and have a private deck that campers can enjoy. One of the yurts is ADA-accessible. No smoking or pets are allowed in the yurts. Additional amenities include a comfort station, picnic table, and fire ring.
Guests who are particular fans of the water may want to consider reserving one of the park's 20 cottages. Each cottage comes with its own private dock offering guests unlimited access to the lake. Built in the forest, the cottages provide a secluded space for campers to relax away from other park guests. The cabins can accommodate up to eight people and come furnished with basic furniture and basic kitchen appliances. Linens are provided. Guests should be aware that a few of the cottages are ADA-accessible, and a select number of the cottages allow pets.
For larger groups, the park also offers the Pioneer Campground that can accommodate up to 50 people. The campground is designed for group camping and has many of the same amenities included in the tent-only campsites, including a pit privy, three picnic tables, grills, as well as electricity and water. Additionally, the campground includes three Adirondack shelters.
The trails around Tugaloo State Park are also open to bikes. Guests who want an adventurous tour of the park’s sights and sounds can take it easy on one of the paved roads or get a bit dirtier on one of the trails. Bike rentals are not offered, so guests will need to bring their own bikes. Be aware that the roads are used for vehicles as well as hiking, and there are many tight corners where visibility is limited. Be mindful when biking through the park the trails and remember that there are plenty of hikers. State law requires helmets for children under the age of 15.
Explore Tugaloo State Park year-round with one of its beautiful, scenic hiking trails that shows off the best of the Northeast Georgia mountains. Both the Muscadine and Sassafras Trails will lead you through groves of walnut, cherry, oak, and mulberry trees. Hiking is excellent year-round but is best from March through late October. Come in the fall as the leaves turn for a magnificent show of Georgia’s autumn colors, or in the spring as the park comes alive with an energizing show of color after a long winter.
Catch a glimpse of some of northern Georgia’s most beautiful birds in Tugaloo State Park as they fly out of the forest and around the lake. Dozens of species are out there and can be spotted by guests who keep an eye on the skies. Pros will love trying out some of their favorite birdcalls while amateur birdwatchers might consider using a local field guide that will help walk them through what to look for.
Tugaloo State Park offers some of the best fishing in the area. Anglers will find that the lake is full of largemouth bass as well as breams, bluegills, catfish, and many other varieties. The lake is large enough that the water sports don’t disturb the fishing. Although fishing can be done year-round at Lake Hartwell, many of the fish found in the lake such as the stripers and bass will shut down if the temperature falls below a certain point.
RV campers who are headed to Tugaloo State Park during the summer will want to find a sandy beach to relax on and soak up the heat. Even during peak weekends, the beach doesn’t get too crowded, so guests will have plenty of room to rest. Take a swim in the refreshing waters of Lake Hartwell after a long hike or take a day off and have a picnic on the beach. The beach is easy to access from any of the RV campsites or cottages but is secluded enough that visitors will feel like they have privacy.
Nestled on a peninsula next to Lake Hartwell, there is plenty to do on the water no matter the time of year. Whether guests want to water ski, sail, or kayak, they will be kept busy on the lake. Convenient docks make getting on the water easy. Campers who choose to book a private cottage will also have the option of a personal dock for a boat, which puts all the lake has to offer just outside the front door. Peak popularity is during the summer, so consider coming a bit earlier to avoid the crowds. However, there’s plenty of space out on the lake, so guests shouldn't worry if summer is the only time they can make it.