Yurts: Unique Camping Option at Georgia State Parks
Staying in a yurt ranks midway between the camping experiences of ‘Cowboy-style,’ sleeping on the ground under the stars, and ‘Princess-style,’ glamping it up in a fully-equipped guest room at a lodge.
Though classified as a tent, a yurt is much stronger and weather-tight. The twelve 20-foot round canvas yurts available for rent within the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites system boast wood supports and floors, futon furniture to sleep up to six people, and electricity (and thus heaters and ceiling fans). What’s more, they’re elevated and weather-stripped to keep out squirrels and snakes and are guaranteed to withstand up to 100 mile-per-hour winds—comforts and assurances not typical of tent camping. Stargazing is done through a clear dome skylight. And though there’s no kitchen or bathroom, you will find picnic tables, grills, a community water source and easy access to the comfort station.
Currently, five yurts are located at Fort Yargo State Park, six at High Falls State Park and one at Red Top Mountain State Park. The yurts have proven to be popular enough to warrant adding more. Construction on two is already underway at Cloudland Canyon State Park.
Luring a range of guests from savvy campers to curiosity seekers who may be traveling as individuals or groups, “the yurts are very popular,” says Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator for Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, especially on weekends and during warm weather seasons. “We’ve even had RV owners decide to pay for an overnight stay in a yurt and vacate their camper for the novelty of the experience.”
Though yurts are still a relative novelty in the Southeast, they’re quite popular out West and can be found at several National Parks, including Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. “Yurts give some people the opportunity to stay the night without camping,” says Hatcher. “The rental price is lower than cabins or cottages, and yurts appeal to folks who may not own a tent or other camping equipment.”
It is possible to overnight comfortably in a yurt without packing more than routine essentials like a toothbrush plus towel and a sleeping bag or bedding. If you plan to cook at the campsite then you’ll need to pack more gear, but nearby restaurants provide an easy alternative.
Yurt rentals from $65/night, 14-night maximum. Maximum occupancy is six people (five at High Falls). Reserved for humans; pets not welcome. Yurt rentals at Fort Yargo State Park include a canoe rental.
Photos by Georgia Department of Natural Resources
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