Fort Yargo State Park cabin review: outdoor adventure near Athens, GA

Cabin Review: Camper Cabins at Fort Yargo State Park

Camper Cabins are Fort Yargo State Park’s newest accommodations. They're two bedroom cabins that are clean, modern and located lakeside in Fort Yargo’s scenic southern end, and several are dog-friendly, too.

With many miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, a sandy beach, boating, fishing, swimming, a disc golf course and more, there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be had at Fort Yargo State Park, located near Athens, in Winder, Georgia. With so much to do, why not spend the night and grab more family-friendly outdoor adventure?

The interior of Fort Yargo's Camper Cabins is modern, streamlined and clean

Fort Yargo State Park's newest cabins, Camper Cabins are modern design and nicely equipped for a Fort Yargo adventure

I had the chance to overnight at one of Fort Yargo’s new ‘Camper Cabins,’ and loved the cabin’s cozy, well-equipped, rustic-modern furnishings. I booked one of two dog-friendly camper cabins in early April and left longing for a few more nights at the park. The highlights? Catching a gorgeous, over-the-lake sunset, hiking and running Fort Yargo’s trails, relaxing on the cabin’s oversized, screened-in back porch, campfires in the cabin’s fire pit, and sleeping in the cabin’s nearly brand-new interior with clean, modern furnishings. At a reasonable price, Fort Yargo’s camper cabins are an excellent value for an overnight or long weekend getaway.

Our Fort Yargo Camper Cabin review

Car packed, I set off from Atlanta with my favorite hiking buddy, my black lab Jake, for an overnight stay at Fort Yargo State Park near Athens. I’d booked one of Fort Yargo’s 13 new camper cabins that are set lakeside amid a grove of towering pine. They’re two bedroom, one bath cabins with large kitchens and outdoor areas, and are Fort Yargo’s newest – and arguably nicest – overnight accommodations.

Several of the Fort Yargo Camper Cabins are dog-friendly

After a quick (and easy) check-in, Jake and I headed to our dog-friendly cabin, #8. (Not all are dog-friendly, so if you’re traveling with your four-pawed adventure pup, be sure to reserve one of the dog-friendly cabins.) A short drive around the lake, past Fort Yargo’s Campground #2, and down a short, easy-to-drive dirt road led us to the park’s 13 Camper Cabins.

Camper Cabins are nearly brand new, furnished with modern furnishings and decorated in a rustic-modern decor. After arriving, we opened up the cabin with its electronic keypad lock (convenient for larger groups, and eliminates worries of lost keys), and began our tour of our cabin.

he cabin is light-filled, airy, modern and downright comfy.

The cabin is light-filled, airy, modern and downright comfy. A large living room features a pull-out couch, flat screen TV, and a duo of oversized, comfortable leather chairs, perfect for lounging. Adjacent to the living room, the kitchen area features a full-sized fridge, stove and sink, and a dining area with a large round table and chairs to seat five.

The cabin's kitchen area features a full-sized fridge, stove and sink, and a dining area

The cabin had two roomy bedrooms with comfortable-yet-firm full-sized beds, and ample clothes storage in each with large closets and dressers. Off the hall to one bedroom, the cabin features a full bath with shower/tub combo and rustic-modern tile. With a single bathroom, two bedrooms and a pull-out couch, the cabin was perfectly sized for a small family or few friends.

The Fort Yargo Camper Cabins feature two roomy bedrooms with comfortable-yet-firm full-sized beds

Fort Yargo Camper Cabins feature a single, tiled full bathroom

The cabin’s interior is impressive, but my by-far favorite is located off the living room via a sliding door: an oversized, screened-in porch that nearly spans the entire length of the Camper Cabin. With a between-the-trees view of Fort Yargo’s lake, it’s an excellent covered outdoor space for relaxing, eating and entertaining. On the porch, an oversized picnic table easily seats 10, and two tall-backed wooden rocking chairs are coveted spots for relaxing, gazing at the lake or reading a book.

An oversized, screened-in porch that nearly spans the entire length of the Fort Yargo cabin

Two tall-backed wooden rocking chairs are coveted spots for relaxing, gazing at Fort Yargo's lake or reading a book

Each Camper Cabin also offers a graveled outdoor area with a square picnic table that seats 8 and a metal-ring fire pit with fold-over grill for tasty culinary creations on the grill. Set in a grove of tall pine on the shore of the lake, the outdoor space is peaceful: songbirds sing nearly continuously, and birds of prey circle overhead. And though we didn’t see any deer, we were greeted by three wild turkeys just outside our cabin when we were headed out for a morning run.

Each Camper Cabin also offers its own graveled outdoor area with square picnic table that seats 8 and metal-ring fire pit with fold-over grill

So why is it called a ‘camper cabin’?

The ‘cabin’ half of the name is evident: this is a nicely-featured, comfortable, climate controlled cabin in a great location with a ton of great amenities. The ‘camper’ designation is at the service level: there’s no maid service, linens or soaps provided, so guests need to pack similarly as they do when camping. The payoff? A great cabin at a great price, well under the price of similar full-service cabins.

We packed food, paper towels, bathroom essentials (shampoo, towels, soap, etc.), hand towels, bed linens (or sleeping bags), pillows, dish soap, dishes, silverware, grill equipment, and kitchen utensils (pots, pans, spatulas, spoons, etc.). Also good to pack: a bath mat, a good book (or two), firewood, and sweet tea (or adults, something stronger) for sipping on the back porch. The cabin doesn’t have a coffee maker, so if you’re a coffee addict like me, pack a french press – or venture into the town of Winder, a short 1-mile drive, for coffee and breakfast.

The new Fort Yargo State Park cabins offer access to outdoor adventure and beautiful sunsets

Fort Yargo State Park: outdoor adventures

There’s a lot to do at the park, including our two favorite Fort Yargo hikes and trail runs, the southern half of the Fort Yargo Lake Loop Trail and the much-shorter, paved Bird Berry Nature Trail. The park’s main hiking, running and walking trail circles the lake in a 7-mile loop, and it’s accessible via a short hike downhill through the woods to the lake. (If there’s a trail from the camper cabins to the main trail, we didn’t see one – but this would be a great, added feature to the cabins for easy trail access.)

Hike, run, kayak, and enjoy Fort Yargo State Park's trails and outdoor adventures near Athens, Georgia

Kayak the lake’s meandering shore or catch a scenic sunrise or sunset run on the park’s nearly level, mostly-shaded trails. Catch some singletrack on Fort Yargo’s popular 12-mile mountain biking loop. Catch some rays at the park’s sandy beach, or play a round of disc golf. Fish, or take the kids to the park’s popular playground. There’s plenty of outdoor adventures to be had at the park – and if the weather is uncooperative, the cabin’s oversized screen porch makes a great, covered outdoor hangout.

Fort Yargo Camper Cabins: bottom line

Tucked into one of the Fort Yargo’s most scenic and quiet sections with the prettiest, natural cross-lake views, the park’s nearly-brand-new Camper Cabins offer modern furnishings, great amenities and access to great Fort Yargo outdoor adventures. Stunning sunsets, beautiful reflections in the lake’s glassy surface, grilling a great meal, hiking the trails and relaxing at the cabin: our camper cabin experience was pretty much perfection. We can’t wait to return.

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.