Yurt review: glamping at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Atlanta
Overnight in one of Sweetwater Creek State Park's new, modern yurts for a great multi-day outdoor adventure near Atlanta. Part tent, part cabin, a yurt offers the adventure of tent camping with the comfort of real beds, furniture and hardwood floors.
On the shores of Sparks Reservoir, the new Sweetwater Creek State Park yurt village nestles ten beautiful, newly constructed yurts into a maturing forest with glassy water views. These timber and canvas structures sleep six and feature huge decks, electricity, clean restrooms, individual fire pits, charcoal grills and picnic tables. They’re a great place for family-friendly fun, and a great way to get outdoors and camp, with a lot of amenities (and without the hassle of setting up a tent).
Located minutes from Atlanta’s I-285 perimeter, Sweetwater Creek State Park has long been one of our favorite destinations for outdoor adventure close to the city. With miles of gorgeous hiking trails, beautiful lake views, great places to picnic, and kayaks and canoes for rent, Sweetwater Creek offers a ton of outdoor fun without a long drive to the North Georgia mountains. And with Sweetwater Creek’s new yurts, the options for a local Atlanta adventure at the park just got better.
Our Sweetwater Creek State Park Yurt Review
Sweetwater Creek opened the yurt village in September 2015, and we were excited to be one of the first to score an overnight stay. With oversized decks, a host of outdoor cooking and lounging areas, and comfy beds, the yurts make for a fantastic stay with some beautiful views.
Yurts provide a great, hassle-free experience while still maintaining the authenticity of a camping adventure. Yurts are made from sturdy, thick canvas, wood timbers, and lattice, and provide a comfortable stay in any weather. Inside the yurt, natural light abounds, thanks to four screened windows and a domed skylight, and on warmer days, air circulates easily, thanks to a large ceiling fan. There’s electricity inside, powering lights, lamps and the fan – and additional outlets for recharging phones and camera batteries. On cold nights, a small heater is provided to keep the interior warm.
Inside, the yurt comfortably sleeps six. A rustic log-style bunk bed offers a full sized mattress on top, and a futon below that folds out to a full sized bed. An additional full sized futon is located on the other side of the room. In the center of the yurt, a rustic-styled island and stools provide seating for four. The island creates a generously sized place to prep food and provides storage on two large shelves below. A side table, beside the futon, doubles as a checkerboard (and if you want to play, checkers are available at the visitor center).
Beds are provided, but you’ll need to bring your own linens (or sleeping bags) and pillows. Also remember to pack bath towels, toiletries and any cooking items and utensils. (General rule: pack everything you would for camping, minus a grill, air mattresses, and the tent.)
Outside, the yurt provides two comfortable, wooden Adirondack chairs on a large deck, perfect for enjoying coffee and a sunrise. There are outdoor electrical outlets on the deck, too, perfect for powering up when you’re enjoying the outdoors. Just off the front porch, each yurt offers an outdoor cooking and entertainment area, featuring a charcoal grill, fire pit for campfires, picnic table, lantern hanger and water spigot. Tip: if you’re planning on burning a campfire (s’mores anyone?!), don’t forget to pack folding chairs: the picnic table isn’t close enough to work as campfire-side seating.)
The common areas of the Yurt Village are just steps from the individual units and are easily accessible by well lit, gravel pathways. A clean, new bathhouse offers hot showers and flushing toilets, centrally located in the yurt village. There’s also a large covered picnic pavilion with tables and charcoal grills, and for the kids, a nicely designed playground to keep them entertained and active.
The yurt village is located in a quiet section of the park, away from the active boating and hiking areas. It’s got a secluded feeling, but the near-constant hum of Atlanta’s busy I-20 freeway gives a reminder that you’re still in the city. The yurts are a great option for families that are easing into camping and overnighting in the woods: you’re far enough from the city for an adventure but close enough for comfort.
Sweetwater Creek State Park: outdoor adventure at the park
There are plenty of ways to explore Sweetwater Creek State Park. Nine miles of fantastic, rolling hiking trails meander through the park visiting historic mill ruins, rocky bluffs, sandy shores and tumbling falls. Hike the Sweetwater Creek Red Trail to visit the ruins of a textile mill destroyed in the Civil War, and rushing, whitewater rapids on a scenery-packed trail.
For a longer hike, combine Sweetwater Creek’s Red Trail and White Trail to loop through a woodland forest full of wildlife, visiting the creek’s waterfalls, the mill ruins and Jack’s Lake on a 3-mile adventure. Or catch an early-morning sunrise on the lake and then run Sweetwater Creek’s Yellow Trail, crossing the creek and catching views of the park’s Civil War-era mill ruins on one of our favorite running trails near Atlanta.
The park offers kayaks, canoes and pedal boats if you want to enjoy the water and didn’t bring your own. Sweetwater Creek’s Sparks Reservoir creates a beautiful 215-acre lake perfect for an afternoon of paddling and exploring the meandering shoreline. Or grab a gorgeous sunset over the lake on a ranger-guided Twilight Lake Paddle, a peaceful way to end the day before relaxing in your yurt.
Sweetwater Creek State Park Yurts: Bottom Line
We loved our stay at Sweetwater Creek’s new yurt village. The yurts are clean, modern and cozy – and the lake views make for a great, relaxing place to chill after an adventure-filled day at the park. They’re a great camping alternative for Atlanta residents looking for a nearby escape and a great, near-the-city stay option for families visiting Atlanta. And at $85 per night, they’re a fantastic, budget-friendly value.
While we received a complimentary stay in the yurt, all opinions above are our own and based on personal experiences during our stay. Thanks to Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites for hosting our stay.