Back in March, Justin and I went on a short overnight getaway- our first ever. We left the house unsure of exactly where we were going other than Rome, GA. We ate lunch, shopped a bit, and then got back on the road. We headed towards Cartersville and saw the signs for Red Top Mountain State Park. We’d never heard of it but decided to check it out. After driving through the park, we knew we wanted to come back and stay with our kids.
A few weeks ago, we did just that! We rented a cottage in the park for 2 nights, packed the van, and loaded up the kids for a weekend trip. We stopped in Rome to eat at the Harvest Moon Cafe. We can’t go there without also stopping in next door at the Honeymoon Bakery for ice cream and cupcakes. We also made a quick stop at Aldi to pick up some groceries and snacks- I am obsessed with Aldi after finally checking it out several weeks ago. Justin had worked a half-day so it was evening by the time we arrived at Red Top Mountain. We settled in our cottage, walked through the woods down to the water, and rested. There were activities going on- s’mores, campfire stories, and stargazing but we decided to skip those this time.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath cottage that could easily sleep 8 or more people. Each bedroom has two full-size beds. One bathroom featured a walk-in shower while the other had a shower and tub. The cabin had all appliances including a dishwasher (yay!) and was well stocked with pots, pans, cups, plates, serving dishes, and utensils. Everything we needed was for the most part provided. We did take our own napkins and aluminum foil for cooking on the outdoor grill. The cabin was laid out so well with the main entrance leading into a large room that had the kitchen, dining table, living space, desk, and fireplace. On each side of the living area was a bathroom and a bedroom. One closet had several family games available which I thought was nice.
After waking up Saturday, we headed to the Park Office to check-in because we’d arrived after hours. While there, we explored the Discovery Room which is home to many snakes, turtles, and lizards. It’s a great educational room with hands-on activities and plenty for the kids to discover. Unfortunately the weekend after our trip, there was a fire in the park office and the Discovery Room was heavily damaged. My understanding is that the room was created using money from donors so this makes it especially sad. Thankfully all of the reptiles were unharmed.
We walked out back from the Discovery Room to walk the easiest trail in Red Top Mountain State Park. The Lakeside Trail is also paved so it is stroller and wheelchair accessible. It will take you through the woods and by the water’s edge where you’ll find gorgeous views. We saw many people kayaking, swimming, and enjoying the water. There is also an amazing outdoor classroom located on the trail. There were music instruments, a sensory walkway, teepees, a table for chalk drawings, and art supplies. It’s shaded so it’s a great place to hang out with the kids. I was impressed with the outdoor classroom and our children loved it! If you continue around the Lakeside trail, you’ll locate several old buildings including 1869 Vaughan cabin. The trail may be short, but it’s packed with things to see and do! After this short trail, we realized that our kids were in no way ready to take a longer hike. I’ll admit that Justin and I were quite bummed about this as we had really looked forward to exploring, but maybe next time. You can check out a map of the trails inside the park online.
We went back to our cottage and walked through the woods. The areas around the cabins are not created as places to swim, so the mud is extremely red- thus the Red Top Mountain name, but the water is cool and it was nice. Justin fished while the kids and I swam for a while. We eventually decided to head to the beach area which was obviously built for swimming. It was so nice- crowded as expected but still very nice! They’ve filled the area with sand and there are some shady spots. There is a playground and many picnic tables nearby. We all had a blast at the beach and look forward to going back. We headed back to the cabin where Justin cooked hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. After dinner, Justin and the kids went fishing again. Brynlee promptly fell asleep in my lap which never, ever happens. She was so tired! Later we had s’mores and I enjoyed our back deck. Brynlee ended up sleeping until the next morning.
By Sunday morning we had realized that our trip at Red Top Mountain was not long enough. After arriving Friday evening, it felt like we’d only had a few hours. We will definitely go for several days next time! We cleaned up the cabin a bit, loaded the dishwasher, and did a sweep of the cabin to make sure we weren’t forgetting anything before checking out. We headed out and stopped in Cartersville at IHOP for breakfast. It had been years since I’d eaten there and the kids had never tried it. It was delicious! We were home with plenty of time to rest up and get ready for a new week.
Overall we really enjoyed our weekend even though we felt it wasn’t long enough. They currently have a summer music series happening on Saturday nights and plenty of activities during the day including kayaking and archery. We hope to purchase a small camper within the next year which would cut down on the costs of renting a cabin each time. Either way, we’ll be back! To learn more, you can visit Red Top Mountain online. You can find a list of the current events and activities here.