Day Trip Destination: Cowans Gap State Park

It is nice to get away for a day trip and spend time with the family. As a father of two young children, we are always looking for different things to do together on the weekend. Over the next several weeks, we will be highlighting various attractions that are near Franklin County.

In our neighboring, Fulton County is a very nice state park that has something for the entire family to enjoy. You can enjoy the beach area, hike the trails, fish, kayak or just have a picnic. The options of what you can do make Cowans Gap State Park this weeks day trip destination.

Cowans Gap State Park

The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Admission to the park is free, but if you are looking for more of a weekend getaway, you may consider paying to stay overnight in the campground.

Cowans Gap State Park is a 1,085-acre park, with a 42-acre lake, large campground, rustic cabins, and many hiking trails that are prime attractions. Buchanan State Forest surrounds the park, providing additional options for recreation and natural beauty in all seasons.


The beach, food and boat rental concession, and overnight camping and cabin areas are open specific seasons and hours.

A full day itinerary

I’ve been to the park so many times as a child and as a parent with my children. Consider going up in the morning and spending time in the beach area. Build castles in the sand, play in the water and soak up some sun (with sun protection of course).

As lunch time comes around, have a family picnic. Enjoy some shade, good food and time together.

If you are close to the playground area the kids can have fun as you make burgers and hotdogs.

I always enjoyed taking a walk on the trail around the lake. The trail is easy for people of all ages and is very scenic and relaxing. If walking isn’t your thing, consider taking a bike ride.

Once you finish your time on the trail, perhaps you put a kayak or boat in the water. If you don’t have one, you can always rent one affordably at the boat rental.

There is a volleyball court, plenty of great spots for fishing.

Park history

In 1933, to relieve the rampant unemployment of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The young men in the CCC received food, clothes, and a small paycheck.

The CCC boys built roads, trails, and recreational facilities; fought fires; planted trees; and did many other conservation activities.

In Cowans Gap State Park, the CCC built the cabins, picnic shelters, and spent three years building the dam. The Cowans Gap Rustic Cabins are on the National Register of Historic Places.

READ: Day Trip Destination: Lake Tobias