Unicoi State Park Picnic Facilities
Whether you are by yourself or are having a party for 75 people there are many picnic tables, group shelters, and grilles scattered around the main park road that circles Smith (Unicoi) Lake. The tables for individual use are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can find sites perched above the lake, on platforms, on flat open areas, in the woods, and along Smith Creek. During busy summer weekends, holidays, and other busy times of the year the park can be pretty crowded. Do realize there may not be any tables available if you try to find one at noon during a busy day at the park. You should also be aware there is a building, called the beachhouse, that can also be rented. It costs $305 and can accommodate up to 75 people.
You can make a reserve these facilities online (Georgia State Parks) or by phone (800-864-7275 or 706-878-4726).
Group Picnic Sites
Each group picnic site has a pavilion, numerous picnic tables, grilles, water, and electrical outlets. The cost for reserving a site is $45. The park website states there are 6 group shelters that can be reserved. I found 8. Each was numbered and had signs that stated they be reserved. Here is a brief rundown of the sites....
- Picnic Site #1 - Located on a small forested point above the swimming beach. A small pull off road leads down to the site; presumably parking for more than a few cars would be accommodated at the beach/beach house parking lot. There is no easy way to access the beach (there is a steep slope) and the nearest bathrooms are at the beach house, which is at the opposite side of the beach from the picnic shelter. This spot is relatively secluded and more private than many of the other picnic shelters but part of the price to be paid is that parking and getting to the bathrooms is a little inconvenient.
- Picnic Site #2 - Located at the back end of the swimming beach area. There is ready access to the beach, a fishing dock, and the beach house (bathrooms).
- Picnic Site #3 - Located at the edge of a small open area. It is not far from the beach, the beach parking lot, and the beach house bathrooms.
- Picnic Site #4 - A wooded, streamside location. A short, steeper road leads off the main road down to this site. There are two other group picnic sites (#5 and #6), individual picnic sites, a playground, and a bathroom facility that are near this site. It is a short walk to the playground and bathrooms but you are somewhat separated from this busier general use area.
- Picnic Site #5 - This site is across the creek from site #4 and therefore shares some features - individual picnic sites, a playground, and a bathroom facility are near this site but are a short walk away. The access road for site #4 is the best way in, at least to unload your supplies. There is a small bridge that leads across Smith Creek to get to the site. This bridge and the creek delineates the area, and since the only way to get to this spot is across the bridge, it does create a little bit of isolation and privacy.
- Picnic Site #6 - Located at the edge of a parking lot near where Anna Ruby Falls road heads off from the main park road. Smith Creek flows along one side of this area and it is a relatively busy spot in the park. The site is right next to individual use picnic tables, a bathroom, and a small playground area. If you are planning a family picnic and have some elderly relatives that cannot negotiate walking across uneven ground very well, this spot is better than site #4 and #5.
- Picnic Site #7 - Located off of a parking area adjacent to the intersection of GA 356 and the main park road. The site is at the edge of an open area and you can look out at the dam that forms Smith Lake. There is a bathroom close by. A small path leads down to one of the lake's fishing docks.
- Picnic Site #8 - Located along the main camping loop road and adjacent to the amphitheater where the park presents interpretive talks. The Trading Post store, the lake, and bathrooms are all close by.