Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area | VISITOR CENTER

Island Ford Visitor Center, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Island Ford Visitor Center, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

GENERAL INFORMATION

Located in Sandy Springs, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, the Island Ford Unit of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is the central most unit of the park. It is the location of the park’s only Visitor Center. This is the sole location at which you are likely to find a park Ranger, though Rangers do sporadically patrol the various park units.

The Visitor Center building was formally the summer home of Samuel Hewlett, an Atlanta attorney. The building was constructed in the late 1930s. It was sold to the Buckhead Century Club in 1950, became a summer camp for the Atlanta Baptist Assembly in 1955, and finally ended up in National Park Service hands in 1979 when the building and the land were purchased for the new park.

OPERATING HOURS

The Visitor Center is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

AMENITIES

  • Ranger-staffed information desk where you can pick up a park brochure and trail maps
  • Book and souvenir store
  • Exhibit area in the lobby
  • Purchase park passes
  • Restrooms

There is a fee to enter any of the park units. Day passes and annual Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area passes are available. The day pass is good for entrance into as many park units as you can get to in a day, but it is good for only one day. Annual National Park Passes are also good for entry. For current fees, see the the park’s Fees and Passes web page.

You can purchase a pass at the Island Ford Visitor Center (credit or debit card only, no cash) or online at Recreation.gov, either in advance or at the park using the Internet and your cell phone. Cash is no longer accepted at the park units. If purchasing a day pass online, you enter your license plate number when purchasing. This is how the park Rangers know which vehicles are parked legally. Park Rangers sporadically patrol the parking lots and will issue tickets for those who have not paid. Keep in mind that this is an entrance fee, not a parking fee, so you need a pass even if you walk or bike into the park. If asked by a Ranger, you must be able to show a hard copy pass or a digital pass on your phone.

EXHIBIT AREA

The lobby of the Island Ford Visitor Center has a few exhibits about the ecology of the Chattahoochee River, as well as the human history of the area. Because the actual information desk is in a separate room, most visitors pass through the lobby without stopping to read the information. As a result, the exhibits seem more of an afterthought, something to browse through while another member of your party is talking with a park Ranger about what there is to do at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. If you do want to read all of the information, it should take you no longer than ten minutes.

Lobby of the Island Ford Visitor Center at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Lobby of the Island Ford Visitor Center at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Lobby of the Island Ford Visitor Center at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Lobby of the Island Ford Visitor Center at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

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Last updated on May 27, 2024
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