10 Outdoor Adventures Around AtlantaAs a lifelong resident of the state, I’ve always felt that the beauty of Georgia nature is vastly underrated. Even local residents tend to forget the amazing amount of green space we’re blessed with, offering excellent opportunities for recreation and adventure. With hundreds of city parks, more than 40 state parks and five national parks located in north Georgia alone, the South’s most bustling metropolis also boasts plenty of outdoor activities. Whether you prefer relaxing activities like biking and rollerblading in well-maintained parks or more extreme adventures– rock climbing, spelunking in caves, zip lining high above the treetops– you can find a diverse array of options within an hour’s drive of Atlanta’s city limits:
1: Ziplining in North Georgia
Picture yourself strapped onto a suspended cable high up in a lush forest canopy, soaring among the treetops, tiptoeing across two sky bridges and racing your friends as you zip over rushing river rapids. Inspired by their travels abroad, North Georgia Canopy Tour owners Kirk and Leah Watkins have recreated the consummate Costa Rican adventure in the foothills of the Appalachians. The pulse-pounding, mile-long zipline course takes you around and across the Ocoee River, providing spectacular views of scenery that will leave you breathless and begging for more
2: Biking the Silver Comet Trail
Formerly the route of the Silver Comet passenger train, this paved recreational trail extends 61.5 miles from the northwest Atlanta suburb of Smyrna all the way to the Alabama state line. The city’s first rails-to-trails project, the Silver Comet Trail is renowned for its spectacular scenic vistas as it traverses numerous trestles and bridges and offers direct access to Heritage Park, which features more than 14 acres of wetlands and the ruins of Concord Woolen Mills. Don’t have a bike? No problem; just rent one from the Silver Comet Depot.
3: Fly Fishing the Chattahoochee River
Atlanta anglers seeking a break from the 9 to 5 often head north to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, where cold waters released from the depths of Lake Lanier at the Buford Dam provide an ideal habitat for trout—not to mention wildlife like beaver, raccoons and white tail deer. Experienced fly fishing guides such as River Through Atlanta can help you find hush-hush hotspots near Bowmans Island and Settles Bridge, where you can immerse yourself in Mother Nature’s pastoral beauty while trying to land a big one.
4: Hiking Panther Creek Falls
North Georgia is renowned for its amazing waterfalls, but this lesser-known recreation area located in the Tallulah Basin features one of the best, accessible via a picturesque six-mile trail through a forest filled with 100-foot-tall trees, flowering shrubs and moss-covered rock cliffs. Panther Creek drops nearly 1,000 feet from Stony Mountain on its way towards the Tugaloo River, with a series of killer cascades leading to two impressive waterfalls. The hike is long and somewhat challenging, particularly after a rain, but the dramatic view at the bottom is well worth the effort.
5: Rock Climbing in Tallulah Gorge State Park
Considered one of Georgia’s “Seven Natural Wonders,” Tallulah Gorge is around two miles long and features quartzite cliffs up to 1,000 feet high. The area has become increasingly popular with rock climbers throughout the Southeast, who are attracted by challenging routes with colorful names such as Digital Delight, Mescaline Daydream, Flying Frog and Punk Wave, all of which are rated 5.8 to 5.10 (with 5.15 being the most difficult). Tallulah Gorge State Park only allows 20 climbing permits per day (available at the park’s Interpretive Center), and it’s best to go with experienced guides. Companies such as Granite Arches Climbing Services offer instruction while helping to ensure your safety.
6: Rollerblading at Piedmont Park
Don’t want to travel outside the perimeter for a day of outdoor fun? Then head to the 189-acre Piedmont Park, which is to Atlanta what Central Park is to NYC. A Midtown landmark for 115 years, the park has become a haven for rollerbladers, who find refuge gliding along its main roadway and the 10th Street Meadow Path while simultaneously enjoying some of the city’s best people-watching opportunities. If you don’t have your own gear, rent from Skate Escape, which is located right across from the park at the 12th Street entrance.
7: Shooting the ‘Hooch
Made famous by country singer Alan Jackson, the Chattahoochee River stretches from northeast Georgia down through metro suburbs such as Roswell, and “shooting the ‘hooch” on a raft, tube, canoe or kayak has been a local tradition for decades. Companies such as Chattahoochee Outfitters offer trips ranging from three to 6.5 miles, with shuttle service to return rafters to their cars after the trek is over. It’s an excellent way to laze away a summer afternoon, with excellent scenery perfect for waterproof cameras.
8:Spelunking in Northwest Georgia
Thanks in part to the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, TAG—the area in the Cumberland Plateau where northwest Georgia meets Alabama and Tennessee—has lured spelunkers from around the world eager to explore its labyrinthine underground passages. Pigeon Mountain is particularly popular thanks to its vast network of limestone caves. Pettijohn’s Cave has six miles of previously mapped passageways that often attract a healthy weekend crowd; the 13 miles of Ellison’s Cave that have been explored include the 440-foot deep Incredible Dome Pit and the 586-foot deep Fantastic Pit. Underground areas can be extremely dangerous for people without proper equipment caving experience: Learn about the sport before embarking on your first expedition.
9: Traversing the Rope Course at Sky Hike
From the ground, this popular attraction at Stone Mountain Park doesn’t seem all that intimidating. But climb the stairs to the third level of this ¼-mile rope course—where you cross suspended wooden bridges, leap from one thin wooden slat to the next and balance on wiggling tightropes 40 feet above the ground as your hands sweat and legs shake—and you may find yourself questioning the “moderate” adrenaline rating above. Fortunately, there are also 12- and 24-foot-long trails for beginners (or those with a healthy fear of heights).
10,Whitewater Rafting on the Chattooga River
Designated by Congress as one of America’s “Wild and Scenic” rivers in 1974, the Chattooga River (where much of Deliverance was filmed) offers challenges for rafters of all skill levels. For extreme adventure lovers, there’s Section IV, where Class IV and V rushing whitewater speeds you down the river at a breakneck pace, climaxing with an invigorating plunge down the legendary Five Falls and Soc-em-Dog. For families, there’s Section III, a beginner-friendly float trip with a Class IV ending at Bull’s Sluice. Going with a tour outfitter such as Southeastern Expeditions will ensure maximum safety and enjoyment of your trek.
Most People Don’t Know These 10 Hidden Spots In Georgia Exist
1. Talluah Gorge
Here is the beautiful Tallulah River at the bottom of Talluah Gorge. This river is over 47 miles long and begins in Clay County, North Carolina. In Georgia, this river is located in Raburn County and Habersham County. This Georgia gem is perfect for a summer hike!
2. The Big Oak in Thomasville, GA
Visit this majestic oak tree which is located on the corner of Crawford St. and Monroe St. in Thomasville, Georgia. This tree is one of the first to be registered with the Live Oak Society, and is one of the largest oak trees east of the Mississippi River.
3. Altamaha River
State threatens to shut down Atlanta streetcar
State regulators have threatened to shut down Atlanta’s troubled streetcar unless the city resolves a slew of problems outlined in recent audits.
In a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and MARTA CEO Keith Parker on Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation gave the city until June 14 to submit plans to address 60 outstanding problems outlined in the reports. If those plans are not sufficient, GDOT said, it will order the streetcar to shut down immediately.
The city and MARTA share responsibility for the $98 million system that runs in downtown Atlanta. State and federal law requires GDOT to oversee the safety and security of rail operations like the streetcar, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said.
The problems with the streetcar include poor maintenance procedures, inadequate staffing and a failure to properly investigate accidents.
A MARTA spokesman referred comment to the mayor’s office. Reed spokeswoman Jenna Garland released a statement that said Atlanta has “worked diligently and cooperatively with state and federal regulators to provide the best possible service and experience for Atlanta Streetcar riders.”
“The city is committed to operating the Atlanta Streetcar safely and effectively,” Garland said. “We take GDOT’s feedback seriously and will continue to make every effort to work with the agency to address all action items by the date requested.”
Stepping Inside These Abandoned Places In Georgia Is Almost Haunting
No matter where you look in Georgia, you’re bound to find a piece of history. Our culture rich state is just filled with historical artifacts that all have an interesting story to tell. The best part about our history is that you don’t need to go to a museum to feel it–just simply walk outside. There are so many interesting, abandoned places in Georgia, just waiting to be discovered. If you look around you may find one of these abandoned places close to your home.
Old House in Sycamore, GA
This home was found off HWY 41 in Sycamore, Georgia. It seems that this house was once a glorious one back in its hay day.
Old Church in Sterling, GA
The photographer of this photo describes this church as being built in the late 1800s for a small congregation of farmers. In the mid 1970s, times changed and the church no longer had enough members to support it. Now the only music to be heard are the birds that made this place their home.
Abandoned Shacks in Hogansville, GA
These abandoned shacks were found in Hogansville. One can only imagine that this was once a home to a family of farmers or sharecroppers.
Georgia’s Central State Hospital in Milledgeville
This place is the stuff horror stories are made of. According to Atlanta Magazine, Georgia Central State Hospital was once the largest mental facility in the world. Formerly known as the Georgia Lunatic Asylum, this place is now abandoned and decaying. It invokes the imagination to think of the things that took place in this institution.
Georgia BBQ Shack in Kingsland GA
This small abandoned shack was found in Kingsland, Georgia. It was probably a pretty popular BBQ joint in its day..
Cabin in Appalacian North GA
This rustic cabin was found in the North Georgia Mountains. The weeds are taking over this place!
Harville House in Statesboro GA
Rumor has it that this house is haunted! Samuel Winkler Harville purchased the land in 1862, and built this once grand house in 1894. He finished 10 years later with 14 rooms. The land it was built on was also once self-sustaining for 10 farming families.
Southern Manson in Baker County, GA
This southern mansion was found in Baker County. Even though it is run down, there is something so intriguing about the place!
Georgia Girl Drive In
One can only imagine what type of food the Georgia Girl Drive-In served! It probably was a favorite spot among local teenagers.
Road into Wormsloe, an Abandoned Plantation in Georgia
Wormsloe Plantation is now a historic site in Savannah, Georgia. It is the oldest standing structure in Savannah! Anyone who's ever been to Savannah knows that's a feat as there are many old houses in Savannah. It is the colonial estate of Noble Jones who came to Georgia with James Ogelthorpe.
Deserted Mill near Lindale, Georgia
This beautiful picture is from a deserted mill in Lindale, Georgia. Nature has almost completely taken over!
Abandoned House in Helen, Georgia
This mysterious abandoned house resides in Helen, Georgia.
Fairy Tale House in Georgia
Straight out of a fairy tale book, this shack looks like it belongs to a magical elf!
There are so many wonderful and amazing things to discover in Georgia! Each of these places make imaginations run wild with the possible stories they hold! Do you know of any other cool abandoned places near your Georgia home? If so let us know!
20 Free Things to Do in Metro Atlanta
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. Roam the mountain, farmland, lakes, hiking trails and a nature preserve on more than 2,000 acres.
Atlanta BeltLine Tours. Take a narrated bus tour of the Beltline, a transit, trails and parks project connecting Atlanta’s neighborhoods. Fridays and Saturdays.
Atlanta Monetary Museum. Self-guided tours explain the history of money and the Federal Reserve’s role.
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center. Walk two miles of trails, see animal exhibits, and tour buildings reminiscent of rural Georgia in Heritage Village.
Carter Center. Take a free stroll through the grounds to see the Circle of Flags from all 50 states, a rose garden, Japanese garden and koi pond. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum costs $8 for adults; children under 16 are free.
Centennial Olympic Park. On warm days, kids cool off by cavorting in the Fountain of Rings. Relax in the well-groomed park that pays homage to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Free events all year.
Center for Puppetry Arts. See the original Big Bird and puppets from around the world. Free admission 1-3 p.m. Thursdays.
Fernbank Science Center. Visit the observatory and exhibits for free; planetarium shows are $7 adults, $5 students.
Georgia Capitol Museum and Tour Program. See government in action under the Gold Dome, constructed from 1884-1889. The museum includes historic flags and artifacts.
Governor's Mansion. Tours of the 18-acre estate and 24,000-square-foot mansion with antique furnishings offer lessons in history, from 1780-1820.
High Museum of Art. Atlanta’s premier art museum has more than 11,000 pieces, from African and folk art to photography and decorative art. Free for active and veteran military on Sundays and Tuesdays; free for Fulton County residents the first Saturday of each month.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Seventeen miles of interpretive trails, monuments and a museum help visitors understand the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War.
Marietta Fire Museum. Antique firefighting equipment and five trucks are on display, including an 1879 Silsby Steamer.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The great civil rights leader grew up in a modest two-story home, preserved closely to as it was when he was a child.
Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary. See animals of all stripes in this wildlife rehabilitation center. Tuesday through Saturday. Call before visiting.
Piedmont Park. Children can play on a work of art or the restored Noguchi Playscape with slides, swings and seesaws. Take Fido for off-leash fun in the dog park area. Swimming pool is free 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. weekdays.
Roswell Fire Museum. See a 1945 Ford American LaFrance Pumper Truck and learn about the city’s firefighting history.
Silver Comet Trail. Joggers, walkers, in-line skaters, horse riders and bicyclers flock to this 61-mile paved trail, which begins in Smyrna and extends through Polk County. It then connects with Alabama’s 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail.
Underground Atlanta. Walk some of Atlanta’s original streets in this shopping and entertainment complex.
Yellow River Park. Explore 566 acres of forests and wildflowers along the Yellow River; also mountain biking, hiking and horse trails.