Make it a park day
The Hamilton Rhododendron Garden is located on a hill by Lake Chatuge, near Hiawassee, GA. In addition to nearly 3,000 plants, the garden is home to one of the largest collections of hybrid rhododendrons in the state. There are many trails you can walk for quiet afternoon of soaking in nature and being alone with your family.
1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee, GA 30546. Hours: Daily 8am-7pm. Admission: Suggested $3 donation
Just an hour north of Atlanta is Sawnee Mountain Preserve, 963 acres of scenic space for visitors to enjoy. There is a visitor’s center where you can begin your Sawnee experience, learning all there is to know about the area and amenities. Make your way along a hiking path or have lunch in the picnic area. There’s also playground equipment to keep your children busy. If you’re feeling brave, look into booking a rock climbing expedition or enrolling in a tree canopy class.
4075 Spot Rd., Cumming, GA 30040. Hours: Daily April-October 8am-9pm.; November-March 8am-6pm. Admission: Free
Richard B. Russell State Park is the ultimate in luxurious park recreation. There are campsites for overnight camping that are friendly for tents, trailers and RVs. The park also offers cottages with waterfront views if camping isn’t your style. The fishing here is world class and the golf course is one of the premier public courses in the country. There are Native American relics from the Paleo tribe to check out as well as boating and swimming. The views are wonderful for plain old sunning too and the hiking paths are bike friendly.
2650 Russell State Park Rd., Elberton , GA 30635. Hours: Daily 7am-10pm. Admission: Depends on amenities used.
Crooked River State Park has a lot to offer the traveling family, but the biggest draw of the park is its wildlife. Keep your eyes open while you’re hiking the park’s scenic paths and you might just spot a tortoise or crab. Birds lovers will also get their fill with the variety of species that live in the park. If birding is your thing, check the park’s programming to see if your visit synchs up with one of the Birding Boot Camp courses that is offered. Boating and hiking is available for more active family members and the fishing is wonderful. Anglers are often in the water before sunrise.
6222 Charlie Smith Sr. Highway, St. Marys, GA 31558. Hours: Daily 7am-10pm. Admission: Depends on amenities used.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is an urban forest and now includes a 40-foot-high Canopy Walk. The walk is a suspension bridge high up in the trees of the garden and is the only of its kind in the United States. In addition to the Canopy Walk, the garden is home to myriad of plants including tropical varieties and desert plants that are housed in special climate controlled exhibits. You can take a leisurely stroll, discovering the flora yourself or register for the events and classes provided through the garden that are available for both adults and children. The classes cover everything from flowers to cooking.
1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday April-October: 9am-7pm; November-March: 9am-5pm. Admission: Adults: $15; seniors: $12; children ages 3-17: $12; children under 3 free