Great Family Attractions around Atlanta, Georgia

One of the greatest things about the city of Atlanta is its amazing amount of green space, which offers excellent opportunities for recreation and adventure within an hour’s drive of the city limits. With hundreds of city parks, more than 40 state parks and five national parks in North Georgia alone, the American South’s most bustling metropolis also boasts plenty of ecotourism activities ranging from mild to wild. Plus there are more than 125 Best Places for Hiking with Kids (Beginners) just waiting to be explored. These are just some over the many great family attractions around Atlanta, Georgia.


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 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.

Biking Silver Comet Trail near Atlanta, Georgia (silver comet depot)


Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari is a 200-acre drive-through zoo near LaGrange filled with over 700 free-roaming animals from every continent except Antarctica. You can use your own vehicle, rent one of their Zebra Vans or take the seasonally available guided tour bus, and there’s nothing like hand-feeding a slobbering American bison, elk, zebra or giraffe as they greet you along the way. Their Walk-About section features dozens of other exotic animals kept at a safer distance, including Siberian tigers, Bactrian camels and numerous ligers (the species that results from mating a male lion and a female tiger). The park also boasts a Georgia Wildlife Museum featuring wildlife native to the state in a natural setting.  Check out Animal Safari for more details about this great family attraction.

Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari is a great family attraction near Atlanta (Bret Love)


In the summertime Lake Lanier Islands transforms into LanierWorld, a family-friendly party broken into three separate sections: Big Beach features a 50-foot Ferris Wheel, Super Slide, floating stage for live entertainment, beach parties every weekend, and fire pits for nighttime bonfires; Family Fun Park features water attractions such as Wild Waves and Raging River, live musical performances, and “Dive-In Movies” on an inflatable screen every Saturday; and Sunset Cove attracts a huge boating crowd, with an ice cream shop for kids, an adults-only beach café, beach volleyball and the Lakeside Links mini-golf course. Kids of all ages have a blast at LanierWorld.

You may also want to check out Buford Dam Park. Just a short drive from Atlanta!

Lake Lanier Islands wave-pool for summer family travel fun (LanierWorld)


From the spacious suites to the outdoor activities and ample amenities to the dining options, Reynolds Plantation lives up to the Ritz-Carlton name with its attention to detail and superb customer satisfaction — even for the youngest of customers.

The rustic and elegant Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Lake Oconee, is best known for its five championship golf courses and world-class luxurious spa. But here’s what you may not know – it’s the best resort for families in all of Georgia.

Whether it’s history, family, a love for Thomas the Tank Engine, or just I-75 that gets you to Southwest Georgia, a ride on the historic SAM Shortline Excursion Train is worth a visit.

My family and I rode the train while visiting Lake Blackshear Resort in Cordele, where the train ride begins. A few years earlier, Sue and her father headed to Cordele while working on a story about Experiencing the Hunger Games in GeorgiaHer father worked for a company that made Chessie cabooses. It was his favorite job, well, after dairy farmer anyway. Together we learned a ton of fun tidbits about this Ga train ride…keep reading.


The 189-acre Piedmont Park 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, you can rent it from Skate Escape, which is located right across from the park at the 12th Street entrance.  A family vacation in Atlanta’s mellow “down time” is easily spent at Piedmont Park.


Made nationally 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 hot summer afternoon, with excellent scenery that’s perfect for waterproof camera buffs.  Shoot the Hootch on the Chattahoochee River!

Chattahoochee River in Georgia for summer river vacation days (


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). But fear not; this is a great family attraction!  Stone Mountain Park really is fun for all ages and activity levels.


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.


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.

Zip lining in North Georgia is a great family travel attraction (Bret Love)


If you want to mix in some non-outdoorsy museums and attractions, head to Downtown Atlanta. Surrounding Centennial Olympic Park is the Georgia Aquarium, Children’s Museum of AtlantaWorld of Coca-ColaSkyView Ferris Wheel, Football Hall of Fame, and The Center for Civil and Human Rights.

And if you are traveling with tweens and teens, don’t miss Six Flags Over Georgia, located just outside the city limits. Visit Hurricane Harbor in the summer, Fall is Fright Fest, and we love the holiday lights during Holiday in the Park. And if you are traveling with toddlers, here are 52 of our favorite things to do with the little ones.

A great place to grab a bite is Atlantic Station. There is shopping here, easy parking, and plenty of choices for picky eaters.

You won’t want to miss a visit to Pounce City Market and enjoy Skyview Park with the family!

In addition, Atlanta is a hub for visiting Civil Rights attractions. Visit during MLK weekend for lots of special programming. We also recommend these tours for exploring the city.

Want to save? Try the Atlanta CityPASS!

Interested in Art? The High Museum of Atlanta, arguably the best art museum in the Southeast is an Atlanta favorite. Here are 11 reasons to consider an affordable membership

Interested in history, science, and hands on experiences? Don’t miss the Tellus Science Museum.

High Museum of Art also offers Second Sunday Free visits.

Visit Atlanta’s LEGOLAND Discovery Center for a fun day out!

Make the short drive to Buckhead and visit the Painted Pin!

Historic Oakland Cemetery is the oldest Atlanta, Georgia, cemetery

Venture close by to Buchead. This is a great spot for shopping, dining and sightseeing.

Are your teens looking for things to do in Atlanta? We’ve got you covered.

Visit Tiny Towne for a fast and furious time!

Take the 30 minute drive to McDonough, GA for these cool things to do and these great places to eat!


Looking for some things to do over Spring Break? We have the perfect list to help you start planning!

Atlanta is a great launch point for amazing drivable weekend getaways too. Within five hours you can be on the Georgia Coast, in the North Georgia mountains, or on the beaches of Florida. We also love the Central State Hospital tour in Milledgeville.

Bret Love is the Co-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of  Green Global Travel, a web-based magazine devoted to ecotourism, nature/wildlife conservation and sustainable living. You can also follow him via FacebookTwitter or Pinterest.  

Want to get away for a weekend of family fun? Check out Columbia SC…I encourage you to think BIGGER and consider all that Capital City/Lake Murray Country has to offer. Or visit charming Aiken, South Carolina. 

Albany, Georgia sits in the southwest section of the state and is about three hours from Atlanta, so an easy day trip.

Want to participate in something out of this world? Ever thought, how come only the kids get to go to space camp? Well, Space Camp Huntsville AL is calling folks of all ages!

Hit the road and head over to Louisville, Kentucky. The bourbon will draw you in…but the art, museums, outdoor adventures and community spirit will have you returning again and again.

A little less than five hours from Atlanta is Bowling Green, KY and this city is an outdoor lover’s dream come true.

A little over four hours from Atlanta is Mobile, Alabama and it might surprise you all there is to do!

How about going on a treasure hunt and find the St Simons Island Tree Spirits.

Make the drive to Montgomery, Alabama. Here are 23 things to do in Montgomery, AL to capture its riveting past and present.

We recently spent three days and two nights Hiawassee. Don’t miss this Georgia city.


Are there any nature centers near me? In Georgia, there is no shortage of wonderful nature centers to experience, explore, and learn more about! Nature centers and preserves make learning about the outside world a fun, and family-friendly activity. And there are so many to choose from!

How about a nice trail ride on horseback through the North Georgia mountains?

Have fun during all four seasons at Southern Belle Farm in Henry County, Georgia.

Want to visit an authentic dude ranch? There’s one in Madison, Georgia! 

Love watching the sunset behind the Atlanta Skyline? Check out these 12 Stunning Spots To Watch The Perfect Sunset.

Want to get outside and take a hike with the kiddos? It’s time to make the trek to Springer Mountain.


Ice skating rinks around Atlanta and Georgia.

Get ready for the holiday season with a skate beneath the stars — Atlantic Station ice skating is back!

Grab unique gifts for the holidays (and maybe get a little something for yourself) at the Atlanta Christmas Markets.

Too cold and or rainy to do something outside? Check out these 11+ Trampoline Parks in Atlanta.

10 Comments on "Great Family Attractions around Atlanta, Georgia"

  1. These are some great options for things to do in and around Atlanta Georgia! We will be sharing this with our travellers heading this way in the upcoming weeks! Ziplining would definitely be the first thing we would try! Heres a great site for hotel and vacation rental deals to crash in after a day of adventure!

  2. Bescoverer | July 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    This is a great post and has plenty of things to do for families in Atl, Georgia. I travel a lot and it is always good to take the family out and explore the world. I check out the website They have plenty of family friendly bed and breakfast in Georgia and nation wide. Happy travels!

  3. Great tips – and thanks for sharing. I had no idea there was so much to do outdoors in Atlanta! Although I must admit that most of my lukewarm pre-conceptions were based upon a particular episode of Futurama…

  4. San Diego RV Camper | July 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |

    Wow! These are all great choices! Would love to make a plan for a visit. How much is the range of the entrance fees in these places?

  5. Love the crisp photos!

    The zip line looks like a lot of fun, and the peacock is brilliant.

    There really is something for everyone in Atlanta. If you feel up to it, you could rent a car and travel to Savannah, another great family destination in Georgia.

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  10. Such a great post, thanks for sharing. I am planning to visiting in columbus with my friends in the next month. I have now decided that what Things to do in Georgia, with my friends. Your idea was great, it’s helpful to me.

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