Hot Summer Time in the ATL-Where to go for outdoor adventures

Hot Summer Time in the ATL-Where to go for outdoor adventures

By Ken Abramczyk

 

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy in metro Atlanta. The area boasts an array of outdoor adventures that are perfect for people of all ages. From drifting down the river on a lazy afternoon to cycling along countless beautiful trails to taking in nine innings of America’s pastime, there’s really something for everyone. Here, KNOWAtlanta looks at 10 entertaining summer outings that you just can’t miss. (Of course, communities across the area will each have their own COVID precautions in place, so please check event and venue websites to confirm the status of activities, fees and parking provisions.)

A Flowery Outlook: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Located in Atlanta’s Midtown, the Atlanta Botanical Garden bursts with vibrant colors and illuminating hues. With 30 acres of outdoor gardens, the venue hosts various plant collections ranging from camellias, carnivorous plants and conifers to hydrangeas and magnolias. The Rose Garden tantalizes with its range of beautiful plants and delicate yet fragrant flowers. Visitors marvel at the lushness and richness of the plant life and impressive biodiversity at the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory.

And Dale Chihuly’s “Parterre Fountain Installation,” a sparkling blue-and-white display of glass illuminating a fountain, represents the artist’s interpretation of water, ice and sky. Additionally, the Atlanta Botanical Garden boasts a Gainesville location, which features an amphitheater, a children’s garden, a forest garden, a glade garden and a woodland promenade.

Atlanta Botanical Garden: atlantabg.org

The Cycle of Life: The Atlanta BeltLine

Get acquainted with a variety of Atlanta neighborhoods this summer by cycling the Atlanta BeltLine, a repurposed, abandoned railway line and sustainable redevelopment project that, when completed, will span 22 miles via a loop of multiuse trails and connect visitors to 45 neighborhoods and dozens of parks, through which the civil rights movement is highlighted in great detail. While out on the trail, visitors also can enjoy coffeehouses, restaurants and shops housed inside renovated buildings on the Eastside Trail, which extends from Piedmont Park past the Old Fourth Ward to Reynoldstown. Bike and bus tours are offered but were on hold during the pandemic, so be sure to check for current opportunities. Bike rentals are available at Clutch Bicycle Shop and Atlanta Bicycle Barn.

Atlanta BeltLine: beltline.org

Clutch Bicycle Shop: clutchbicycleshop.com

Atlanta Bicycle Barn: atlbikebarn.com

Happy Trails: Take a Hike

Hiking trails are prevalent throughout metro Atlanta and across Georgia. Hikers chat about their experiences online in social media groups devoted to the state’s winding trails up small hills, along rivers and through mountains. In metro Atlanta, Sweetwater Creek and Red Top Mountain state parks are among local destinations for residents to seek refuge from hectic day-to-day life. Sweetwater Creek’s trail takes hikers past ruins of a textile mill burned during the Civil War and onto rocky bluffs for views of rushing rapids. The Bamboo Forest is located adjacent to the East Palisades Indian Trail, located on land overlooking the Chattahoochee River, not too far from I-285’s north loop and I-85. When the wind hits these long trees, they move gently like straws in a drink, stirring a sense of calm for the visitor who wants to chill out from the big city noise and rest in a sea of summer tranquility.

Georgia State Parksgastateparks.org

Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee

Locals know that there’s nothing like taking a warm afternoon to “Shoot the Hooch.” Whether tubing, rafting, kayaking or canoeing, families and friends can spend a few minutes or an entire day taking in the views of greenery along the banks while floating down the famed river, which can be accessed north of Atlanta near Roswell. For those who want a bit of excitement, head north along the river to catch some of the Chattahoochee’s famed Class I and II rapids, which are recognized as the biggest rapids east of Colorado. Revelers also can enjoy a picnic along the river’s banks, which offer an armada of color and relaxation on this urban waterway. Kayaks, canoes, rafts and tubes can be rented from several outlets.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areanps.gov/chat/index.htm

Chattahoochee River Tubingrivertubing.com

High Country Paddle Shackhighcountryoutfitters.com

Nantahala Outdoor Center outpostsnoc.com/chattahoochee-river-ga

Shoot the Hoochshootthehooch.com

Summer Swoon: Music in the Park

There’s nothing that music lovers appreciate more on Atlanta summer nights than listening to tunes and enjoying a favorite beverage. Atlanta boasts top-notch musical events, including Music Midtown and the Atlanta Jazz Festival, as well as outdoor shows at large venues like Ameris Bank Amphitheater in Alpharetta and Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta. Those who want to listen to music but find themselves on a tight budget can experience smaller crowds and small-town ambience at various Music in the Park events hosted throughout metro Atlanta. Check out this summer’s lineups at Avalon Nights Live or Matilda’s Music Under the Pines in Alpharetta, the impressive acts coming to Woodstock’s Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheatre, the Glover Park Concert Series on Marietta Square and Concerts by the Springs in Sandy Springs. Visit each local community’s website for more information.

Ameris Bank Amphitheaterawesomealpharetta.com/play/attraction/amerisbank-amphitheatre/

Chastain Park Amphitheaterchastainpark.org

Splish Splash: Six Flags White Water

Atlanta summers can be hot and sticky due to high temps and humidity, so splashing and frolicking in the water can be a welcome respite for families. Six Flags White Water, located in Marietta, brings a little chill and relief with exciting thrill rides and family-friendly water slides for visitors of all ages. The Atlanta Ocean Wave Pool allows swimmers to feel like they are swimming in the ocean. The brand new Dive Bomber, Six Flags’ tallest slide, creates an adrenaline rush as riders fall more than 10 stories to the splash landing below. Young children can cool off in the waters at Buccaneer’s Bay and Captain Kid’s Cove. And be sure not to miss the special events held each summer at the venue.

Six Flags White Watersixflags.com/whitewater

Take Me Out to the Braves Game

How ‘bout some baseball? Relax and watch a Braves game at Truist Park. Spectators can root for their home team and catch a glimpse of All Stars Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. as they help the Braves pursue the NL East Division crown and another trip to the playoffs. Fans can purchase souvenirs and Braves gear at several Clubhouse stores throughout the ballpark. Truist Park features statues of Hank Aaron and other Braves greats, an entire terrace dedicated to Aaron and other memorabilia celebrating the team’s historic wins and moments. Truist Park anchors The Battery, a sports and entertainment complex that will turn your trip to the ballpark into an all-day affair, with plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment options.

Truist Parkmlb.com/braves/ballpark

The Batterybatteryatl.com

Life on the Lake: Lake Lanier Islands

Boating, fishing and soaking up rays on the beach are some of summer’s most beloved summertime diversions. Fortunately, all of them can be found in one place: Lake Lanier Islands, located 60 miles northeast of Atlanta. This resort complex, which is one of the hallmarks of Georgia’s largest lake, offers a chance to get out on the water and take in the beauty of North Georgia. Lake Lanier Islands also features The Water Park at Margaritaville, offering a wide array of slides and rides for those who can’t wait to have some fun in the sun. Stay for a day or stay for a weekend and enjoy everything this picturesque lake destination has to offer.

Lake Lanier Islandslanierislands.com

A Tasty Tour: North Georgia’s Wonderful Wineries

Georgia’s wine industry is booming. According to georgiawineproducers.org, it boosts Georgia’s economy more than $4.1 billion, with $88 million spent by tourists at the state’s 60 wine producers. Traveling to one of the wineries and nearby communities makes for a great day trip, complete with spectacular views and relaxing moments. Sample Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs at Yonah Mountain Vineyards, located near Cleveland. Located in Dahlonega, Wolf Mountain Vineyards offers wine tours that include sampling wines in the tasting room with vineyard and mountain views. Closer to Atlanta, Château Élan Winery & Resort near Braselton features exclusive offerings of Muscadine wines, along with Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir; advanced tickets are encouraged for tastings and reservations are required for tours. Several tour companies, including VIP Southern Tours, offer packages for individuals and groups that want to leave the driving to someone else.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winerywolfmountainvineyards.com

Yonah Mountain Wineriesyonahmountainvineyards.com

Château Élan Winery & Resortchateauelan.com

VIP Southern Toursvipsoutherntours.com

Up Close at the Zoo

Located in Grant Park just minutes from downtown Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta is a perfect family-friendly summer destination spanning 30 acres and housing more than 1,000 species of animals, birds and reptiles, from African elephants, giraffes and ostriches to meerkats and warthogs. Visitors can feed giraffes from Twiga Terrace or see Mumbles, a southern white rhinoceros and one of Zoo Atlanta’s newest residents. For an additional fee, you also can participate in the zoo’s “Wild Encounters” to get an up-close look at African elephants, the southern white rhino and lemurs, as well as a virtual visit with a giant panda. Interactive mystery hunts, stage presentations and hands-on and nature-based art activities will engage children and keep everyone delighted throughout the day. Currently, Zoo Atlanta only allows online ticket purchases and has a limited capacity during Covid, so check the website for information.

Zoo Atlantazooatlanta.org