Fall color at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia

Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia

Five Places to Visit Before the End of Fall in Georgia

Get outside for adventures on trails, zip lines, rivers and more to enjoy the mild weather this fall.

Summer is over. You're waving goodbye to the beach and hello to the falling leaves. Before you know it, the evenings will be over early and winter’s cold breath will be here. Before that happens, be sure to get outside to hike, go whitewater rafting, zip-lining and much more at these five exciting places in Georgia.

Hikers on Arabia Mountain at sunset
Sunset at Arabia Mountain

1. Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area in Lithonia

Visit Arabia Mountain with your kids and your camera for colorful photos with their yellow daisies this fall. Located only about 20 miles east of Atlanta, the granite outcrop is home to these delightful flowers that are scattered en masse and only grow within a 60-mile radius of the area.

While you're there, hike the Forest and Mile Rock trails. Together, they create a 2-mile loop that includes the outcrop, forest and lake views. The Mountaintop Trail is just 1 mile and is another favorite.

Before your trip, read these Insider Tips for Visiting Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area.

Fountain at the Lodge & Spa at Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia
Lodge & Spa at Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia

2. Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain

Make your way to gorgeous Callaway Resort & Gardens this fall and check out the family-friendly festival Pumpkins at Callaway. Explore the 2,500 acres of gardens, located about 30 miles northeast of Columbus, decorated with pumpkin sculptures, topiaries and mums. Stay after dark to see the glowing Enchanted Forest, sunflower sculptures and towering Pumpkin Tree. Pick a pumpkin from the patch, play glow-in-the-dark mini golf and much more.

Nighttime lights and owl figure at Pumpkins at Callaway in Pine Mountain, Georgia
Pumpkins at Callaway in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Photo by @callawaygardens

Go for the day, or make a night of it with the Pumpkins at Callaway Package. The Southern Pine Cottages are ideal for families, and the Lodge & Spa offers a special kind of splurge, with options that will melt away your back-to-school stress.

Rafting on the Chattahoochee River with Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia
Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by @whitewaterexpress

3. Columbus

It's not too late to take in one more whitewater rafting experience before winter. Take an early morning ride with Whitewater Express for an easy trip, or face the challenge head-on with rides after 3 p.m. when the dam waters are released.

While in Columbus, belly up to the high tops at The Black Cow. The pineapple casserole will complement any entrée selection. It’s as good as grandma made – maybe better. Or, eat, drink, socialize and relax at indoor and outdoor dining spaces at Banks Food Hall, offering a variety of food and drink options that are sure to please everyone in your group.

Find more things to do and places to stay in this Guide to Columbus.

Banning Mills ziplines in Whitesburg, Georgia

4. Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg

What better way to see the forest awash with fall color than from the tree canopies at Banning Mills, located about 45 miles west of Atlanta. Sixty ziplines and 46 sky bridges promise spectacular views and a world of fun. There are routes for everyone, from beginners to advanced – including Crazy Squirrel Village, which offers zip lining for kids 4 and up.

Also while there, don’t miss out on the hiking, climbing wall, horseback riding, birds of prey show and more. Those with reduced mobility won't want to miss the wheelchair-friendly Eco-Spider ATV Tours, 90-minute tours in rugged four-wheeled electric vehicles that take visitors through Banning Mills' trails and suspension bridges.

Make it a weekend by staying in the hotel or in one of the treehouses. Many lodging options also come with breakfast.

Fall color in the Japanese garden at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia
Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia

5. Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground

Don't miss the brilliant displays of color in the fall when the Japanese maples, wildflowers and Encore azaleas show off at the breathtaking 220-acre Gibbs Gardens, located about 60 miles north of Atlanta. With affordable tickets to these expansive gardens, you don’t want to skip watching the leaves change mid-October to mid-November.

While you're at the garden, grab lunch at the Arbor Café. You can enjoy sandwiches and snacks, with a generous amount of outdoor seating.

Read more Photo Spots Around Georgia

Published: May 2024
Written by: Lesli Peterson
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