Japanese maples at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia
Japanese maples at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia

Five Places to Visit Before it Gets Cold

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 take in these five exciting places.

Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain

Make your way to gorgeous Callaway Gardens before the Christmas festivities begin. Time your stay around one of their events, like SteepleChase, or simply plan to relax at the lake or on a bike ride through the winding trails.

Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia

It's always relaxing to go for the day but even more fun to make a night of it. The Southern Pine Cottages are ideal for families, but the Lodge & Spa offers a special kind of splurge, with options that will melt away your back-to-school stress.


Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia

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 there, grab a delicious ice pop from Planet Pops, and belly up to the high tops at The Black Cow. Oysters and hush puppies are the winning appy selections, and the pineapple casserole will compliment any entrée selection. It’s as good as grandma made – maybe better.

Gibbs Gardens, Ball Ground

Red, yellow, orange and green reflect in the pond at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground. - cspettie via Flickr

With the fall festivals, including the Japanese Maples Colorfest, PLUS affordable tickets, you don’t want to skip watching the leaves change at the breathtaking 220-acre Gibbs Gardens.

While you're at the garden, grab lunch at the Arbor Café. You can enjoy sandwiches and salads, with a generous amount of outdoor seating. Finally, keep in mind that tram rides to the "far reaching" gardens are only $5. These are perfect for little legs that might get tired on your visit.

Read more Photo Spots Around Georgia

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Lithonia

Visit Arabia Mountain with your kids and your camera for colorful photos with their yellow daisies this fall. These delightful flowers only grow within a 60-mile radius of the area, and they are scattered en masse across the granite outcrop.

Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve Dekalb County. Photo by 65mb via Flickr.

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

Read more Best Scenic Beginner Hikes

Historic Banning Mills, Whitesburg

Banning Mills ziplines in Whitesburg, Georgia

What better way to see the forest awash with fall’s color than from the tree canopies at Banning Mills. 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. In fact, make it a weekend by staying in the hotel or in one of the treehouses! Many lodging options also come with breakfast.

Read more about Banning Mills With Kids

Lesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer. Find more of her family-friendly tips and trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org, and visit 365AtlantaFamily.com for more itineraries and travel tips. 

Published: October 2017
Written by: Lesli Peterson