woman in red shirt and red hat paddle boards under a bridge on a lush, green river

9 Reasons to Get Outside and Explore Woodstock

Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock is an escape from the every day and the perfect backdrop for your next outdoor adventure. Beyond the big city lights, experience a hometown feel with incredible views and plenty to explore. Spend your days outside discovering Woodstock’s diverse landscape at a famous red clay track, on the lake, up backcountry trails or among ancient elms in a vibrant downtown. Here are the best reasons to head to Woodstock for outdoor fun.

As we all find our new normal here in Georgia, you can be sure that safety measures and procedures have been implemented for a safe, easy, and enjoyable stay. Before venturing out, check out the locations below for special hours and policies.

Bridge leading out to lake Allatoona

1. It’s a Top Adventure Town

In 2019, Woodstock was voted a Top Adventure Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors. Readers raved about its extensive, multi-use trails and easy access to tons of fun on the water. 

Woodstock offers endless options to go off the beaten path with more than 60 miles of trails to run, hike, and bike on the Greenpoint Trails System. Follow the paved Noonday Creek Trail for views of the area, or venture to nearby Red Top Mountain State Park to discover remains of old homestead homes and picnic in the sun.

If it’s the water you love, consider Woodstock your springboard for adventure. From swimming and boating to paddling and kayaking, you’ll find it all here. Rent a boat or WaveRunner at Lake Allatoona, cast a line for large and smallmouth bass at Stamp Creek area, or go swimming at Bartow Beach.    
 

Man and Woman bike on wooded path

2. The Mountain Biking is Some of the Best in the South

Woodstock is known for mountain biking. In fact, one of the most traveled mountain biking trails in the country happens to be at Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trail. Here, outdoor lovers ride the 4.2-mile South Loop for a true backcountry feel, and experts line up to speed down the Georgia red clay on The Holler. Shift into high gear or take an afternoon cruise along the Taylor Randahl Mountain Bike Trails at Olde Rope Mill Park to discover miles of looped trails and natural beauty. Grab your helmet and let the good times roll.

person paddle boards on the lake at sunrise or sunset

3. The Paddling is Pretty Great, Too

Trust us, the paddling alone is reason to pack up and explore Woodstock. Whether you prefer stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking, you’ll find unique adventures throughout the area. If you’re looking for minimum effort and maximum views, start at Olde Rope Mill Park and paddle down the flat Little River to Lake Allatoona to a hidden waterfall. Let Murph’s Surf lead the way on a guided tour, or have your gear delivered to one of many launch points in the area and create your own adventure.

2 men compete in biking on trail - photo by Dashing Images

4. Major Outdoor Sporting Events Happen Here

Woodstock is the setting for two of Georgia’s major outdoor sports competitions. The Tour of the Southern Highlands Stage Race is a spring hometown tradition, bringing cyclists from all over the country to compete in a three-day race from Woodstock to Ball Ground, Georgia. Downtown Woodstock becomes a lively scene during the Southern Highlands, where spectators can join the watch party and explore unique local shops. In the fall, athletes go head-to-head through the iconic trails at Olde Rope Mill Park at the Rope Mill Dirty Duathlon. With multiple races like a trail run, duathlon and relay, it’s the scenery and rugged landscapes that make this a fun event for both competitors and fans, alike.
(Photo taken by Dashing Images)

cars racing on the Dixie Speedway

5. Dixie Speedway is a Must-Visit for Racing Fans

Speaking of outdoor sports, this historic dirt track is where stock car racing legend Bill Elliott got his start. Watching drivers race on the red clay at Dixie Speedway has been a Georgia pastime since 1969. It’s an iconic experience for race enthusiasts and brings a fun, family-friendly environment for kids that want to go, go, go. Home to the Monster Truck Nationals and National Touring Stock Car Races, the Dixie Speedway’s event calendar is packed with races, rallies, concerts, and more from March to October. 

aerial view of outlet shoppes in Woodstock

6. Outdoor Retail Therapy

If shopping is your cardio, head over to the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta, Woodstock’s newest open-air mall. The closest outlet shops to Atlanta, here you’ll find more than 100 brand name stores and outfitters for every explorer-like Under Armour, the Nike Factory Store, and Asics. Stay awhile and have lunch, or sip beer or wine while you shop.

street view of reformation brewery with a branded airstream parked outfront

7. Walkable Downtown Packed with Restaurants & Shops

Downtown Woodstock is home to more than 20 restaurants and twice that many shops and boutiques in one walkable, historic district. Just steps from the city’s urban trail system, work up an appetite then stop by to enjoy some local favorites like Pure Taqueria or Queenie’s BBQ. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, check out chef-driven restaurants like Vingezo's Pasta & Pizzeria or Prime 120. Reformation Brewery is a big draw for hikers and beer lovers. The brewery sits right on the trailhead of the Noonday Creek Trail, beneath the branches of the second oldest elm tree in Georgia. 

Stroll along the tree-lined streets and pop into local boutiques and shops. Stop by the FoxTale Book Shoppe for one of their many author events, or pick up a new read to enjoy in the park. Then, follow the sounds to one of the many downtown restaurants and bars that host their own music series, like Madlife Stage and Studios and Copper Coin, or pick up a picnic to-go package at Rootstock and Vine to enjoy at nearby concerts.
 

people sitting on a lawn watching a Better than Ezra concert

8. Outdoor Concerts

Speaking of concerts, when it comes to live music, Woodstock rocks it as a home to unique open-air venues and host to impressive talent. Located right in Downtown Woodstock, the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater hosts more than two dozen events each year, including the Woodstock Summer Concert Series. Bring a lawn chair and sway to the sounds as the stars come up. The Woodstock Summer Concert Series is one of the top events of the season, paying tribute to a mix of rock and classics with performers like Steep Canyon Rangers and Black Jacket Symphony, and other well-known cover bands. From theater series to improv shows and live music, see it live at the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village. The Lantern Series brings artists from around the world to Woodstock to celebrate sounds, art, and culture in a fun backyard setting.

street view of main street shoppes

9. Fairs and Festivals for All

Stroll the streets, listen to live music, and raise a local craft beer during one of Woodstock’s favorite festivals and fairs. With beautiful views, a gazebo, and fountain, The Park at City Center is home to classic holiday events. Fourth of July in Woodstock is always a treat, from a parade around the city to an afternoon of games and barbecue at The Park. Following the same route, December’s Christmas Jubilee Parade lights up downtown Woodstock, ending with hot chocolate, music, and activities for the whole family. Featuring everything from fire eaters to stilt walkers and, of course, local brews, the Cadence Fair at Reformation Brewery is a fall favorite. In October, cruise down Main Street to witness the Scarecrow Invasion, lines of creative, handmade scarecrows throughout the downtown area.

aerial view of downtown Woodstock at night

Where to Stay

Planning to get out and explore Georgia’s backyard? All of that activity sure can take it out of you. Luckily, Woodstock has a variety of hotels to lay your head at the end of the day. With a location close to the trails and a bike wash station for guests, the Holiday Inn Express is a popular pick for mountain bikers and those looking to be nearby the outlets and entertainment district. The Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Comfort Inn are also centrally located, giving travelers multiple familiar options all within reach of the Noonday Creek Trail that leads into downtown Woodstock. Drive slightly south to the Microtel Inn & Suites for a stay close to the track and no-fuss rates to make the most of your getaway.

 

As we all find our new normal here in Georgia, you can be sure that safety measures and procedures have been implemented for a safe, easy, and enjoyable stay. Before venturing out, check out the locations below for special hours and policies.

Published: May 2020

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