Kayaks on Tybee Island, Georgia. Photo by @kellykwilson
Photo by @kellykwilson

Kayaks on Tybee Island, Georgia. Photo by @kellykwilson

40 Ways to Have Fun in Any Season

Any time is a good time to get outside in Georgia

The great outdoors can be enjoyed year round in Georgia. Sure, summer can be hot. But that just means it's time to head to the lake or the coast to cool off. More moderate temperatures in spring and fall are perfect for cheering on our sports teams, such as the Atlanta Braves or the Savannah Bananas. And winter? Well, that’s when we turn up the heat with some of our more adventurous activities. Read on for ideas on how to make the most of your outdoor vacation in Georgia, whatever time of year you're here.

Spring

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Georgia. Photo by @mykisinott
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Georgia. Photo by @mykisinott

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Paddle the still waters at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston. The blackwater swamp, the largest in North America, is known for its extraordinary plant and animal life. Watch for herons, turtles, egrets, and — of course — alligators.

East Palisades Trail

You don’t have to go far from the city to find woods; just head to the East Palisades Trail, a 15-minute drive from downtown Atlanta. This popular urban trek follows the Chattahoochee River, up steep bluffs and through a bamboo forest.

Cumberland Island

Pitch a tent under the Spanish moss on Cumberland Island, Georgia’s southernmost barrier island. This remote spot, which is only accessible via ferry, has two designated campgrounds and three wilderness camping areas.

Gibbs Gardens

Enjoy spring’s kaleidoscope of rhododendrons, dogwoods, daffodils, and more at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground. If you love flowers, there’s no better place to be in spring.

Coastal Georgia Greenway

Conquer the Coastal Georgia Greenway, a 155-mile trail system linking six coastal counties. Walk, bike, or ride a horse on the route, which winds through towns, historical sites, and plenty of natural attractions.

General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, Georgia. Photo by @jareddivincent
General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, Georgia. Photo by @jareddivincent

General Coffee State Park

General Coffee State Park in Nicholls is best known for its agricultural history. Check out Heritage Farm, which features a tobacco barn, cane mill, log cabins, and more. The park also offers miles of equestrian trails and paths through a cypress swamp.

Piedmont Park

Go for a run with your dog in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. Besides events spaces, playgrounds, and a pool, the intown park has 200 acres of greenspace, including an off-leash dog park, sure to be Fido’s favorite.

Tallulah Gorge

Discover the falls at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Walk along the rim, or hike down into the canyon, which is two miles long and close to 1,000 feet deep. Permits and proper footwear are required.

Baseball

Root, root, root for the home team at an Atlanta Braves, Gwinnett Stripers, Macon Bacon, or Savannah Bananas baseball game.

Chattahoochee National Forest

Climb the fire tower at Glassy Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest near Clayton. A mile-long path leads to the 55-foot-tall metal structure, where spectacular views await.

Summer

Rafting in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by Whitewater Express
Rafting in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by Whitewater Express

Whitewater Express

Get your pulse racing with Whitewater Express in Columbus, home to the world’s longest urban whitewater course. The course consists of class II-V whitewater, depending on the time of day you go. Mornings are ideal for families, while afternoon trips take rafters through some of the largest rapids on the East Coast.

St. Simons Island

Kayak the sun-kissed marshes of St. Simons Island, the largest barrier island in the Golden Isles. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, sea turtles, exotic birds, and more.  

Peachtree Road Race

Lace up your shoes and hit the streets for the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10-kilometer race. The run is always held on July 4th and is an Atlanta tradition. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Lake Allatoona

Rent a stand-up paddleboard and find your center at Lake Allatoona, about 35 minutes north of Atlanta. When it’s full, the manmade lake covers some 12,000 acres and sports 270 miles of shoreline.

Chattahoochee River

Shoot the Hooch in Helen. This summertime favorite takes tubers straight through downtown on the Chattahoochee River. Outfitters like Cool River Tubing and Helen Tubing and Waterpark, offer one-hour and all-day floats.

Kayaking on the Augusta Canal. Photo by @twsnyder12
Kayaking on the Augusta Canal. Photo by @twsnyder12

Augusta Canal

Paddle a kayak or canoe along the historic Augusta Canal. Alternatively, cruise the waterway aboard a replica cargo boat, spotting 18th-century homes and 19th-century textile mills along the ride.

Historic Banning Mills

Soar above the treetops at Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg. The park boasts the longest zip line canopy tour in the world.

F.D. Roosevelt State Park

Head to Pine Mountain to discover Georgia's largest state park. At 9,049 acres, F.D. Roosevelt State Park features more than 40 miles of trails and a swimming pool fed by springs. A statue of the former president sits atop an overlook, welcoming visitors to Dowdell’s Knob. 

Panola Mountain State Park

Climb a tree, using ropes and a harness, at Panola Mountain in Stockbridge. Look for critters (but don’t look down!) as you explore the canopy on an individual, group, or nighttime climb.

Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa

Grab the reins at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris. This North Georgia resort has horseback riding on five miles of trails, through fields, forests, and streams. All levels are welcome.

Fall

Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Photo by @keerthanaaah
Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Photo by @keerthanaaah

Rock City Gardens

Take a soaring stroll on the Swing-A-Long Bridge, a 180-foot-long suspension bridge at Rock City Gardens. Its perch atop Lookout Mountain guarantees gorgeous views of the foliage in fall.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Hike the short, but steep, Waterfalls Trail at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn. The trail’s two waterfalls, Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, are worth the walk, which includes 600 stair steps.

Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway

Secure your helmet and let loose on miles of mountain bike trails in Ellijay. Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway offers cabins, campsites, food, and shuttles to trailheads.

Georgia Sports Hall of Fame

Check out the champions at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. The museum celebrates the state’s sports titans and traditions in 14,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon

Like music? Like running? Then don’t miss the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. Live bands are peppered throughout the course to help keep runners’ spirits high.

Kayaks on Tybee Island, Georgia. Photo by @kellykwilson
Kayaks on Tybee Island, Georgia. Photo by @kellykwilson

Tybee Island

Paddle a kayak off Tybee Island, known as Savannah’s beach. The maneuverable craft lets you explore nearby salt marshes and barrier islands.

Atlanta Falcons

Watch the Atlanta Falcons dominate the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This one-of-a-kind facility has a retractable roof and surprisingly affordable food.

Amicalola Falls

Climb to the top of Georgia’s tallest waterfall at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge in Dawsonville. An eight-mile trail connects the park to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the famed Appalachian Trail.

State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Stop and smell the roses at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. Visit in fall to see the leaves change from green to various shades of orange, yellow, and red.

Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site

Explore original buildings and furnishings at Juliette’s Jarrell Plantation, which dates back to 1847. The former cotton plantation features a heart-pine cabin, a cotton gin, sawmill, and workshop. It was owned by the same family for more than 140 years.

Winter

Sope Creek ruins in Marietta, Georgia. Photo by @westy4xer
Sope Creek ruins in Marietta, Georgia. Photo by @westy4xer

Sope Creek

Explore remnants of a 19th-century paper mill when you hit the trails at Sope Creek in Marietta. Spot wildlife along the scenic three-mile loop, which also passes rivers and ponds.

Jekyll Island

Rent a beach cruiser and take a spin along some 22 miles of trails on Jekyll Island. They lead to historic sites, attractions, recreational facilities, and more.

Atlanta BeltLine

Walk, bike, skate, or otherwise scoot on the Atlanta BeltLine, a developing loop around the city that will eventually connect 45 in-town neighborhoods. The former railway corridor has 33 miles of multiuse trails.

Providence Canyon

Providence Canyon in Lumpkin looks like it belongs out West, hence the nickname, Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” Hike through its colorful gullies, the result of poor farming practices.

Raisin Woods Mountain Bike Park

Bike on trails with playful names — Rootie Tootie, Whitey Woo, and Gray Ghost Holler — at Raisin Woods Mountain Biking Park in Dalton. Seven courses cater to various levels of experience.

Ford Complex at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Photo by @lookout_photo
Ford Complex at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Photo by @lookout_photo

Berry College

Bike to the reservoir at Berry College in Rome. The expansive 26,000-acre campus in northwest Georgia includes 40 miles of trails. berry.edu

RiverFront Park

Amble through Albany’s six-acre RiverFront Park on the Flint River. Adults can relax at the picnic pavilions, while kids love the Turtle Grove Play Park and splash pad. visitalbanyga.com

Stone Mountain

Hike or ride the cable car to the top of Stone Mountain for an unparalleled view of Atlanta. In winter, enjoy Snow Mountain, which transforms the park’s main lawn into a snowy wonderland.

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park

Step back in time at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon. The park contains prehistoric American Indian mounds, as well as a museum with 2,000 artifacts, some dating as far back as 10,000 BCE.

Atlanta United

Cheer on Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The much-loved Major League Soccer team won the league championship in 2018.

Published: February 2020