Atlanta might be an enormous metropolitan area where millions of people move about daily, and the word “relaxing” might not be the first (or third or even fifth) word that comes to your head when you think of it, but it also has many beautiful parks that are well-suited for a fun family afternoon. From little neighborhood affairs to incredible and wide state parks for those who love to hike, mount their bicycle and set up a little camp for the weekend, since the summer is so close now.
If your house is being cleaned and you need to step outside, the following is a list of what we consider to be the absolute best parks for you and your family to spend a nice day in. Whether you’re only going for a stroll or want to experience something a little more dynamic and outdoorsy, you can’t go wrong with any of these. If you can, check out more than one over the summer and tell us which was the best, but most important of all, be safe and have fun!
A real treat for hikers, this beautiful state park has over 15 miles of hiking trails that cover most of the terrain and offer you all the great views around the place. The easiest among them go for a little over half a mile and will take you along the creek bed (perfect for selfies!) and into the ruins of a factory mill, which creates a unique ambiance. If you’re looking for a challenge, the White Loop is a five-mile track that goes through the forest, along the river, over grassy meadows, and lets you appreciate most of Sweetwater Crest’s animal and plant life. Even if hiking is not your thing, you can camp for the night, do some birdwatching or fishing, and even take a kayak or canoe into the river!
We weren’t about to leave one of Atlanta’s most popular parks out of the list! Lullwater is actually located entirely within the Emory University urban campus, and it’s meant for students and staff to unwind, but Atlanta citizens do visit and enjoy it as well, and you’ll find so many beautiful photo opportunities that you’ll want to come back even before you leave. This peaceful park features an enormous field next to a serene, deep blue lake; a 210-foot suspension bridge overlooks the park’s stone ruins, and it leads into most of its four miles of trails that you can stroll through at a leisurely pace. You can also look at Lullwater House; a Tudor-style construction built for Walter Candler, the son of Coca-Cola’s founder.
If you’re looking for a more kid-friendly experience to enjoy with the whole family, the Chastain Memorial Park is the right answer. Located in a lovely residential area called Buckhead, the park itself is a hub of outdoor fun. You’ll find a tennis court, swimming pools, a horse park, playgrounds for your kids, and pavilions for family reunions as well. And, of course, you can’t forget the nearby State Bank Amphitheatre, an outdoor concert venue where many outdoor music concerts and other performances are hosted, especially around the summer, and on which guests are allowed to bring in their favorite snacks and drinks. Some of the most significant numbers that have been on stage at the amphitheater include Willie Nelson, John Legend, Paul Simon, and the Indigo Girls.
American history enthusiasts will not want to miss out visiting this park, a former Civil War battlefield in northwest Atlanta that also features 20 miles of hiking trails in the surrounding nature. Be sure to walk one 2-mile Kennesaw Mountain trail, which will take you to its peak and you’ll enjoy an unparalleled view of Atlanta’s skyline. For a complete historical experience, start your visit at the Visitor’s Center, where a 35-minute short film on the Battle of Kennesaw plays every hour, and you can enjoy the lecture series and guided tours that touch on the park’s natural life and Civil War-era history. Rolling fields, a dense canopy of trees and a tall mountain make for a varied, humbling natural experience!
Want a park experience that feels uniquely Atlanta? Then you’ll want to visit the Centennial Olympic Park, which was constructed specifically for the 1996 Olympic Games that the city hosted right in the heart of downtown. The park’s mobile website offers a walking tour with an overview of the area’s history, buildings, the Olympic Games, and much more, while the park itself is located next to many of Atlanta’s other major attractions, such as the College Football Hall of Fame, the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, and more. Many of Atlanta’s summer events for 2019, such as the Shaky Knees Music Festival held every summer, can be looked up on the website as well, but if none are happening during your visit, you can still spend a while at the Fountain of Rings show featuring a “dancing water” show with lights and sound effects choreographed to music. We’re sure that some of the best things to do in Atlanta this weekend are happening here!