Fireflies, flashlights, popsicles and pools. Summer is here which means life is a little different, and we’re all suddenly playing by summer rules. With more time to explore, we’ve put together our Atlanta summertime bucket list. It will take you on new adventures around town, and hopefully inspire you to check out parts of Atlanta—and Georgia—that might have not been on your radar before. Keep reading for our ultimate list of things to do with kids in Atlanta and Georgia before sweet summertime slips away and the school year (we hope) begins.

Visit an Atlanta Institution or Exhibition

World of Coca-Cola

The whole family will love exploring the World of Coca-Cola, where a vault holds the secret formula to the famous drink, and taste more than 100 Coke beverages from around the world.

Visit Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
One of the cool things about Atlanta is the quality of exhibitions that pass through our town. This summer, check out Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular featuring two-story projections of the artist’s most compelling works. Encounter the brilliance of one of history’s greatest artists in 360 degrees.

Chattahoochee Nature Center

At the Chattahoochee Nature Center, try out the new zipline, see a bald eagle, explore the Chattahoochee River on a guided canoe trip, or hike the trails at Atlanta's nature destination. Nearby, get out on the water with Nantahala Outdoor Center, where you can rent tubes, kayaks, paddleboards and more.

Spend a Weekend Around the Battery
Stay near The Battery Atlanta and catch an Atlanta Braves game, tour Truist Park, and spend a day at the nearby Six Flags White Water waterpark.

Visit Zoo Atlanta
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll through the all-new African Savanna or a chance to explore The Ford African Rain Forest, Zoo Atlanta offers something for everyone. Want to keep even more learning happening with the kids – virtually? Check out the Zoo's At-Home educational programs before or after your visit.

Discover a New Way to Play at Fernbank
Discover a new way to play in the great outdoors with oversized games and fun skill challenges. Try your hand at checkers—or try your feet at hopscotch. Challenge your friends to tic-tac-toe, chess and more. This special exhibit encourages active and imaginative play and is located in WildWoods.

Celebrate Atlanta's Olympic Spirit (& Cool Off!)
Pack a picnic for Centennial Olympic Park, and plan on a run through the Fountain of Rings—formed in the shape of the Olympic rings symbol—if it's hot outside.

Get to Know Piedmont Park (Beyond the Playground)
Explore Piedmont Park's 189-acres, filled with playgrounds, paved paths, picnic areas, ponds, green spaces, and host to some of Atlanta's best festivals and fairs (many of which, like the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival and the Atlanta Dogwood Arts Festival are free).

Enjoy Dining Out Again, and Make It Special
Get the kids—and yourself—dressed up and take grandma or grandpa to a fancy lunch at the Swan House, or maybe even The Varsity if you don't feel like getting gussied up.

 

Get Outside & Play

During the school year, it's easy to hit up the same spots out of convenience and for planned playdates. This summer, cast a wider net and see how many of these incredible Atlanta parks and playgrounds you can visit.

Play These Classic Yard Games
Go screen free and head out the backdoor to play old-school yard games. You'll all break a sweat and earn that popsicle. Click here to get started!

Putt Around at Mini Golf
If you’re looking for a hole-in-one for your next family outing, make the most of the later bedtimes and cooler evening weather. Head to one of Atlanta’s best spots for mini golf. Whether pirates, aliens, glow-in-the-dark, or skyline views are your jam, Atlanta’s mini golf scene has you covered.

Explore Atlanta's Best Bike Paths
Looking for a shaded, active family adventure that’s as bearable in Atlanta’s sweltering summer months as it is beautiful on a colorful fall day? Give these paved paths a spin!

Pick a Nearby National Park to Explore
There are more than you think! You know you’ve got them on your bucket list, and there couldn’t be a better time than now to plan your visit to a nearby national park. Atlanta families are just a stone’s throw away from mountains, wild rivers, beaches and historic monuments to explore.

Go Horseback Riding
Put a little hitch in your giddyup and try something new with your buckaroos—horseback riding. Whether you’re into trails and terrain or guides and guarantees, the Atlanta horseback riding scene has a bit of everything.

Go Ziplining
It makes sense that Atlanta—known as the city in the trees—is home to so many zipline adventures. Flying from treetop to treetop is the perfect way to shake the heat during our summer months, avoid the crowds, and pump the adrenaline. And, many places offer scaled-down versions for the littlest adventurers.

Explore Mountains, Canyons, Forests, and Gorges
Check our our favorite state parks for families in Georgia.

Try Mountain Biking
You don't have to be a pro or have expensive and specialized bikes to give mountain biking a try at one of these mountain biking courses for beginners near Atlanta.

 
 
 
 
 

Get Your Feet Wet

Check Out Atlanta's Splashpads
Summers sizzle in Atlanta, y’all. Thank goodness for a super selection of spray grounds where your little firecrackers can cool their jets.

Head to the Lake
There’s really no bad time to visit the lake. And with a half-dozen or more within an easy morning’s drive from Atlanta, you can escape to one without even having to book overnight accomodations, in many cases. Whether you're heading there to splash, hike, or rent a watercraft, we've got you covered.

Go Fishing
With these local fishing spots, your kids will fall hook, line, and sinker for this easygoing past time that doesn’t break the bank or require tons of planning—but can still allow for responsible social distancing while getting out of the house!

Find Your Favorite Path or Paddle on the Chattahoochee River
Explore the 'Hooch (or even shoot it...which is Atlanta speak for float down it) on one of the accessible trails and parks. Or rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and tubes to make a splash in its icy water.

Explore the Georgia Coast
Only 20 minutes from each other, Savannah and Tybee Island go together like summer and sunshine. Whether you stay in the historic city and make day trips to the beach or vice versa, you'll love exploring all the sights in these coastal Georgia highlights. Or visit Jekyll Island and play on Driftwood Beach.

Go River Rafting
Atlanta is surrounded by some of the country’s finest whitewater, and we’ve rounded up the most kid-friendly river raft runs around. And while all of the rivers listed here are serviced by river outfitters who can take care of every detail of your trip, it’s always a good idea to review some river safety guidelines before you go.

 
 
 
 
 

 

Take It Easy (On the Wallet)

Take a Mommy and Me Class
With calmer schedules, take a morning and enjoy a Mommy and Me class at one of our local—and world class—museums. Our favorites can be found at The High during Toddler Thursdays and at The Southern Museum on the first and third Thursday of every month.

Check Out a Cobb County Parks & Rec Escape Room
For a socially-distant adventure at a Cobb County park, head to one of their Escape Room experiences.

Check Out Live Music with a Small Town Vibe
Duluth is the place to be on Friday night from May through September as food trucks take over Downtown Duluth, unwind after a long week with live music in The Plaza at Avalon every Friday from 6-8 p.m., and rediscover your weekends at City Springs with City Green Live.

Go to a Festival
Atlanta’s tree canopy, local music scene, and incredible food options—particularly the mobile food options—all add up to a pretty rock solid festival line-up. And while 2020 may have gotten the better of it, 2021 is looking up.

Make Homemade Ice Cream
Especially good with fruit you picked at a nearby u-pick farm, homemade ice cream will help everyone ease into a summer state of mind.

Camp Out in the Backyard
But because we're in Atlanta, be sure to run a portable fan to the tent and load everyone up with mosquito repellent.

Pick a Bucket Full of Berries
The time is ripe to hit the farm in Georgia for juicy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and peaches (not to mention other perks, like pony rides, tractor rides, corn pits, maybe a CSA box program, and inflatables at some spots). While different crops ripen at different times, we’ve picked our favorite farms to take the small set for a day of fresh air, berry-stained fingers, and happy hearts.

Have a Lemonade Stand
Is it really even summer if you don't hawk some homemade lemonade at the end of your driveway? Make it extra Atlanta and garnish your glasses with peaches.

Stroll Through a Farmers Market
Since sleeping past seven on a Saturday has become a luxury now that we have small kids, why not get a jump on the day by exploring some of Atlanta’s best farmers markets? You’ll find fresh air, bearable temperatures, and who knows? It might be just the trick for getting your littles to love their veggies!

Watch Dollar Movies
Watch a $1 movie at Regal Movie Cinemas all summer long as part of their annual Summer Movie Express.

Catch Lightning Bugs
While these tiny twinklers might have disappeared from many backyards due to pesticides, you can still see them en masse at the edge of any of Atlanta's open spaces. Look to fields near Red Top Mountain State Park, along the Silver Comet Trail, or any neighborhood park.

Commune with Nature
Check out nature at one of our city's nature centers, including Dunwoody Nature CenterBlue Heron Nature Preserve and Autrey Mill, which don't charge admission.

Catch Free Outdoor Movies
You'll find plenty of free movies in the park at Atlantic Station, Town Brookhaven, Bobby Dodd Stadium, The Battery, and other spots. Just don't forget your bug spray and blanket!

 

Take a Road Trip

Pick a Nearby National Park to Explore
There are more than you think! You know you’ve got them on your bucket list, and there couldn’t be a better time than now to plan your visit to a nearby national park. Atlanta families are just a stone’s throw away from mountains, wild rivers, beaches and historic monuments to explore.

Head to the Lake
There’s really no bad time to visit the lake. And with a half-dozen or more within an easy morning’s drive from Atlanta, you can escape to one without even having to book overnight accomodations, in many cases. Whether you're heading there to splash, hike, or rent a watercraft, we've got you covered.

Explore Mountains, Canyons, Forests, and Gorges
Check our our favorite state parks for families in Georgia.

Explore the Georgia Coast
Only 20 minutes from each other, Savannah and Tybee Island go together like summer and sunshine. Whether you stay in the historic city and make day trips to the beach or vice versa, you'll love exploring all the sights in these coastal Georgia highlights. Or visit Jekyll Island and play on Driftwood Beach.

See the Ocmulgee National Monument

Native Americans first came here during the Paleo-Indian period hunting Ice Age mammals. See the mounds built by the Mississippian culture over 100 years ago, and visit the museum.

Go to Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area covers 40,000 acres of land right outside Atlanta, including two massive granite outcrops, the South River, miles of trails, multiple historic sites and more. Many visitors know about the area's two granite outcrops Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain, but you may not know about the expansive area's many more natural and historic highlights. Here are five off-the-beaten-path destinations you should explore on your next outing.

Go for a Train Ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Chug-a-chug on board the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway's restored passenger train as it follows the Toccoa River to McCaysville, where you can straddle the Georgia/Tennessee line for a photo op and enjoy lunch by the river.

Take Your Older Kids Kart Racing
Atlanta Motorsports Park is the home of the world’s most unique karting track. Built to Formula One standards and offering 43 feet of elevation change, AMP Kart Racing offers a karting experience unlike any other. Reach speeds up to 55 mph on the world’s most unique kart track. Suitable for ages 12 and over with no experience or personal kart is needed.

Go River Rafting
Atlanta is surrounded by some of the country’s finest whitewater, and we’ve rounded up the most kid-friendly river raft runs around. And while all of the rivers listed here are serviced by river outfitters who can take care of every detail of your trip, it’s always a good idea to review some river safety guidelines before you go.

 
 
 
 
 

 Featured image via iStock.

—Shelley Massey

 

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