After the dog days of an Atlanta summer, there is nothing quite like the crisp air and vibrant colors of fall to put the pep back into the kiddos step. Celebrate the season with a family trip to take in one of nature’s most beautiful shows: the peak of fall leaves! From near to far, from easy to adventurous, we’ve focused in on three spots to see the fall colors. But hurry, autumn in Atlanta doesn’t last nearly as long as we would like. Leaves usually peak during mid to late October.  

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Sweetwater Creek
Want to stick a little closer to home? You don’t have to hike to the mountains to see amazing fall color. West of Atlanta and just off I-20 are acres of beautifully wooded wilderness, nature trails and a reservoir perfect for fishing. Be sure to check out the red trail for fall colors and a bit of history. This trail meanders along the stream, leading to the ruins of an old mill that was burnt down during the civil war. From there the red trail climbs into bluffs offering views of the rapids below. Note: The second half of the red trail is for kiddos well beyond the toddling stage, but check out the yellow trail for a simple and scenic walk.

Why Not? Pack a picnic for chilling by the water. Bring bread crumbs for the ducks and don’t forget to swing by the playground before you make the short trip back home.

1750 Mount Vernon Rd Lithia Springs, GA 30122

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Blood Mountain
Brisk weather got the fam feeling bold? Maybe you should climb a mountain. Blood Mountain offers some serious views, but is completely accessible to the not so serious family of hikers. Head to Lake Winfield Scott, a beautiful mountain pond just south of Blairsville, Georgia, and take the Slaughter Creek trail to the top of Blood Mountain.  This is an easy to moderate hike, just be sure to bring plenty of water for everyone. Scenic views and fall foliage abound once you reach the top!

Why Not? Check out the old summit shelter, a creepy yet cool two-room stone cabin built in the 1930’s. Then head back down to Lake Winfield Scott for a picnic and some playground time.

For more information:  www.fs.usda.gov

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The Blue Ridge Parkway
Why not have a full fledge fall adventure and take a road trip? Breathtakingly beautiful and a blast with the kiddos, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is an iconic American experience. The parkway runs for 469 miles, so there is certainly no shortage of fall fun to be had. For an amazing day drive, we suggest cruising from Cherokee to Ashville, North Carolina. From the town of Cherokee, you can enter the parkway just inside the Great Smoky Mountains. On your way to Ashville, you’ll be surrounded by magnificent mountain views, you’ll pass through several roadway tunnels, and glimpse waterfalls, which are all sure to elicit “oohs and ahhs” from the little ones. End this leg of your road trip in Ashville, a super cool mountain city offering fantastic restaurants and site seeing options all in a laid back, family friendly environment.

Why Not? Swing by Pisgah Inn and Country store, it’s a great place to stop for lunch; their dining room has enormous windows and impressive views. Plus, who doesn’t love a country store?  Make this road trip your own: create a fun playlist, or a make a “Country Road” trip scavenger hunt.

For more information:  www.blueridgeparkway.org

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Want more fall fun? Click here for our list of tot-friendly day hikes, or here for some picture-perfect spots to snap your fall family photos. Got a favorite spot to see the leaves? Tell us below!

—Candice Rose

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons via Flickr