59+ Fun Things to do in the Summer Near Atlanta

Vintage Frozen Custard via @FieldTripswSue

I’m bored. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for a parent, and summer seems to bring it out in kids. There are tons of fun things to do in the summer with kids around Atlanta. Whether you are new to the area or lived here your whole life, I bet you’ll find some summer bucket list ideas in this post.

59+ Fun Things to do in the Summer Near Atlanta

Fun things to do in the summer in AtlantaWe are always looking for fun things to do with friends during the summer months. I usually try to have the kids to put together a summer bucket list so we can be sure to plan a few of their favorite fun activities. Sometimes that works, other times they just come up with the same old, same old and I have to think up some new summer ideas. If you are like me and need some inspiration for fun things to do with kids, here is a list of more than 59 summer activities for kids (and adults).

  1. Take a flight with EAA Young Eagles(FREE) The Young Eagles program is free for kids ages 8 – 17.  Contact a participating airfield and set up an appointment for your kids to learn about aviation, and take their first flight. If they’re lucky, maybe even man the controls of the airplane.
  2. Get fired up at the  Laser Show at Stone Mountain:  New for 2016 is a segment called Drone Wars: The Mountain Awakens. It will feature two dozen drones and tell a story of a galaxy far, far away!
  3. Hike to the Mill Ruins at Sope Creek in Marietta: (FREE) This is one of my favorite hikes in the Atlanta area because of the ruins. It’s always fun to have a destination, especially when kids are involved. My boys loved climbing in and around the remains of the old mill.
  4. Swim for FREE:  What says summer fun more than swimming? No need for a pool membership when you can swim for FREE at these area pools.
  5. Keep cool at one of these Nine Atlanta area splash pads: No need to be a swimmer to keep cool this summer with these fun splash pads. If you know others, leave us a comment.
  6. Perfect your cannon ball at these public pools with diving boards: It’s hard to find a pool with a diving board anymore. Some of my fondest summer memories were playing jump/dive/jive and learning a back flip off the diving board. My older boys love a pool that has a diving well. If you are on the hunt for a pool with a diving board, this post is a good place to start.
  7. Go underground with a visit to Ruby Falls: Chattanooga is so close to Atlanta and is such an awesome getaway. It’s close enough to go for the day trip, but an overnight trip to Chattanooga is a great way to getaway, close to home.
  8. Make Summer Reading Come Alive: Want to encourage your kids to read this summer? You can promise them a date to watch the movie version of the book, or take them on a grand adventure using the book as your guide. If you want some fun things to do related to your child’s favorite book, check out our Percy Jackson tour of Atlanta and Percy Jackson tour of Rome. We also have a Hunger Games tour.
  9. Reward kids for Reading: You don’t have to go somewhere to find fun activities for kids. Reading can take them wherever they wan to go. As an added incentive to read, sign up for the many free reading programs in Atlanta. We’ve discovered some really fantastic series because the boys received a free book during one of these reading programs.
  10. Plan a Family Playdate: You don’t have to go far to enjoy each other’s company. Take an evening a plan a family playdate. It can be just your family, or invite a few friends. On my summer bucket list – a wiffle ball game with friends.
  11. Join the military at the National Infantry Museum: (FREE) Visiting Columbus was one of my favorite field trips of 2015. The National Infantry Museum is one of the best attractions in the area, and best of all, it’s FREE.
  12. Go long at the College Football Hall of Fame: You don’t have to be a big college football fan to enjoy the College Football Hall of Fame. There are lots of interactive elements to this museum, and an indoor field to test your throwing and kicking skills.
  13. Beat the Lines at Six Flags Over Georgia: Summer isn’t summer without a visit to Six Flags Over Georgia. But there are other great amusement parks in Georgia too. Make some time to visit one of them as well.
  14. Sunflower Festival: The Rutledge Sunflower Festival has been on my summer bucket list for YEARS, but it appears they are out of business. This Sunflower Festival in Calhoun my be a good substitute and offers lots of fun stuff to do.
  15. Pick Blueberries:  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is pick blueberries. This can be a hot field trip, but a sweet one too. Hopefully you’ll have little helpers that will actually PICK the blueberries and not just eat them like my guys to.
  16. Take a bike ride through Atlanta: As a kid, a bike gave you freedom. I’m not sure my children feel the same way, but it’s still fun to hop on the Atlanta Beltline or the Silver Comet and see where it takes you.
  17. Become a carpenter at the Home Depot Workshop: (FREE) An old favorite for my boys. They always LOVED Home Depot Workshop.
  18. Build something at the Lowe’s Workshop: (FREE) Similar to the Home Depot workshop, this was always a favorite activity with my boys.
  19. Explore Atlanta with ClueTown Books Scavenger Hunts: Looking for some fun things to do outside? Try a scavenger hunt. I am a sucker for a good scavenger hunt, and Cluetown Books are a fantastic way to explore specific areas of the city. Choose between Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery, Downtown Decatur, the Beltline, and Grant Park.
  20. See Where Money is Made at the Federal Reserve: (FREE) Looking for a quick, interesting field trip with the kids, try the Federal Reserve in Midtown Atlanta. Watch the bill counter spin through $10s or $20s; the cash bus that moves bags of money in and out of the vault and see the shredded money fountain.
  21. Get Your Cowboy on at the Booth Western Museum: This is one of my favorite museums for kids because I absolutely love the Sagebrush Ranch playground. If you have older children, the cowboy, indian and presidential exhibits are well done and interesting.
  22. Beat the heat with these 12 indoor experiences: Sometimes you just gotta get out of the Georgia heat. When it’s that time, check out these indoor experiences in Atlanta.
  23. Learn to Wakeboard on Lake Jackson:I adore lake living and this was one of my sons favorite field trips. We headed to Lake Jackson, south of Atlanta and met up with Brandon and Brett Lee for some wakeboarding lessons. Everyone was able to get up the boards, and those in the boat just had fun riding around.
  24. Learn to ride motorcycles: I visited the MSF Dirt Bike School without my boys and they were so jealous when I got back. Who knew there was such a place right in the heart of suburbia.
  25. Take it to the trails: Once you know how to ride, visit Durhamtown Plantation, east of Atlanta to ride the miles of trails. Don’t have a dirt bike? They will rent them, or four wheelers if you don’t know how to ride the bikes.
  26. See a show with your littlest one: I wanted my boys to love the theater, so I took my oldest to a show at the Fox when he was three. It was too early for the Fox, but not too early for theater, especially if it is geared toward the interest and attention spans of little ones like these great theaters for the very young.  
  27. Spend the day at Piedmont Park: Spend a perfect summer day exploring one of Atlanta’s biggest and historic parks.
  28. Become a Junior Ranger: The Georgia State Parks and National Parks are some of the best deals going because they offer lots of fun, for not a lot of money. One of the best freebies at the parks is the Junior Ranger programs. It’s a great way to navigate the parks, and find outdoor activities for the kids.
  29. Hike the Little Grand Canyon: Providence Canyon, located in Lumpkin, Ga., is known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” because of the massive gullies exposing 43 different shades of soil ranging from light orange, salmon, red and scarlet to white, purple and pink. The Canyon, at times as deep as 150 feet, is the result of poor farming practices in the 1800s.
  30. Learn archery at Panola Mountain State Park: About 20 minutes outside of Atlanta, Panola Mountain State Park offers archery lessons on the weekends. Bring a bow or use any of the compound bows available. After class, head to the standard or 3D ranges to test your new skills.
  31. Walk the course at Victoria Bryant: The Highland Walk Golf Course at Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston, Ga., near Athens offers rolling hills and beautiful scenery, plus a challenging course that will use all the clubs in your golf bag.
  32. Visit with a President at D. Roosevelt: Franklin Delano Roosevelt initially visited Warm Springs Georgia seeking relief from his polio, but he enjoyed it so much that he built the only house he ever owned. FDR State Park is next to Warm Springs and a terrific park close to Atlanta. Be sure to watch the video at the visitor’s center of Civil Conservation Corps participates talking about their experience building the parks physical structures.
  33. Feel the panic of a Yankee takeover at Sweetwater Creek: Manchester Mill was a thriving textile community in the mid-nineteenth century, until Union forces destroyed the mill and shipped workers north for the remainder of the war. Hear first hand the panic of residents as the Yankees march into town, then hike along the paths to view the mill remains.
  34. Go Splunking at Cloudland Canyon: Cloudland Canyon is one of Georgia’s most scenic parks, both above and below the ground. This area of Georgia has some of the best caving in the country. For beginners, try a guided cave tour with the Georgia Girl Guides. They’ll have you wading through underground rivers, crawling in chocolate mud creeks and having a blast.
  35. Mine for Gold at the Dahlonega Gold Museum: There’s gold in these hills and the Dahlonega Gold Museum shows visitors how it was extracted. Time your visit right and enjoy the sounds of the Appalachian Jam outside the museum. On Saturday afternoons late April through early Oct. local residents bring their banjos and fiddles for an old fashion jam session. We also have some suggestions on how to stay cool in Dahlonega.
  36. March the Trail of Tears at New Echota Historic Site: Before their removal, Cherokee Indians established an industrious and prosperous community at New Echota. Recreated buildings give visitors a sense of Cherokee life before the infamous Trail of Tears.
  37. Pour Iron at Red Top Mountain: The red hue of the soil gives this mountain its name. On special days, Red Top Mountain State Park pays homage to the local mining community with a demonstration of the iron furnace and a chance for visitors to create their own cast iron art.
  38. Become a Canyon Climber at Amicalola Falls: Climb 425 steps to the top of Amicalola Falls and you’ve completed one of the four canyons to be inducted into the Georgia State Parks Canyon Climbers Club. Next up: Providence Canyon, Cloudland Canyon and Tallulah Gorge.
  39. Camp with your horse at Hard Labor Creek: You have to bring your own horse, but Hard Labor Creek offers 22 miles of trails, plus equestrian camping, which simply means a stall for your horse and a campsite for the humans.
  40. Sleep in the trees at Panola Mountain State Park: See the world from an owl’s perspective on a sleepover unlike any you’ve ever experienced! For those scared of the dark, daytime climbs are also available.
  41. Get Muddy at Unicoi State Park: Unicoi has eight miles of mountain biking trails. It’s one of 11 state parks that participate in the Muddy Spokes Club. Finish all 68 miles of trails around the state and receive bragging rights and a t-shirt.
  42. Take a Newbie Camping at James H (Sloppy) Floyd State Park: Camping can be intimidating. There’s so much gear and so much to know. Georgia State Parks has teamed with REI to package everything you’ll need for your first camping experience, including gear, help setting up, and insider tips.
  43. Kayak whitewater at Tullulah Gorge: Hit the dam’s water release dates just right and be prepared for some major flow! Whether you kayak or just watch from the gorge above, this whitewater will get your heart pumping.
  44. Take in a Cheap Movie: Stay cool and take the kids to enjoy a second run movie at these cheap movie theaters.
  45. Go to a Free movie in the park: (FREE) One of my favorite things about summer is being outside during the evenings. It’s one of the reasons I love the trend toward outdoor movies. Here’s a great list of shows around the city and suburbs of Atlanta. Know of one we missed? Leave a comment. If you’d rather be indoors, here is a list of cheap movie theaters.
  46. Ride the Freedom Bus at the Center for Civil and Human Rights: This is the only museum I’ve ever been to that has boxes of tissues set out, and lots of people using them. Hearing the stories first hand of the civil rights movement is touching and the lunch counter experience really puts you into the shoes of those on the front lines.
  47. Pet a camel at the North Georgia Zoo: This is a different kind of zoo. One that is very interactive. Choose between several animal encounters or just enjoy the farm like atmosphere and a few jumps in the sheep’s wool.
  48. Get caught in the Twister at Lake Winnie: Six Flags isn’t the only amusement park near Atlanta. Try the new Twister ride at historic Lake Winnespesaukah near Chattanooga.
  49. Shoot the duck at these Roller Skating rinks: As a tween, the place to be in my hometown was the Starlight Roller Rink. Atlanta has several options to skate on four wheels, and if you are looking for a bargain, join the Kids Skate Free program.
  50. Strike ’em out at the Bowling Alley: Bowling is one of those sports that anyone can do. Pull up the gutter guards and everyone can be successful too. Forget those uncomfortable plastic chairs I remember from my youth, Atlanta’s bowling alleys have couches and upscale digs. Still bargain hunting? There is also a Kids Bowl Free program.
  51. Go stargazing at the Fernbank Planetarium: (FREE) Ok, so the stargazing isn’t free, the planetarium is actually a few dollars, but the Fernbank Science Center is a free museum and well worth the trip. It’s not as flashy as it’s newer cousin the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, but it’s a perfect low key, low cost outing.
  52. Meet Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy: The Muppets are part of the new museum at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Kids can even put on their own puppet show in front of a TV camera.
  53. Picnic on the Georgia BBQ Trail: Barbecue is the perfect Southern picnic food, and the Georgia BBQ Trail is a great way to find some of the best Q in the state.
  54. Cool off with some frozen custard: Summer says ice cream to me, and my new favorite is Vintage Frozen Custard in Midtown, Atlanta. Got a favorite ice cream parlor? Let us know in the comments.
  55. Camp in a Conestoga Wagon: Spend the night like they did on the prarie in an authentic Conestoga Wagon at the Rock Ranch near Barnesville. Wake up to the real Chick-fil-A cows.
  56. Jump for joy at Sky ZoneWear the kids out at Sky Zone indoor trampoline park. They now have several locations throughout the metro area. My favorite is the foam pits.
  57. Climb the walls at Atlanta Rocks: Atlanta Rocks welcomes novice, as well as experienced rock climbers. Although they have changed their normal family night to a college night, it’s still a fun place to go with the kids, and something a little different.
  58. Ride through the Hurricane at Six Flags Over Georgia: Why not ride a few water coasters after the roller coasters at Six Flags Over Georgia. Hurricane Harbor is the water park inside the theme park. There is a large wave pool, as well as several awesome water roller coasters.
  59. Fly through the trees on a zip line: Georgia has several zip line course that cater to the first time zip liner, all the way to the true thrill seeker. Zip lines are terrific summer activities for teens who generally like fun things to do in summer that are more adventurous. If you have younger children, many of Georgia’s zip line courses have a special course just for them.
  60. Find hidden treasures: Go geocaching at Georgia State Parks. In addition to finding the caches, there are also programs to earn snazzy Geocoins. If you’ve never Geocached before, read our beginners guide to Geocaching.

About Sue Rodman 183 Articles
Sue Rodman is the mom of 3 boys and publishes Field Trips with Sue, an award winning family travel blog about the Southeast and fun places to visit from the Southeast, covering outings, day trips, weekend getaways and family vacations. Field Trips with Sue is a Nickelodeon Parent’s Pick Winner, a Red Tricycle Best Family Travel Blog and a Parents.com best blog nominee. Sue has been interviewed on Family Travel in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Northside Neighbor, Publix Magazine, and on all three major networks. For four years, Sue produced a Field Trips with Sue travel segment for CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, and has filled in for the host of WXIA Friday Freebies. Sue offers inside information about must-see Atlanta attractions and more in her popular book “100+ Free Things to do in Atlanta.”

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