Head for the mountains: 5 family getaways in Georgia's mountains

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Head for the mountains: 5 family getaways in Georgia's mountains

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gastateparks.org/For the AJC
Cloudland Canyon State Park includes interesting scenery such as deep canyons and wild caves.

It's the ultimate in family escapes — a weekend getaway to the natural beauty of one of Georgia's mountains. 

Whether you want a rustic setting to play tourist or a rendezvous with nature, your options are plentiful in the mountainous areas of Georgia.

The following locales offer the serenity of the mountains yet just enough excitement for the whole family — especially those picky little ones.

Here are five of the best Georgia mountain getaways for parents and kids:

Black Rock Mountain is Georgia's highest state park at 3,640 feet. gastateparks.org/For the AJC

3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway
Mountain City, GA 30562 

Expect wildflowers, streams, wee waterfalls and lush vegetation on Black Rock's five hiking trails, all part of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Black Rock is Georgia's highest state park and a sweet place for the younger set, with a small playground and mountaintop cottages, along with a fishable lake circled by a nice walking trail. You'll really feel like you've gotten away from it all after following the steep, winding roads to the cottages and campsites, very near the Appalachian Trail. And for the kids who are online gaming fans (isn't that every kid?), this is a great place to try the very popular Georgia State Park pastime of geocaching, which uses a GPS or smartphone with GPS app to create a game that feels like a high-tech treasure hunt.

F.D. Roosevelt State Park
2970 Georgia Highway 190
Pine Mountain, GA 31822 

Here's where a family on the move will feel at home. FDR State Park has more than 40 miles of trails, including the popular 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail, and a private stable that offers guided horseback rides, all a mere 80 miles southwest of Atlanta. But fret not if you just want to stay put; the park also boasts a wooded campground on the edge of a small lake where people fish and the renowned Liberty Bell Swimming Pool, fed by cool springs. Extra fun for the kids in the summer: fairy house playground workshops most Saturdays, frequent Friday night frog walks and the occasional trivia challenge. FDR came to this area to swim in naturally warm springs that offered relief from polio and the Roosevelt Little White House Historic Site is nearby.

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road
Rising Fawn, GA 30738

Right there on the western edge of Lookout Mountain you'll find a park with the rare combination of brief but satisfying hikes, rugged geology and truly wonderful scenery from easy-to-reach overlooks. It's a camper's paradise, with yurts and a modern campground or hot-water and living room-type cottages very near the canyon edge. A journey to the canyon floor reveals two waterfalls cascading into pools below. Really nice touches for the fam include hikes by moonlight, G3 Adventures-led hikes and family-friendly cave tours, pond fishing and a well-known disc golf course.

1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Just 'cause you don't have to go far doesn't mean it's not a great family getaway. Stone Mountain is a great choice for kid birthday weekends, tweens and any family member who needs to warm up to the allure of mountain vacations. Located on 3,200 beautiful and diverse acres, Stone Mountain Park offers a chance to splash in the spray at Geyser Towers®, tiptoe through the treetops on the SkyHike® adventure course or ride a scenic train around the mountain. If heights aren't an issue, why then how about a skyride to the top of Stone Mountain (elevation 1,686 feet) for an up-close of the Stone Mountain Carving that depicts three Confederate leaders of the Civil War. And make every attempt to feel like you're far away from the city by staying over at least one night at one of the two hotels or at the Stone Mountain Park campground. No camping gear? Try a yurt!

The newly constructed Valhalla Resort Hotel in Helen, Ga., aspires to offer a luxury experience in the mountains of North Georgia. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LFIGUERAS@AJC.COM The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Made over into an Alpine-esque village amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1969, Helen is unexpected and beautiful. The natural attractions include Anna Ruby Falls, hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail or tubing down the Chattahoochee River. Helen also makes a shopper's heart go pitter-patter, or even a jaded teen's, with its 200-plus specialty and import shops. And then there are the places to pan for gold and gems, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, fish, swim, golf... You may need more than one weekend here.

RECOMMENDED VIDEO: Hike these 5 beginner-friendly waterfall trails in North Georgia.

Hike these 5 beginner-friendly waterfall trails in North Georgia. Video produced by Fiza Pirani/AJC. www.accessatlanta.com
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