8 places to have outdoor adventures around Atlanta

Whether you're going with friends or taking the kids, the Atlanta area has outdoor adventures you'll want to add to your calendar.
Courtesy of TreeTop Quest

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Atlanta does not disappoint. While it would be impossible to list all there is to see and experience in the great outdoors, around Atlanta, these eight outdoor adventures are a good place to start.

Treetop Quest

Whether it’s the Buford or Dunwoody location, at Treetop Quest adventure seekers can play in the trees on one of the park’s seven courses. In fact, with 2.5 hours to play, you can try each course as much as you want. If you want to go sans harness, you can try Spider Quest, a unique harness-free course with a safety net underneath. No matter which you choose, you’re sure to enjoy this aerial adventure.

Pool’s Mill Park

For a natural outdoor adventure, head to Poole’s Mill Park in Forsyth County. The park is home to a gradual natural waterfall that flows over large rocks, turning it into a natural water slide. The park features picnic tables along the creek, so you can turn it into a full-day adventure with the family or friends. There’s also a historic covered bridge, a playground and a picnic pavilion if you want to bring a larger group with you.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

Fans of Stone Mountain will love Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area just east of Atlanta. You can take the self-guided trail up the 400-million-year-old monadnock, where, once you reach the top, you can take in panoramic views of Atlanta. There also are opportunities to go biking, fishing and geocaching throughout the area as well as paddling on the South River. In fact, there is so much to do you can keep coming back again and again.\

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Many outdoor enthusiasts flock to Sweetwater Creek State Park to hike the trails to the park’s Civil War textile mill ruins. But there’s much more to do here. In fact, if you love being on the water, you can rent a paddleboard and set out on the 215-acre George Sparks Reservoir. If you prefer to stay firmly on dry land, you also can fish in the lake.

Historic Banning Mills

Located in Whitesburg southwest of Atlanta, Historic Banning Mills offers plenty of opportunities to indulge in all things outdoor adventure. You can fly through the air on the World’s Longest Zip Line Course (39,127 feet!), make your way up the World’s Tallest Freestanding Climbing Wall (137.42 feet!), hit the Crazy Squirrel Aerial Course with the kids, and go horseback riding and kayaking. When you’re ready to rest, head to your own Tree House room.

Terminus Wake Park

For a water adventure unlike any you’ll find in downtown Atlanta, head northwest of Atlanta to Emerson and Terminus Wake Park. Whether you are a beginner or a long-time expert, this wake park contains two full-sized cable lakes as well as a Learn-to-Ride cable area so you can hone your skills. Before you go, go online and make a reservation so you don’t have to wait for your turn on the water.

Chattahoochee River Tubing

You’ve heard for years about how great it is to “shoot the hooch,” and now is the time to do it. Make your way to Abbotts Bridge Road near the Johns Creek/Duluth border, and the folks at Chattahoochee River Tubing will set you up for a relaxing float down the Chattahoochee River. You can even bring your dog to join the ride with you. Plus, you can bring your own cooler so you have your own drinks and snacks for the trip.

Atlanta Motor Speedway

If you’ve ever felt the need for speed, Atlanta Motor Speedway is the place to be. Sign up for the NASCAR Racing Experience, and you will be behind the wheel in no time on this 1.54-mile quad-oval track complete with 24-degree banking. You’ll start by meeting with your own crew chief, then head out on the track, receiving one-on-one instruction from your own spotter. You’ll have pit stops throughout the event, and keep practicing until you are racing at speeds of more than 150 mph.

For more adventure outside of Atlanta, check out Callaway GardensTreeTop Adventure, which includes a mix of zip lines and ropes course obstacles. Further south of Callaway Gardens in Columbus, you’ll find the world’s longest urban whitewater rafting, where you can hit the rapids on the Chattahoochee River.

Next:7 great ways to explore Sweetwater Creek
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