9 things worth braving the heat for in Atlanta

Aaahhh, summer.

The smell of freshly cut watermelon invites the season of liberated toes where the daily cologne of choice is a mixture of Banana Boat and Cutter.

What starts as a freeing time of outdoor fun laden by hints of cool breezes can quickly turn to days where you question even venturing outside four walls. Plan your summer unreserved with these ideas that will make going outside on a hot Atlanta day worth it.
Shoot the 'hooch- Be part of an annual tradition, now in its 15th year, bringing summer fun and community camaraderie centered around the Chattahoochee River. The Back to the Chattahoochee River Race and Festival is the modern-day, family-friendly version of the now infamous, annual Ramblin' Raft Race of the 1970s.

Centennial Olympic Park is a public park in downtown Atlanta built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. A popular feature is the Fountain of Rings, an interactive display that syncs music, lights and water. In the summer, it is a very popular location for kids and adults to cool off. Other nearby attractions include The World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, CNN, Georgia Dome and Philips Arena. (Ana Laura Araya)

Fountain play and King of Pops- Summer brings out-of-town guests and the expected trip to the attractions around Luckie Marietta District and Centennial Olympic Park. Guests assume the trip centers around museums and Olympic history; locals know it's just an excuse to find a King of Pops pushcart or grab a milkshake at Googie Burger. NOTE: After July 4, 2017 the park will begin a major renovation. Parts of the park including the fountains will be closed at certain times. The park hopes to be done with renovations by the end of January 2019, so check the website before you go.
Summit Stone Mountain- An annual pilgrimage for many Atlantans is the one-mile hike culminating in panoramic views, including downtown Atlanta and Kennesaw Mountain. As you gain altitude and leave the canopy of the woods for the granite face of Stone Mountain, you are off on a scavenger-like hunt for the yellow line that winds over rocks and up the mountain. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, interesting fauna and even shrimp that inhabit the basins at the top of the of the rock.

Celebrate killer tomatoes- Take a summer plate staple that lends props to a B-movie classic and you get the annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, hosted by Chef Ford Fry. The day of tomato-eating, music and fun benefits Georgia Organics.

The sand beach at Red Top Mountain State Park is in a secluded cove, kind of like Gilligan's Island. (Contributed by Georgia State Parks/For the AJC)

Tackle a world record- In Acworth, on the bank of Lake Allatoona, you'll find the home of the world's largest inflatable water slide. A large swimming beach, picnic tables, a volley ball court and horseshoe pits are available to make it a true "lake day" at the Dallas Landing Park, where the Acworth Slide calls home.

No ocean, no problem: 7 refreshing lake beaches near Atlanta

Go wild in a Georgia State Park- Throughout the summer, parks around the state of Georgia will be hosting special programs including paddle trips, nature hikes, fishing rodeos, iron pours and so much more. For more information, visit Georgia State Parks.
Sip wine in the woods- The Atlanta Botanical Gardens has a second location on the northside in Gainesville. The last Thursday of the month, May through October, ABG Gainesville hosts the evening "Wine in the Woodlands". Grab a glass of wine and enjoy the gardens under the cover of a cool summer evening.

Marietta Square Farmers Market (shown last April) is open Saturdays all year and Sundays (noon-3 p.m.) in spring, summer and fall. CONTRIBUTED BY WWW.BECKYSTEIN.COM (Becky Stein)


» RELATED: 7 spots where your pooch can splash, wade and swim around Atlanta

Taste local, fresh items at an Atlanta  farmers market- The warmer weather and life-giving rains of spring and summer bring a bounty of fresh foods. No longer are you relegated to the few, hard-to-find roadside stands. Atlanta metro is home to a growing number of farmers markets with locally grown produce and locally sourced items, such as cheese, meat and honey.

Best farmers market in Atlanta

Go extreme on the water- So you've done the usual - kayaking, tubing and water skiing. Try something new this year at a local Atlanta-area watering hole. Somewhere between Iron Man meets dolphin is the water-powered jetpack sport of flyboarding. "Flying lessons" are available on Lanier Lanier on the personal jet boards, created by Franky Zapata of Zapata Racing.

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