2910 Veterans Memorial Highway Lithia Springs, GA 30122 +1 770 944 3880
Long ago, the water from Lithia Springs was touted to have healing properties and was sold as a love potion. Today, it's still bottled and sold under three different labels. A small museum displays the history of the spring, which once boasted a hotel and spa. Also on display are many Indian artifacts found nearby. Make sure to venture to Frog Rock next door, a large outcropping that closely resembles a giant frog.
1760 Mount Vernon Road Lithia Springs, GA 30122 +1 770 732 5871
This 2000-acre (810-hectare) park is particularly noted for its populations of birds, butterflies and wildflowers. Hiking trails are laid throughout, and pass such interesting spots as the George H. Sparks Reservoir and the ruins of a cotton factory destroyed during the Civil War. Canoe and fishing boat rentals are available, as well as a bait shack, restrooms, and historical information. A day pass costs USD2. From Interstate 20 West, take the Lee Road exit and turn left. Turn left at Cedar Terrace and head straight to Mount Vernon Road.
3787 Klondike Road Lithonia, GA 30038 +1 770 484 3060
This nature preserve encompasses 500 acres (200 hectares) of pristine forest, and features many dramatic rock outcroppings amid the rolling hills. The park's mountaintop terrain bears a fragile ecosystem, including several protected species of flora. Brochures are available to help visitors identify these rare, endangered plants. Charted hikes include treks past the park's lakes, through the forests, and to the top of the mountain. Take Interstate 20 east to Evans Mill Road (exit 38) and turn right. Turn right again at Klondike Road and drive two miles to the park. Opens daily at 7a.
5343 Roberts Drive Dunwoody, GA 30338 +1 770 394 3322
This beautiful park is just minutes away from heavily traveled Highway 400, but you won't hear anything over the rushing waters of Wild Cat Creek. A thickly wooded, 1.3-mile (two-kilometer) nature trail meanders along the edge of the creek and forested wetlands. A playground, two baseball fields and a picnic area are also on the premises. Detailed trail guides are available from the nature center to help guests identify indigenous birds and floral species. Pets on leashes are always welcome.
This urban recreation center brings outdoor fun to the southeast side neighborhood of Little Five Points. In addition to a swimming pool (open during summer months only), the park features tennis courts, basketball courts, softball and soccer fields, a children's playground and a large picnic pavilion. The 48-acre expanse has extensive paved pathways for biking and in-line skating, plus public restrooms and a specially designated pet area. Take the Flat Shoals Road exit off Interstate 20 and head north. Turn right on 2nd Avenue, then right again on Tilson Road.
4845 Dallas Highway Powder Springs, GA 30127 +1 770 528 8885
Located just north of the city, this unique park is about as frequented as its clever name implies. The name itself is derived from the peculiar way the mountain seems to disappear as visitors approach on foot. Utilized mostly by local fisherman, the park is thickly forested and features two serene lakes. Picnic facilities and hiking trails are provided, and leashed pets are always welcome. Maps are available at the visitors center, where rangers are always willing to point out the best fishing spots.
Ice skating may not be the South's most widespread diversion, but this comfortable facility in nearby Marietta draws pretty good crowds nonetheless. The indoor rink has been in business locally for over 20 years and offers daily open skates and free lessons every day of the week. Several youth hockey teams also practice here regularly, so call ahead to make sure the ice is open. Check website for weekly schedule and hockey info.
This fun-loving club of astro-enthusiasts includes both amateur and professional astronomers, and it welcomes like-minded stargazers to all of its functions. Founded in 1947, the club hosts frequent evening events as well as regular meetings on the third Friday of each month, usually at Emory University. A 24-hour hotline is provided for information on upcoming events and free stellar sightings. Call for schedule of events.
3595 Buford Highway Duluth, GA 30096 +1 770 476 2013
Kids of all ages will love this wonderful little museum, which features a better collection of trains than most rail yards. Here you can tour passenger coaches, a business car, an early refrigerator car, and both a diner and a WWII troop kitchen. Climb aboard and explore the vintage steam locomotives, cabooses and old wooden freight cars from the early days of rail transport. After the museum tour, line up for a ride aboard one of several fully restored cabooses.
241 Depot Street Blue Ridge, GA 30513 +1 706 632 8724 / +1 800 934 1898
This outfit offers romantic train journeys that run 26 miles (42 kilometers) through historic Murphy Junction along the Toccoa River in the North Georgia mountains. Each trip lasts about four hours, beginning and ending at the depot in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Trips include a stop in McCaysville where passengers disembark to explore the quaint community, and another in Copperhill, Tennessee. The railroad was constructed between 1877 and 1886, and has been carefully restored.
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