Campers pitch their tents in the woods by the lake at StoneMountain Park. Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

Stone Mountain: 8 ways to play; 4 ways to stay

Stone Mountain Park is a mecca for outdoor family fun. With miles of wooded hiking trails, family-friendly attractions, two championship golf courses and gorgeous views, there is literally something for everyone. Whether you are an adventurous family seeking brave exploits and a night under the stars or a mellow crew pursing air-conditioned endeavors with a little spa pampering, Stone Mountain Park can accommodate. Here are eight ways to play and four ways to stay at the great monadnock.

Eight ways to play

Around the mountain. Adventure seekers: Lace up your running shoes or grab your bike for a 5-mile excursion around the base of the Stone Mountain. Follow the Cherokee Trail through varied terrain including woods, lakeshores and granite slopes. Those on a leisurely pursuit will enjoy circumnavigating the mountain via the Scenic Railroad. Climb aboard an open-air car on this 1940s full sized train for a relaxing half-hour tour.

A view from the top. Hike the 1-mile trail to the top of the mountain for magnificent views of Atlanta's cityscape – see for up to 60-miles on a clear day. Simply follow the yellow line to the summit, where restrooms, snacks and souvenirs of your quest await you. If you want to see the view without the effort, allow the Summit Skyride to whisk you to the top of Stone Mountain. Soar 825 feet above ground in this high-speed Swiss Cable car, and enjoy the view without breaking a sweat.

Fireworks extravaganza. Pack a picnic and spread your blanket on the Lasershow Lawn for the Lasershow Spectacular. Blow bubbles, toss a Frisbee, stop at the snack terrace or people-watch as the sun sets. Once darkness falls, enjoy the show as laser lights dance to music against the mountainside. Those looking for more comfort and convenience should reserve a seat on the Dinner Terrace, which is available once per week. Your ticket includes a terrace seat with buffet dinner, including ice cream, assorted beverages and unlimited popcorn.

Golf for everyone. Golf enthusiasts enjoy one of two championship golf courses at Stone Mountain Park, which meander through pinewoods, around Stone Mountain Lake, and offer spectacular views of the area's natural rock formations. If you're more of a putter than a driver, head over to the Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf. This 18-hole mini-golf course is family-friendly and included with your Adventure Pass or Mountain Membership.

Four ways to stay

Outdoor adventure. Sleep under the stars at Stone Mountain Park Campground. RV sites and tent sites include amenities such as comfort stations, laundry facilities, fire rings, free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and much more. Coming in late May, guests can also stay in new lakeside yurts, with charming indoor furnishings to match the breathtaking outdoor views.

Indoor respite. Choose from one of two Marriott hotels on the property for an indoor, pampered experience. Stone Mountain Inn replicates a 19th century plantation with some of the largest rooms in the metro area, complete with views of the shaded courtyard and private southern verandas with rocking chairs. Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Resort offers luxury accommodations, with a full service spa, heated indoor and outdoor pools and Stone Mountain Golf Club.

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Written by Lesli Peterson

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