Do your favorite expeditions include Vitamin D and a little sweat? Do you prefer sneakers and hiking boots to oxfords or heels? Atlanta is the city for you. Campgrounds, hiking trails, bike paths, marathons, water sports...there is something for every outdoor soul. Here are nine flavors of nature-loving adventure, with plenty of excitement to round out your summer to-do list.
Climb a mountain. Take in the view from any number of vistas around Atlanta. Beginners, tackle the one-mile hike up Stone Mountain for scenes from nearly 60-miles around on a clear day. Another nearby monadnock to climb: Arabia Mountain. Those willing to make the drive north will appreciate the moderate climb up Blood Mountain near Blairsville, with pockets of panoramic scenery all the way to the top.
Take a hike. Explore the Red and White Trail loop at Sweetwater Creek State Park, a venture beyond the mill ruins and through the forest. Visit Stone Mountain for a hike along the Cherokee Trail, past the covered bridge, gristmill and over Indian Island. In Cartersville, a hike along Pine Mountain Trail on a clear day yields a breathtaking view of the city skyline.
Run a marathon. From 5Ks to Fun Runs, there are many opportunities to compete in Georgia. Conquer the Braves Country 5K in June or a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K in August in Snellville. If summer is too hot, you can always shoot for November's Tryptophan Half Marathon in Cumming. Gobble Gobble.
Catch a fish. Thanks to the Georgia DNR you can fish for trout any time of year now. The Chattahoochee, Toccoa and Chattooga champion the 4,000+ miles of Georgia-designated trout streams. You don't have to venture north, though, for great fishing opportunities. Stone Mountain Lake offers bass, carp, crappie, catfish and bream. Remember your fishing license.
Paddle a canoe. Register for a guided canoe paddle with Chattahoochee Nature Center, for a winding tour down the Chattahoochee River. Join the Park Paddler's Club from Georgia State Parks with six participating locations including nearby Sweetwater Creek and Chattahoochee Bend. If you'd rather play passenger than driver, hope aboard the Ride the Ducks Tour at Stone Mountain Park.
Attempt an aerial feat. Zip through the trees at Treetop Quest, with locations in both Dunwoody and Buford, or fly through the air in a flying trapeze at Callaway Gardens. Climb to new heights at Stone Mountain's SkyHike, where your adventure is different on every attempt. Engineer your way over suspended wooden bridges, and across wood slats and a tightrope.
Pitch a tent. Mingle with Mother Nature under the stars. Camping at Stone Mountain includes comfort stations, a pool, free Wi-Fi and more. Try Holiday Harbor and Marina in Acworth for lakefront camping with hookups, or venture into the backcountry at Ellijay's Bear Creek with hemlocks and shallow streams.
Mark a sporting clay. Head to Barnsley Resort, where an overnight will spoil you but is not necessary to enjoy a round of sporting clays. SpringBank Sporting Club offers rental options and ammo. Foxhall Resort also opens their shooting grounds to the public, with courses, traps, and open and covered stands.
Hang glide over the mountains. Adrenaline junkies, fly 3,000 feet above Lookout Valley in a hang glider with an instructor. Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding assists with five training-hill flights in the morning and then a tandem ride in the clouds.
Swing for a hole-in-one. Hit the green for some putting time or for a full 18 holes. Practice your swing at one of six distinctive designs at Reynolds Plantation on the Oconee, or hit Cobblestone Golf Course in Acworth. Stone Mountain features two 18-hole courses, both of which wind through the Georgia pines and around Stone Mountain Lake.
Peddle a new path. Bike for eight miles along the Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway Trail, with towering suburban trees and a connection to Roswell's bike trails, or travel the 19 miles of Stone Mountain Trail, from Atlanta's downtown, through Decatur and into Stone Mountain Village. Need something a tad easier? Bike the Atlanta Beltline, with superior offerings on both the West End and Eastside.
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