Living in Atlanta, it may seem like the only way to see falling snow is by watching a holiday movie or by traveling hundreds of miles north.
And while you may not be able to peer out a window at your home to the surprise and delight of snow, you can still get your winter fix, with a growing number of places across metro Atlanta bringing tons and tons of snow.
From snow angels and snow mountains to ice skating rinks and nightly snow shows, Atlanta delivers snow and ice. Here’s a look at some places to enjoy wintertime diversions. Please note that hours and prices vary depending on the day. Check websites for specific hours and pricing.
License to Chill Snow Island at Lanier Islands
New this year at a place now known as Margaritaville at Lanier Islands is License to Chill Snow Island. This wintertime attraction features a new ice skating rink, a massive new snow-tube hill with 10 lanes, carnival rides and snow play areas — complete with snowball throwing targets.
Open through Feb. 24. Times vary; go to website for full calendar. $24.99-$44.99 for day passes; season passes available. Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 678-304-3120, MargaritavilleAtLanierIslands.com.
Back for its 11th season, this enormous snow park is built each year on what is commonly known as the “Laser Lawn” during warmer months. Since October, the park has created thousands of tons of “real” snow. An additional 360 tons of snow is added each day and sculpted into 14 single or double rider lanes, plus four family tube lanes that can now accommodate as many as eight passengers in giant 10-foot tubes. Guests 36 inches and taller can scream their way down the Avalanche Alley family tube ride, which now accommodates as many as 10 riders at a time.
Those 42 inches and taller can take on a single or double tube lane. The Snow Zone area is open for younger kids to tube, make the ultimate snowmen and snow angels, or throw snowballs in a snowball shooting gallery.
Various times through Feb. 24. Each ticketed, two-hour tubing session includes all-day access to the Snow Zone, an open snow play area with smaller slides for kids, activities and periodic “snowfalls.” Ticket prices start at $34.95; discounts available online. Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. stonemountainpark.com.
Snow Shows at Atlantic Station
Now and well beyond the holidays, enjoy snow and ice at Atlantic Station.
Atlantic Station’s holiday season is bigger and more wintry than ever with the opening of Winter Wonder Lane on Market Street, a central hub for all things holiday at Atlantic Station, along with ice skating, music — and yes, snow.
Snow Shows – Guests can stroll through Winter Wonder Lane on Market Street during Snow Shows while everyone’s favorite holiday music brings the snowfall to life. Snow Shows take place at 7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and on the hour at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Through Dec. 31. Free. Atlantic Station, 1371 Market St., Atlanta. 404-410-4010, atlanticstation.com.
Six Flags Over Georgia’s Holiday in the Park
A newer attraction only in its fifth year, this holiday wonderland is stepping it up with 30 holiday rides, live performances, and yes, a sprinkling of snow. The Main Street Christmas park entrance features a continuous flurry of artificial snow under a canopy of 165,000 glittering Christmas lights on the main entrance promenade daily for Holiday in the Park. There’s also a choreographed light show, and the historic 1908 Riverview Carousel will glow with more than 100,000 lights and 250 luminary candles.
Open through Jan. 6. $41.99-$69.99; discounts available online. 275 Riverside Parkway SW, Austell. 770-739-3400, sixflags.com/overgeorgia.
Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort in North Carolina
For those really seeking the real thing, heading to North Carolina is likely the best bet.
Sugar Mountain Resort, N.C., and nearby Beech Mountain, N.C., are relatively close, within a gas tank’s drive of Atlanta. And with the highest resorts in the east, there’s a good chance of some real snow, and if not, they make snow when conditions are right.
Skiers looking for a wide selection of varied and challenging terrain in the Southeast will relish Sugar Mountain Resort. This is the crown jewel of North Carolina ski resorts, and the closest resort to Atlanta with true black diamond grades. One of the trails, Whoopdeedoo, holds double black diamond status. It’s possible to ski 1.5 miles on an uninterrupted downhill run at Sugar, a rare find in the region. Beginners needn’t worry, because over a third of Sugar’s slopes are suitable for novices.
Driving distance/time from Atlanta: 271 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes. Peak time, full-day lift prices $52-$75. 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Sugar Mountain, N.C. 1-800-SUGAR-MT (784-2768), skisugar.com.
Beech Mountain Resort, North Carolina’s second-largest ski resort, is in the same general area as Sugar Mountain, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains northeast of Asheville. Beech Mountain Resort may not be the largest, but at 5,506 feet, it has the distinction of being the highest ski resort in all of the eastern U.S. In business since 1967, this longtime family favorite is also known for its affordability. A newer attraction is 5,506-foot Skybar, a circular, glass-enclosed bar and restaurant perched at the summit next to the chairlift. Skybar is a unique spot to relax, kick up your ski boots and take in the panoramic mountaintop views in the middle of a busy ski day.
Driving distance/time from Atlanta: 278 miles, 4 hours 40 minutes. Peak time, full-day lift prices $60-$80. 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, N.C. 1-800-438-2093, beechmountainresort.com.
Blake Guthrie contributed to this article.
For other entertainment ideas, go to our weekly podcast about the arts and entertainment, accessAtlanta. You can download it from iTunes, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts.
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