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Summer lovin’: 7 great OTP outdoor date ideas near Atlanta

For most folks, summertime in the Atlanta metro area means a lot more time outdoors and that applies to dating, too. 

From free concerts to kayaking, river floating and street parties, there's no shortage of great outdoor date ideas, especially if you venture outside the perimeter (OTP).

Here are seven great outdoor dates for the OTP crowd:

Take in a free concert in downtown Woodstock

101 Arnold Mill Road, Woodstock, www.woodstockconcertseries.com

For the 21st year in a row, the city of Woodstock will host its free outdoor concert series in the Park at City Center. The once-a-month concert series will host Departure on July 14, Everclear (with special guest the Bitteroots) on Aug. 11 and 38 Special on September 8. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. No tickets are needed.

Spend a thirsty Thursday at Alive in Roswell

970 Canton St., Roswell, www.aliveinroswell.com

Formerly known as Alive After Five, Alive in Roswell is one of the summer's most longstanding and well-attended OTP events. If you've never been, the festival occurs on the third Thursday of each month as the city closes down historic Canton Street from 5 p.m. until the bars close at midnight (2 a.m. at Chaplin's) and what feels like half the city takes to the streets to enjoy live bands, food trucks and games.

Catch a foul ball at a Gwinnett Stripers game

2500 Buford Drive, Lawrenceville, www.milb.com/gwinnett

Nothing says summer like a lazy evening with hotdogs and beers at the ballgame. You'd technically be OTP attending an Atlanta Braves game at the Battery, but in the spirit of the truly OTP date ideas, why not visit the AAA-affiliated Gwinnett Stripers? On game days, the gates open an hour before first pitch, and all of the 10,427 seats at Coolray Field offer great views of the next generation of Atlanta Braves. And if you are a savvy dater, you can even contact the team in advance and get yourself on the video message board.

Do a little wastin' away in Margaritaville

7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy, Buford, www.lanierislands.com/margaritaville

At the beginning of the year, changes were announced in management and branding at the Lake Lanier water park and resort now called Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. The suddenly Jimmy-Buffett-themed attraction, which is set along more than half a mile of Lake Lanier, is as close to a beach vacation as you can get in the metro Atlanta area. And for those looking for date ideas, it's a great place for to spend a sunny Saturday lounging on the beach or by the pool, riding water slides and, of course, trying a cheeseburger in paradise.

Kayaking at Lake Allatoona (lakeallatoonakayaking.com/for the AJC)

Kayak at Red Top Mountain on Allatoona Lake

Sweetwater Creek Drive, Canton, www.lakeallatoonakayaking.com

Explore the many coves at Allatoona Lake on kayak or paddleboard, taking in wildlife like bald eagles and osprey, and checking out the scenic waterfalls at Little River or the heights at Red Top Mountain. At Lake Allatoona Kayak Rentals, the kayaks (and paddleboards) are the easy part.

They'll drop off the kayaks at 10:00 a.m. and pick them back up anytime before 6:00 p.m. They provide life jackets and paddles too. Rentals are $50-60 daily.

Go see Peter Pan at Serenbe Playhouse

9110 Selborne Lane, Palmetto, www.serenbeplayhouse.com

For something totally different, go off the beaten path down to Serenbe, a 40,000 acre, progressively-minded sustainable living community 30 miles south of Atlanta in Palmetto. The playhouse performs all of their plays outdoors, and the current presentation for your viewing pleasure is “Peter Pan: A World Premiere Musical Pirate Adventure,” which runs through Aug. 26. The play is an immersive jaunt into the classic story, taking place on a pirate ship stage built into a creek that runs through the Mado Hideaway at Serenbe. The experience will be unlike any other play you see this year, infused with the trademark Sonoma-style new urbanism unique to the entire Serenbe community. The best part? Tickets are reasonably priced at around $20.

Shoot the hooch

702 Riverside Road, Roswell, www.shootthehooch.com

If you've never had a chance to "shoot the hooch," you are missing one of Atlanta's best bucket-list activities. The long and short of it is this: you get yourself an inner tube and a six-pack of beer, and then just float on down a section of the Chattahoochee River to beat the summer heat. It's great fun with a group, but you need a little know-how to get the job done right.

There are companies that will allow you to rent a tube, provide a shuttle and generally guide the experience. It's important you bring a life jacket along, because police sometimes write tickets to those on the river without proper safety equipment. One of the most popular routes is from Don White Memorial Park to Memorial Park in Roswell, a trek that will cover about 1.5 miles over 2-3 hours of floating time.

Summer Guide OTP edition is a seasonal series from The Atlanta Journal Constitution that highlights some of the best dining and outdoor experiences taking place outside of Atlanta’s perimeter. 

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