One of the hottest summer attractions in the Atlanta area, Stone Mountain has options for hiking, dining, amusements and more family fun. Worried about some of the details when it comes to getting there, parking or what to do once you’re inside? We’ve got you covered. Here’s your guide to visiting Stone Mountain Park this summer.
Stone Mountain is located about 15 miles east of Atlanta, just off Ga. 78, which is appropriately named Stone Mountain Freeway. Coming from Atlanta, you can get to that part of 78 by going east on Ga. 10, also known as Memorial Drive.
No matter which direction you’re coming from, take exit 8 and it’ll lead you right to the park’s entrance.
You’ll have to pay to get into the park by car. The daily parking rate is $20 per vehicle, and the annual rate is $40. So if you think you’ll visit the park more than two times this summer, that might be a better deal. You can buy the parking passes online to save yourself a little extra time.
Park gates are generally open daily year-round, from 5 a.m. until midnight. Hours for the attractions inside vary.
Free things to do
Once you’re inside, there’s a ton of outdoor activities available for free. Of course, the most popular is the walking trail that leads up to the top of the mountain, which we like to brag about as the largest piece of exposed granite in the world. But according to the park, there are over 15 miles of hiking and nature trails on and around the mountain (here’s a list).
You can also use the multiple picnic areas, bring the kids to a playground and fish on Stone Mountain Lake. The “Lasershow Spectacular” show is also free once you pay your parking admission, but more on that later.
In addition to the great nature trails, Stone Mountain offers an amusement park full of attractions. The top attraction is the “Summit Skyride,” colloquially known as the cable car that shuttles parkgoers straight to the top of Stone Mountain. To ride it, you’ll need to either have an annual membership or buy an attractions pass.
The daily passes cost about $32 to $35 and give you access to all of the park attractions, including the Skyhike Adventure ropes course, the Scenic Railroad and the cable car. Inside the park, there’s also a number of options for food, drinks and shopping.
If you’re more of a history buff, there’s a less expensive “historic pass” that offers access to some southern homes at Stone Mountain’s “Historic Square” as well as the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum.
All of these passes can be purchased online.
The hours of the attractions vary, but over the summer they generally open between 10 and 11 a.m. and close around 8 p.m. The park’s calendar page allows you to select and date and see what the hours are that day.
This is a can’t-miss Atlanta attraction. The park beams lasers onto the side of the mountain, and syncs it up to music for a 45-minute audio-visual experience. It’s free to access once you’re in the park; families typically bring their own blankets and picnic on Memorial Lawn until the show starts about 9:30 p.m.
The show only runs on Saturdays until Memorial Day Weekend. Then, it runs every night of the summer until Aug. 3. From Aug. 10 to Oct. 19, it’s again reduced to only on Saturdays.
If you want a reserved spot to watch the laser show, you can buy packages for terrace seating that come with food and drinks.
This isn’t in Stone Mountain Park, but you can also check out Stone Mountain Village, just one exit west of the park. It’s part of its own city and features historical attractions, a cute downtown square and several bars and restaurants.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.