Situated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Atlanta's topography features steeply rolling hills peppered by massive trees and lush greenery. Nature lovers and outdoor adventurers find themselves in a haven of trails, summits, rivers and lakes when they visit Atlanta. In fact, Georgia's capital was long ago dubbed a "city in a forest" thanks to the thick canopy of trees that hide the bustling metropolis from aerial views. Experience Atlanta's natural side by visiting these parks, traversing these trails, summiting these mountains and letting your worries melt away.
Stone Mountain is almost two hours away from the North Georgia mountains, which makes its appearance on the horizon somewhat unusual. The granite dome and surrounding natural area are complemented by a family-friendly theme park, where you can take a Ride the Ducks tour and climb an intricate ropes course, among many other activities.
Located adjacent to Piedmont Park, this 30-acre urban Eden offers formal Japanese and rose gardens, woodland areas, a children’s garden, the largest collection of species orchids on permanent display in the U.S., and much more. Don’t miss Adam Schwerner's unexpected "The Curious Garden", on view through Oct. 29.
This scenic 61.5-mile trail connects to the Chief Ladiga Trail, a 33-mile trek at the Georgia/Alabama border, and is wheelchair accessible. It's a favorite among distance runners and bikers thanks to its extensive, paved paths that wind through gorgeous natural scenery.
Hiking Arabia Mountain will make you feel like you’re trekking on another planet. That’s because this “mountain” is actually a granite monadnock, or an isolated rock hill (much like Stone Mountain). The 2,550-acre area includes two lakes and plenty of trails that vary in distance, difficulty and topographic scenery.
Dogwood trees, playgrounds and athletic fields pepper 182 acres of greenspace in Atlanta’s version of Central Park. Piedmont Park is home to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and connected to Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Eat at one of the many restaurants bordering the park or enjoy a picnic on the perfectly manicured lawns.
This new 12-acre park offers greenspace, a two-acre lake, amphitheater, skate park, modern playground and splash pad in the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. The park is connected to the Atlanta BeltLine and hosts a slew of activities, festivals and events throughout the year.
The Atlanta section of the stunning, 430-mile Chattahoochee River offers ethereal vistas draped in aquatic vegetation. Rent tubes, canoes, kayaks, and more from the Chattahoochee Nature Center, in order to do as the locals do and "Shoot the Hooch." Shooting the hooch usually entails drifting idly down the river on tubes.
Stroll, run, bike or blade the BeltLine’s popular Eastside Trail. Plenty of public art, restaurants and shops line the trail’s 2.25 miles, which wind through Piedmont Park, Historic Fourth Ward Park and the Freedom Park trail. Rent a bike at Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle.
Popular with runners and cyclists, this 210-acre park is located along Freedom Parkway and stretches from Boulevard to Ponce de Leon to the north, and Candler Park Drive to the east. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum can be found along the park's route.
This 260-acre park offers a golf course, arts center, horse park, ball fields, tennis courts, and multiuse paths. Carved into a hillside, the Chastain Park Amphitheater is arguably the best outdoor performance venue in Atlanta. Several festivals take place here throughout the year, especially during warm-weather months.