With summer on the horizon, there’s no better time to get out and take advantage of the many activities and attractions in and around Atlanta. From outdoor concerts and festivals to luxurious resorts and charming weekend getaways, we’re breaking down the best places to spend the warm weather months. Read on for your complete guide to summertime fun.
1. Lake Lanier Islands Resort
Escape to this 1,500-acre resort and choose from a wide selection of accommodations that include the Legacy Lodge & Conference Center, 30 cottages and six executive villas. Guests can enjoy golf, horseback riding, spa services and luxury boat rentals. Beginning in May, the Islands will play host to a variety of summer events.
• The Sunset Cove Sand Series Volleyball Tournament: May 5, June 2, July 28, August 11 and September 8. One Saturday each month, the Islands host this volleyball tournament. August 8 is the 2nd Annual Volleyball Tournament sponsored by 97.1 The River.
• Masterpiece Mixers at Sunset Cove : Mondays from May 7 through September 17. Create your own piece of art while enjoying the open air. $25 fee includes canvas, paint, brushes, aprons and instruction.
2. Atlanta Botanical Garden
If you thought that The Atlanta Botanical Garden was just about gorgeous greenery, think again. This summer you’ll find a multitude of special events and educational classes at Atlanta’s oasis of horticulture.
• Cocktails in the Garden : Every Thursday from May through September, the Garden plays host to this fun event complete with a live DJ and specialty cocktails. Admission for non-members is $18.95 and includes one free drink coupon. Admission for Garden members is free.
• Gourmet in May : This month-long event celebrates all things edible and includes a variety of events in the Edible Garden and outdoor kitchen. Guests can partake in weekend garden chef demos, the fresh plates series, edible lessons and more.
3. Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
If you’re looking to escape the city and get back to nature, there’s no better place to explore than the state’s most beautiful parks. Check out their website for the lineup of events this summer and find something for both adults and kids.
• Metro Atlanta Candle Light Hike to the Mill: Saturday, May 19, 8 to 10 p.m. Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
This mile-long guided nighttime hike is easy to moderately difficult, and it takes you inside the Civil War era textile mill ruins of New Manchester. Candle lanterns are provided. No dogs or children under age 6 are permitted. Space is limited and on a first-come first-serve basis. Meet and register at the Interpretive Center.
Details: (800) 864-7275, www.georgiastateparks.org
4. Georgia Aquarium
If you’re craving some deep sea adventure this summer, head to the Georgia Aquarium. Get some hands-on interaction with a beluga whale, take part in the swim and dive program or learn about the aquatic world through a fascinating lecture series.
• Padi Certifications: The PADI Whale Shark Distinctive Specialty Certification and Manta Ray Distinctive Specialty Certification offer guests the chance to learn more about these animals through academic lecture and direct observation.
• Science on Tap : During this evening lecture series, guests are invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres in the Oceans Ballroom while hearing first-hand accounts of real experiences with marine life. Come hear two-time Oscar winning cinematographer Robin Lehman’s “film talk” on May 24 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $23.95 for members and $33.95 for non-members.
Details: (404) 581-4000, www.georgiaaquarium.org
5. Terminal West at King Plow Arts Center
After opening its doors this spring, Terminal West is geared up for a summer of fantastic musical performances. Featuring high-end lighting and sound, leading-edge air conditioning units, a VIP mezzanine and an outdoor roof deck overlooking the historic train tracks of West Atlanta, Terminal West has all of the makings for an unforgettable night of music. In addition to an impressive craft canned beer selection and a gluten-free beer option, Terminal West will have a cocktail theme that features specialty and seasonal libations during each show. Terminal West is located at 887 West Marietta Street, Suite C in Atlanta.
6. Reynolds Plantation
From fireworks and barbecues to wakeboarding and tennis, there is no shortage of fun at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at The Reynolds Plantation. This quintessentially southern retreat is located on Lake Oconee and offers 117 holes of golf, four dining venues, swimming, tennis and a spa.
• The BBQ Butler : Guests can learn to baste, marinate and broil from the Ritz-Carlton Lodge’s own BBQ Butler.
• Swinging Sunday Concert Series & Fireworks : Featuring an array of musical genres and a fireworks display, Swinging Sundays happen every week from June 3 to August 12.
• Wakeboarding School Package : Ideal for anyone who wants to fine-tune their wakeboarding skills, this package includes overnight accommodations in a lake view room, admission to wakeboarding school and more.
Details: (706) 467-0600, www.ritzcarltonlodge.com
7. Stone Mountain
For a great way to stay ahead of the summer heat, look no further than Stone Mountain. The newly launched Geyser Towers feature multiple levels of suspended rope bridges and net tunnels connecting visitors to towering platforms that overlook a gushing geyser. The experience is ideal for the entire family, complete with a trickling creek where the toddlers can play. Access to Geyser Towers is included in the All Attractions Adventure Pass, which allows guests to experience all of Stone Mountain Park’s family attractions.
Details: (770) 498-5690, www.stonemountainpark.com
8. The Fox Theatre
Marking the 60th season of musical theatre in Atlanta, Theatre of the Stars promises a line-up of star-studded shows. With season ticket prices starting at just $129, this is a perfect way for Atlanta families to stay entertained this summer.
• “The Producers” - July 24 - 29
• “Peter Pan” - August 7 - 12
• “The Addams Family” - August 14 - 19
Details: (404) 252-8960, www.theaterofthestars.com
9. Treetop Quest
Thrill seekers will delight in an outdoor adventure at Treetop Quest. Located just two minutes from the Mall of Georgia, Treetop Quest offers one adrenaline rush after another as you climb, jump, zig and swing from tree to tree at heights up to 55 feet off the ground. With more than 70 obstacles, there is something for every level of experience. All instructors are specially trained and qualified professional guides, so climbers can rest assured they are in good hands. Children must be at least four years old to participate.
10. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Located just a few hours south of Atlanta is a vacation destination with activities and accommodations to suit any budget. Choose from a gorgeous beachfront rental or a range of hotels in four resort areas: Beachside, Village, Lakeside and Linkside. The 2400-acre Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers golf, tennis, shopping, and a luxurious day spa, and this summer, guests can enjoy the Wednesday Night Concert Series through the month of June. Families can also catch their favorite kid-friendly movies under the stars every Thursday from June 7 until August 9.
11. Historic Banning Mills
Home to the world’s tallest free standing climbing wall, Historic Banning Mills also boasts the world’s largest continuous zip line eco-canopy tour. Visitors can enjoy over 7.5 miles of zip lines, tree houses and a variety of tours and outdoor adventures. Located in the Snake Creek Gorge in Carroll County, Georgia, they also have a range of accommodations including a lodge, a bed and breakfast and an RV and camping park located in Snake Creek Gorge. If you’re looking for a complete weekend getaway, be sure to check out additional outdoor activities such as team building and GPS treks, kayaking and horseback riding.
Details: (770) 834-9149, www.historicbanningmills.com
Just 30 minutes from Atlanta, this cultural venue has a summer calendar that’s jam-packed with fun activities. Serenbe kicks off the season with a May Day celebration, followed by four months of concerts, artist bazaars, farm tours and more. Visitors can also take part in the southern chef’s series, the photography center workshops or one of the many fine arts workshops.
• Serenbe Farmers and Artists Market - Saturdays at 9 a.m. from May 5 to October 27
• Serenbe Weekend Farm Tours - May 5 through June 23
• Southern Chef Series - Ongoing
For more fun events, check out our events calendar.