With summer break in full swing for Atlanta-area students and their families, the search is on for some of the best summer vacation activities to fill their days with adventure, fun and a treasure trove of memories. Among its many attributes, a vibrant city like Atlanta is filled to the brim with world-class venues and super-charged activities designed to draw visitors to our city streets, shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions. Lucky local residents get to benefit from that large selection of summer “staycation” destinations as they herald the arrival of the season of the sun.
Stone Mountain Park
1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
What is likely one of the South’s favorite summertime destinations, Stone Mountain Park offers a wide variety of activities and amenities to draw families to celebrate Summer at the Rock. From a plethora of picnic spots and a surplus of special events to awesome attractions and the famed Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision® – there is never a shortage of ways to fill summer days and while away summer nights all season long at Stone Mountain Park. This summer, timeless classics like the Summit Skyride, Scenic Railroad and the Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard meet some more recent additions like Geyser Towers®, Camp Highland Outpost and SkyHike® – all designed to bring out the inner adventurer. New for 2013, Stone Mountain Park is proud to bring “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” 4D Experience to the Crossroads Theater and Butterfly Adventures, featuring over 1,000 butterflies inside an extraordinary habitat. Campgrounds and two Marriott properties onsite make it a snap to transform a daycation into a memorable summer staycation.
Six Flags Over Georgia
275 Riverside Parkway S.W.
Austell, GA 30168
For a summer filled with chills, thrills, spills and screams – look no further than Six Flags Over Georgia. The largest regional theme park in the Southeast, Six Flags offers over 200 acres of pint-sized playgrounds, jaw-dropping rollercoasters, foot-stomping stage shows and more. Guests can enjoy the tamer side of Six Flags on the Riverview Carousel and Monster Mansion attractions, mind-blowing escapades aboard high-intensity rides like the MindBender and Scream Machine or splish-splashing antics aboard Splash Water Falls and on the water slides at Skull Island. Six Flags Over Georgia is excited to debut SkyScreamer during the 2013 season – representing the tallest ride in the park’s 45-year history, giving riders a chance to soar to extreme new heights. True thrill-seekers can double their fun with a visit to nearby sister attraction, Six Flags White Water.
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Lake Lanier Islands Resort
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
Buford, GA 30518
Not only does Lake Lanier Islands provide landlocked Atlantans with a wide swath of sandy white beach on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier, the Resort is also home to LanierWorld – a beachfront boardwalk district offering live entertainment, a slew of restaurant choices and a wealth of water-soaked wonder with more than a dozen waterslides and attractions. Guests can soak up some rays in the new private beach amenity, dine on nautical fare at a waterfront restaurant, test their swing at the Lakeside Links miniature golf course, take a spin on the beachside Ferris Wheel, rock and roll on the WildWaves wave pool and so much more. Among a number of new additions to LanierWorld this year are regular appearances by the FunTime Players, expansion of the Boardwalk for even more fun in the sun and pulley-system rides at the Wake the Lake cable park. Comprised of 1,500 acres, good times at Lake Lanier Islands Resort isn’t limited to LanierWorld alone. Guests can rent boats and ski equipment at Harbor Landing, tiptoe through the treetops with Lake Lanier Canopy Tours, set out on horseback from The Stables, catch a concert under the stars at Peachtree Pointe Amphitheater and take their pick of accommodations at the Legacy Lodge, Legacy Villas, LakeHouses or campgrounds.
Centennial Olympic Park
265 Park Ave. W. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30313
In addition to a number of playgrounds and picnic spots throughout this renowned downtown Atlanta destination, Centennial Olympic Park is also home to the famed Fountain of Rings – the world’s largest interactive fountain featuring the Olympic rings. Regular shows featuring water displays set to music are surpassed only by the delight of bathing suit-clad children dancing throughout the fountain. Hungry guests can satisfy their cravings with a visit to Googie Burger for a hamburger, hot dog, chicken sandwich, fries, milkshakes and more. The park is also home to a number of special events – including the twice weekly Music at Noon concerts and ever-popular 4th of July Celebration, so fans will want to check the event calendar regularly. For visitors who wish to take a break from the heat before or after a visit to the park, two terrific Atlanta destinations – The World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium – are conveniently located right across Baker Street.
Braves Game at Turner Field
755 Hank Aaron Drive S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30315
What would summer in Atlanta be without the beloved boys of summer – the Atlanta Braves? A great escape for a date, co-worker gathering or family outing, a visit to Turner Field to catch a Braves’ home game is a time-honored Atlanta tradition. Fans of all shapes and sizes can grab a bag of peanuts, a hot dog and an ice cold beverage before taking their seat in the stands for nine nostalgic innings of the “big show.” To enhance the experience further, baseball buffs may opt to add a guided tour of Turner Field, snag a few autographs during batting practice, eat their fill in the All-You-Can-Eat Seats and pay a visit to the Braves Museum & Hall of Fame.
Kasie Bolling is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.