Atlanta has plenty of national parks located within driving distance of the city. You can pack up the kids and take a picnic down to the Chattahoochee River. Of course, there are also several national parks where you can learn about the Civil War. Best of all, you get to spend time with your family outdoors while learning something about Georgia. 

Chattahoochee River
2361 Akers Drive Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30339

(678) 538-1200

The Chattahoochee River is one of Atlanta’s greatest natural sites. There are several points at which you can enter the national park, and the river makes a great backdrop for a variety of outdoors activities. Whether you just want to go for a hike, or you’d prefer to get more adventurous with a canoe, the river is perfect for a family outing throughout most of the year. Check out the park website for a schedule of events. 

Chickamauga & Chattanooga
Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742
(706) 866-9241

If you’re looking for a national park with a bit of history, consider this one, the oldest military park in the country. Both battlefields are located about seven miles apart from each other in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. Check out the visitor center on site to get the lowdown on the must-see spots in the area. This is a great park if you’re looking to get out of the house and teach the kids something about Georgia’s history as well. 

Cumberland Island National Seashore
101 Wheeler St.
St. Marys, GA 31558

(912) 882-4336

Cumberland Island is a beautiful, beachy spot on Georgia’s coast. The park has space for a variety of beach activities, from hiking to camping. There are six public hunts held during the state’s official hunting season. You can also rent camping spots for up to a week for spaces large enough to include 20 people. 

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Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
300 N. Bond St.
Plains, GA 31780

(229) 824-4104

The hometown of former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jimmy Carter is located just a few hours away from Atlanta, in Plains, Georgia. There are a variety of Carter-centric sites you can visit in Plains, starting with the Carter Boyhood Farm. The Plains High School also serves as the visitor’s center for the town. You can also visit the Plains Train Depot to study up on a self-guided tour and learn about the history of transportation in the area. 

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
3350 Klondike Road
Lithonia, GA 30038
(404) 998-8384

This beautiful national heritage area is located just east of Atlanta on I-20. Cyclists will love this area, as there are plenty of places to check out the land from your wheels. Local sites like the Flat Rock Archives and the Monastery of the Holy Spirit will also give you different perspectives on the area. There are also historic farms and the lovely South River located nearby. 

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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on “