Kid-friendly Things To Do in Atlanta This Summer
School’s out. The humidity is in. It’s summer ya’ll! Here are 60+ of our favorite ways to pass the summer in Atlanta. Did we capture your must-do summer activity? If not, let us know!
Adventure at a Georgia State Park – Think there’s only hiking at the state’s 60+ parks? Think again! Here are 52 ways to explore, adventure and have fun at a park.
Atlanta – explore for FREE – Low on funds? (After summer camp payments, we are too!) Here are 52 FREE things to do in and around the city.
Atlanta Ice Cream Festival – (July 23) This fun event at Piedmont Park includes a variety of health and wellness agencies, fitness routines, and much for the entire family. Of course, the feature is ICE CREAM!
Backyard Camping – The Great American Backyard Campout is in June! I love to think of Stone Mountain as Georgia’s Backyard! It has a wonderful camping program. If you are looking for more ideas, see last month’s article about the Best Campgrounds in North Georgia.
Beach at Don Carter – Spend the afternoon at Georgia’s newest park, taking in the beach, nature trails, and playgrounds. If you’re looking for a siesta, this is a wonderful place for a cottage stay on the lake.
Blairsville – explore for FREE – The mountains are cooler in the summer, and there are super waterfalls and fun adventures for families, all for FREE.
Blueberry Picking – Spring is for strawberries, but summer is for blueberries. My favorite fruit. Take the kids to a pick-your-own farm. Bring them home and make pies, jelly, ice cream….or just eat them as-is. Yum!
Callaway Gardens – Tour the gardens, the butterfly house, and more! Fridays offer music on the beach, a farmers market, a high-flying circus, and nighttime movies! Wow!
Cave Tour – Take the kids on a tour of one of Georgia’s magnificent caves, but don’t do it yourself! Georgia Girl Guides can safely take you within one of these natural wonders, and the price is very reasonable.
Celebrate America. In its 17th year at The Rock Ranch, this event features all day family fun, concerts on the lawn and the best fireworks show in the state of Georgia, as there is little to no light pollution at the ranch. June 25. $12 per person.
Charlottes Web. Set amid the bustling Animal Village at Serenbe, this timeless classic comes to life with piglets, ducks, cows and horses. It’s appropriate for all ages and lasts about an hour – just in time to have lunch before or after the show at The Farmhouse, The Hil or Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop. Weekends until July 31. Tickets $10-20 each.
Chastain Park Playground – This new park was designed by kids, so you know it’s great. It’s also (primarily) in the shade.
Chattahoochee Nature Center Butterfly Festival – (June 4 & 5) Live butterfly releases, butterfly encounters, arts and crafts, vendors, ice cream, live music….It’s a weekend of fantastic fun.
Children’s Garden at Atlanta Botanical Gardens – The Children’s Garden has been revamped for summer.
Coca Cola Summer Film Festival at Fox Theatre – I love that summer offers a chance for the general public to experience Fox Theatre for an exceptional price. If you don’t want to bring the littles, this also makes a great summer date event.
Columbus – explore for FREE – We love love love whitewater rafting here. That isn’t free, but you can save your pennies by filling the rest of the weekend with these FREE activities.
Connor Brown Trail at Atlanta History Center – This short trail meanders the garden, passing play houses for the kids and winding in the shade. Explore the Quarry Garden, and take a break inside with the Olympic Games exhibit and the new Kinsey Collection featuring artifacts and works of art commemorating the artistic, historic, and cultural contributions and progress of African Americans.
Decatur – explore for FREE – There is no other place in Atlanta quite like Decatur. We love window shopping, taking in the restaurants, and having fun at these FREE activities and events.
Downtown Atlanta Staycation – Have you explored everything Downtown has to offer? Why not plan a family staycation getaway!
Explore Helen. With two state parks, a double waterfall, museums and delicious eats, Helen is the ideal mountain escape. Outdoor excursions and historical walks back in time can fill an itinerary for a week or more. Need help planning? Follow our link!
Family Fun Camping Night. Join a park ranger for a night of camping under the stars. Learn backpacking tips like how to properly pack your bag and Leave No Trace Principles. Panola will provide water for campers and will have wilderness education programs throughout the night finishing up the day’s activities with a campfire to roast s’mores. Must register in advance. June 24. $10 admission/$5 parking. Panola Mountain State Park.
Farmer’s Market – Bring the kids, let them help you pick out some tasty yummies, and then made an afternoon of preparing a great meal….together. Fix a veggie pasta, or how about a berry pie? We enjoy the one at Marietta Square because it is close to us, and it has a great train park and fountain for the kids to play at.
Festival Fun – There are myriad festivals in the city this summer – here are 52 that we adore, with notes about their family-friendliness.
Food Truck Park – Any food truck will do, but we love the Food Truck Park off Howell Mill Road. Parking is easy, there is a playground tucked in this area, and every darn food truck here is fabulous! Summer was made for eating outside!
Fountain Play at Centennial Olympic Park – The heat is on, and Centennial Park is the perfect place to cool off. Pack a picnic and head downtown, or grab a bite at Googie Burger once you get there. Nothing says summer like playing in the fountains! Bring some extra clothes, and you could finish the day at SkyView, Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, or Imagine It!….all within walking distance, even for short legs.
Geocache – Teach your kids about the awesome art of real-world scavenger hunts. When our family first started this sport, caches were not allowed in State Parks. Now there, are programs within these parks as well.
Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Festival – (June 2, 3 and 4) Helen is fun by itself, but add dozens of hot air balloons, and watch out! Grab a sandwich at Hofers or the Market at Old Sautee Store, and set up a picnic on the lawn in Helen. Watch the balloons air up and start the race! My son absolutely loved it. Tether rides available.
High Museum – Take a tour of Eric Carle’s amazing works of art, then follow it up with a Discovery Backpack adventure, perfect for kids!
Hike and Picnic at Big Trees Forest Preserve – The creek that runs through here is clean and crisp. We love taking this hike with a picnic, as the creek has a large clearing near the end of the hike where you can set up “camp” and enjoy the day munching on treats and wading in the water.
Hiking – Love hiking, but want more ideas? Here are 125+ kid-friendly hikes, all under 2 miles.
Hit the Mountains – Want to head into the mountains to cool off? Here are over 120 ways to explore North Georgia! Find a new place to build memories.
Hurricane Harbor – Hurricane Harbor is the newest mega water park in Atlanta, right in the Six Flags park. There is a wave pool, slide towers, thrill rides, a children’s water play area, plus cabanas, food and much more!
Jr Ranger Program – We love this program, full of kid’s activities for doing within the parks and at home. There are multiple badges within the Ga State Parks system, and different programs at each National Park, also. And it’s free!
King of Pops – Check the calendar, see where they will be, and prepare to get your popsicle on! These are the best popsicles in the universe! Save me a mango jalapeno, and my boys say, “Pass the Peach!”
LanierWorld at Lake Lanier Islands – Enjoy fun slides, relaxing beaches, wakeboarding, and lake adventures. There is a Fun Park, Big Beach, and Sunset Cove. Enjoy Beach Flicks and live music during the summer.
Liberty Bell Swimming Pool, at FDR State Park – FDR provides 42 miles of trails, geocaching, star gazing, canoeing, and more. The kids will love taking a dip in the Liberty Bell swimming pool!
Library Summer Reading Programs – Your local library has a summer reading program for the kids. Most libraries also have regular programs associated with these, like jugglers, magicians and such.
Marietta Fire Museum – Tour the two stories of fire truck paraphernalia and fire trucks. Be sure to ask for a tour, and whatever you do, get your parking validated to save $20. Just a short walk away is a fun train playground and an ice cream shop!
Matilda’s Under the Pines – This incredible outdoor music venue in Alpharetta is free for kiddos and family-friendly!
Movies in the park – There are free outdoor movie locations all over the city. Bring a blanket and some snacks, and enjoy the evening!
Museum of Aviation. Do you have a want-to-be pilot in your life? The Museum of Aviation at Warner Robbins will elicit a full day’s worth of grins and giggles. It is one of the largest aviation museums in the US. See over 90 different aircraft, spread over four hangers and 51 acres. The best part? It’s FREE.
National Trail Days – (June 4) Take a Ranger-led hike, volunteer your time for clean up, or one of several other events on Trail Day.
Piedmont Park Pool – Spend time splashing in the fountains or riding the lazy river. There is a greystone bathhouse, lap lanes, and much more. It is clean and super family friendly. If you need a break from the sun, you can also try one of these FREE ways to explore Piedmont Park.
Renaissance Festival – Jousting, games, fire jugglers, and so much more. This is a summer festival you can’t miss.
Ride the Atlanta Streetcar –There are 12 stops along a 2.7-mile loop. It would be fun to ride just for the novelty, but consider stops at Centennial Park, Sweet Auburn Market, MLK National Historic Site, or Woodruff Park.
Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation – It’s one of our favorite summer escapes. We love moving back and forth from the pool to the beach, taking out the boat, and enjoying s’mores at night.
Rome – explore for FREE – Rome is such a fun and exciting town; here is how to explore for FREE.
Roswell Summer Puppet Series – We’ve been doing this every year since my oldest was two! It gets better each year. I especially love that most puppeteers make themselves (and their puppets) available after the show to the kiddos. Get there early for a close seat, since it is usually filled with camp kids. They’ve added a new workshop this year for kids 6 and under.
Sandy Springs – explore for FREE – Playgrounds, heritage greens and so much more. How to adventure for FREE.
Shoot the Hooch! from Helen – With this hot weather, you know you’re craving the water! This is the place for fun on the Chattahoochee!
Slide the rocks at Poole’s Mill – We love Poole’s Mill for water play. There are wading areas, and plenty of mud. If your little one is feeling adventurous, there are also rocks (covered in a little algae) that are perfect for sliding down. It will be obvious which ones these are…all the kids congregate there. For older kids, there is a rope swing across the deeper part of the creek. Prepare for slippery rocks by wearing water shoes, and plan to get wet yourself if your kids are younger…you won’t want to let them walk on the rocks themselves.
Splash Pads – Time to get wet! Head to the nearest splash pad. We love the ones in Roswell.
Stone Mountain Laser Show and Geyser Towers –As if you needed an excuse to visit this summer staple! Spend the day at Geyser Towers or riding the tram to the mountaintop. Did you know you can also camp here?
Summer outdoor scavenger hunt at Chattahoochee Nature Center – Take a break from the summer under the shade of the trees along Kingfisher Pond Trail while you complete this scavenger hunt looking high and low for clues about summer in the outdoors.
Swimming Holes – Summer means it’s HOT. Why not cool off at one of these natural watering holes.
The Painted Pin – Rain on the weekend? No worries. Head here for unusual bowling fun, with other games (and outstanding food and cocktails.)
The Rock Ranch – The Rock Ranch is opening on Saturdays this summer, with fun for the family. There is berry picking, paddle boats, pedal carts, pole fishing, a train ride, and much more. There are also concessions and a Farm Market. And don’t miss the opportunity to camp in a Conestoga wagon!
Tea Time at American Girl Doll Bistro. Enjoy finger sandwiches, mini hotdogs, fruit kabobs, yogurt cups and so much more. While you wait, make a tiny American Girl craft to take home. Food comes served on a tiered tray and is followed by heavenly dessert like mini cupcakes and chocolate pudding. Afternoon tea is only served on weekdays at the Bistro; reservations recommended.
Toddler Takeover – It’s one of the best run programs in the city, and even though it is for toddler’s my 7 yo adores it too.
Topgolf – If you need a break from the heat or the sun, this is a great way to get some exercise and have a little fun.
Treetop Excursion at Panola Mountain – Beginners climbs, night climbs, there is something for everyone (8 and older.)
Tunes from the Tunes at Oakland Cemetery – (June 18) This all day music festival is for the whole family! There are two main stages, and buskers situated around the tombs and monuments. Everything from rock-n-roll to jazz to classical – and they’re all from Georgia this year. Food trucks and drinks (including beer and wine) are on site!
Visit Helen – We mentioned the balloon festival and tubing, but there is sooo much more. Here are 14 ways to explore with the kids.
Water play at Blue Heron Nature Preserve – Looking for a place to cool off this summer? Take a short hike to the water at Blue Heron. The nature trail is mostly shaded, and the water here is very shallow. Great for kids of all ages, but especially for the youngest ones. There is also plenty of sand here, so bring a few toys as well!