Residents and newcomers alike can find lots of great things to do near Atlanta, but families looking to escape for the day yet stay within a two-hour drive of the city will be happy to know there are lots of options to get out of town without driving too far away.
Tubing the 'Hooch in Helen
Located in the Blude Ridge Mountains, the picturesque city of Helen offers lots of fun activities for families, including tubing down the Chattahoochee River. Visitors can purchase tubes from Cool River Tubing or Helen Tubing and enjoy a two to three-hour trip down the river that allows you to take in the sites of downtown Helen. Not a bad date idea for an adventurous couple! Afterward, check out the quaint little town's culinary fare and adorable shops, which are modeled after a Bavarian community.
Callaway Gardens' TreeTop Adventures
This Pine Mountain quest will test your love of nature with zip lines and other high-flying challenges in the Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center. TreeTop Adventure winds more than 3,000 feet horizontally, soars up to 70 feet above the forest floor and features 10 zip lines ranging from 44 to 700 feet long. The base Discovery Course includes five zip lines and 20 more sections comprised of ladders, wires, logs, discs, slot blog netting and other suspended surfaces. The Lake Course features five zip lines - several over water - and four obstacles.
Biking in Gilmer County
With more than 100 miles of single-track mountain biking trails, Gilmer County has earned the official designation as “Georgia’s Mountain Biking Capitol." Singletracks.com named Ellijay's Bear Creek it's third favorite mountain biking destination in the state. Gilmer's trail systems are maintained year-round by a large group of volunteers from the Ellijay Mountain Bike Association. Another favorite is the Carter’s Lake Trail, a 5.6-mile roller coaster ride that winds through the Ridgeway Recreation Area. For a longer ride, take the 12-mile ride at Stanley Gap or try a technical single-track ride at Bear Creek.
Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary
Looking for a walk on the wild side? Check out Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove for a fun animal adventure with loved ones. The nonprofit sanctuary is home to more than 1,500 animals and is also where hundreds of wild creatures are assisted annually through organization's Wild Life Rehabilitation program. Guests are invited to enjoy a free self-guided tour and to learn more about each of the sanctuary's animals. Paid tours (tickets start at $75 per person) allow guests to get a more up-close-and-personal visit with the animals.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Located in Tallulah Falls, Tallulah Gorge is 2 miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor. Check out the suspension bridge which boasts spectacular views 80 feet above the river and waterfalls. A paved path follows an on old railroad bed, perfect for strollers and bicycles. Mountain bikers can test their skills on a challenging 10-mile trail.