If Georgia’s on your mind for a family vacation, you’re in for a treat. It’s a great, kid-friendly destination. You’ll find big city attractions in Atlanta, like the World of Coca-Cola. Or head outdoors for fun at Stone Mountain Park or Six Flags Over Georgia. This peach of a state serves up plenty of fun activities for the entire family, from toddlers to teens. Here are 16 of our favorite things to do in Georgia with kids.
1. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta
Georgia’s capital city provides a wealth of family-friendly activities to choose from. Among the best is the Georgia Aquarium. One of the largest aquariums of its kind in the world, this incredible facility houses over 120,000 animals from more than 200 species.
As superstars go, none are bigger than the whale sharks. The largest fish in nature reside in the Georgia Aquarium in a 6.3-million-gallon tank which the aquarium was designed around. Of course, the small creatures are also fascinating. Additionally, the Georgia Aquarium features short 4D movies, animal encounters and even sleepovers.
2. The World of Coca-Cola
Also in Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola showcases the history of almost everyone’s favorite soda – especially if you’re from the South! This 20-acre complex contains hundreds of artifacts. As you tour, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process. There’s also a 4D theater and a terrific gift shop. But everyone’s favorite part of the experience is sampling more than 100 Coca-Cola beverages from around the world. It’s family fun at its sugary best! Don’t miss the opportunity to take a selfie with the beloved Coca-Cola Polar Bear.
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3. Meet the Pandas at Zoo Atlanta
Who can resist the chance to see pandas? Zoo Atlanta is one of only three zoos in the USA housing these precious black and white creatures. But the pandas aren’t the only wild animal treasures living here. The Asian Forest harbors one of the largest zoological populations of orangutans. And, in the Ford African Rain Forest, you’ll find the country’s largest population of gorillas. Interact with the tallest animals in the zoo as you feed the giraffes. When your wildlife viewing is done, the kids can cool off at the splash fountain or hop on the zoo train for a ride.
4. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Ancient fossils, dinosaurs, prehistoric cultures and new science discoveries unite in Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Discover the world through immersive “edu-tainment”-style documentaries in the Giant Screen Theater. In Fernbank’s new STEAM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), educational program offerings connect scientific concepts with the arts and humanities to provide an engaging, hands-on learning environment.
Earth takes center stage in the outdoor exhibits. Walk among trees towering 16 stories above the ground as you wind along two miles of paths in Fernbank Forest. Keep an eye out for forest residents including amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
5. National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Dedicated to the achievements of the civil rights movement in the United States and the broader worldwide human rights movement, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is an important experience for the whole family. Some of the Center’s iconic exhibits include the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; civil rights history in the USA; and stories from the struggle for human rights around the world.
The Center invites visitors to participate in a lunch counter sit-in simulation to place themselves in the shoes of non-violent protestors in 1960. An immersive experience, it provides teachable moments for the whole family.
6. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
A fun place to go with toddlers and young kids in Georgia, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta encourages learning through play. Children are encouraged to use all of their senses in six permanent learning zones and through special exhibits. Live performances by “imaginators” add to this fun educational experience.
7. A Ride along Buford Highway
For a culturally immersive adventure, take the kids for a drive along Buford Highway. This cultural melting pot is filled with numerous international communities. Be sure to stop at the Buford Highway Farmers Market to sample a global variety of culinary treats including rolled ice cream, boba tea and more. For a colorful shopping experience, pop into Plaza Fiesta. Shop while the kids enjoy the arcade games.
8. Centennial Olympic Park
Created in 1996 to welcome visitors to the Atlanta-hosted Olympic Games, Centennial Olympic Park spans 21-acres in the heart of the city. Play in the Fountain of Rings, take an Instagram selfie at The Spectacular sculpture or just hang out at the playgrounds, gardens and on the expansive lawns. Towering over the park, the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel provides expansive views of the Atlanta skyline. For a deeper dive into the park and surrounding areas, consider a guided tour.
9. Stone Mountain Park
Take a day trip to Stone Mountain Park for an adventure-filled outing. The park’s 3,200 acres feature camping, hiking, zip lines, attractions and more. Hike 15 miles of nature trails including a 1-mile trail to the summit of Stone Mountain. View historic sites while riding the park’s tram. The park’s Summit Skyride tram and Dinosaur Explore appeal to adventurous kids with interactive paleontology tents, Instagram-worthy photo ops and a dinosaur feeding wall.
Plan for a family picnic or explore the 363-acre lake. For the golfers in the family, Stone Mountain Park boasts two beautiful golf courses.
10. Opt Outside for More Family Fun
Spend some time outside exploring the Atlanta BeltLine. This multi-use trail follows a historic railroad corridor through Atlanta neighborhoods. An ideal place to work off some of the kids’ excess energy, the trails invite walking, running, skating and biking. It’s one of the best free, kid-friendly things to do in Atlanta.
Just 15 miles from Atlanta, Sweetwater Creek State Park offers a variety of activities for kids of all ages including boating, camping, fishing, geocaching and hiking.
Escape within the city’s Midtown neighborhood at Piedmont Park. This urban green space hosts several miles of paved paths ideal for biking, rollerblading, running and walking. Lawn space invites soccer games and Frisbees. Additional activities include softball and soccer field and a swim center. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy an afternoon of family fun.
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11. Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Next to Piedmont Park in Midtown you’ll find a 30-acre oasis. Atlanta Botanical Gardens displays a stunning array of exhibits throughout the year. Highlights for the kids include the Children’s Garden, water play at Sunflower Fountain and introductions to various plants and animals in Soggy Bottom.
12. Six Flags Over Georgia
Atlanta’s classic theme park, Six Flags Over Georgia beckons to kids of all ages. Experience an adrenaline rush on the park’s expansive variety of thrilling rides that twist, drop and zoom. Younger kids also find plenty of fun in milder rides. And kids of all ages flock to Hurricane Harbor water park where pipelines, wave pools and tsunami surges bring adventure to cooling off on a hot summer day.
13. Chasing Waterfalls in Cloudland Canyon State Park
In Georgia’s northwest corner on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon State Park serves up gorgeous views at every turn. Home to cascading creeks, dense woodland, sandstone cliffs, thousand-foot-deep canyons, waterfalls, wild caves and wildlife, there’s something to entertain everyone in the family, from toddlers to teens.
The park boasts 64 miles of hiking trails, 10 miles of horseback riding trails and 30 miles of biking trails. For generations, my family has made the trek down into the canyon to view Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls. The hike is short but steep, with 600 steps leading down into the canyon and, of course, 600 steps back up. But your efforts are amply rewarded.
For those interested in camping overnight, the park offers cabins, yurts, tent campsites and RV sites.
14. Visit Savannah
Situated along Georgia’s coastline, Savannah provides everything you expect in a genteel southern city. At its center, Forsyth Park is one of Savannah’s most iconic sights. This 30-acre park is shaded by moss-laden trees and is home to the most photographed fountain in Savannah. With two playgrounds and water sprinklers, the kids will be entertained while keeping cool. On Saturday’s the local farmer’s market is an ideal place to pick up picnic supplies.
One of the best ways to get acquainted with this charming city is with a trolley tour. The Old Town Trolley Tour and Old Savannah Tours both provide insights into the city’s history and architecture. Kids enjoy the entertaining ride and you can hop on and hop off at any of the trolley’s 15 stops. After dark, a Savannah Ghost Tour offers plenty of skin-crawling stories for the brave!
15. Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
Nothing is more kid-friendly than candy and Savannah’s Candy Kitchen’s two locations in City Market and on River Street lure the entire family in with the sweet aroma of freshly made candies. Taste a free sample of the city’s famous pralines which will no doubt lead to a purchase! Beyond the candy, kids will also be entertained by a little train that runs around the ceiling.
16. Hit the Beach on Tybee Island
There’s nothing quite like a day on the beach and just outside of Savannah on Tybee Island you’ll have mile-long beaches to choose from. With river beaches as well as oceanfront beaches, you can choose your views. Locals enjoy the seashell-laden North Beach. South Beach offers the most amenities, but is often crowded.
For fishing and kayaking activities, Savannah River Beach or Back River Beach offer nice quieter alternatives.
Tybee Island is also known for its dolphin sightings. Consider a dolphin watching tour to get you up close to the lovable always entertaining dolphins.