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Summer getaways in two hours' drive
1) North Georgia Canopy Tour, 2)Urban Currents, 3) Game Time, 4) Geyser Peak at Stone Mountain Park, 5) Piedmont Park, 6) Arabia Mountain PATH at Panola Mountain State Park. - photo by Rachel Goff

Not all summer getaways need to be far-flung adventures. In less than two hours, one can be careening 70 feet in the air over rivers and through the woods on a zip line canopy tour or take a peaceful tube float down the Chattahoochee or tangoing in Piedmont Park as alternatives.  And, don’t count out a new experience at an old favorite — Geyser Towers at Stone Mountain Park. 


North Georgia Canopy Tours

5290 Harris Road, Lula, GA  30554, (770) 869-7272,

Set on 34 acres along North Oconee River in Hall County, North Georgia Canopy Tours offers multiple zip line experiences complete with sky bridges, nature walks and many culminating in a 695 foot zip across Hill Top Pond. Most options take between two to three hours. The minimum age is 10, and cost per person is between $69 to $139. Tuesdays through Thursdays, excluding holidays, kids between 10 and 15 zip half price; and discounts are offered for groups of eight or more. Reservations are recommended, and visitors should arrive 30 minutes prior to departure time. Participants receive individual safety and braking training, and tours are given by eco-certified guides about the forest, wildlife and history.


Urban Currents

6020 Interstate N Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30328, (404) 449-0612,

Drift down a three-mile stretch of the “Metro Hooch” — or Chattahoochee River as it’s also known — on a Cadillac of the 48-inch inner tube replete with handles, backrest and cup holder variety. The experience lasts between two to four hours with trips leaving between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tubers must be able to swim; life vests are provided; cost is $25 per person.


Game Time

9120 Wheat Street, Covington, GA 30014, (770) 385-7288,

Located in Rockdale’s backyard, Game Time is a versatile spot offering wet and dry good times for the children. Their indoor space (not air-conditioned) has inflatable playgrounds and batting cages; and outdoors, inflatable water slides await the splash fest. The summer time hours are Monday — Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Batting cage fees are $20 per half hour and $35 per hour. Team reservations are recommended. $5 for children 40” and under; $6.50 for bigger splashers — splash play is for 2.5 hours.


Geyser Peak at Stone Mountain Park

U.S. Highway 78 E, Exit 8, Stone Mountain, GA 30087, (770) 498-5690,

Summer at the rock is now more than the Laser Show, Summit Skylift, Scenic Railroad, Ride the Ducks (land to water and back again tour in an open-air 1940’s era Army DUKWS) and Sky Hike. Over spring break, the park introduced their latest attraction, Geyser Peak, multi-level suspended rope bridges, net tunnels and the connecting tower platforms surround a gushing geyser with sporadic eruptions and multiple offshoots. Attractions open 10:30 to 8 p.m. and are available a la carte or through different packages — annual Mountain Memberships ($56 adults/$44 ages 3–11) or a one-day, multi-attraction Adventure Pass ($28 adults/$22 ages 3–11); or a Gold Family Pass ($155 admission for four Adventure Passes, Four Meals, Four unlimited drink refills and VIP Laser Show Terrace Snack Packages) — visit the website for details. Park gates open between 6 a.m. — 12 p.m. Laser show 9:30 p.m. (free with $10 vehicle entrance fee).


Piedmont Park

1320 Monroe Drive, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 876-4024,

Besides offering walking and biking paths, dog parks, ample picnic grounds, public swimming and uncommon playgrounds — to name one, the Noguchi Playscape, the only one designed by the artist and sculptor — on Saturdays, the park has a Green Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring local musicians, produce, products and cooking demonstration with children activities interspersed. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays, head indoors to the Community Center (1071 Piedmont Ave.) for Tango in the Park. Lessons are offered by Tango Rio; newcomers welcome; $10.The Aquatic Center is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; rates for adults $4, and children $2. Street parking is limited, and on-site parking rates are $1 per half hour, with a daily maximum rate of $15. Open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Arabia Mountain PATH at Panola Mountain State Park

2600 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge, GA 30281, (770) 389-7801,

The 12-mile Rockdale South River Trail is rated easy because it’s a paved path; however the trail from Alexander Lake to Lithonia is a rolling one with many inclines taking visitors through shaded woods, past two fishing lakes and rock outcrops. This is a “gateway” trail for Georgia’s Muddy Spokes Club. Cyclers can pay a $10 membership fee; once they’ve ridden the club’s 11 designated trails at parks all over the state (a total of 68 miles), they earn a bragging rights T-shirt. Park hours are 7 a.m. to dusk, the Nature Center is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and the parking fee is $5.