Are you looking for a special way to celebrate the holiday season this year? A special activity to enjoy with your family that is outdoors and festive? Have you considered a trip to Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, for their Christmas Celebration? We spent opening day as a guest of Stone Mountain Park to check out what a holiday trip to the Georgia attraction will look like.
For even more holiday fun, don’t miss the Ultimate Holiday Guide to Greenville, SC. It’s packed full of things to do, gift ideas, events and more!
We are so very fortunate in the Upstate to be just a few hours from so many different types of experiences. The ocean, big metropolitan areas, mountains, and even some situations that combine more than one of those. Then there are places like Stone Mountain Georgia, that provide a unique mountain top view of the Atlanta skyline. Oddly enough as much time as I spend in that area of Georgia, I had never been to the park despite being just minutes away.
After all of the chaos of 2020, families are looking for safe alternatives to some of their holiday festivities. The outdoor activities at Stone Mountain Park this Christmas are a great way to have some fun, and you can spend the day or the entire weekend.
Staying at Stone Mountain
At about 2.5 hours from the Upstate, Stone Mountain is definitely doable as a day trip, however an early start is highly recommended so you can get the most out of your day there.
If you decide to make a weekend of the trip, there are so many activities to enjoy at Stone Mountain Park, in addition to the seasonal attractions and the mountain. Guests can enjoy 7 hiking trails, watersports, biking, golf, and more. You can spend the entire weekend within the confines of the park with several different options for overnight accommodations.
- Atlanta Evergreen Marriott is a full service hotel at the foot of the mountain on Stone Mountain lake.
- Stone Mountain Campground features over 400 RV, pop-up, and Tent sites. As well as Yurt, Safari Tent, and RV Rentals. If you’ve ever wondered what RV like would be like, you can rent a stationary one to try it out!
Hike-it or Ride Up the Mountain in Style
The top of Stone Mountain is accessible to everyone, you just need to decide which options are the best for you and your family, before planning your trip.
Option 1: Stone Mountain Walk Up Trail
Hiking to the top of the 2.2 mile trail is rated as extremely difficult and strenuous. Despite this rating, it is also noted as being kid friendly and we saw families on the trailhead. I asked in my local family hiking group for feedback, and plenty of Upstate families have successfully scaled the mountain. I didn’t know that hiking to the top was an option beforehand, and look forward to trying this the next time we visit. The trailhead has it’s own parking lot at the rear of the mountain. You will need to park at the trailhead to hike the mountain, and then drive to the other side for the Christmas attraction. I suggest arriving early to start your hike, prior to the Skyride opening at 10am. That will give you a much quieter experience at the summit.
Option 2: Summit Skyride
For an additional fee of $5 per person (ages 3+) added to your attraction pass purchase, you can enjoy a ride on a swiss-style cable car to the top of the mountain. The car only takes 3 families at a time, so timed reservations are required. I highly suggest you purchase them in advance. Due to the reduced capacity, the tickets sell out early and it would be a shame to miss the view from the top. The time you reserve is a a tool to help staff space out guests, so don’t panic if you’re a few minutes late or early and be patient if you find they are running behind. The Skyride opens at 10 am, and I suggest getting there as close to then as possible. The Christmas attraction doesn’t open until later (12 pm-2 pm depending on the day), so you can enjoy the mountain, and then head down and do all the things that are part of the holiday festivities.
Christmas at Stone Mountain
Due to reduced capacity at the park, advance ticket purchases online are highly recommended. Guests also save $3 per adult ticket by pre-purchasing them online, over the gate price. At the entrance to the park, you will need to pay for parking. The fee is $20 per day, and gives you access to use all of the areas of the park with exception of the seasonal ticketed attractions.
I suggest getting to the park ahead of the scheduled attraction opening, to give you time to get through the temp screening and ticket line without wasting time you could be having fun. Masks are required in the park, if you forgot yours they will provide you with a disposable one.
During the day you can enjoy several different holiday shows on the Memorial Lawn located at the base of the mountain. (See the entertainment schedule for your day’s show times)
During The Day :
- Tinseltone Carolers (15 minute show)
- Aaron Radatz : The Magic of Christmas (20 minutes show)
- A Wish for Snow (15 minute show)
Kid Volunteer Opportunity – prior to the show a park employee will be infront of the stage looking for children to participate in the show. They will march in with the show hosts and be part of an interactive story telling. Participants will receive souvenir jingle bell bracelets
After The Sun Sets :
- Enchanted Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (6 pm nightly)
- Christmas Lasershow (10 minutes)
The Memorial Lawn is marked off with socially distant squares for families to sit in and watch the show. We found a bench and the perfect spot to watch the lasershow in the “Louisianna” viewing spot located on the west side of the lawn.
- The Polar Express: The Experience (12 minute show)
- Snow Angel’s Christmas Parade & Fireworks Finale (8:45 pm nightly)
In addition to the shows on the lawn, there are several others tucked away in spots around the Crossroads Area of the park.
- MIstle Tales (10 minute show)
- Frosted Fables (10 minute show)
- A Christmas Carol (20 minute show)
- James Maltman: Elfin Around (10 minute show)
The Scenic Railroad offers guests a 40 minute ride on a 1940’s train around the base of Stone Mountain. Passengers will be treated to a telling of “The Gift” during a stop at the half way mark of the 5 mile trip. We boarded the train right at sunset and got treated to both daylight and nighttime views of the area, it was perfect! Grab a drink and a potty break before getting in line, because you might be waiting for about an hour in line. The train ride is long, and at a reduced seating capacity. They also wipe all the seats and plexiglass down between rides. This makes the wait in line understandably longer.
Great Locomotive Adventure Golf is a glow in the dark mini-golf experience that starts at sundown. Try to head this way inbetween shows after dark.
Skylights spectacular turns the zipline course area into a walk-thru light experience, with a surprise in store for guests.
Stone Mountain Park
1000 Robert E. Lee Boulevard, Stone Mountain GA 30083
Purchase Attraction & Parking Passes
Ages 2 and under – Free
Ages 3 to 11- $29.95
Age 12 + – $31.95
Parking – $20
Summit Skyride – $5 additional per person 3+
Due to COVID-19, the super popular Snow Mountain attraction has been canceled for 2020.
Attraction passes were provided free of charge to our for the purpose of this article. All opinions are those of our writer, and genuine.