Planning a day trip and need a great destination? Sitting in the shadow of downtown Atlanta sits one of its suburbs, Decatur, Georgia. It’s great for a day trip as it’s close enough to the Upstate that you can have a day full of fun but not have to worry about being too tired to get home.
There are no shortage of restaurants, shops, and other neat little finds. Plus Decatur has free WIFI!
Believe me when I tell you this is no ordinary farmers market. Whenever I get the chance to take someone there, I do. No matter how I try to explain that they are in for a surprise, they are never prepared. Since 1977 this market has been providing ingredients to local residents, restaurants, and caterers. Nothing I say will prepare you for the spectacle that awaits, so I’ll just tell you this – If you love, cook, or eat food, you should put this place on your bucket list. Just Go!
This doughnut and coffee shop offers hand-made doughnuts that are almost too beautiful to eat! But we encourage you to just take a photo and then chow down. A place that makes 10 billion doughnuts a year must be doing something right.
Decatur Toy Park
133 Nelson Ferry Road, Decatur GA 30030
This open-to-the-public park is located at First Christian Church, and super popular with the locals. Tricycles, scooters, little tykes-type play structures, and more, all donated, are what draw locals to this unique park.
Speaking of toys, towards the beginning of summer the streets
of downtown Decatur are filled with tons of sand (80 tons) and kids and kids at
heart are allowed to play and have fun at this huge beach party!
This family-friendly gastropub is hiding a super-cool secret. It also has a comic bookstore inside that houses old pinball and video games. It’s a really neat spot, and honestly, I’m surprised there aren’t more places like this. It’s kid-friendly and where else can a young kid learn the fine art of pinball!
Can you imagine anything as comical as a Popsicle turf war? Well it happened, right here in Decatur. If you’ve had King Of Pops brand in Greenville, try Steel City Pops and see what you think. We won’t tell you who the winner was, you’ll have to guess that on your own.
1162 Fayetteville Road Southeast, Atlanta GA 30316
If you do decide to make a weekend of it, might we suggest a
stay with one of the most desired Air
BnB locations around? Just around the corner from Decatur.
Even if you don’t want to make a weekend of your trip, you can still visit this urban farm by taking a 60-minute tour. We visited the Alpacas, llamas, and their treehouse and it’s a really magical place. All the information can be found on our site. Kidding Around’s visit to the Alpaca Treehouse
This 28-acre nature preserve with a variety of different ecosystems. Have the kids bring binoculars and go on a scavenger hunt. The preserve has geocaching activities too! There is no fee to visit, although donations are always welcome.
This is a 154-acre nature preserve on the campus of Emory University. There are miles of walking trails where all sorts of animals can be observed in their natural habitat. A lake and suspension bridge provide plenty of photo opportunities for your family. Bring a tripod and get those holiday card photos checked off your to-do list!
This is a beautiful garden with a recently completed expansion. The gardens are free to visit and they offer lots of special events. In October, visit the gardens to find the fairy houses hidden along the path.
This community park has a nice playground with nearby
restrooms. There is a family friendly trail that leads to a historic mill ruin.
If your family plays Pokemon Go, this park has plenty to keep trainers busy.
Date Day-Trip to Decatur
If you are looking for a fun day-trip excursion with your main squeeze, there are a ton of grown-up places to enjoy in Decatur.
Decatur Square is the centerpiece of downtown Decatur and a venue for local music performances. It’s also a Marta Station, if you decide to hop a train into the heart of Atlanta for an adventure.
This restaurant is great for a romantic meal. I’ve been several times and it’s by far my favorite restaurant in the Square. Be sure to try the B.W.D.! They are bacon-wrapped medijol dates and they are so good! Everything is good, but these we order first every time we go.
The south has seen it’s fair share of atrocities. This makes
it a hot bed for (alleged) supernatural activity. Whether you are a believer of
the paranormal or not, this tour led by a psychic medium comes highly
Date Weekend in Decatur
You can do a self-led brewery walking tour in Decatur.
Save this for a weekend away from the kids – because an Uber
home from Decatur to the Upstate would not be a wise fiscal idea.
Tours of this brewery are offered several times a day Fridays through Sundays, and do not require a reservation. The brewery is family-friendly and on weekends has food available via food trucks to go along with your craft beer.
Are you looking for the perfect place to spend a weekend of fun with kids close to Upstate, SC? You should consider Alpharetta, Georgia. Tucked between the Georgia mountains and downtown Atlanta, Alpharetta is a city with close proximity to many attractions and also with a number of local significant events, delicious dining options, and plenty of things to do for the whole family. To prove it, here’s our list of over 10 fun things you can do with kids in Alpharetta.
We visited Alpharetta as guests of Awesome Alpharetta, Alpharetta’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. This article includes both our suggestions for activities based on our visit as well as suggestions from our readers. Prices and fee information are subject to change.
Find a place to stay in Alpharetta, GA. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.
Big Creek Greenway
The Big Creek Greenway offers 8 miles of paved trail that connects Forsyth, Alpharetta, and Roswell. We entered the Greenway at the entrance near North Point Mall (6698 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022).
At this entrance point, you can choose to rent a Zagster bike. To rent a bike, you will need to download the free Zagster app and enter a credit card. The first three hours of your rental are free. Be aware though that you can only rent one bike per app downloaded and that only adult-size bikes are available. You will also need to bring your own helmets.
The trail had plenty of space for bike riders and walkers and offered many scenic views of the river. We also discovered a couple of side paths for pedestrians only that entered the surrounding marshland.
Painting with a Twist Alpharetta is a family-owned painting studio that offers family painting classes, birthday parties, adult classes, and more. You can bring your own snacks or purchase snacks during your visit.
Even if you have never taken a painting class before, you won’t have any trouble settling right in. Painting with a Twist takes each step and makes it simple enough for a child (or non-artsy adult) to recreate. We were surprised by what our family could create with a little bit of encouragement and also by how relaxing and fun painting is in a group.
You will need to sign up for a class or come during an open studio time to paint at Painting with a Twist.
If you have never taken your kids to an escape room, you are missing out. There’s about nothing that will encourage even your teens to put away their cell phones faster than a ticking clock and a goal to prove your intelligence by solving a puzzle faster than time can run down.
Odyssey Escape Game Alpharetta is one of only two Odyssey Escape Game locations and offers unique escape room themes including Titanic, Prison Break, Jack the Ripper, Towering Inferno.
We peeked into all of the rooms. Jack the Ripper was particularly gruesome and I bet a bit spooky to solve, but Titanic — The Final Hour was the room that we set out to solve. We were impressed from the beginning by the accuracy of the room decorations and the history that the clues taught our kids.
For those that are not as familiar with escape rooms, you are not actually locked into the room but you do have at least one or more doors in each room that you must unlock by solving puzzles in order to escape.
The Titanic was particularly challenging due to the amount of puzzles. We did escape with a little extra help and a couple of extra minutes of time. Considering the room is built for up to 12 people and we only had 2 adults, we considered that success even with the extra help.
If you are an escape room fan, Odyssey Escape Game is definitely worth the drive. The rooms are unique and fun and it’s a great family bonding activity.
Our family really loves ice cream, so we were really looking forward to visiting the famous Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Avalon but even with high expectations, we were still blown away.
The ice cream spread included so many artisan and popular flavors that it was almost impossible to choose. We were also delighted to learn a bit about the history and quality of the ice cream from our server.
If you can’t make a decision, the menu does offer a 10 half scoop ice cream flight for under $20. I tried to talk my kids into trying it to no avail. They wanted their own ice cream cones and as much as I like ice cream, I can’t eat 10 half scoops on my own.
From our choices, we voted that the Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter ice cream were favorites of ours. The waffle cones were also unusually delicious. We might visit Alpharetta again just for the ice cream.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is located at Avalon in Alpharetta. Avalon is a walkable community that includes shopping, residential, entertainment, and dining. In addition to Jeni’s and the other shops and dining, you will find a massive green turf where the kids can play, plenty of seating, and a large Regal Theatre.
800 Avalon Boulevard, Alpharetta, GA
This shopping center is so well thought of. You feel like you’re abroad. Family friendly, gorgeous landscaping,lots of nice shops and boutiques plus Container Store, Crate and Barrel to name a few. I’d go back in a heartbeat!
Zachaira in reference to Avalon
Four Fat Cows
For another popular local ice cream option, check out Four Fat Cows. Four Fat Cows offers hand-crafted ice cream, homemade waffle cones, and other desserts. Flavors include specialty ice creams such as strawberry balsamic, huckleberry cobbler, and chocolate pecan. You can also order dairy-free and gluten-free ice cream.
64 North Main Street, Alpharetta, GA
Main Event Entertainment
Main Event Entertainment is an arcade plus entertainment venue that offers laser tag, a ropes course, billiards, bowling, and more in addition to a large arcade collection.
The laser tag room had two floors and space for a large group to play. The ropes course spanned over the arcade room and was challenging. You could also eat lunch at a full-service restaurant.
We always like deals and we were excited to find that Main Event Entertainment offers several seasonal deals that you can find on their website. We took advantage of a deal that allowed our kids to play as much laser tag, ropes course, bowling, and billiards as they wanted for under $15/person. The website also has deals on arcade games and more.
10700 Davis Dr, Alpharetta, GA
Wacky World Playground at Will’s Park
This large wooden playground resembles a castle and includes slides, monkey bars, bridges, towers, and swings. Pack clothes that can get dirty because this play area also has sandboxes.
Here are some suggested places for dining in Alpharetta based on our trip and reader suggestions.
Secreto Southern Kitchen & Bar
Secreto Southern Kitchen & Bar offers high-quality dishes with farm-to-table ingredients. We ate there for lunch and both sandwiches and entrees were available. There is not a kid’s menu, and the food options may be adventurous for some children. The food was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented and our children really enjoyed it.
6195 Windward Pkwy Suite 102; Alpharetta, GA
House of Hummus Mediterranean Cafe
House of Hummus Mediterranean Cafe serves traditional Mediterranean entrees such as gyros, falafel, hummus, lentil soup, and more. We liked how it was easy to order small portions of different types of foods so that our kids could easily try different things without having to eat a full portion. We loved everything we tried.
5950 North Point Pkwy #127, Alpharetta, GA
We did not get to personally try Antico Pizza but after hearing the locals recommend it enthusiastically, we won’t miss eating there next time. We hear that the Margherita Pizza is to die for.
Antico Pizza is also located at Avalon, so be sure to save room for dessert at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
3185 Avalon Boulevard, Alpharetta, GA
Smokejack BBQ was another local spot that was highly recommended to us by locals. The meats are smoked for 12 hours and you can order everything from nacho appetizers to pork, sausage, beef brisket, smoked turkey, chicken, baby back ribs, and spare ribs. We hear though that if you eat there, you must try the burnt ends. These pieces of brisket are smoked overnight, cubed, wood grill charred, and sautéed in Smokejack’s KC sauce. For dessert, try the Coca-Cola cake and banana pudding.
29 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA
We love Crust and Smokejack. When we visit my sister in Alpharetta, we go there over and over again. We love to play at Cogburn and Webb Bridge Parks.
Buca di Beppo serves traditional family-style Italian dishes that you can share.
335 Mansell Rd, Alpharetta, GA
Embassy Suites by Hilton in Alpharetta
We stayed at Embassy Suites by Hilton during our trip. We liked that our room had a door between the bedroom and sitting area which made putting kids to bed at a reasonable time much simpler. A full breakfast including fresh to-order omelets was included with our room.
Events in Alpharetta for Kids
Alpharetta has a number of fun family annual events each year. Here are some of our favorites.
Events may be rescheduled or postponed
Touch a Truck
Every child’s imagination will soar as they venture through the parking lot filled with trucks of all shapes and sizes! Kids can see, touch, and explore a fire truck, dump truck, school bus, 18-wheeler, limo, police vehicles, and more. This free event includes animal balloons, face painting, inflatables, and festival food for purchase.
Scarecrow Harvest, September 28-October 30th, 2023
Over 100 life-size scarecrows along the streets of downtown Alpharetta, inspiring fall spirit! A family street party that continues throughout the day offers inflatables, groovy music, hayrides, quirky face painting, artsy activities, and delicious food. More info can be found on the Alpharetta Government page.
Do you have a family adventure to Six Flags planned for this summer? local dad, Chad Bredderman visited Six Flags Over Georgia with his family and shared the highlights with us (complimentary tickets were provided)!
Six Flags Over Georgia is a traditional regional theme park with thrill rides, coasters, water rides, games, and more.If you haven’t been to Six Flags Over Georgia lately (or ever) you won’t want to miss this review! His review focuses on park features for families with young school-age children.
Recently my wife, six-year-old son, and I had the opportunity to visit Six Flags Over Georgia. We were provided admission and parking vouchers for the purpose of writing this review.
Getting to Six Flags Over Georiga
The first thing to remember, fellow locals, is that the park is just west of Atlanta. If you want to be there when the park opens, which was 10:30 am on the day we went, you will need to plan on, roughly, a three-hour drive. We followed the directions from the Six Flags site; and they recommend taking 85S to 285W, then 20W, which takes you right to the park.
My phone’s navigation system recommended staying on 85 and going into Atlanta as it said that was a faster route. There were two accidents on 285, so perhaps my phone was right. That being said, we were more interested in testing the Six Flags directions, and they were super easy to follow and brought us easily to the park.
Entering Six Flag Over Georgia
Parking was a breeze! They have banners on many light posts in the parking lot with a number and a cartoon/comic character so it is very easy to remember where you park. If you’re a forgetful type, snap a photo with your phone of your nearest sign, so you can remind yourself later!
There are also three tram pick-up locations in the parking lots that will shuttle you to the front entrance. We walked and were to the entrance before people that we saw waiting for the tram.
Now it’s time for what is likely going to be my best recommendation/tip you’ll find. Lines were LONG to get in the park, at 11 am. However, all the way to the left of the entrance lines we saw a separate entrance area with NOBODY in line.
Coming from the parking lot, you’ll actually see this entrance area first, and it is only for people with a Discover card. All you have to do is show them your Discover card and give them your tickets and you get an express entrance!
Once in the park, we quickly got a map, and Caleb decided we should head to the Gotham City section right away. The majority of the park is all connected to each other part, but it seems that Gotham is not, so this seemed like a good strategy to get in and out of this area and then hit the rest of the park. There were plenty of rides and lots of carnival-style games (for an additional cost) as well as shops and food vendors. We rode some rides here and then decided to get some drinks.
The Food at Six Flags Over Georgia
This was where we encountered our biggest difficulty. Six Flags has two special drink mugs for purchase, one that provides free refills for the season, and another that will offer free refills for the day, with the cost being based on how many are being purchased. We waited in line at four separate locations before finally being able to purchase a single-day mug as everywhere else was sold out. This process took us close to an hour, and we spoke with some other people that had been looking for more than one hour.
Once we got our drinks, we decided that it was close enough to lunchtime so we set off in search of food. We enjoyed a good lunch; pulled pork bbq for my son, chicken strips for Mrs. Chad, and a foot-long hot dog for me. All came with fries, and with our special mugs, free refills on the drinks! The meals were all quite good, however, I did not get the chili and cheese on my hot dog, as gut full of chili and roller coasters aren’t always the best of friends.
Rides at Six Flags Over Georgia
We then took the Six Flags steam train to another part of the park and continued our quest for fun! My son, who has ridden small and medium-sized roller coasters before, and is tall enough to ride most of them at Six Flags, was a bit intimidated by the size of the coasters. Therefore we choose to stick with the smallest of the roller coasters, the Dahlonega Mine Train.
We rode in the front car, and really enjoyed it! This coaster is perfect for younger kids who are not quite ready to try the big ones, and has a height requirement of 42 inches. Our wait was a little less than 30 minutes.
We met back up with mom, who had been exploring while we waited, saw some costumed characters walking about, and went to the Monster Mansion. This dark boat ride was a nice break out of the heat, and a fun animatronics break from the heat of the day. As we headed towards the water park (which is included in your ticket admission) we went on the bumper cars, and had a blast! They move pretty quickly and you get a pretty long time to drive.
More Six Flags Parks Ride Favorites
Popular rides you might want to check out on your trip:
At Hurricane Harbor, the water park found inside Six Flags Over Georgia, we rented a large locker. There are small, large, and jumbo, with the bigger the locker, the higher the cost. Then we headed for the wave pool to cool off. There are plenty of life jackets for kids that may need them and they have multiple sizes. My son had a great time in the wave pool, but the large Paradise Island structure was calling his name, and we went there to watch him play.
Now, anyone that has lived around this area for a while knows that the weather is VERY unpredictable in the early evening hours. And while the entire day had been virtually cloudless to this point, all of a sudden a thunderstorm came through. The water park was immediately shut down, so we changed back into our regular clothes.
Unfortunately, in the time, we were changing a severe storm warning was issued, and ALL of the rides in the park were turned off. We quickly left the water park area and stopped in a t-shirt shop for about 15 minutes. When the weather broke, we took off again, and got ice cream while the rain started again.
Ultimately it was getting rather on into the evening, with no indication that rides would start up again anytime soon. From the time they shut down the water park at 5 pm, and we got back to our car at 6:30 pm, no rides were running. It was a nice cool down, though.
Six Flags Over Georgia’s rain policy according to their website is: “There are still a ton of activities that are amazingly fun in any kind of weather––including indoor shows, restaurants, shops, games, and arcades. If rain, wind, or electrical storms force us to close certain rides for your safety, they will re-open as soon as safe operations can be assured. Refunds or rain checks for inclement weather are not offered.”
So, our day was cut somewhat short. We had a great time prior to the storm, and my son said he really liked Six Flags a lot. I think we will probably wait until he’s a bit older to go again, however, as the biggest attractions at Six Flags Over Georgia are the roller coasters. There are a LOT of them.
Six Flags Over Georgia Roller Coasters
They have traditional seated coasters, feet-free coasters, one where you stand up the whole time, and one where you are held so that it is like you are laying down and flying face-first like Superman! At 6, my son was a bit apprehensive of riding on these, but said he would like to “in a couple of years.” They have a small area for kids 6 and under, but he was in that perfect age where he was too adventurous for that, but not enough for the big rides.
Parent Tips: Six Flags Over Georgia
This was our first trip ever to Six Flags Over Georgia, and I think it really showed in our preparation. I would very much recommend downloading a park map before your trip, and planning out exactly what you want to do. The staff was very helpful and gave us great directions, and we did enjoy ourselves.
The park was quite a bit bigger than I was expecting, and even with a map, we sometimes got a little lost. I think this park is best for kids that are closer to 10 and older, unless they are both very adventurous AND tall enough to ride the roller coasters, 42 inches for the smaller rides, 48 for medium coasters, and 54 for the biggest. The next time, we’ll have a better idea of where we’re going, and what we want to see and ride.
If you are looking for a wild adventure that you can enjoy from the comfort and air conditioning of your car, this Drive-Thru Safari in Georgia is the answer. Lake Hartwell Wildlife Safari is a 60+ acre attraction in Hartwell, GA. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your own trip to Hartwell, Georgia’s Lake Hartwell Wildlife Safari.
Thank you to Lake Hartwell Wildlife Safari for providing us with complimentary admission for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are those of the writer.
For a trip full of adventure and fun learning opportunities, Cartersville, Georgia, about three hours from Greenville, SC, is where you need to go. Kristina visited Cartersville with her kids and has all the details on how to plan a great family trip there!
Thank you to Visit Cartersville-Bartow for inviting us to experience Cartersville, GA!
Cartersville, Georgia is only about a three-hour drive from Greenville, SC and has a multitude of options for indoor and outdoor fun plus unique experiences like a museum that houses the world’s largest collection of Western Art. It’s amazing, I promise.
Whether you like to explore nature, swim in mountain lakes, dig for fossils, go gem panning, or be mesmerized by Civil War history and Native American sculptures, you’ll find something you will love in Cartersville, Georgia.
I was blown away by all the things to do in Cartersville, Georgia. I’ll tell you what we did plus give you other places to go that we weren’t able to get to (but wish we could have).
Red Top Mountain Park
Red Top Mountain Park is situated on the banks of the 12,000-acre Allatoona Lake and has hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, lodging, and camping available. We hiked part of the Homestead Trail, which was blessedly in the shade and had beautiful views of the lake. Our hike was cut short because it was hot and wanted to get swimming!
We checked out the sandy beach, which is pretty big for a mountain beach on a lake. We got there around 11 am on a Sunday and didn’t leave until 2 pm, when the parking lot was nearly full. There are bathrooms, changing areas, and a shower to rinse off the sand afterward plus lots of space to hang hammocks, grill out, and just chill on the beach.
I was regretting the fact that I didn’t bring my paddleboards! I had to be happy with the tubes we brought and just hung out in the lake, read a book, and enjoyed the Georgia sun. It was pretty awesome.
There are places to rent a kayak on the lake and lots of good spots I saw where you can fish or swim. If I had more time in Cartersville, I’d make a day trip out of exploring this park. Admission is just $5 per car (bring cash) or free if you have a Georgia State Parks Pass.
50 Lodge Road SE, Acworth, GA
Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site
The Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site is part of Georgia State Parks and is the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast. There are six earthen mounds here, the highest more than 60 feet (you can climb it), a replica home used by the Native Americans who once lived there, borrow pits, and a defensive ditch (like a moat).
The site dates back to around 1000 to 1550 A.D. when thousands of Native Americans made their homes here along the banks of the Etowah River. You can even walk down to the river to see the unique fish trap they used.
I thought the site was very peaceful. It was quiet and the exhibits really invite you to think about what it was like living there. We did the Jr. Ranger program, which I think is a great way to really dig deeper into the history and learn about it. This would be a great field trip for a homeschooling family.
You can walk to three of the earthen mounds and climb up them via a staircase. There is no shade once you get outside and while the path is wide and not too long to the mounds or the river, it is natural ground so it would be hard for a wheelchair or regular stroller (a jogging stroller would be fine). Admission is $6/adults, $4/kids ages 6-17, and $2/age 6 and under.
813 Indian Mounds Rd, Cartersville, GA
Booth Western Art Museum
I didn’t know what to expect when I checked out the Booth Western Art Museum. I was totally blown away by this place. A Smithsonian-affiliated institution, the 120,000-square-foot Booth Western Art Museum houses the world’s largest permanent exhibition space of Western Art. But what is Western Art?
We found out that it is art depicting Native Americans and places out West like the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains and art that showcases the struggles, dreams, and legends of people who lived in those lands. It has intricate sculptures of Native American chiefs, an outdoor sculpture garden of cowboys, and even a collection of signed letters from every U.S. President. It was just amazing. My kids were enamored as well.
The “War is Hell” exhibit was remarkable. It depicts the story of the Civil War through beautiful – and realistic – paintings. It was like walking through a history lesson and because of the visible paintings, it captured and held our attention. They also had some Civil War artifacts in the exhibit hall and some of the paintings depicted battles that happened near present-day Cartersville, GA.
The kid’s play area, Sagebrush Ranch, was also amazing. It’s an entire, interactive Western town. Kids can jump up on a horse, ride in a bumpy stagecoach, listen to storytime, play games in a saloon, and put together puzzles in the tackhouse. My kids didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave but the museum was closing and we had to go. I’d love to go back here!
They are open every day except Monday. Adult tickets are $13 and children 12 and under are free. Expect to spend at least 1.5 hours here, maybe more.
501 N Museum Dr, Cartersville, GA
Tellus Science Museum
Another Smithsonian museum, the Tellus Science Museum is a wonder. When we arrived, four summer camps with a lot of kids also arrived, yet once we got inside and started exploring, the place didn’t feel crowded at all. It’s huge!
They have multiple permanent exhibits: an enormous mineral gallery with gems, jeweled objects, stones, exhibits on volcanos and earthquakes, and a lifesize Periodic Table (I loved this); another large gallery devoted to science and motion, which has a replica of the Wright Brothers plane, vintage motorcycles, model trains, a fighter jet cockpit, and space capsules; and Discovery Garden, which is a huge backyard-themed kids area with brainteasers, puzzles, simple machines, and rotating exhibits.
One of the biggest exhibits is on dinosaurs. You can’t miss it – they have a huge dinosaur skeleton in the lobby plus multiple skeletons, including a T-Rex, an enormous turtle, sharks, and a strange prehistoric fish creature. They also have gem panning and fossil digs, which are included in your admission. My kids loved digging in the “dirt” for shark teeth and other fossils and gem panning for small gems.
They also have a planetarium and observatory. Planetarium shows are daily and can be added to the cost of your admission. If you have a Roper Mountain Science Center membership for your family, you get in free (yet another reason to have this membership). Otherwise, adult admission is $17 and child (ages 3-17) admission is $13. Expect to spend at least 2.5 hours here. They have a cafe if you’d like to get lunch.
100 Tellus Drive, Cartersville, GA
The arcade at LakePoint Station is just one part of the big entertainment complex. They have a huge arcade, bowling, mini-golf, gem mining, indoor climbing walls, an ice cream and treats shop, and a pizza restaurant. My kids and I love arcades so that’s where we headed.
We threw balls at clowns trying to knock them down in our favorite arcade game for at least 15 minutes and then tried a few others that my kids loved. Prices vary according to activity. They are open daily and have specials so be sure to follow them on social media and check their website before you go.
77 Old Allatoona Road, Cartersville, GA
Terminus Wake Park
If my kids and I have a summer weakness, it’s floating aqua parks. We’ve tried most of these within a three-hour driving distance to Greenville and absolutely love sliding around on the inflatable courses, jumping in the water, and trying our best not to wipe out. When I saw Terminus Wake Park across the street from LakePoint Station, I went in to check it out and ultimately booked a session for later that day. Kids have to be ages 5 or older to participate.
It was such a blast! The weather had cleared earlier and it was really hot and humid so the water felt awesome. The course looks relatively new and is in great shape. The life jackets are clean and comfortable as well. If you have younger kids, you may want to go on with them if there are older kids that are on the course with you. They do have lifeguards but some of the rules aren’t enforced and younger kids may get accidentally pushed in by the older ones.
Your best bet is to book your spot online and sign your waiver so you can save time when you get there. They start every hour on the hour. You get 50 minutes on the course and prices are $24-$28 a person depending on if it’s a weekday or weekend/holiday that you choose. They also have a huge wakeboarding park but I’m not brave enough to do that.
171 LakePoint Pkwy, Cartersville, GA
Downtown Cartersville & African American History
Downtown Cartersville is home to lots of cute shops, small businesses, and restaurants. There are clothing shops, handmade items, coffee, olive oil, outdoor stores, and an old school pharmacy. In fact, just outside the doors of the pharmacy is the world’s first outdoor painted wall sign for Coca-Cola.
Additionally, the history of African American entrepreneurship runs deep in Cartersville. There is a powerful sculpture near the town center called “Pathways to Freedom” that depicts the signs and symbols used by escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad. You can also take the walkable trail to learn more about the history of Black residents in Cartersville-Bartow County.
Cars & Camels
We didn’t get to these places but think our readers may enjoy them:
Old Car City USA – In the small town of White, Georgia lies the world’s largest known classic car junkyard. This forest of forgotten cars is a dreamland for car enthusiasts and photographers alike, with more than 4,000 classic cars and six miles of walking trails over 34 acres of land. Fun fact: Old Car City USA is also home to the last car Elvis Presley owned. Admission is cash only.
Pettit Creek Farms – Just one mile from Downtown Cartersville’s Historic Square lies the largest camel herd in Georgia. But it’s not just camels; this farm is home to many exotic animals such as giraffes, zebras, capybaras, lemurs, llamas, and even reindeer when they’re not pulling Santa’s sleigh.
The 4 Way Lunch – This classic American diner is Georgia’s oldest restaurant without a telephone, staying true to its 1930s roots with a 14-seat counter. In addition to Southern staples like grits and biscuits, locals love to order burgers and hot dogs “All the Way,” topped with mustard, onions, and chili.
Savoy Auto Museum: This museum connects people to the cultural diversity of the automobile. Through changing exhibits, educational programs, and engaging experiences individuals have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and history of automobiles.
Where to Eat
Main Street Coastal Cuisine
Right on Main Street in downtown Cartersville, Maine Street Coastal Cuisine is a casual dining place but definitely make reservations before you go. We went on a Sunday evening and even though we didn’t have reservations, they had some space for us at the large bar so that’s what where we sat. The staff was really great in accommodating us and the food was awesome.
They have several seafood-based dishes as well as burgers, tacos, and a good kids menu. My youngest got Mac & Cheese and it had Old Bay Seasoning. It was so good! What a game-changer. I got steak tip tacos and my other daughter had a burger with fries. Everything was excellent.
24 West Main Street, Cartersville, GA
Put a bagel shop in front of me and I’ll race you to the door. Nagel’s Bagels was our choice of breakfast one morning and they didn’t disappoint. An artisan bagel shop, they specialize in unique bagel flavors that are pretty incredible. My daughters got egg, cheese, and bacon sandwiches. One of the bagels we ordered was a Maple Bacon bagel and I got a Cranberry bagel – both were fantastic. The shop is really cute, too, with lots of space to sit and relax and enjoy your bagels.
125 W Main St, Cartersville, GA
Noble & Main Coffee Co.
A specialty coffee shop, Noble & Main Coffee Co. is a couple of doors down from Nagel’s Bagels so you could get your coffee and then eat some bagels (which is what we did). I had a rosemary cardamom latte and it was quite flavorful. I’d certainly go back here to try other coffees.
145 W Main St, Cartersville, GA
This cafe is a healthier option for dining with smoothies, salads, and air-fried foods. We went for breakfast and I got a Toasted Coconut coffee that was amazing. My kids got bacon, egg, and cheese croissants that were huge. The owners are the sweetest couple you’ll probably meet and asked my name and my kids’ names and were just so welcoming. Give them a follow on Facebook for updated specials.
650 Henderson Dr Ste 501, Cartersville, GA
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, only a ten-minute drive from downtown Cartersville. The rooms are really nice and spacious with a microwave and a small refrigerator. The beds are comfortable and they have a big lobby and outdoor area to hang out, catch up on some work, or just relax and play games.
My kids loved the outdoor pool and the staff was so helpful in bringing us extra towels. While the hotel does not have a free breakfast, they do offer breakfast and Starbucks coffee as an add-on if you want to eat there.
I really liked this hotel as the location was convenient and the place was very clean.
5460 Highway 20, Cartersville, GA
Fall Events in Cartersville-Bartow
If you’re headed to North Georgia around this area, there are some pretty fantastic events happening.
Swine & Wine: Barnsley Resort, located in the small town of Adairsville, is gearing up for a delightful fall celebration with Swine & Wine Weekend October 27 & 28. Throughout the entire weekend, visitors can celebrate pork and cork with award-winning barbeque pitmaster Carey Bringle of Nashville’s Peg Leg Porker and wine enthusiast personality Heath Porter, a five-star international sommelier of Heathen Wines + Wine Tours. Guests are in for a treat with an interactive signature wine tasting during the Swine & Wine Supper Club Dinner at the stunning Manor House Ruins Pavilion. The event promises to be an enchanting experience, celebrating the finest flavors of fall.
West Fest at Booth Western Art Museum: Booth Western Art Museum is hosting the newly revamped West Fest from Thursday, October 26 through Saturday October 28. Visitors can grab their cowboy hats and experience exciting re-enactments of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, vendors, lively music performances, food trucks, children’s train and hayrides, chuck wagons, a petting zoo, mechanical calf roping and so much more. Kids can enjoy complimentary art projects and activities along with their admission. Once visitors have enjoyed the daytime West Fest, they can head to Museum South Lawn from 5-7:30 pm for the first-ever “West Fest After-Party”. Tickets are available for individuals and whole tables offering beer, wine, signature drinks, food trucks and live acoustic music, creating a vibrant atmosphere for those 21 and older.
Overall Review of Cartersville-Bartow
I love being pleasantly surprised during a trip with my kids and that was certainly the feeling while exploring Cartersville. The Booth Western Art Museum and the Tellus Museum were both outstanding and I really wish I had more time to stay at both of them. The art at the Booth Museum was astounding and my kids were just as amazed as I was, which I think shows that they can really span generations of interest.
Being an outdoor lover, Red Top Mountain Park was a favorite. I’d go back there just to paddleboard and swim. They offer a yurt and cabins to stay in and I’d totally be up for doing that for a weekend and seeing the museums again for indoor activities. My kids would tell you that they would happily sit in the car for the three-hour drive if they could do the aqua park at Terminus again! I do agree that it was awesome.
For an affordable family trip that has elements to suit pretty much any interest and is within easy driving distance of the Upstate, Cartersville certainly is a fantastic option.
Looking for more travel reviews? See our big Travel section on our website to plan your next amazing trip!
More Things to Do in Georgia
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A Full Day of Excitement Awaits at Six Flags Over Georgia
Take A Drive On The Wild Side At Georgia’s Drive-Thru Wildlife Safari on Lake Hartwell
Adventure and Award-Winning Museums Await in Cartersville, Georgia
Family Travel: Newnan-Coweta, GA is Like Stepping Back in Time
If you’re looking for a lovely family trip not far from the Upstate, SC, consider Newnan-Coweta, GA, a little over three hours away. The small town charm and filming location of big television hits will captivate you!
Thanks to Explore Newnan-Coweta for inviting us on a media trip to experience their little slice of heaven.
Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee lies the charming small town of Newnan in Coweta County, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It’s the same town where country music legend Alan Jackson grew up and no doubt was inspired by his time on the iconic river to write his chart-topping hits.
Today, the town of Newnan is one of the must-see spots if you make the drive down I-85 to Coweta County. The other iconic town is Senoia, where “The Walking Dead” was filmed. We spent a weekend in this beautiful area and think you and your family will love it if you’re looking for a little getaway not far from the Upstate.
Newnan-Coweta is part of the greater metropolitan area of Atlanta and because of its proximity to the city, has been growing rapidly. But Newnan and Senoia both retain their small town charm.
The town square is the center of historic Newnan and quite literally all the small businesses surround the square. You can find anything from unique clothing to handmade tea towels to jewelry, pottery, chocolate, coffee, and books. This is what made me fall in love with Newnan.
Newnan was a hospital town during the Civil War since it was right off the railroad. The town was supported by the textile and manufacturing industries and you can still see some of the stately homes from that era as you drive into town. Many of the buildings date back to the mid-1800s.
One of the really neat buildings is the Alamo Theater on one of the corners of the town square. Originally built in 1880, it housed a harness shop, general store, and butcher shop throughout the decades. In 1928, it was converted to a movie theater with one screen and 551 seats. I felt like I was in one of the “Back to the Future” movies looking at the Alamo Theater.
Senoia is also super fascinating but for a whole other reason: I learned that Senoia is classified as Anytown, USA, which means it was built to basically conform to whatever a production team would need for a film or series. The streets of downtown have been laid with dirt and the buildings transformed to look like a Wild West town for one movie and the entire “Walking Dead” series was filmed in Senoia along with dozens of movies.
Things to do in Newnan-Coweta
Summer Wined Up
The weekend I spent in Newnan happened to be the same weekend of the Summer Wined Up festival. This event is meant to highlight not only various local wines but also showcase Newnan’s small businesses.
After you show your ID and get your wristband, you get a map of the small businesses and the wines they are serving, which are all about one ounce pours. You don’t have to try every single wine available – there are about 35 small businesses participating and that’s a lot of wine. I don’t know how many tickets they sold (they did sell out) but it was the perfect number because nowhere was crowded.
I really could not have envisioned a better introduction to the town of Newnan. Not only was the wine I tried delicious but having the opportunity to walk into each of the small businesses was just fantastic.
Many of them had small hors d’oeuvres like fruit, cheese, and cookies, which my daughters (ages 12 and 8) loved but we also got to check out local bookstores, shops overflowing with handcrafted jewelry and bags, apparel stores, pottery shops, medical businesses, and restaurants.
I was completely floored at the diversity of shops around the town square. It was amazing and my girls and I had such a blast shopping and picking up some really neat items.
We will be sure to update this story before next year’s Wined Up so you can make plans to go to Newnan for the weekend! Newnan will host a similar event, Oktoberfest on Friday, October 6th from 5-10 pm, if you’d like to start making travel plans.
Senoia Farmers Market
This farmers market is adorable. We loved strolling through the stalls and finding everything from freshly cut flowers to produce and vegetables to iced coffee to French pastries and bread. There are so many unique vendors and it was a lot of fun to wander through the farmers market before we headed over to main street in Senoia to check out where “The Walking Dead” was filmed.
Full confession: I have never seen one episode of “The Walking Dead” but can certainly appreciate cinematic aspects of any film or series and love getting to see where movies are made.
I picked up a lavender iced coffee from one of the local coffee vendors and cinnamon raisin bread and a danish from the French baker. She was quite convincing and I’m impressed with myself that I didn’t walk out of there with a lot – like, a lot – more baked goods.
When you walk around downtown Senoia, you’ll come across plaques on the ground that tell you about the different movies and shows that were filmed in the town. “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Pet Cemetery II”, among many other movies, were filmed there.
We walked into one unique shop that had clothes from “The Walking Dead” that they acquired when the show ended. The owners had some great stories about how the production team would film in the town and when they even used their shop for some of the scenes. The Georgia Tour Company offers walking tours of the different areas around Senoia that have been used for movies.
There are coffee shops, breakfast and lunch bistros, a lovely bookstore, and stores that sell handmade goods up and down main street in Senoia. It’s a great place to spend some time exploring.
Full Circle Toys
Full Circle Toys & Games place is right off the main square and we just happened to stumble upon it when we got into town. My youngest child saw the words “toy shop” and she wanted to check it out so we did.
This store is so neat because they have toys from the 80s and 90s like collectible baseball figurines, Star Wars characters, Cabbage Patch dolls, Strawberry Shortcake dolls and houses, Fisher Price toys, Elmo and Cookie Monster dolls, collectible Barbies, and old school McDonald toys. I had such a blast wandering around this shop!
How to enjoy the outdoors in Newnan-Coweta
There are some great spots to enjoy the outdoors in Newnan-Coweta.
C.J. Smith Park
This park has a great playground with lots of swings and rope-climbing structures. There are two big slides down a hill that were under construction when we were there but they looked super fun.
This park also has a huge skate park. We got to watch several skateboarders show off their moves, which was a blast. I have a lot of admiration for these daredevils. A splash pad is near the parking lot but wasn’t on when we were there.
92 Farmer Street, Newnan, GA
Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Part of the Georgia State Park system, Chattahoochee Bend State Park has lots of camping, a couple of playgrounds, about six miles of trails, and a boat ramp into the river. There really aren’t any swimming spots but you can certainly fish in the river off the banks.
If you have your own kayak, you can launch right from the park into the river. The Park also has programs available that sometimes involve kayaking on the river. Check out the park events page to see what’s going on when you are planning a visit. We did a short, shaded (thankfully) hike along the river and it was really pretty.
425 Bobwhite Way, Newnan, GA
Where to eat in Newnan-Coweta
There are several restaurants right in downtown Newnan and Senoia. Here’s where we ate:
Meat N Greet
Meat N Greet was our first stop for dinner when we got to Newnan and the staff was awesome. Our waitress explained the menu and gave us her recommendations. They are known for burgers so that’s what we got. All our dishes were really good and the fries were amazing. Meat N Greet is right off the main square in Newnan so it’s a great starting point if you want to wander around downtown.
11 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA
Curious Kitchen at the Senoia Farmers Market
After our morning at the Senoia Farmers Market, we were going to head over to the Chattahoochee Bend State Park. I wanted something for lunch on the go so we got bacon and egg burritos and sandwiches from the Curious Kitchen at one of the stalls at the market. I was given a tip that these were pretty famous and that is a hundred percent the truth.
My kids devoured their sandwiches and I couldn’t even finish my burrito. The flavors were outstanding! If you go to Senoia on a day when the Farmers Market isn’t open, you can still get an amazing burrito or sandwich at the Curious Kitchen and Bar located in downtown Senoia.
42 Main Street Suite 1B, Senoia, GA
The Cellar is a steakhouse located in downtown Newnan that serves a variety of both meat and seafood dishes. I had shrimp and grits and roasted vegetables, which were delicious. My kids ordered off the children’s menu and had grilled cheese and chicken tenders. I’ll admit I stole a bunch of their fries because excellent fries are my weak spot. The Cellar is more on the fine dining scale so reservations are recommended.
20 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA
This cute restaurant is located in Senoia and is a great stop for lunch. Bistro Hilary is based on French-inspired cuisine that sources their ingredients locally.
21 Barnes Street, Senoia, GA
Rock Salt Milk Bar
If you go anywhere in Newnan, Rock Salt Milk Bar should be it. They make all their own ice cream, sourcing as many ingredients as they can both locally and organically. And they make their own waffle bowls and cones.
I honestly could have eaten just those. I got honey lavender ice cream in a waffle bowl and I was in heaven. The kiddie size, which is a small(ish) scoop, and is perfect. I like ice cream but don’t like to overindulge and this size was perfect. My kids were also in heaven, so big win.
8 East Washington Street, Newnan, GA
Where to stay in Newnan-Coweta
We stayed at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott just seven minutes from the Newnan Town Square. I always look for places with kitchenettes to help save on food costs when traveling and this place had a great kitchenette with a refrigerator, sink, two burner stovetop, and dishwasher. We took advantage of the refrigerator to keep our waters cold because it was super hot when we visited (not the hotel but the weather!).
The hotel also had complimentary breakfast each morning with eggs (one of my kids declared these eggs some of the best she’s ever had so there’s that), waffles, oatmeal, cereal, bagels, and muffins. There’s also juice and coffee/hot chocolate/tea available 24/7.
On the way to Newnan-Coweta, my kids wanted to know if the hotel had a pool and were delighted to find out that indeed, their dreams would be coming true when we arrived. The pool is outdoors and there is also an indoor fitness center.
Lastly, the rooms are very spacious and clean and all the hotel staff were very helpful. There is free parking for all guests.
4001 McIntosh Pkwy, Newnan, GA
Fall 2023 Events in Newnan-Coweta
Don’t miss any of these great fall events happening in Newnan-Coweta!
Oktoberfest in downtown Newnan on Friday, October 6th from 5-10 pm. It will be set up similar to the Wined festival where you can visit local shops and sample good brews.
Spirits and Spice Festival: At the Spirits and Spice Festival, on October 21, from 2-7 pm, visitors can indulge in a delightful October afternoon filled with eating, drinking and bewitching fun. The downtown area will be full of nostalgic businesses serving up specialty cocktails, locals participating in a chili cook-off and talented artists showcasing their creations. It’s the perfect time for guests to have a gourd time and embrace the Halloween Spirit.
Coweta Fest: Coweta Community Foundation is hosting Coweta Fest, a concert fundraiser at Line Creek Reserve on October 12. The Mad Hatters, a wonderful Tom Petty tribute band, is setting the stage for an evening experience that will have visitors grooving the night away. With swag bags, a silent auction and epic Alcohol Tree Raffle, there will never be a dull moment. Attendees can also enjoy food trucks from local eateries, including the legendary Ellison Brothers’ BBQ. All the proceeds from this event will be donated to the foundation’s local fundraising, allowing visitors to make a difference while having a blast in the heart of downtown Newnan.
Overall Impression of Newnan-Coweta
I’m always up for a new adventure and visiting new places but I really had no idea what to expect at Newnan-Coweta. That first night walking around the main square in downtown Newnan was unexpectedly fantastic. I absolutely loved the small town charm, the local businesses, the kindness of everyone we met, and the calm atmosphere of Newnan. It was almost like stepping back in time, which I so enjoyed.
I love traveling with my daughters and seeing their excitement at exploring new places and they felt the same way about Newnan and Senoia. These little towns are both unique and interesting but also just give off such a calm and peaceful vibe that I couldn’t help but get caught up in the beauty of it.
And Alan Jackson. I love country music from the 90s and have been a fan of his for many years. Finding out that this is where he grew up was quite exciting.
Normally our trips involve a lot of hiking and adventure and more high-strung activities so exploring Newnan-Coweta in a more relaxed fashion was certainly a newer experience but one that we really enjoyed. If you’re looking for more of a low-key trip that has elements of uniqueness and invites restfulness and family or couple time, this is the place to go.
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We know our readers love floating down a river during the hot, summer months so we decided to check out Cool River Tubing in order to give you the deal on how it works and why you should check out this particular tubing outfitter two hours away from Greenville, SC in Helen, Georgia. Tube down the Chattahoochee, or, as they say, Shoot the Hooch.
I’d heard of Helen, GA for a while now while living in Greenville and had seen photos of the Bavarian-themed architecture. And tubing was synonymous with Helen just as much as German beer and brats (at least in my mind). When I finally got the chance to visit Helen, tubing was absolutely on my mind. So I gathered my two young kids and decided to try out Cool River Tubing.
Cool River Tubing is a tubing company that offers a tubing adventure down the Chattahoochee with a shuttle service.
Are you looking for a place to go tubing down a river with your family? Wondering, “Where is the best river tubing near me?” Tubing is a great way to have fun AND beat the heat in the upstate this summer. There is just nothing better than a slow ride down a river on a tube! Fortunately, you’ve found this HUGE list of places to go tubing near Greenville with your family. You’re sure to find one or two you’ve never even heard of that you’ll want to try out for yourself!
All I can think about doing during these hot summer months is getting in the water, whether it’s our neighborhood pool, a refreshing lake, or even better, cruising down a river in a giant tube. This is probably one of the more exciting summer adventures I used to do growing up. It was an awesome family activity.
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Living in the heart of a mountainous region that boasts of waterfalls, creeks, and rivers, there are plenty of places to indulge in tubing that aren’t far from Greenville at all.
Looking for things to do in Atlanta with kids? As someone who grew up in Atlanta, my heartbeat is strong for this Southern city. There’s so much to do for every age and every person. And as a family with kids? You’ll never get bored in Atlanta, GA.
So whether you’re a native Atlantan or someone looking to visit the ATL, we’ve rounded up all the best things you can do in Atlanta with kids. Consider this your ultimate guide to visiting Atlanta with your family.
Come spend a day or two exploring two states at once in the Central Savannah River area. The CSRA, which stands for the Central Savannah River Area, is a bi-state area that is located two hours from the Upstate. Georgia and South Carolina border the Savannah River and provide you with a myriad of things to do as you visit! Here are a few suggestions for you.