Spending Time OTP (Outside The Perimeter)
We love visiting our family in Atlanta and we try to get there once a year if we can to visit with them and explore the city and it’s surroundings. There is so much to see and do there and as the kids grow we just introduce them to different things and experiences.
For the past few years we have been exploring the city attractions and visiting places like the Atlanta Zoo, Aquarium, Coke Museum, Centennial Park and even a show or two at the beautiful Fox Theater.
This time, we decided to visit in the spring instead of the hot summer, and decided to take advantage of the cooler weather and explore the outdoors.
We start our active outdoor adventures at Stone Mountain. The park, which is privately owned, includes 15 miles of hiking and walking trails. Of course the ever popular 1 mile hike to the top is calling our name. The climb starts at the Confederate Hall and you can immediately see views of the Confederate Memorial Carving.
This carving is the largest high relief sculpture in the world and it depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War. The climb starts fairly easy and is a gradual uphill walk. Throughout most of the walk you are surrounded by trees and vegetation and the views get better and better as you climb. As you approach the top It can get pretty steep and slippery and they even provide some railings you can use to assist you. In the end you are rewarded with some spectacular 360 degree views of the city and its surroundings. Well worth it in my opinion.
Now don’t worry, if you are not wanting to exert yourself with the 1 mile walk up (or down), but still want to take in the views from the top, you can do so by taking the high-speed cable car “Summit Skyride” to the top. This ride promises amazing views while transporting you more than 825 feet above ground to the top of Stone Mountain. We had a few party members that decided to experience the ride on the way down and they say it was a lot of fun.
Depending on the time of the year you visit, the park has tons of family friendly attractions, shows, and entertainment. Be sure to visit their website to find out what else the park has to offer during your visit. https://www.stonemountainpark.com/
This park is the home to the 729-foot waterfall that’s the tallest in Georgia and one of the state’s “seven natural wonders.” Amicalola which means “tumbling waters” is the beginning (or end) of the Appalachian Trail. There are many paths you can take to the top of the falls but we chose to take the very steep 604 step staircase up. These stairs are known as the “Stairway of Death”. However, the views around me are bringing to mind a different name – I am starting to think it is more like a stairway to heaven. I am a bit cold but I am certainly up for the challenge and our party of 6 begins the first 175 step climb.
We stop to catch our breath and to take some pictures of the equally breathtaking falls. I am also starting to question my sanity – do I really want to walk up another 400+ steps? I mean there is a reason I avoid the StairMaster at the gym. Actually, until recently I have avoided the gym altogether. But my 2 girls want to keep going and I certainly can’t let them go alone. My husband, and our Uncle Marty are already enthusiastically on their way up. The only sane person is Aunt Sheila who has decided to wait for us on a bench while enjoying a snack and the view.
Despite my legs and lungs burning, we make it all the way to the top. As I enjoy the views I am now feeling a sense of accomplishment. However, what goes up must come down. And since Aunt Sheila is patiently waiting on the bench below we must take the same way down that we took up. You would think that going down would be easier but I assure you it really is not. I love that I have shared this adventure with my family. We had a great time, got to exercise together and enjoy some breathtaking views. Amicalola State Park is a fantastic place to rove.
Helen Georgia – Did we arrive in Germany?
Who said you have to get on a long flight to visit Germany? We certainly did not. But somehow here we are in a little town that is a re-creation of a Bavarian Alpine Village. It could not be any cuter. Helen has tons of little shops with handmade gifts, specialty and imported goods.
But the biggest excitement of the day (at least for my eldest) is that we found a waterfall named after her. She could not have been happier. I think we will have to return & visit when the weather is warmer and we can go tubing. Or maybe in October to experience Oktoberfest.
Anna Ruby Falls
These twin falls are just outside of Unicoi State Park. We were pleasantly surprised to encounter them so we stopped to check them out. They have a lovely small gift store with some very friendly attendants and ranger that answered all our questions about the park. The trail which is about 1 mile long climbs steadily through the forest alongside the creek. You can hear the wildlife and the roar of the falls in the background. It is very peaceful to walk these trails and we slowly make our way to the twin falls.
There are signs along the way warning us about the snakes and wildlife that make this park their home. We are fortunate not to encounter any of these snakes and we eventually reach our destination – Anna Ruby Falls.
The twin falls which come from 2 different creeks (Curtis Creek and York Creek) eventually flow through Unicoi State Park to Helen and then the Chattahoochee River and into Atlanta.
If you are in the area these falls are worth a stop and it is a good trail for families of all ages and fitness levels.
Sharing is caring – Pin now for future adventures
Hope this has inspired you to venture outside of Atlanta and explore the great outdoors. If you want to see more pictures and inspiration get social with me on Instagram and Facebook.