Cool off places near Atlanta for hot summer days

Stef Zisovska

Atlanta is well known for its hospitality, gourmet food, and locally produced fermented beverages. During summer, the temperatures in Atlanta can reach extremely high levels, the humidity in the air rises, and there are many mosquitoes happy to spoil your evening.

With that in mind, we’ve got some great suggestions about where to spend a weekend or a holiday near Atlanta and avoid the hot and sticky weather. You’ll be surprised by the number of places where you can quench the summer heat without traveling too far from home.

Amicalola Falls State Park

Waterfall in Amicalola Falls State Park
Waterfall in Amicalola Falls State Park

If you want to witness the tallest cascading waterfall in the southeast, visit Amicalola Falls State Park and admire one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders. You can hike or drive to the top of the falls depending on how much time you have. Either way, the view from the top is something you must see if near. As you’re going down the stairs, you’ll have the chance to feel the natural air-conditioning from the cool water.

If the day is windy, you’ll get some bonus refreshment. You can visit the falls on your own or join a ranger-led program. Swimming is not allowed in the pool at the bottom of the falls, but anglers are a common sight here.

Back River Beach

Pier on Tybee Island’s Back River Beach
Pier on Tybee Island’s Back River Beach

Tybee Island’s Back River Beach is the closest ocean beach to Atlanta. Back River Beach is an alternative, laid-back option for all beach lovers who enjoy the serenity of the less famous coastline. It is isolated from the noise of the main beach area, and kayakers love it. Crossing the river, you can explore Little Tybee Island. Swimming here should be done with caution as the tides bring strong currents.

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island was once a playground and vacation spot for tycoons, but now it’s Georgia’s state park. The island offers beaches for any taste and temperament. The expansive Central Dunes Beach is the best choice for families, while kayakers and hikers prefer Sharks Tooth Beach. At low tide, you can go oyster-shell hunting, and if you’re lucky enough you can maybe find a shark tooth.

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area 

Chattahoochee River in Norcross, Georgia – Author: Mike Gonzalez (TheCoffee) – CC BY-SA 3.0
Chattahoochee River in Norcross, Georgia – Author: Mike Gonzalez (TheCoffee) – CC BY-SA 3.0

Chattahoochee River starts its journey from the Blue Ridge Mountains and mixes its waters with other rivers on the way to the ocean. It’s a perfect getaway for anyone who likes to cool off in a cold water river. A paradise for kayaking and trout fishing, Chattahoochee River attracts many locals and visitors who like to escape the crowded city. Bull Sluice Lake has flat waters perfect for inexperienced kayakers, and those who want to stay dry can explore the beauty of the area by having a nice walk.

Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier was created to control flooding, but nowadays it’s a perfect summer getaway. Lake Lanier islands serve as recreational retreats offering a water park, fishing, and spa treatments. Boating is big here, so if you’re a sailing fan, be sure to visit this magnificent place.

Also, there are zip-line canopy tours that you can join and have some unforgettable fun with your family. Lanier Islands offer so many outdoor activities that a visit is hard to resist, and it’s definitely a top cool off spot.

Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier

Now you know where to go and chill if you live in Atlanta. There’s no need to let your brain boil in the city when you can enjoy one of the amazing getaways nearby. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, you name it – Atlanta has it all! All you need to do is pick a place and pack a tasty picnic lunch. Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival