As fall approaches if there is one benefit I’ve come to embrace with warmer temps in the South is that there really is no firm expiration date on outdoor fun. Depending on the season you either just need to pack a jacket to ward off chillier weather or hit the trails early morning to avoid the scorching summer heat. I definitely have a personal list of favorite locations for some excellent, family-friendly outdoor activities to hit up all year long. Stone Mountain in Georgia is most certainly at the top of that list. Hiking Stone Mountain is beautiful and their campground is a serene lakeside retreat. A few months ago we kind of just stumbled on Stone Mountain Park. We didn’t have plans to go there but my husband had to be in Atlanta for work, and it isn’t far outside the city. He found Stone Mountain Park online and when he showed me pictures of the beautiful granite mountain, lake, trails and shaded RV park I told him to book it immediately.
Stone Mountain Park is an absolute gem. It’s a retreat and a refreshing enclave of wilderness and respite right outside the Atlanta metro area. With plenty to do travelers won’t be disappointed. You can hike the mountain or take the sky ride, catch a laser light show, golf, shop and dine in the village, enjoy the campground or stay at more luxurious accommodations at The Stone Mountain Inn or the Evergreen Marriott Resort. The park’s calendar is also booked full with fun festivals and events throughout the year. With a toddler and full-time jobs to work around, we spent the latter part of the week calling the campground home and enjoying the lake. By pushing our stay into Saturday, we were able to set out to hike the giant granite mountain that the park is named for. While the park has about 15 miles of trails, the hike which begins at the environmental education center and takes you to the top is about 1 mile (2 miles roundtrip). It is a stunningly beautiful hike with sweeping views and geological wonders on display which make it seem almost otherworldly. The beautiful terrain is shaded by trees and marked by travelers of the past. It is pretty fascinating and sobering as well if you are familiar with the area’s history to climb with these reminders of the past, but I think that is a part of what makes travel so important. There is beauty everywhere, and no place is without its scars. While the hike is short, it is pretty steep and a bit strenuous. Definitely wear comfortable, sturdy and closed-toed shoes and bring water. As you get closer to the top, there are hand rails to help get you up the steepest part of the climb which is entirely worth it. The views are incredible. If the hike isn’t for you, but you still want to take in the stunning views, there is the Summit Skyride which will take you up and down.We were really impressed with our stay at Stone Mountain and look forward to more trips out there where we can truly enjoy everything it has to offer. It’s the ideal place for a family friendly, fun and relaxing weekend getaway. To learn more about Stone Mountain Park and maybe even plan a trip (I can’t recommend it enough!) visit www.stonemountainpark.com.