Dahlonega with Kids

Crisson Gold Mine in Dahlonega

Crisson Gold Mine

Thinking of spending fall in the mountains? Dahlonega is a superb destination, with educational excursions, hiking opportunities and more. Here are five places to visit in Dahlonega with kids and two family-friendly dining opportunities.

3 Gold Adventures

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site. Visit the oldest surviving courthouse in Georgia, and see the real gold laced in the bricks. See gemstone collections, stories about private mints, and a great movie about the history of gold discovery and excavation in Dahlonega.

Chestatee River Diving Bell. See an actual diving bell used to retrieve gold from the river floor in the 1800s.

Crisson Gold Mine. Tour the mine, and see the only working Stamp Mill in Georgia at 130 years old. Kids will love panning for gold and gems.

See more photos from our Dahlonega Gold Adventures.

2 Outdoor Adventures

Springer Mountain Trail. Hike to the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail. From the parking lot, this is a moderate 2-mile journey. If you have hiking poles, you will want to bring them. At the top you will see a commemorative AT plaque, and cubby in the rock with a notebook for hikers to share their thoughts. See more Springer Mountain Trail info here.

Cane Creek Falls. You will weave through a Methodist Church Camp/Retreat to get to this waterfall. From the parking lot there is only about a 100-yard walk to the falls. You can easily get to the water’s edge for great photos, but splashing and swimming in the water is not permitted. See more Cane Creek Falls info here.

Cane Creek Falls in Dahlonega

Cane Creek Falls

Family-friendly Dining.

Several places on the Dahlonega Square make for a great family-friendly dining experience. We enjoyed lunch at Gustavo’s Pizzaria, with tasty pizza pies, pastas and salads. For dinner, try a seat on the upper patio of Bourbon Street Grille. It’s the perfect view for eating Cajun cuisine (plus burgers and pasta for picky eaters).

See more photos and info regarding family-friendly dining in Dahlonega.

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

4 Reasons to Take the Kids to Cartersville

Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville

Booth Western Art Museum

North of the city, off I-75, is the quaint little town of Cartersville. There are tons of things for the kids to do here- more than I could report in one story. But, here are four of our favorite places.

Booth Western Art Museum. If your kiddo loves cowboys and horses, this is a wonderful place for a visit. The 120,000 sq ft space houses the largest permanent exhibit of Western art in the US. More than that, it also includes Civil War art, Presidential portraits, movie posters and more. Kids will love Sagebrush Ranch, an interactive gallery where they can learn about art and America’s Western culture.

One of our favorite fall events is the Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium, coming to the museum at the end of October. It’s a wonderful experience filled with great children’s activities. 

Tellus Science Museum. Some people call it the “space museum,” other call it the “rock museum,” and still others know it for the planetarium. It’s all this- and more. My kiddos adore the Fossil Gallery, with dozens of dinosaur fossils including a large T-rex and (our favorite) a 9-foot wide Megaladon jaw! Don’t skip the fossil dig and gem mining for kids in the back of the museum.

Night at the Museum is one of their biggest events of the year. You just missed it in early August, but be sure to mark your calendar for next year.

Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville

Tellus Science Museum

Red Top Mountain State Park. Red Top is special to us because it is the place my son received his first Jr. Ranger Badge. From hiking to camping, there is so much to do here. Stay overnight in a cabin or yurt, swim in the lake, Geocache, play miniature golf or explore the Mountain Cove Discovery Room. We also enjoy the myriad events and programs here, including Iron Pours, Harvest at the Homestead and the upcoming Halloween Hayrides.

Pine Mountain Recreation Area. Candy Cook, Explore Georgia’s Outdoor Explorer, first shared the West Loop with me last year, and it has become a favorite. It’s a rugged trail, but still do-able with high-energy kiddos. The reward, of course, is the spectacular view from the top. Any time is a great time for this hike, but the fall color enhances the view.

What are your favorite Cartersville adventures?

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Your Reynolds Plantation Family Bucket List

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation is an elegant getaway just east of Atlanta. If you are familiar with the Ritz-Carlton brand then you already know the incredible family–friendly atmosphere of their properties. From the rooms to the activities, kids are not an afterthought. Reynolds Plantation is must-do escape for every family. Here is your bucket list of adventure at this Greensboro escape.

Reynolds Plantation

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation


Celebrate with fireworks! There is still enough time to enjoy the final Lake Summer Concert Series. AiA, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, will play on the lakeside lawn Sept. 6 from 7:45 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. Fireworks immediately follow the concert. If you miss this one, be sure to watch their Facebook page for upcoming events, including extraordinary fall and winter celebrations for the kids.

Ride the train. My little guy loved riding the Linger Longer Express around the Reynolds Plantation property. The 10-minute ride is complimentary for hotel guests, and leaves the lobby at 3 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Nosh on s’mores by the lake. Ask my kiddos about their favorite event of our stay and they will both tell you, “S’mores!” Every evening the Ritz-Carlton team lights the cozy lakeside bonfire and offers gigantic sticks with marshmallows for kids (and parents!) to roast. You’ll also find graham crackers, chocolate and plenty of lemonade. The celebration is complimentary for guests and begins at 8 p.m. each evening, running until 10 p.m. (and later on weekends).smores-by-the-lake-reynolds-plantation

Play at the lake. With Lake Oconee as the beautiful backdrop to this Ritz resort, you can’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the water. Play at the beach with plenty of sand for the kids, jumping mats and more. Venture further with Yolo boards, pedal boats, kayaks or canoes for rent (or opt for the Resort Activity Package for unlimited access.) Jet skis and boats are also available for rental.

Relax at the outdoor pool. The infinity pool overlooking Lake Oconee is breathtaking. The deck was recently renovated with additional seating and restrooms, also. Don’t miss the small kiddo-pool. It’s perfect for toddlers under the shade of an umbrella, but I could not keep my guys out of the big pool. With wait staff on hand from Gaby’s By The Lake, you can order lunch or drinks while you swim.

Sip on an (Un)Buzzed Lightyear. Speaking of drinks by the pool, ordering your kids an Unbuzzed Lightyear is a must! This mocktail is a blue lemonade filled with gummy bears. While hubby and I enjoyed piña coladas, the boys felt special with their “fancy drinks.” Another Ritz-Carlton touch that makes staying here special for kiddos.

Ritz Kids Camp. This is the only bucket list item we didn’t check off; kiddos must be 5 years old to participate so we have a few years to go. Mom and Dad can take a short respite at the spa or on the golf course while the kids enjoy a structured program with activities that are both physical and creative.

This is just the tip of the iceberg at Reynolds Plantation. It’s more than a resort…it’s an oasis for the entire family. Read more about why we named it The Best Family Resort in Georgia.

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Georgia Planetariums: Exploring Space with Kids

Mark Smith Planetarium

Mark Smith Planetarium

Did you see the Blue Moon in July? It’s the last one we’ll see until 2018, which fascinated my kiddos. They have been talking “Outer Space” non-stop since that encounter. What better place to learn more about the moon, stars and other planets than a planetarium. Here are three planetariums we’ve enjoyed, and several others on our bucket list.

Wetherbee Planetarium at Thronateeska Heritage Center (Albany): Thronateeska is a wonderful science center in Albany. Enjoy trains, a green screen theater for kids, dinosaur bones and more. The Planetarium is full-dome with as many as five shows a day.

Coca Cola Space Science Center (Columbus): While it is billed as an Omnisphere Theatre rather than a planetarium, the concept is the same. Enjoy theatre seating while watching space and science movies on a full dome screen. The Columbus location even has several children’s selections available like One World, One Sky from Sesame Street.

Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium at Fernbank Science Center (Atlanta): Don’t confuse this with the Natural History Museum which is down the block. The Science Center offers numerous planetarium shows on its 70-ft diameter dome- one of the largest in the US.

More planetariums near you:

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

6 Historical Adventures in Georgia That Kids Will Love

Everyone I know is in “Back to School” mode right now. Classes have started, but don’t let that hinder your explorations around the state. History comes alive when you experience it with all senses. Here are six of our family’s favorite ways to learn about the past while we travel the Peach State.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Tour the Visitor’s Center and Civil Rights Walk of Fame, see Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King Center and Dr. King’s birth home. See more photos of our tour here: 365atlantafamily.com/MLKNationalHistoricSite

Andersonville. During the Civil War, Andersonville was home to Camp Sumter, which housed Union POW troops during the Civil War. Tour the museums, farm and more. Magnolia Springs is also another, lesser known but equally as important POW site in Georgia.

Tunnel Hill Heritage Center. Tour the Western & Atlantic Railroad tunnel, the Clisby House, which was a hospital during the Battle of Chickamauga and the old General Store. See more about our railroad adventure here: 365atlantafamily.com/TunnelHillTunnel Hill

Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center. Students used anthologies from the Foxfire Magazine to replicate a Southern Appalachia town. See more photos of our adventure here: 365atlantafamily.com/FoxfireMuseum

Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. Tour the Discovery Center, then take a Heritage Boat Tour along the canal to learn about the mills along the banks and how the water source came to be. Learn more about our adventure here: 365atlantafamily.com/AugustaCanal

Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site. The bricks of the courthouse-turned-museum contain specks of gold! Learn how to determine fool’s gold from real gold, and more. It’s the perfect place to start your Dahlonega gold adventure. See more Georgia-gold history ideas here: 365atlantafamily.com/DahlonegaGold

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.