12 Georgia Adventures for Tweens and Teens

The Painted Pin Bowling Lane 4In addition to my two young boys, I have two bonus-kiddos who are 17 and 19. As we prepare to send the youngest to UGA this fall to be with his sister, Sue Rodman’s article The Lie of 18 Summers rings true. Don’t let another summer go by without taking some risks and exploring more of Georgia. Here are 11 memory makers for you and your tweens and teens.

Victory Tour with Atlanta Movie Tours. Any Hunger Games fan in your household?? The Victory Tour of Atlanta shuttles you to the areas of town where filming took place for Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1. The tour guides are phenomenal, sharing all the latest Y’allywood tidbits. See more details about our tour here: 365atlantafamily.com/HungerGamesTour

Historic Banning Mills. The world’s largest canopy line tour! What’s not to love about that.  Make a weekend of it by staying in one of the Treehouse Cottages. There is also a climbing wall, GPS Adventure Challenge, Power Free Fall and more.

Six Flags Over Georgia. You’ve probably taken your kiddos to Six Flags well before their teen years, but it’s time to go again. The experience is completely different when your children reach the age that allows them to experience the park in its entirety – monster coasters and all.

Photo courtesy of @danoid via Instagram

Photo courtesy of @danoid via Instagram

Overnight Wilderness Camping at Okefenokee. One, two, three and four night paddle trips through the backwaters of Okefenokee leave you with views of alligators, herons, bears and cypress forests. Travel 7-12 miles each day, camping at one of seven overnight shelters in the swamp’s interior.

Caving at Cloudland Canyon. Georgia Girl Guides offer multiple tours into the caves of Cloudland Canyon. Enjoy 1-, 2- or 4-hour cave tours. Be prepared to get muddy, climb around on your knees and come out a changed person.

Durhamtown Plantation. Rent dirt bikes, ATVs and Side x Sides for a full or half day of adventure over 14 tracks and 150 miles of trails. No gear? No problem. Safety gear is included with every rental. Lodging, RV and tent camping sites are available, as well as Bev’s Kitchen for dining.

Eddie’s Attic. Eddie’s Attic is an intimate live music venue featuring local and nationally known musicians. Georgia-grown talents like John Mayer, Sugarland and Shawn Mullins performed at Eddie’s well before they were nationally famous. Unless indicated, Eddie’s Attic is an Under 21 venue, allowing you to unwind with your kids in a mature but safe environment.

Len Foote Hike Inn. Hike five miles into the Inn, with gorgeous views and inescapable peace. Dine communally with other hikers, tour the grounds, check out the composting worms…and then stay in the unique bunk house. It’s an unforgettable family experience. Read more about our Hike Inn stay here: 365atlantafamily.com/LenFoote

Road Atlanta. Road Atlanta is a 2.54-mile, 12-turn racing course, home to the Petit Le Mans and AMA Motorcycle racing. Other events throughout the year include amateur sports car racing, driving schools, motorcycle races and more. It’s recognized as one of the world’s best road courses by Car and Driver, and an incredible experience for your moto-minded teen.

Photo courtesy of @erbearwiebe via Instagram

Photo courtesy of @erbearwiebe via Instagram

Snorkel at Georgia Aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the world where you are guaranteed to dive or swim with whale sharks, manta rays and more. Not everyone has a diving certificate, but that isn’t necessary for a fun in the water. Suit up and snorkel with the gentle giants.

The Painted Pin. The Painted Pin is an upscale bar, bowling and entertainment location in the heart of Buckhead’s Miami Circle. 20 full service lanes along with iconic games, great cuisine live music on Wed-Sun makes it a fun scene and a very popular spot. All ages are welcome on Saturdays and Sundays and all games (aside from bowling) are free. Enjoy pingpong, bocce, shuffleboard tables, oversized pop-a-shots, skee, Southern Skittles, giant jenga, ring toss and more.

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.

Georgia Summer Camps for Tweens and Teens

summer camp

Summer Camp is around the corner; classes are filling up quickly.  If your tween or teen is looking for something exciting, we’ve got three ideas for you here!

UGA Summer Academy Youth Camps

Summer Academy Youth Camps are designed to allow kids to live out their dreams. Middle and High School students get hands-on, concrete experience in such areas as comic book design, video game development, sewing and more.  Many classes are full already, so be sure to sign up soon, and bookmark the site for next year! Click here to read more about some of the UGA summer camp programs: 365atlantafamily.com/UGASummerAcademy

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Camp Kingfisher

Camp Kingfisher offers programs for ages 4 and older. Rising 8th and 9th graders head over to their travel program! New for 2015 campers can choose the Made for the Mountains woodland excursion or the Riverbank Adventure trek for a wet and wild time. Both options include an offsite overnight stay at a Georgia State Park or in the Chattahoochee National Recreational Area. Whether your kiddo enjoys caving or river snorkeling, mountain biking or kayaking, the Kingfisher travel program is for them! You can read more about Camp Kingfisher’s seven unforgettable summer camp experiences here: 365atlantafamily.com/CampKingfisher

IMG_4738Peacebuilders Camp

If your kiddo is 11-14 and has a passion for peace and social justice, then head to Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm in rural South Georgia. Koinonia Farm was a critical site during the Civil Rights Movement. It continues to inspire social change through its example of community and its innovations in sustainable agriculture. In this setting Peacebuilders Camp welcomes youth from all over to learn, play, live, and serve together for a week overnight camp.

Peacebuilders Camp fosters rich discussions of global issues while tackling the same issues at the local level, and consistently applying the concepts to the campers’ own lives. They teach this through conversations, games, activities, stories, field trips, and service projects, but also recognize that much of the learning at camp happens organically as a result of our campers’ diversity and their own interest in reaching across lines of difference.

If this appeals to your teen who is older than 14, I encourage them to reach out to Peacebuilders as well…they are seeking teen leaders.

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If you are looking for additional Summer Camp ideas, please check out my 2015 Summer Camp Guide, with over 350 camps listed.

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.

Exploring Helen, Georgia with Kids     

Helen with kids title

Stay

Did you know there are two state parks near Helen? Smithgall Woods State Park is my favorite!  It is a luxurious, fully equipped haven in the woods.  Creekside Cottage sits right on the water’s edge. When we stayed, the sound of the rushing stream eased our woes and brought a peaceful night’s rest.

Unicoi Barrel Cabins

Unicoi Barrel Cabins

Unicoi State Park is also in Helen, with traditional cottages, and lodge, and fun “barrel” cabins, so named because of the shape of the exterior. The barrel cabins were so much fun for the boys, and we enjoyed their charm and proximity to all the Helen activities.

Rooms at Hampton Inn Helen are spacious and clean; we adored the balcony from which we could hear the river. It’s within walking distance to a great number of attractions and eateries (even for the little legs that accompanied me.) The river was only steps from the back of the hotel, and we spent immeasurable time throwing pebbles and dipping our toes in the cool water.  It’s definitely THE hotel to stay in when visiting Helen!

Looking for more about our travels to Helen? Check out more details here: 365atlantafamily.com/helen

Hofers

Play

I recommend beginning your adventure with Alpine Carriage Company.  My boys loved riding the horse around the small town and feeding him a carrot afterward.  It’s a wonderful way to get your bearings, if you’ve never visited before.

Stop by Charlemagne’s Kingdom to see a model railway. Alpine Mini Golf is a unique way to enjoy the sunshine, and you can finish your game at Scoop de Scoop Ice Cream Parlor, which is adjacent to the mini golf.  Inside resembles an old-school soda shop, and outdoor seating is kid-friendly and fun for watching other golfers.

Did you know Sautee, neighbor to Helen, was named one the ‘100 Best Small Art Towns in America?” The Sautee Nacoochee Center includes a theatre, a history museum, dance and art studios, an art gallery, a folk art pottery museum, and an environmental educational resource center. The history museum was a win for my boys.

If you want to get some hiking in, try Dukes Creek Falls or Anna Ruby Falls. Anna Ruby is paved and short, good for strollers and young kiddos. Dukes Creek is less crowded and more rugged, but was still manageable by my young guys.

Old Sautee Market

Old Sautee Store

Eat

Here’s a secret…Old Sautee Market is my favorite lunch spot with the kids, and I stop every time we are in the area. Try the grilled cheese with farmer’s cheese, bacon, and tomato! The boys enjoy eating outside with the bubbles and space to run. Stop in the adjacent Old Sautee Store to look around, and be sure to ask the owner to play the antique music machine.

Stop by Hofer’s Bakery and Café for a great breakfast or lunch. Eat dinner near the water at Troll Tavern, or sample authentic German fare at Bodense.

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.

Spring Break in Atlanta with CityPass

CityPASS

Spending spring break vacation in Atlanta opens your family up to a world of possibility. What if I told you that your family can visit Atlanta’s newest museums and attractions, at a discount, and jump to the front of the line?

My secret is CityPASS. I always encourage visitors and locals to consider using Atlanta CityPASS, and here are three reasons why.

  1. Atlanta CityPASS allows you to visit five of the best museums in the city while saving 43% off admission. Tickets are good for nine consecutive days, which starts with the first day of use. Tickets for kids age 3-12 are $59.35 and tickets for adults are $73.25.
  2. An Atlanta CityPASS ticket allows you to skip most ticket lines once you have your ticket booklet. You may encounter a line when you exchange a voucher for a booklet, but that should be reasonably short. Skipping the line during spring break buys you tons of additional time in the attraction.
  3. As of March 13, 2015, Atlanta CityPASS now includes two of Atlanta’s newest museums, the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Civil Rights MuseumI am sad to see Atlanta History Center (AHC) and High Museum fall off the list this year; AHC is truly one of my favorite Atlanta museums.  Here’s a tip for locals: AHC and High are both members of the Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums. Depending on the level of membership you purchase, a membership at one museum can offer admittance into both locations.

Atlanta CityPASS includes the following attractions:

Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola

Inside CNN Studio Tour

Zoo Atlanta OR Center for Civil and Human Rights

Fernbank Museum of Natural History OR College Football Hall of Fame

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.

11 Unique Egg Hunts Around Georgia

Title2If your family celebrates Easter, then you know the excitement of egg hunts! My little guys ask us to hide eggs more than a dozen times a day during the Easter weekend. We have a blast! But sometimes, we like to get out and do something different. Here are a few unique egg hunts around the state that your family is sure to enjoy.

Fernbank Museum Spring Egg-Stravaganza – Timed egg hunt, Radio Disney AM 590, Giggy A. Dinosaur appearance.

High Falls State Park Glow-In-The-Dark Easter Egg Hunt – 4,000 glowing eggs, registration required.

Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta Easter Celebration – Delectable Georgia-grown lunch, petting zoo for children, visit from the Easter Bunny, elaborate egg hunt in the MO garden, prizes.

Roswell Flashlight Egg Hunt – Hunt in the dark with only a flashlight.

Bogan Park Underwater Egg Hunt – Hunt for eggs underwater, pictures with Easter Bunny, snacks and crafts, kids under 6 years must swim with adult.

Influencers Church Helicopter Easter Egg Drop – Drops for all ages, visit from the Easter Bunny, farm animals, concessions, face painting, inflatables, petting zoo, free.

BabyLand General Hospital Easter Eggstravaganza – Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, parade, food vendors, arts and crafts, games, music, prizes.

Egg3The Rock Ranch Easter Eggstravaganza – Egg hunts for all ages, visit from Easter Bunny, photos options with bunny, free, frm animals, concessions, face painting, inflatables, ziplines, petting zoo.

Peter Cottontail Express on St Mary’s Train – Multiple dates available, Journey to the land of magic eggs and Easter bunnies with Peter Cottontail taking center stage to ride the return trip and host a fun Easter Egg Hunt.

Yogi Bear’s Easter Egg Hunt – Crafts, train ride, games, egg decorating, cartoons and popcorn, hay rides, bounce house, egg hunt, Yogi Bear visit,

A final note, those in Atlanta will enjoy the annual egg hunt at the Governor’s Mansion. It is filled already for 2015, but this egg hunt packs in a world of fun! Be sure to get updates from the governor’s office for future years.

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.