Easy Places to Go Camping in Georgia with Kids

Our family is prepping for our first back-country camping trip together. I was telling a friend recently, who responded with a profound, “No Way!” That’s when it dawned on me that our style of family camping isn’t the easiest, especially with little kiddos. If you want to enjoy the crisp air, wake up to the birds chirping…but still take advantage of Internet, a pool and a hot shower, then these family-friendly camping options might be right up your alley.

Stone Mountain Park Campground

Camping at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Camping at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Stone Mountain is ideal for those who enjoy a more “pampered” approach to camping. With water and electricity, clean comfort stations, the lake and park activities, a swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, a playground, and the free lasershow, this makes a GREAT way to affordably escape for the weekend! Read more about our stay at Stone Mountain Park Campground.

Georgia State Park Yurts

Yurt at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Yurt at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

Yurts are fun and easy ways to camp with kids. You can skip setting up the tent, and get straight to the good stuff: s’mores, hiking, swimming…whatever your crew loves to do. The newest yurts are at Sweetwater Creek State Park, but you’ll also find them at High Falls, Red Top Mountain, Fort Yargo, Cloudland Canyon and Tugaloo State Parks. Read more about where to camp in a yurt in Georgia.

KOA Georgia

Camping cabin at the Jacksonville North/St. Marys KOA. Photo from Facebook.

Camping cabin at the Jacksonville North/St. Marys KOA. Photo from Facebook.

KOA is easy for families, with tent camping, RV, cabin set ups…even a teepee at the St. Mary’s KOA location. Campgrounds include WiFi, pools, lakes, bike rental (Forsyth KOA), mini golf (Lake Oconee), a petting zoo (Calhoun KOA) and more.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

Train at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Bremen

Train at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Bremen

Families can enjoy a large swimming pool, splash pool, put-put golf, gem mine, train rides, indoor cinema and lots more. Activities are based on weekly themes and include fun from morning ‘til night. The park accommodates RVs or tents, and offers cabins with or without kitchenettes.

LesliLesli Peterson is 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.

Attending Georgia’s Music Festivals with Kids

Attending 420 Fest in Atlanta with kids

Attending 420 Fest in Atlanta with kids. Photo by Lesli Peterson.

There are a few music festivals that hubby and I attend every year; we just love listening to music under the sun, experiencing the city, and chowing at the food trucks. This year, we did something different: We brought our kiddos!

Our 7-year-old and 3-year-old went with us to Sweetwater 420 Festival at Centennial Olympic Park. I’ll admit, we were nervous. This was our first large music festival with them, but we ended up having a wonderful time! There were a great number of other children there, too!

Thinking of bringing your own kids to one of the summer’s music festivals? Here are a few things we learned that made it an easy adventure.

  1. Bring ear protection. Even when you aren’t in the crowd near the stage, the music can be very loud. It’s important to protect little ears. We found that over-the-ear protection was easier to manage with little ones, and we found affordable solutions at the big chain home improvement stores.
  1. Plan an abbreviated visit. When hubby and I attend a concert, we usually arrive early and stay until the last song of the encore. That doesn’t work work with kiddos, especially young ones. This time, we studied the itinerary and picked the ONE concert we wanted to see each day. If we heard more than one band then that would be a special treat, but our expectations were set for no more than that.
  1. Shade and games are your friends. Pack a Frisbee or a Hacky-sack, and a blanket. Work to secure a spot under the trees so the kids can escape to a shady area when necessary. When they seem restless, offer an ice cream or King of Pops treat – and be sure to get one for yourself!
  1. Expect the best, plan for the worst. Chances are, your kids will be by your side the entire time, but just in case you are separated, make a plan. For older kids, plan a meet-up place, or point out the police and staff uniforms so they know where to go for help. With younger kids, pin your business card or phone number to the back of their shirt.

Trying to decide which Georgia Music Festival to share with your kids? Follow Glen Sarvady, Georgia’s Music Explorer, for more ideas.

LesliLesli Peterson is 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.

Free and Premium Atlanta Braves Kids Club Offerings

Turner Field

Turner Field

This is the last year to enjoy the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, so bring the kids for an exciting time! The best way to do that: The Atlanta Braves Kids Club.

This season, the Atlanta Braves Kids Club offers a Braves passport, and the addition of a FREE membership option.

Both memberships come with a Braves passport and lanyard. The passport includes a buy-one-get-one voucher for tickets to a Braves home game and the ability to earn stickers for games attended at Turner Field during the season. Club members can then redeem these stickers for various prizes all season long.

Premium Kids Club members receive gifts and perks, including VIP access to run the bases on Sundays.

Premium Kids Club members receive gifts and perks, including VIP access to run the bases on Sundays.

The premium Kids Club membership receive extra gifts and perks, including a Freddie Freeman jersey, drawstring bag, letter from Freddie Freeman and a wristband. Premium members also receive VIP access to Kids Run the Bases; two tokens to play in Scouts Alley; two passes for the VIP Batting Practice Experience; two free tickets to a Gwinnett Braves game; and once a month, a Kids Club member will be randomly drawn for either Playball or Bang the Big Drum. All of this for only $25 per child!

Premium Kids Club memberships can be ordered online or purchased in the ballpark; registration for the free membership is only available online. Kids Club members will redeem a ticket to receive their passport at Fan Central during a Braves home game.

Not ready for the majors? See our post about Minor League Baseball in Georgia with Kids.

LesliLesli Peterson is 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.

Three Gardens for Mother’s Day with the Kids

Looking for beautiful blooms and a world of color for Mother’s Day? We’re sharing three of our favorite Georgia gardens that are brimming with color. Take a break and visit on your own, or bring the entire family for a day of exploring these magnificent marvels.

Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, Ga.

Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, Ga.

Dunaway Gardens

This haven in Newnan was once a large theatrical training ground for producers, directors and performers. It’s the South’s largest natural rock and floral garden, with 12 scenic spots, three waterfalls and several ponds. Check the website before you go; it is not open to the public everyday. I must say, it is one of my favorites in the state — pure heaven. Bring your camera! Meat ‘N Greet on the nearby square is a great stop for lunch. See this post of my visit to Dunaway Garden with the kids.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, Ga.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, Ga.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens

Tucked away in Kennesaw is a hidden gem with flowers, trails, sculptures and more. My family loves the waterfall, children’s garden and koi pond. We recommend bringing a picnic to enjoy under the shade trees. If you can’t make it for Mother’s Day, then consider visiting during one of their programs for children: young chefs, garden stories or the young explorer’s lineup. See this post of my visit to Smith-Gilbert Gardens with the kids.

Photo courtesy Gibbs Gardens, Facebook.

Photo courtesy Gibbs Gardens, Facebook.

Gibbs Gardens

220 acres in Ball Ground include 24 ponds, 32 bridges and 19 waterfalls. You’ll spy blooming annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees all year round, plus enjoy educational events, musicians, festivals and more throughout the year. We have a season pass here and enjoy every season with anticipation for the next. Mother’s Day features strolling musicians and Brunch in a Box for an affordable $15.

For many more trip ideas to beautiful Georgia gardens, visit ExploreGeorgia.org.

LesliLesli Peterson is 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.

16 Things to See and Do at the Thomasville Rose Show and Festival

Thomasville-Rose-Garden-web

Thomasville Rose Garden

A tradition since the 1920s, the Thomasville Rose Show and Festival will celebrate its 95th birthday, April 21–23, 2016. More than a rose competition and parade, there are festival activities galore, and many of them are FREE. Here are 16 of our favorite family-friendly events, but this is only the tip of the iceberg!! Can’t wait to see you there.

  1. The festival kicks off Thursday night with the Children’s Rose Bud Parade, which is full of the sweetest and littlest rose fans. These tiny tots and their floats glide through the middle of downtown for their very own one-of-a-kind parade.
  1. Visit the Power of the Past Airport Museum, home to a personal collection of the oldest and rarest aircraft engines and memorabilia.
  1. Stroll though a self-guided tour of six historic buildings that display Thomasville’s Victorian past and Rose Show traditions.
  1. Thomasville Rose Show

    Thomasville Rose Show

    Taking center stage on Friday are the competitively grown petals of the Rose Show. The Heirloom rose category honors the elders, showing varieties that have been in existence since 1867.

  1. Join the THS Marching Band, the Rose Queen and Miss Georgia as they cut the ribbon and officially open the Rose Show on Friday at 1 p.m.
  1. Orchids on Parade (housed in the Municipal Auditorium building at 144 East Jackson Street) features dozens of carefully grown orchids of many different breeds. 
  1. Enjoy the Annual Rose Parade, taking place at 7 p.m. on Friday. Thomasville will roll out the “rose carpet” for floats studded with live roses, marching bands, wandering entertainers and more! This year’s parade will feature the Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Marching Band, as well as gigantic helium balloons to delight adults and children alike.
  1. Following the parade, you are invited to take to the streets for unabashed boogying during the Street Dance, featuring live music by community favorites, the Swingin’ Medallions.
  1. On Saturday in Paradise Park, Art in the Park bursts to life with a fine arts and crafts show, a wide selection of food, children’s activities and more. New to Art in the Park this year will be a full-sized Ferris wheel (FREE to ride), a giant bubble station and life-sized outdoor games.
  1. Food trucks with offerings from Buffalo wings and funnel cakes to egg rolls and BBQ and everything in between will also be in attendance. Free face painting and stilt walkers will be onsite to entertain.
  1. Don’t miss Bark in the Park, a pet costume contest hosted by the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society.
  1. In Downtown Thomasville, the Annual Car and Truck Show on North Broad Street (near the Courthouse) will showcase dozens of classic and vintage cars of all shapes and sizes.
  1. The City trolley will be running FREE of charge to transport guests throughout the festival events, including the downtown area.
  1. Bring your little princesses to have a Royal Tea with the Thomasville Rose Queen and her Court on Saturday. Bring your camera!
  1. Tee off at the Rose City Golf Classic, a 36-hole, two-person, best ball tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
  1. The Rose Show and Festival will also feature the Rose City 10K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run.

LesliLesli Peterson is 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.