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.

Biking & Hiking Aska Adventure Trail Area

Biking Aska Adventure Trail Area

Biking the Aska Trails | Photo courtesy of Joseph Cattoni, Regular Joe Photography

A favorite destination among many Georgia hikers and mountain bikers, Aska Adventure Trail Area offers 17 miles of interconnected trails winding through Chattahoochee National Forest. This Blue Ridge trail system boasts a range of difficulty levels from easy-moderate to very strenuous along trails that vary in distance from one to six miles.

Hitting Aska Adventure Trails in August is a cool summertime treat beneath the shade of mature hardwoods. Right around the seasonal corner, fall paints this landscape with colorful leaves that open up beautiful mountain vistas to enjoy during winter and early spring. A good starting point is riding the hills of the easy-intermediate Long Branch Loop. Riding the trail counter-clockwise gives riders many heart-pumping uphill climbs with a few fun downhills, while riding clockwise offers more gradual uphills and lots of fun downhill riding. A creek crossing marks the lowest point of the trail. Long Branch Loop isn’t challenging as far as technical features, making it fun for riders who are stepping up from easier trails. Other trails in the system ascend to over 3,000 ft, some offering creek crossings and a portion of trail on the shores of Lake Blue Ridge.

Long Branch Loop at Aska Adventure Trail Area

Biking Long Branch Loop

Trails to hike and ride in Aska Adventure Trail Area:

  • Stanley Gap Trail is a single track trail that clocks in at 5.5 miles of moderate intensity.
  • Flat Creek Loop offers another 5.7 miles of moderate intensity mountain biking.
  • Long Branch Loop is 2 miles of easy-moderate climbs and  sweet descents for a fun, quick ride. Note: The elevation changes going counter-clockwise may be considered more difficult than going clockwise on the trail.
  • Lower Green Mountain is an intermediate 1.5 miles that connects with the more strenuous Upper Green Mountain Trail. Note: A portion of the Upper Green Mountain Trail is closed.
  • The 300-mile Benton McKaye Trail also winds through Aska Adventure Trail Area.
  • Several connector trails make easy transition to other trails in the system.

There are four parking areas to access trailheads at Aska Adventure Trail Area. These parking areas are located at Deep Gap, Stanley Gap, Forest Road 711, and Shady Falls. Driving directions to all four parking areas, as well as a list of the trails, are available on the Blue Ridge Mountains website.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

5 Things To Do in Young Harris

Brasstown on Horseback in Young Harris

Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa

Where? Way up in the North Georgia mountains, almost to North Carolina, is the boyhood home of Senator Zell Miller. It’s a town full of fun. Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons you should visit Young Harris:

Rollins Planetarium – A part of Young Harris College, Rollins Planetarium is a state of the art attraction. Renovated in 2011, the Planetarium uses their Sky-Skan Definiti full-dome digital projection system to create an immersive experience under their 40 foot dome. On most Fridays, the Planetarium offers inexpensive public shows.

Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa – Just two hours from Atlanta and Chattanooga, Brasstown Valley Resort feels like a world away where life is a little slower thanks to its acres of outdoor fun. On top of that, they have a 7,500 square foot spa just waiting for you. Golf and sporting package are also available.

Destiny Alpaca Farm –  This alpaca farm does it all- including incorporating their herd into the local church’s annual Easter and Christmas pageants. Stop by the farm to see the huacaya alpacas grazing then pop into the shop to see, feel and buy their alpaca products.

Destiny Alpaca Farm in Young Harris

Destiny Alpaca Farm

Tomato Festival at Crane Creek – On August 15, 2015, Crane Creek Vineyards celebrates all things tomato during their annual Tomato Festival. Promising, “a day of wine, food and live   music provided by Cornbread Ted and The Butterbeans,” there’s sure to be something for everyone! Can’t make it to their Tomato Festival? Crane Creek’s annual Harvest Festival is coming up October 24, 2015.

Wine Tasting – Speaking of Cane Creek Vineyards, be sure to take the time to sample from local wineries in Young Harris and along your way to and from Young Harris.

Young Harris

Young Harris, Georgia

EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Rabun County Waterfalls


Panther Falls

Panther Falls

Make camp at a quiet little campground tucked away on Lake Rabun for quick and easy access to Rabun Beach, State Parks and several enjoyable waterfalls. Set in Georgia’s beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest, Rabun Beach Campground offers primitive or full service sites with bathrooms, water, and electricity. Campsites are roomy, and well-shaded by the towering trees giving plenty of privacy. This campground is open seasonally from May into early November, with campsites claimed on a first come first serve basis.

Panther and Angel Falls
A unique feature of this escape to nature is its proximity to several tumbling waterfalls. Campers discover a trailhead near the back of the campground that leads to two of these, Angel and Panther Falls. The relatively easy hike makes a great nature walk with Panther Falls appearing around the half-mile mark. Nearing one-mile, hikers find Angel Falls before retracing their steps back to camp.

Panther Falls

Panther Falls

Minnehaha Falls
Easily one of Georgia’s most enchanting waterfalls, Minnehaha Falls is just around the corner from the campground. The trail quickly climbs and winds through the trees reaching the falls at almost a half mile. It’s a short, fun trail revealing a magical moment as the cascading falls come into view.

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

Rabun Beach Recreation Area also includes opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming. Just a short drive from camp, Tallulah Gorge and Black Rock Mountain State Parks feature more of North Georgia’s stunning landscape and fun for outdoor enthusiasts.

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

Weekend Family Fun in Rome, Georgia

Family Fun in Rome, GeorgiaRome, Georgia is amass with family friendly activities. Spend time on the trails or walk back in time. Head to the ballgame or cool off in a natural spring. We couldn’t cover everything in a weekend, but here’s how to whet your appetite in this Northwest Georgia town.

Day 1

Walk the Historic “Between the Rivers” district. Tour Myrtle Hill Cemetery and take the free Tree Tour. More than 35 different tree species are rooted here, many of which are rare or non-native. See the Capitoline Wolf, the Town Green Interactive Fountain, the Clocktower and Rome Area History Museum. The museum offers free admission, and visitors can climb to the top of clock tower March – October, the first Saturday of each month from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch on Broad Street in Downtown Rome. Enjoy lunch at Harvest Moon Café, then head next door to Honeymoon Café for a special treat. Gelato, cupcakes and pastries fill the air with heavenly aromas. Kids can watch a cakemaker designing a special treat through the looking glass while enjoying a baby gelato cone or mini cupcake.

There are plenty of clever local shops on Broad Street, so take your time enjoying them.

Visit Chieftains/Major Ridge HomeBe humbled as you tour this National Trail of Tears Certified Historic Site, dating back to 1796. It was once the home of Major Ridge, a prominent leader in the Cherokee Nation.

Eat at Brewhouse Music & Grill. Enjoy brews, burgers and live music in a family-friendly American pub setting.

Rome Braves Baseball. From April – September you’ll want to grab tickets to a Rome Braves Baseball game. The Rome Braves are a Class A Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

Labyrinth in Rome, Georgia

Rome Labyrinth

Day 2

Tour Oak Hill & the Martha Berry Museum . See a short film about Berry College then tour the Martha Berry Museum with artifacts such as the first diploma ever given by the school and Martha Berry’s personal typewriter. Follow that with a tour of the Oak Hill Home, Aunt Martha’s cottage and the award winning gardens.

Explore Berry College. Berry College is the world’s largest college campus, covering 26,000 acres. Kids love seeing the wildlife roam freely throughout the campus. Explore over 40 miles of trails, walk the grounds of Ford Castle, see the second largest working overshot waterwheel in the world, watch the swans at Swan Lake, hike to the house of dreams, visit the original settlement at Possum Trot and view the world famous Berry Eagles.

Lunch at Martha’s Skillet. The menu changes daily, but it’s always southern country cooking at Martha’s Skillet.

Cool off at Cave Spring. The town is named for the cave and natural mineral spring in the center of town. Bring an empty jug to fill with mineral water. Enjoy a cave tour, then swim in the spring fed Rolater Lake.

If you’re looking for more family fun ideas, check out 8 Free Things To Do In Rome, Ga on 365 Atlanta Family.

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.