Atlanta is perhaps one of the greenest cities in the whole USA. Trees spread out across all corners of the city and most of the suburbs are hidden under their thick canopy branches.
About 47% of the city is covered by trees, which makes this city the perfect garden city after Singapore. In this post, we’ll explore some of Atlanta’s best nature and outdoor activities to enjoy. From there, we will understand why this city gets the nickname “the city in a forest”.
Before we introduce some of these places, do note that quite a number of them are considerably far apart from each other. Some may have little, to no access via public transport, so if you wish to experience all of these sites in a single day trip over the weekend, you should consider options such as booking a rental car in Atlanta.
This option allows you for convenient trips where you get to move at your own pace, plus, if you want to do some camping there are many rented cars you can pick from that are well equipped to carry all your camping equipment.
So, without further ado let´s take our trip through Atlanta’s places to reconnect with nature.
1. Piedmont Park and Atlanta’s Botanical Garden
Let’s begin with a simple yet worthwhile way to get in touch with nature: Atlanta’s famously beautiful Botanical Garden. The botanical garden is located north of the downtown area at the equally beautiful Piedmont Park. This means there is not a lot of traveling needed for enjoying this site making it the perfect beginning point.
1.1. Things to see at the Botanical Garden
Inside the botanical garden, you can find many beautiful sculptures, all of them sharing a wonderful trait: they’re all covered in living plants. It’s basically an exhibition of living growing botanical art! Often these plant-based sculptures take advantage of the very plants that constitute them, making them way more interesting, for example, a sculpture of a woolly mammoth in which a specific type of grass simulates the shaggy fur of the long-extinct beast.
A beloved exhibit of such pieces of living art is the one about Alice in wonderland, which features many different characters of the story made with this type of living sculpture. Amazingly they manage to give color to each of the characters by using plants of different varieties.
There are other features to enjoy, like a Japanese garden and conservatories dedicated to orchids and other flowers. The garden also takes on a completely different image at night as many light fixtures make it look as if the trees themselves were glowing.
1.2 Things to do in Altanta with kids
1.2.1 Do some physical activities at Piedmont Park
If you happen to be into sports you´ll be happy to know that right next to the garden, at Piedmont Park one of the many beautiful parks in the entire city, there are a lot of sport-aimed spaces, as you can find two ballparks, two soccer fields, a couple of tennis courts, along with an aquatic center so bring your sportswear!
If you like the great outdoors so much, you need to check out some of the best rock climbing spots in USA.
1.2.2 Grab a bite at the Longleaf restaurant
If you get hungry during your visit you can find a restaurant called Longleaf in the middle of the botanical garden. The restaurant is surrounded by wonderful views and customers report that both the dishes and the ambiance are great.
3. Best Parks and Hiking trails near Atlanta
As we’ve seen, Atlanta itself can provide many opportunities to reconnect with nature, but there is nothing better than going into a hiking trail to get that breath of fresh air, and so we´ll see two noteworthy hiking trails that you can go to during your visit to Atlanta.
Now, both of these sites are a 27 to 30-minute drive away from Atlanta proper. So, a good idea for getting to both of those places is to rent a car during your stay in Atlanta. If you don’t know how to, sites such as Miles car rental can help you to simplify the rental process.
Sope Creek Hiking Trail
The Sope Creek Hiking Trail offers some of the most breathtaking views of Georgia’s woodland wilderness. The trail itself can be at times challenging but most people can handle it ok.
Along the trail, you can find amazing views of creeks and some picknick areas in the middle of the forest. But the most notable sight on this trail are the ruins of an old civil-war-era paper mill. The overgrown stone buildings are well worth the trial as they offer a unique place to explore. Here you can feel nature up close, as you see how the forest slowly and peacefully reclaims the building as part of the landscape.
Are you a fan of national parks and hiking trails? Why not visit Yosemite in California?
Arabia Mountain is a place as foreign-looking as it sounds. Due to its unique geology and ecology, this mountain contains some unique plants and landscapes that you won’t find anywhere else in the region.
In stark contrast with the woodlands and creeks that surround the region, Arabia Mountain features an alien-looking landscape, full of barren rock and occasional pools of water where a strange type of red plants grows. At the top of the mountain, you´ll see a 360-degree view of the area.
When visiting remember to be very careful not to disturb the local flora, as many of the plants growing here can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Also, bring plenty of water and sunblock as the barren nature of this area means there is not a lot of shade.
And that’s it, next time you’re in the need of natural wonders and breathtaking sites, consider visiting Atlanta, and make some time on your travel itinerary to enjoy the landscapes!
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