If you’re looking for a fun adventure to take with the family, then head out into the great outdoors. Around the Duluth, Georgia, area, you’ll find plenty of awesome local, state, and national parks with fantastic natural sites you have to see. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Sugarloaf has put together this list of the six best nature-filled experiences around Duluth.
McDaniel Farm Park
Image via Flickr by Marcus Hansson Licensed CC BY 2.0
Right here in Duluth is McDaniel Farm Park, a historical farm property with plenty of nature-focused amenities for the whole family. On the property, you’ll find a farm-themed playground for the kids to play on, a dog park for the pups, pavilions and grills for picnicking, historical buildings you can tour, and 3 miles of nature trails so you can explore the nature that lives here.
The trails are an especially great nature experience because they’re relatively easy, perfect for hikers big and small. There are even some side paths you can take to do some wildlife viewing and see more squirrels, birds, and deer that don’t like to frequent the main trail.
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve & Heritage Center
In nearby Johns Creek, you’ll find Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center, a 46-acre wildlife preserve with a museum and 3 miles of fantastic nature trails. When you visit, you get to meet the preserve’s animal inhabitants, including goats, snakes, chickens, rabbits, turtles, and ducks, all of which have names and live in the Visitor Center. In addition, you’ll have the chance to see the foundation of the old mill and the remnants of other historic buildings.
On the trails, you get to explore the hardwood forest, catch glimpses of the creek and springs, view long-standing trees and native plants, and explore bridges and an old gold mine. The local Eagle Scouts even mapped out a brand new trail, so if you’ve been here before, you’ll have to visit again to see this awesome nature path and all of its splendor. Plus, while you hike any of the trails, you can listen to an audio guide to learn about the area as you go.
Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park is just over 30 minutes south of Duluth, and it’s a great location for all sorts of nature activities. There are 15 miles of trails, and every trail is clearly marked and has its own unique experiences. For example, the Walk-Up Trail is a 1-mile path that takes you to the top of the namesake mountain, while the Trail of the Muscogee provides amazing views of Stone Mountain Lake. The park’s website has a clear breakdown of each trail, including how many steps each hike is, the terrain, the trailhead location, and features.
In addition to hiking, you can go fishing for bass, crappie, carp, catfish, and bream in Stone Mountain Lake, picnic at the Triangle or Studdard Picnic Area, explore the Historical and Environmental Education Center, and stroll to some of the park’s other great features, like Grist Mill, the Washington W. King Bridge, and the Quarry Exhibit.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Under 30 miles southwest of Duluth is Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, where your family can take a paddleboat, canoe, or rowboat onto the ancient Chattahoochee River. You can also go trout fishing or hike one of the 21 amazing nature trails that run along the river and through the wooded area around it.
All of the trails in the park are rated easy or moderate. Many of the hikes are short, too, so you could spend 30 minutes to an hour on one trail, or spend the whole day hiking multiple trails. Throughout the park, keep your eyes peeled for all sorts of native animals. You may be able to spot frogs, salamanders, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, snakes, deer, and many more interesting creatures. In fact, this park is one of the best for wildlife viewing, making it a great adventure for animal lovers of all kinds.
Lake Sidney Lanier
Just under 30 miles northeast of Duluth lies Lake Sidney Lanier in the foothills of the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. This area is one of the most frequently visited waterways in Georgia, with more than 7 million people visiting each year. That’s because the lake features 46 parks and 10 marinas along nearly 700 miles of shoreline. It’s a great spot for camping, especially if you can’t pick just one activity to occupy your day.
At Lake Sidney Lanier, you can have fun in the water with swimming, boating, and watersports. The anglers in your family will love catching striped bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, bluegills, and more. You can also enjoy the site around the lake on a biking, hiking, or horseback riding adventure.
Amicalola Falls State Park
Amicalola Falls State Park is a majestic site you have to visit in Georgia. It’s located just over 50 miles north of Duluth, past Lake Sidney Lanier. While it’s a bit more of a drive than other nature-filled destinations on the list, it’s well worth the trip. If you’re into hiking, you can explore the park’s trails, including the ones that lead right to the namesake falls, on your own. However, you can also register for a guided hike that will have you spotting native wildlife on your journey to this amazing site.
Animal lovers will also enjoy the animal meet and greets, where you can learn all about the different animals the staff at the park help take care of. Other fun activities include a primitive camping trip for the most hearty adventurers, ziplining through the trees, practicing archery, completing a wilderness scavenger hunt, and catch-and-release fishing for trout in the Reflection Pool below the falls. Consider staying at the lodge for an unforgettable, nature-filled family weekend excursion.
So there you have it: the six best nature-filled experiences in the Duluth, Georgia, area. Did we miss your family’s favorite nature destinations around north Georgia? If so, contact us, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!