By Suzanne Taylor
These days, everyone seems to have a Bucket List. If you live in the suburbs of Atlanta, you’ve most likely gone downtown for the big attractions: the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, CNN and the various art and history museums. But we know there are some exciting and unique places to see OTP, too! We’ve compiled your suggestions and added some of our own and made this OTP Bucket List. Enjoy!
For those who stop and smell the roses:
Check out Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, especially during the spring when 20 million daffodils bloom, but it is absolutely beautiful other seasons as well.
Smith Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw is a smaller, serene garden that is truly a hidden gem. They have an impressive Bonsai Tree collection, statues, and more than 16 acres of trees and flowers.
If you enjoy a leisurely drive, Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville is another beautiful place for flower enthusiasts to visit.
For the water lovers:
Shoot the Hootch on the Chattahoochee River. Raft, kayak, paddle, tube or SUP your way down the Chattahoochee for an experience that will make you feel like Shoot the Hooch Scoop you have left the big city, even though you are just minutes from Atlanta.
Rent a boat and enjoy Lake Lanier. Stop by Sunset Cove at Lanier Islands Lanierworld to experience a “floatilla” boat & sunset party! If you love the area you can even look into cabin real estate options to purchase a vacation home.
For a smaller lake, you can also enjoy a boat rental on Lake Allatoona.
For the whole family:
Tanglewood Farms in Canton. This 10-acre, kid-friendly farm is home to 150 different miniature animals. Tanglewood Farms is a perfect place for children’s birthday parties, too! Seasonally, you can pick Strawberries at the 3-acre Warbington Farms in Cumming.
Downtown Blue Ridge GA Scoop. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers a Fall Foliage & Polar Express train ride, as well as some other family friendly scenic train rides through beautiful Blue Ridge Georgia. Make this one a day trip and round it out with shopping and dining in downtown Blue Ridge.
Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell is an absolute must for families that love nature, animals, hiking or all of the above. Check their website for all of the different events they offer.
Stone Mountain National Park offers attractions, hiking, history and an amazing laser light show that is a must see for everyone. Stroll leisurely through the park, or take a more active approach and hike the mountain for some beautiful views.
For a paranormal experience that is family friendly, visit the year round walking Roswell Ghost Tour in the historic district of Roswell.
For your little girl, there is an American Girl store in Alpharetta. Special hotel packages are available for both you and your doll for a true American Girl Doll experience.
Enjoy Tellus Science Museum and Planetarium – a unique experience in Cartersville.
For the fun foodies:
Grab your friends and attempt the Big Pie In the Sky Pizza Challenge! This fun feat was seen on the Food Network’s “Man vs. Food.” Even if you don’t finish it, you’ll have fed the whole family and had fun in the process. Visit either of their two locations in Kennesaw and Roswell.
You can’t deny the south has some of the best food around! Enjoy fried chicken and other southern staples at award-winning Table & Main for a fine dining experience.
For a more casual meal, try one of Alton Brown’s favorite OTP spots The Red Eyed Mule for a mouth watering burger. Perfect if you have an out-of-town guest who wants to experience southern culinary delights!
Who doesn’t love a good donut? Dutch Monkey Donuts in Cumming has some of the most unique and yummy donuts you can find. Newly opened Da Vinci Donuts in Alpharetta and Sandy Springs allows you to create your own donuts, just like an artist! Great fun for the kids.
Taste and tour Red Hare Brewery for some local brews, or stop in and taste the gourmet flavors of ice cream at High Road Craft Ice Cream — both in Marietta.
Hop over to the Marietta Diner, which was recently named one of the country’s best diners, and enjoy some gravy on your fries! Be warned: the menu is the size of a phone book, and the desserts are large enough to feed a family, so go hungry!
For the history buffs:
The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locamotive History in Kennesaw features The General Train and the Great Locomotive Chase Movie. It’s an easy museum to visit with just an hour or two.
Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville is home to the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the country.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Scoop OTPBAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in the U.S., is located in Lilburn. Stroll through the temple and listen to the audio tour explain Hindu art, architecture and philosophy. An Arti ceremony can be attended, but please see website for special rules for entrance.
In Lithonia, explore Arabia Mountain (400 years in the making) and part of it in Rockdale county is where you can visit the Monastery of the Holy Spirit which has been called “Georgia’s Most Remarkable Concrete Building.”
For the outdoor enthusiasts:
Hike Kennesaw Mountain in Kennesaw or Red Top Mountain in Cartersville. Both of these mountain hikes are easy enough for the family, and best of all, are free.
Explore Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen with its premier trout stream and 5 miles of trails.
Hike to see the beautiful Amicalola falls on the Blue Ridge Trail in Dawsonville. Be sure to bring your camera!
Mountain Bikers won’t want to miss Blanket’s Creek in Canton.
Bring your pets and children to Poole’s Mill Park and view their historic covered bridge in Ball Ground.
The Silver Comet Trail is a 61.5 mile, 12 feet wide car free concrete path that is perfect for bicycling, running, walking, and skating — and it’s OTP!
For the sports fanatics:
If you don’t have time for a full 18 holes of golf, check out Top Golf in Alpharetta for a fun and laid back golf experience. Enjoy their full menu, bar and multiple big screen TVs, so you’re sure not to miss your favorite team while you work on your swing.
You don’t have to go in town or spend a fortune to enjoy a baseball game. Check out the Gwinnett or Rome Braves game. It’s a great way to get close to the action.
Lakepoint Sporting Complex in Emerson is home to Terminus Wake Park, Rally volleyball tournaments, Perfect Game baseball and just about every other team sport you can name. If you have a child who plays team sports, you may find yourself at a tournament at this complex. Visit it just to see what it’s all about!
OTP Bucket List
By Suzanne Taylor