Atlanta seems to grow bigger all the time -- but that doesn't mean its appeal to outdoor enthusiasts has diminished by any stretch. Forests actually cover more than 67 percent of Georgia, and heaps of those green tracts are within a short drive of the city, some of them even within Atlanta proper. For outdoor lovers with romantic aspirations, that means there's a slew of spots perfect for dates, whether you're just getting to know each other or are longtime partners. Take the clichés out of dating and head into nature -- into the sunshine, among the trees, on the river or if you're feeling extra adventurous, miles above it all. And if you’re looking for some traditional romantic activities around Atlanta after your outing, click here for some ideas.
1. Take a bike tour of Atlanta.
A bike tour is a great way to get to know the city better. (Basheer Tome)
Whether you're interested in Atlanta's incredible history or its new artistic future, there's a perfectly plotted bike tour that's ideal for anyone who wants to know more about the city. Bicycle Tours of Atlanta offers an 8-mile trip, which usually lasts about 3 hours, covering Inman Park, the Old Fourth Ward, the King Historic District, Cabbagetown, the Carter Center and Little Five Points. You’ll hop off and on the Atlanta BeltLine throughout as you learn more about these diverse neighborhoods. It’s a great way to discover new finds as you pedal past historic civil rights landmarks, striking murals and modern architectural gems. Want another option? ATL-Cruzers offer offers electric bikes for rent, and you can take guided tours of the city from ATL-Cruzers via bikes, electric cars and Segways.
2. Smell the roses at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
You can spend hours exploring Atlanta Botanical Garden. (JR P, flickr)
One of the city's most beloved natural attractions, Atlanta Botanical Garden features carnivorous plants, an edible garden, a massive display of orchids and the treetop-lined, 600-foot-long Kendeda Canopy Walk, just to name a few of the highlights. Keep an eye on the calendar for special events like cocktail nights, gardening workshops, film screenings and pop-up markets.
3. Ride horseback through forested trails.
Canton offers some of the best horseback riding in the state. (Nancy Anne L. Merolle, flickr)
In Canton, Ga., less than an hour northwest of the city, you'll find the best horseback riding in the state -- at least according to Georgia Frontiers. The self-proclaimed cowboy who opened the park makes it his mission to treat city dwellers to a slice of excitement and down-home fun on his Western-style rides through 150 acres of wooded trails.
4. Take an outdoor tour of film and TV landmarks.
Take a walking tour that highlights film and TV shows produced around Atlanta. (Ed Schipul, flickr)
More than 700 movies and 20 TV shows have been filmed in the Atlanta area since the 1970s, and movie buffs and TV lovers can choose from a number of tours that highlight filming locations in and around Atlanta. Atlanta Movie Tours features three different zombie-themed tours that highlight "The Walking Dead," including both former filming locations and active spots where you might catch a glimpse of the production in process. Other options include a "Gone With the Wind" tour and a Hero Tour focused on Marvel movies like "Ant-Man" and "Captain America: Civil War."
5. Get a bird's-eye view of the city.
Balloons Over Georgia will give you a new perspective on Atlanta. (skeeze, pixabay)
Want a guaranteed awe-inspiring view? Aim high -- literally. Balloons Over Georgia, headquartered about 40 miles north of the city in Cumming, Ga., will take you up to several thousand feet high to enjoy a spectacular look at Lake Lanier, Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain and, of course, the Atlanta skyline. Check the weather before booking -- on a clear day, the view from up in the balloon will stretch to nearly 50 miles.
6. Stand-up paddle boarding on the Chattahoochee.
Stand-up paddle boarding can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors together. (Steve Harwood, flickr)
Challenge each other with a full-blown workout -- or don't, and take it easy instead. Stand-up paddle boarding can be as intense or as laid-back as you like on the Chattahoochee River, where there are calm stretches of water to simply enjoy the journey and soak up the sunlight and surrounding lush greenery. Try the Nantahala Outdoor Center at the Powers Ferry entrance, only about 20 minutes north of downtown, for a reliable rental and a 3.5-mile float (or intense sprint, if you prefer).
7. Take a day trip to the mountains.
The mountains north of Atlanta offer an endless number of adventures. (Robert Aberegg, flickr)
Head up north -- only about 90 miles -- for an array of incredible hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are so many paths to choose from, but some of the highlights include the Appalachian Trail, such as the hike from Three Forks to Long Creek Falls, where you’ll find a spectacularly steep waterfall. Explore the huge 270-foot long swinging bridge over the Toccoa River or put yourself to the test by climbing some high peaks, including Brasstown Bald, the state's tallest mountain. Get a different view from North Georgia Canopy Tours -- just an hour north of downtown -- which offers three different above-the-ground tours on its 136-acre forested property. You’ll enjoy zip lining, rappelling and rope climbing up among the trees. This region of Georgia offers a treasure trove of memorable outdoor date options.
Originally written by RootsRated for Atlanta CVB.