Atlanta Getaway: Calling Beer And Nature Lovers

Enjoying a brew and the great outdoors -- Atlanta is the perfect getaway for both.
  • Getaway to Atlanta and toast your vacay with a cold one.
    Getaway to Atlanta and toast your vacay with a cold one.
  • Piedmont Park is the perfect place to enjoy nature.
    Piedmont Park is the perfect place to enjoy nature.
  • Fernbank is where dinosaurs live in the ATL.
    Fernbank is where dinosaurs live in the ATL.
  • At Stone Mountain Park, hike or ride the gondola to the top. (Stone Mountain Park photo)
    At Stone Mountain Park, hike or ride the gondola to the top. (Stone Mountain Park photo)

So you like beer, but that is not the end all of who you are; you’re also a nature lover. Perfect. Plan an Atlanta getaway with a focus on both. Start your adventure with this guide to trails and ales in the ATL.

Fall Beer Festivals in Atlanta

  • Old Fourth Ward Beer Festival, Sept. 22
    Breweries either on or near the Atlanta BeltLine bring brews, cider, wine and live music to Old Fourth Ward Skatepark, as part of the larger Old Fourth Ward Fall Festival, which features the Lantern Parade, beginning after the sun goes down. This is a 21 and older event. Leave the kids and pets at home.

  • Der Biergarten Oktoberfest, Oct. 6
    German beers and bratwurst. Need we say more? 

  • Great Atlanta Beer Festival, Oct. 13
    Head to Georgia State Stadium where you can select from 150 beers and ciders and more than 25 wines, all while enjoying live music, college football on large-screen TVs and tunes from DJ Qtip. You must be older than 21. The kids are not invited to this festival.

  • SweetWater Scream, Oct. 25 - 31
    Hmm. It's sort of a haunted house -- with beer. Here's the way SweetWater Brewing Co. describes it: "With the launch of SweetWater's new 420 Strain G13 IPA, the past has been summoned back to life in a bone-chilling renegade. Enter into the guts of the brewery on a quest to rescue the G13 in an interactive haunted journey." 

  • Boos & Brews, Oct. 27
    Center Stage in Midtown is where to find this adults-only festival, which, in addition to beer, brings live music, DJ Qtip and a costume contest.

Even if you can't make one of these festivals, you could visit one of Atlanta's popular breweries.  

Fall Adventures in Nature

  • Atlanta BeltLine
    Cool fall weather is perfect for a bike ride along the BeltLine, where you can pause along the way for a bite or a beverage at some of Atlanta’s most popular restaurants, stop in at Ponce City Market and/or Krog Street Market – both with amazing food halls – and also take in outdoor art you’ll see as you pedal. Here are more ideas for biking in Atlanta.

  • Piedmont Park
    One of Atlanta's most popular gathering places for picnicking, walking, jogging and a whole lot more is located in Midtown. Here are our picks for the best things to do at Piedmont Park.

  • Parks, Parks and More Parks
    If you like parks here's a list of four parks within 30 minutes of  Downtown Atlanta and another  guide to more parks in Atlanta.

  • Eat, Down a Brew, Hit the Trails
    Start your day with coffee, take a hike, enjoy a cold one. Here's our guide.  

  • Atlanta World Kite Festival, Oct. 27
    Kites rule at Piedmont Park, where you can chow down at a food truck, have your face painted, hear live music and say cheese in a photo booth.

  • Stone Mountain Park
    Find 3,200 acres of fun including hiking trails, fishing, kids activities, climbing the mountain, and – in the fall – the annual Pumpkin Festival. You may stay at a hotel inside the park, bring your RV or tent – or rent a yurt -- and stake out your spot at the campground.

  • North Georgia Mountains
    Depending on where in Atlanta you start, the mountains of North Georgia are about a 90-minute drive where you can hike, kayak, fish, paddleboard, take a ride on a zip line and even pick apples at the many apple houses in Ellijay and the popular and ever-growing Mercier’s Orchard in Blue Ridge. While you’re in Blue Ridge, consider hopping aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

Nature-Themed Museums

  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History
    You’re always close to nature, in one form or another, when you visit Fernbank. There are dinosaurs, a Giant Screen movie where, no matter what’s showing, the theme always is nature. There are live animals, science explorations and a nature walk just out the back door.

  • Georgia Aquarium
    Sharks are coming to the aquarium, the largest in the United States, but not for a couple of years. Worry not. There’s plenty marine life at the aquarium to keep you occupied for several hours. Natch, there are lots (and lots) of fish, plus beluga whales, penguins, dolphins, sea lions, river otters and more, more, more. There’s a movie theater, too, plus opportunities for face-to-fin encounters with some of the animals.

  • Zoo Atlanta
    Visit more than 1,000 animals including giant pandas, one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes and Scaly Slimy Spectacular, a center focused on the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. A new Zoo Atlanta attraction, Treetop Trail, provides animal experiences that include behind-the-scenes encounters with African elephants, African lions, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and lemurs.

If you have any time left after trying any or all of the above, check our 50 fun things to do for more ideas.

Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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