Where to Kayak, Canoe and Cool off in Atlanta

Serene surroundings abound on Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River. (📷 Scott White)

Atlanta and the surrounding metro area have plenty of places to stay cool this summer. Check our list to make a splash this season.

Learn How to Shoot the Hooch

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area makes up a series of parklands along the Chattahoochee River, roughly 48 miles. This river flows through the northern metro area of Atlanta. Float down the river (or shoot the ‘hooch) with help from these outfitters.

High Country Outfitters Paddle Shack at Morgan Falls Overlook: This Sandy Springs location offers stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and programming such as Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga. Well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Outposts: The locations of Powers Island and Johnson Ferry along the river have rental outposts for tubing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and inflatable kayaks. Azalea Park and Don White Memorial Park along the Sandy Springs and Roswell border offer craft and equipment rentals.

Shoot the Hooch is directly on the Chattahoochee River just minutes from downtown Atlanta. Jump in a raft, canoe, kayak, tube or stand up paddle board and take a fun and relaxing trip down the Chattahoochee River. Make the most of the season.

Take Guided Canoe Trips

Take a relaxing paddle on the Chattahoochee with a guided canoe trip. (📷 Chattahoochee Nature Center)

The Chattahoochee Nature Center offers guided canoe trips, suitable for all levels. The nature center provides all equipment for guests. River Canoe Trips are for all skill levels (ages 6 and up) and take 2.5 hours. Family canoe days and date night canoe trips are offered.

Go Chasing Creeks and Waterfalls

Hike or run the Morningside Nature Preserve featuring a sandy beach and tall swinging bridge on South Peachtree Creek. Hike Cascade Springs Nature Preserve to a beautiful waterfall and a historic springhouse. In Roswell, the Roswell Mill Waterfall is a popular place for locals to get wet.

Visit Lake Lanier

About an hour north of the city is Lake Lanier. Margaritaville at Lanier Islands has a water park, marina, sunset cruises, pontoon boat rentals, a beach and several restaurants. Don Carter State Park is located on Lake Lanier and offers aqua cycling, fishing, biking, a beach, and paddleboard and kayak rentals.

Make a Splash at Attractions

Splash and stay all day at Hurricane Harbor (📷 Six Flags Over Georgia)

Splash pads can be found at Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park, Old Fourth Ward playground and Piedmont Park. Water parks around town are located at Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell and Six Flags White Water in Marietta.

Day Trips at State Parks

Tranquil waters beckon at the Fort Yargo State Park lake and beach. (📷 Liesl Merkel)

Find even more ways to cool off at these state parks, listed with the water adventures available at each place. All have camping, yurt, lodge or cottage accommodations if you’re feeling especially adventurous.  

James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park: fishing pier, boat ramp, two ponds and rentals (jon boat, kayak, canoe and pedal boat), plus a beautiful marble mine trail. 

Unicoi State Park: beach, swimming area, boathouse (pedal boat and canoe rentals) and fishing. 

Fort Yargo State Park: large swimming beach, fishing and rentals (jon boat, kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard and pedal boat), plus a 1792 log fort.  

High Falls State Park: a hiking trail around beautiful, rushing falls, a swimming pool, fishing, rentals on the lake (kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards and aqua cycles).  

Sweetwater Creek State Park: two fishing docks, boat rentals (jon boat, kayak, canoe, paddleboard and aqua cycle), plus the large rocky creek where visitors frequently wade.

Red Top Mountain State Park: sandy beach with swimming, fishing, two boat docks, two boat ramps. 

Fishing is popular at High Falls State Park (📷 Liesl Merkel)

Please check online before visiting for COVID-19 requirements.

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