11 Fun Things to Do in Stone Mountain Park in Georgia
Kathleen Walls, Last Updated 08-20-2023
The small city of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is considered a suburb of Atlanta, but it has a visitor magnet Atlanta cannot outdo: Stone Mountain. One of the seven natural wonders of Georgia, it’s a 650-foot granite monolith rising from the mostly flat landscape of central Georgia.
Stone Mountain Park is one of the most visited places in the state. The mountain, which is the largest piece of exposed granite in the world, is amazing. But what draws around 4 million visitors each year is the world’s largest bas-relief carving in North America.
The park offers much more than the amazing mountain. When you visit Stone Mountain Park, you’ll enjoy rides, shows, shops, boats, dining, lodging and more within its 3,200 acres. These are our favorite things to do in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The Stone Mountain Historical and Environmental Education Center at the foot of the walk-up trail is an introduction to the granite mountain that makes the park such a favorite.
Stone Mountain Park has a museum at Memorial Hall designed to help you learn more about the history of the controversial carving and about how the mountain itself formed. You can watch two videos there.
The Battle for Georgia, a History of the Civil War in Georgia, is about the history of this region and the impact of the Battle of Atlanta on the outcome of the Civil War. The Men Who Carved the Mountain tells the story of the controversial carving of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The park has 15 miles of hiking trails. You can hike a little over a mile on the walk-up trail to the top of Stone Mountain, but I prefer taking the Summit Skyride.
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It’s a treat to watch the view below as you ascend the 825 feet to the top of the mountain. From the outlook on top, you can see the Appalachians in the distance.
I panic on a zipline, but these completely enclosed high-speed Swiss cable cars accommodate a large group, plus there is a knowledgeable driver, so I felt comfortable. It’s one of the most popular Stone Mountain attractions.
SheBuysTravel Tip: After you have explored the mountaintop, there is a building with informational placards and a snack bar.
The Crossroads is a stand-alone attraction. It mixes an 1870s Main Street with some modern twists. At the Sweet Shoppe, I watched candy makers make fudge, taffy, and peanut brittle. I sampled the fudge, then headed for the glass-blowing demonstration at Yellow Daisy Glass and Craft.
If you have little ones along, there is a terrific toy shop here. The Marketplace Gift Shop is a great place to pick up a souvenir.
The marketplace is the heart of The Crossroads. You’ll find any kind of food packed to go here.
There are enough fun things to do at The Crossroads to make a full day of it, including:
Another good way to get a look at lesser-known parts of the park is to take this 30-minute train ride. You board at the Marketplace Depot in The Crossroads. The full-size locomotive from the 1940s travels five miles around the mountain. The cars are all open-air cars, so you can take great photos.
You travel around the mountain and pass through forest and then come to a recreated frontier town, Pebble Ridge, with a bank, trading post, courthouse, and jail. The old rail shop on the right was once a real jail.
Dinosaurs may have been extinct for millions of years, but you will find a variety of these Jurassic-era beasts roaming at Dinosaur Explore in The Crossroads. Enter through the time machine portal and find yourself among more than 20 life-size dinosaurs.
It’s a fun learning experience. There are placards telling about each species. I learned the Parasaurolophus, which had a face that resembled a modern-day duck, could run and forage on just his two back legs, although he normally used all four.
There is even a feeding wall where youngsters who become junior dinosaur rangers can feed baby dinosaurs.
Dinotorium is mostly for youngsters who can learn about dinosaurs while playing interactive games that talk about how many plants it took to feed herbivore dinosaurs, how they adapted to different climates and fun edu-tainment activities about the ancient reptiles.
This is one I didn’t try, but for the more adventurous, Sky Hike offers a course that’s different each time, depending on your choices. Step onto a wooden suspension bridge and try the vertical net bridge.
For really brave souls, try the rope walk. It’s safe since they have tethering ropes to keep you from falling. You can choose to climb a wall where you are also tethered.
This one is like a mini–Sky Hike for the younger crowd. It has a low-ropes course with similar net bridges and the Crooked Creek play area where little ones can have some water fun.
If you need a bit of cooling off, visit Geyser Splash Pad at Crossroads. It’s great for all ages. There’s a ground-level splash pool for youngsters, roped climbing bridge leading to the tower for older kids, shady places to relax for adults and a “geyser” that erupts at irregular times and spews forth lots of cooling water for everyone.
There’s a 4D Theater in Crossroads if you want to sit for about 15 minutes. Its short adventure films are kid-oriented.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Remember, it’s 4D, so if it rains on screen, you will also get wet in the audience.
The mini-golf course is located across the railroad tracks from Crossroads. It’s a full 18 holes with lots of whimsy along the course. You’re trying to get through the course ahead of The Raiders who have taken the locomotive. There’s a water tank, Moon’s Outpost, and lots of bridges to hit the ball across.
Being a history buff, I love The Historic Section. I visited the Antebellum plantation home, the overseer’s home, a farmhouse, schoolhouse, and more. There’s Doctor Chapmon Powell’s Cabin originally built in northeast Atlanta in 1826 and moved here. It served as his home, office, and pharmacy.
You can shop for candy, jams and jellies, pottery, toys, and souvenirs in the 1830s J. J. Maddox General Store. They moved it here from Orange, Georgia.
There’s a century-old Grist Mill near the lake. The mill, built around 1869, was moved here in 1965 from its original location near Ellijay, Georgia. The mill has a traditional waterwheel and retains its old feel. It sits on a creek, and you cross a wood bridge to access it.
The historic Covered Bridge was built in 1891 in Athens, Georgia, by African American bridge builder, Washington W. King. Stone Mountain Park purchased and moved it here in 1965. It is one of only four remaining bridges built by Mr. King. You can walk across it to a small island in Stone Mountain Lake.
I spotted a few people fishing when I was out on the 363-acre lake with my kayak. They have canoes or stand-up paddleboards for rent, as well. The boat ramp is at the southern end of the lake near the dam and Evergreen Hotel. Only small motorboats and hand-powered ones are allowed on the lake.
At dusk, I headed back to the museum lawn for a good seat for the Lasershow Spectacular. Those magnificent colors against the background of the mountainside are spectacular. The 40-minute show is choreographed to music. It ends with a spectacular fireworks display. Music Across America Drone & Light Show runs nightly all summer.
There are two hotels inside the park, the Atlanta Evergreen Lakeside Resort and The Inn at Stone Mountain Park.
Stone Mountain also is home to Georgia’s largest campground with more than 400 RV, pop-up, and tent sites. Or you can rent a yurt, safari tent, or RV.
You’ve got lots of dining choices. If you’re hungry for Southern cooking, try Campfire Smokehouse, Base Camp BBQ, or Big Rock Café. If you just want a quick meal, head to Waterside Restaurant for salads, sandwiches, and burgers. For an upscale meal, there’s The Commons Restaurant. There are lots of snacks, sweets, and drink spots around the park.
Stone Mountain Park, located at 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083, is open daily, 5am to midnight year-round. It hosts festivals throughout the year, including the Yellow Daisy Festival, Pumpkin Festival and others.
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