Summer is the perfect time to take your kids on a day trip to one of these natural swimming holes in North Georgia. Go on a scenic hike, cool off in the water, enjoy a picnic near rapids, and even make a day of it by visiting nearby attractions.
Stay close to home in Marietta, travel just east of Athens, or venture to the foothills of the North Georgia mountains in Blairsville. On your adventure, you may discover stunning 19th-century ruins, massive rocks that double as waterslides, and amazing waterfalls.
Exploring any of these North Georgia swimming holes means you’re sure to beat the summer heat and southern humidity while wowing your kids with hours of playtime in nature.
Check out this list of my top 5 swimming holes in North Georgia and choose one to adventure at with your own family.
Address: 7000 GA-53, Dawsonville, GA 30534
Drive time from downtown Atlanta: 1 hour 11 minutes
Just a couple miles north of the Dawsonville Outlets up Georgia Highway 400, the Edge of the World Trail follows the Amicalola River along a boardwalk to a few great swimming holes. My kids loved exploring these small rapids–and expect to see many other swimmers, sunbathers, tubers, paddlers, and anglers along the waterway. Bring a lifejacket for less confident swimmers and to ease any mom fears.
- Amicalola Falls State Park
- North Georgia Premium Outlets
- Burt’s Pumpkin and Strawberry Farm
- Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch
Address: 650 Watson Mill, Comer, GA 30629
Drive time from Atlanta: 1 hour 42 minutes
Less than 30 minutes east of Athens, Watson Mill Bridge State Park is a hidden gem for outdoor lovers. The park features the longest covered bridge in Georgia (229 feet!) and the most amazing shallow river shoals and rock slides that will entertain your kids for hours. Pack life jackets for little swimmers to give you peace of mind and a picnic to enjoy at the nearby pavilion.
- Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia
- Sandy Creek Nature Center
- North Oconee River Greenway
- World of Wonder Park
Address: US Hwy. 129 S., Blairsville GA 30512
Drive time from Atlanta: 2 hours
If splashing at the base of scenic, peaceful waterfall sounds like your idea of a perfect summer afternoon, add Helton Creek Falls to your family’s must-see list. The short yet steep hike is less than a half-a-mile trek to see both the upper and lower falls. Be sure to check the Forest Service website to ensure the trail is open before venturing out.
Address: 3726 Paper Mill Rd SE, Marietta, GA 30067
Drive time from Atlanta: 25 minutes
Just outside Atlanta, you’ll find the famed Sope Creek Trail, which is the perfect outdoor adventure for families. The 1.5-mile loop trail takes hikers to a section of the Chattahoochee River that’s perfect for wading along the rocky banks. Also, explore the old stone ruins of a paper mill that was destroyed during the civil war.
Address: 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Rd, Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
Drive time from Atlanta: 1 hour 33 minutes
Bridal Veils Falls within Tallulah Gorge State Park is nature’s perfect waterslide for adventurous families. If you’re up for the challenge of a 1.7-mile boulder-laden hike to the gorge floor, you must secure a gorge floor permit. The park’s Interpretive Center offers permits, which are free but limited to 100 per day (and only on days when the dam hasn’t scheduled a release). When you make it to the bottom, your kids will love to experience what is locally referred to as Sliding Rock. Walk up the dry side of the rock to the lowest tier of Bridal Veils Falls to slide down it with all the other adventure-lovers.