Things to Do for Free in Atlanta at Stone Mountain Park
Atlanta is home to endless fun, but a lot of it comes at a cost. Whether you’re looking for an entire day of fun or just a meal out at a restaurant, the expenses can quickly add up. In fact, things to do for free in Atlanta can be hard to come by.
Thankfully, at Stone Mountain Park, you can see and do numerous activities for free. Once you’re inside the park, adventure awaits! Below are our favorite free activities to do inside the park.
History & Nature
Hiking, Biking, and Walking Trails
Embedded in the 3,200-acre greenery are the park’s many nature trails. Whether you want to walk, jog, or bike, there are many trails to choose from. These diverse trails differ by terrain, length, and difficulty, so there’s something for everyone!
One of the most-loved hiking trails at Stone Mountain Park is the 1.1-mile journey up to the top of the mountain. If you don’t take in Atlanta’s views on this historic landmark, did you even go to Stone Mountain? Try to make the trek either early in the morning or right around dusk for an Instagram-worthy sunrise or sunset, and to beat the heat during the warm Georgia summers.
If you’re looking for a less intense hike, consider taking a leisurely stroll around the mountain. Follow the 5-mile Cherokee Loop Trail to explore the park’s stunning oak-hickory woodland and lake views.
Songbird Habitat and Nature Trail
Created for the 1996 Olympics archery and cycling competition, the Songbird Habitat and Nature Trail is now home to a variety of songbirds. This area is located on the backside of the mountain and consists of two separate 1-mile trails: the Field Trail and the Woods Trail. For no cost at all, not only can you see a spot used for the 1996 Olympics, but you can also learn about numerous birds and hike through beautiful woodlands.
Fishing on Stone Mountain Lake
Bring your own boat or find a seat dockside on the park’s 323-acre lake. Five types of fish call this lake home, so cast a line and wait for the perfect catch.
As the largest lake in the park, it spans nearly half the mountain and even has islands dispersed throughout. As you cruise through the lake, you’ll love spotting historic sites like the 732-bell Carillon and the century-old Grist Mill – all for free. You’ll also get some killer views of the mountain and surrounding area that are only accessible from the water.
Become a local history buff for free by touring the park with the SMP Historic Pass app. You can listen to the audio clips and drive around to the various sites discussed for a self-guided tour.
If you don’t want a guided experience, you can visit The Historical and Environmental Educational Center. You’ll learn fascinating facts about geology, ecology, and the park’s history. With interactive exhibits, classrooms, and a small theater, the 5,400 square foot Center brings education to life all at no cost.
Plan a homeschool field trip or educational activity for the kids this year to educate them on the rich history of the mountain and the importance of historical preservation.
Sightsee Historic Landmarks
Stone Mountain Park has multiple historic landmarks you can visit and read about for free.
- The Grist Mill | Built in the 1800s, this century-old mill was relocated in 1965 from its original home in Ellijay, Georgia. You can park right across from the attraction, then walk around it to learn more.
- Carillon | Each day, this 732-bell carillon plays a beautiful concert for all of the park to hear. It was showcased at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, and then donated to the park by Coca-Cola. For over 30 years, Mabel Sharp has played this stunning and ginormous instrument for the park. You’ll find convenient parking near this landmark so you can walk right up to it.
- Quarry Exhibit | Did you know that almost every U.S. state has a building made from granite that came from Stone Mountain? You’ll learn facts like this at this exhibit that uncovers the captivating history of the granite industry and its role in creating Stone Mountain.
- Washington W. King Bridge | Built in 1891, this historic bridge was actually constructed in Athens, Georgia. It originally connected College Street to downtown Athens, going over the Oconee River. In 1965, it was carefully de-constructed and re-built at the park.
These are just a few facts about each of the historic landmarks that are dispersed throughout the park. You’ll have to visit each of them to learn more about their fascinating history, but thankfully you won’t have to pay anything for these fun things to do for free in Atlanta!
Want to have a memorable meal without spending a pretty penny? Pack up a picnic from home and then find one of the many lakeside picnic tables for a meal to remember. Public grills, tables, and restrooms are all available to make your outing more enjoyable.
The Children’s Playground
Looking for a free children’s play area? Stone Mountain Park has its very own, recently upgraded playground for kids of all ages. Between the pavilions, restrooms, picnic tables, and of course new play equipment, this is the perfect spot to take the kids for an afternoon of fun that doesn’t cost a dime.
If you have kids ranging in age, you can let them play in their own designated spaces; there are separate playgrounds for older and younger children. You’ll find slides, rock walls, a mini ropes course, and more at the Children’s Playground at Stone Mountain Park.
Free Things To Do In Atlanta For Kids
All of the things to do for free in Atlanta that are mentioned here are kid-friendly. However, if you want a more specific list catering specifically for families with toddlers, check out our blog for a number of kid-specific events, attractions, and activities located within the park.
Yellow Daisy Festival
Mark your calendar for the weekend after Labor Day. You can “shop ‘til you drop” at the annual Yellow Daisy Festival – named by Sunshine Artist Magazine as one of the nation’s top arts & crafts shows!
This award-winning festival draws in hundreds of artists, crafters, jewelers, woodworkers, musicians, and more. The best part is that the festival is free with a parking pass! However, you’ll want to bring your cash or plastic because you’re sure to walk away with dozens of one-of-a-kind gifts and items. The event starts every day at 9:00 AM, and closes at 5:00 PM daily.
At Stone Mountain Park, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money to have a memorable experience! Use this list as a bucket list of things to do in Atlanta for free and get ready to check off your list during your next visit to Georgia’s most-visited attraction!