Atlanta Day Trips: River Tubing in North Georgia
One of our favorite Atlanta day trips is river tubing in North Georgia. If you live in or around Atlanta and need a place to cool off from the Hotlanta Summers, then "Edge of the World" is the place for you. No more than an hour and a half outside of Atlanta and on the Amicolola Creek, "Edge of the World" is one of many natural water slides and swimming holes located all around Georgia. And you don't even have to use a tube. It has rapids to slide or tube down and calm pools to swim in. Whether you want to swim, slide, or just picnic on a rock and enjoy the natural beauty of this area in North Georgia, "Edge of the World" is for you.
"Edge of the World" is near Dawsanville, GA,an hour away from Helen, and a half hour from Dahlonega. It's one of the best closeby, and cheap Atlanta Day trips, less than an hour and forty five minutes away from downtown.
Directions - Atlanta Day Trips Tubing in North GA:
Take GA 400 North, past the North Georgia Premium Outlets. Turn left onto Route 53 West and go about 6.3 miles. Veer left to stay on Route 53 toward Tate, GA. Go another 6.1 miles and look for a gravel parking lot just before you cross a bridge over the river.
We pulled into the parking lot and easily found the wooden stairs leading down to the Creek. At the bottom of the stairs, turn left and walk along a beautiful forest boardwalk hiking trail by the Amicolola Creek until you reach the river tubing and swimming hole area itself. You can choose your spot anywhere along that boardwalk hiking trail but the best natural water slides are at the end of the boardwalk. Keep walking through an obvious trail in the woods (more difficult terrain than the boardwalk but it's not a far walk to the best rocky area).
Our family was looking for swimming Atlanta day trips for the Fourth of July when we first found "Edge of the World". We expected it would be fairly crowded on a holiday weekend, but it felt all but abandoned to us, with very few people. Ironically, several locals told us that it was much more crowded than usual. We just laughed and enjoyed their version of "crowded" ;-)
Here's my 14-year-old son's take on "Edge of the World":
One of the most exiting parts of "Edge of the World", was sliding down the vast array of rapids and natural water-slides that it had to offer. Some of the rapids were long, some were short. Some were rougher or calmer than the others. Personally I preferred the rougher and longer rapids. Some rapids are more suitable for river tubing and would not be safe to swim down without a tube and others are perfect with or without a tube. Most people there that day did not have tubes, but we were envious of those who had them. Some people in our group skipped the rapids all together and just got in the water at the end of the rapid and enjoyed the lazy river ride around to a calm pool.
I enjoyed a sandwich on a rock, while staring in awe of how it looks like the world ends right on that river. Then I went into the water. Outside of the Rapids, the water was clear and calm and ideal for swimming. After that, I started going down the rapids and natural water-slides that "Edge of the World" had to offer. Some people were using plastic or rubber tubes, but I didn't. It was very fun.
One of the most unusual details about "Edge of the World" is that looking downstream from the swimming and river tubing area, it seems like at one point along the river the world drops off and ends (Hence the name "Edge of the World"). That is until you go down the river to investigate and this seems to not happen anymore. However when you go back, the world still seems to end. This illusion was one of the most interesting things to me about "Edge of the World".
Atlanta Day Trips - Hiking Trails in North GA
There are many North Georgia hiking trails in this area but this particular trail, on the Amicolola Creek, is about as easy hiking as you can find, with the beautifully-crafted wooden boardwalk the entire way. If you can handle the large stairwell down to the creek from the gravel parking lot, you can handle the walk/hike down the river. You can even bring a rolling cooler but, be aware, that you'll have to carry it for the last bit of trail to get to the best rapids. If you're interested in longer or more difficult hiking trails in North Georgia, try the nearby Amicolola Falls. You can do both of these activities in one day or make a great camping/hiking/swimming weekend out of it!
Handicapped but still want to enjoy some moving water?
This North Georgia creek is also very handicap-accessible. If you go a little further along the parking lot you can get to the handicap parking lot. From there, there is a small ramp leading to the boardwalk trail. The boardwalk goes most of the way to our favorite part of the swimming hole itself, the natural water slides, but a handicapped person might want to get into the river upstream from the main area where it's calm and beautiful.
Atlanta Day Trips: Bring Your Water-Loving Dogs
"Edge of the World" is also very dog friendly. The calm pools of water provide good places for both humans and dogs to swim. Your dog will probably enjoy the water as much as you do. Smaller dogs might need more assistance navigating the rocks. Our friends' small pug slid down one and into the water in a spot that was hard to get out of. Just keep an eye on your dog if it's not a great swimmer.
"Edge of the World" is one of the best warm-weather Atlanta day trips for the whole family. Whether you want to swim in pools of calm clear water, slide down rapids and natural water-slides, float down lazy rivers, or have a sandwich while staring at how the world seems to end at the river, "Edge of the World" is the place for you.
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