Free Stuff – ATL
Okay, if you haven’t discovered this by now, we might as well clue you in on something you’re just going to have to learn to accept: Atlanta can be an expensive place to live.
Not just housing and food and parking tickets and stuff like that, but even just going out to have a little fun. It’s not all bad, though. We’re always looking for things you can do for free (or almost free), and when we find something, we share it here.
And these are just a few of the things going on – there are lots more out there. So check out some of these free (and close to free) things to do and then let us know what else you discover out there so we can add them to the list.
Beaches: We'd be lying to you if we said that there are beaches in Atlanta to compete with sunny Southern California. But when you just need some sand, sun, and swimming, there are some places within driving distance. See this list.
Biking: For a full list of every biking trail in the Atlanta area, check out this site.
Dog Parks: See a list of the off-leash dog-friendly parks.
Hiking: For a full list of every hiking trail in the entire Atlanta area, including information on distance, difficulty, and terrain, take a look at Atlanta Trails.
Parks: There are a lot of parks and gardens available in the Atlanta area, so check out here to learn more.
Looking for free concerts, screenings, and performances? Of course you are. Check out this calendar!
Sometimes it's good to just get in the car and drive... Maybe soak up a little of the beautiful scenery. Need some options for a road trip? Here you go...
South Fulton Scenic Byway
Here you're going to see historic communities and farmhouses, hills, forests, pastures, the Chattahoochee River, and Cochran Mill Park, which has 18 miles of multiple-use trails for hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and trail runners. (29 miles)
Cohutta Chattahoochee Scenic Byway
Here you're going to find some truly amazing scenery of the Cohutta Mountains as you travel up State Route 52 for beautiful views of Chatsworth, Fort Mountain State Park, Prater’s Mill Site, and the Chattahoochee National Forest. (54 miles)
Historic Piedmont Scenic Byway
Following several state highways to see the natural beauty of the Piedmont with the Oconee National Forest, a 60-acre forest with 1.5 miles of trails, the Oconee River and the Ogeechee River. (82 miles)
Meriwether Pike Scenic Byway
This scenic byway travels from Gay to Warm Springs to celebrate the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would travel to Georgia in the early parts of the 20th century to improve his polio-stricken legs. Tour the Little White House, a state historic site, which was built by FDR. (55 miles)
Monticello Crossroads Scenic Byway
Running through Jasper County and following State Highways 11 and 83, this drive features the rural and historic parts of the area, such as the Seven Island Stage Coach Road that ran from Augusta to New Orleans and the Natchez Trace. Drop by the 6,400-acre Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center for public fishing and beautiful woods. (29 miles)
Ridge & Valley Scenic Byway
Experience the varied terrain of northwest Georgia with this drive with mountain overlooks, farmlands, wildlife, farmhouses and the history of the Cherokee Indian Nation. If you've got the time, enjoy Keown Falls Scenic Area for a hike atop Johns Mountain. (51 miles)
Russell Brasstown Scenic Byway
This scenic byway includes the Bavarian-themed town of Helen, Wildlife Management Areas, the Chattahoochee River and a section of the Appalachian Trail – not to mention Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, rising 4,784 feet above sea level. (41 miles)
Scenic Highway 197
This route displays the mountains and lakes of northeast Georgia with views of Lake Burton, Lake Rabun, Lake Seed and Alpine Helen. Along the way, you can find fine dining, go trout fishing, shop for regional arts and crafts, see flowers and native plants and more. (33 miles)
Georgia Mountain Parkway
Enjoy the views of the North Georgia Mountains from Gilmer, Fannin, Union and Towns Counties, along with outdoor activities and gorgeous scenery. Includes the North Georgia Farm Trail, with access to arts and crafts, farm foods, farm-to-table dining, farmers markets, lodging, history, and heritage and more. (76 miles)
Longer Road Trips
Blue Ridge Parkway
Spanning the southern and central Appalachians, this gorgeous parkway has overlooks, outdoor adventures, wildflowers, waterfalls and more. See Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in the eastern U.S.; New River, the oldest river in North America; Linville Gorge, the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon; and Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. Check out the site’s interactive map for drive times and places to spend the night.
Starting Point: Cherokee, North Carolina
Drive: 469 miles
Southern Highroads Trail
This scenic route covers 13 counties in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee with antique shops, arts, entertainment, dining, lodging, outdoor activities and more. Attractions and stops include Dry Falls in North Carolina and Lake Jocassee and Licklog and Pigpen Falls in South Carolina.
Starting Point: Alto, Georgia or Ellijay, Georgia
Drive: 364 miles
Most of these require you to pay for the food & drink, but you can get in for free or a small entry fee.)
Dekalb Farmers Market (free to attend)