Step outside and experience nature –there are so many beautiful places for easy hikes near Atlanta. Try these out next time you’re looking for free and cheap fun with the kids. Parking at a state park is $5, but if you check out a Park Pass or a Historic Site Pass from your local library, then parking is free. It’s just like checking out a book. For additional fun ideas, check out our article, 100 Fun Things to Do With Kids in Atlanta.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

About 20 minutes east of downtown Atlanta, this park offers a wooded trail along a stream leading to ruins of the Manchester Textile Mill. Other trails wind through forests, ferns and wild azaleas. 1750 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs.

Red Top Mountain State Park

This park boasts more than 15 miles of wooded trails. Even explore a reconstructed 1860s homestead. In the hot months, pack a bathing suit for the delightful swimming hole at Lake Allatoona. 50 Lodge Rd. SE, Acworth.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

The Kennesaw Mountain Trail is steep with some level terrain that leads to the top of Kennesaw Mountain. It can be rocky at times and is recommended for more advanced hikers. There are also many easier trails and activities at this historic battlefield site. Parking is free. 900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr., Kennesaw.

Panola Mountain State Park

Hikers can explore this National Natural Landmark on their own or make reservations to join park rangers for guided hikes. Panola Mountain also offers a 12-mile paved PATH trail that takes visitors past two lakes, shaded woods and grassy fields. 2620 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Visitors can hike this spectacular canyon along various rim trails. There is also a paved path great for strollers and bikes. 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr., Tallulah Falls.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Have a picnic and take an easy hike to a stunning view of the canyon at the western edge of Lookout Mountain. Free. 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd., Rising Fawn.

Easiest Hikes:

Fernbank Forest. Walk 1.5 miles of paved paths underneath a mixed hardwood forest at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. This is a great trail for beginning hikers. 767 Clifton Road, Atlanta.

Big Trees Forest Preserve. This urban forest has three hiking routes, including a one-mile loop trail beneath white oak trees. Be sure to grab the nature trail guide at the entrance of the forest. Free. 7645 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs.

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