Ah, the beach – sand, sun, water – right here in metro Atlanta. Relax on the shore without the five-hour drive.

Acworth Beach

As the camp director of this household, one of my go-to activities year after year is a day out at Acworth Beach.  You’ll find long wide stretches of sandy white beach, so even on the busiest of days, you can still get a spot to sun and swim. If the kiddos are still excited after a day at the Beach, adjacent to the beach itself are two well-equipped playground areas, a volleyball net, and boating and fishing options. Acworth Beach at Cauble Park is definitely a boredom-buster for the dog days of summer.

– Melissa Williams

The Details

Acworth Beach at Cauble Park
4425 Beach St. NW, Acworth. 770-917-1234. acworth.com/attractions/acworth-beach
Hours: Cauble Park is open year-round, but Acworth Beach opens the last Saturday of April and closes on Labor Day. The beach is open until dusk; park is open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
Know Before You Go: Ample beach parking is free Monday through Friday and $10 per car for non-Acworth residents on weekends, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Bring your own beach accessories such as towels, chairs, umbrellas and sand pails. Picnic baskets and non-alcoholic beverages allowed in plastic containers; no food available for purchase on-site but restaurants are within a short drive. Public restrooms and picnic tables available.

Margaritaville at Lake Lanier

Not being a short drive from the Georgia coast can be a bummer in summertime, so we loaded up the SUV to explore a great substitute, Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. Sara, age 11, was excited to just relax on the beach while Alexander, age 9, and the adults were ready to explore. This beach has the best of three worlds; a beach, a lake and a waterpark. A large stretch of beach is set aside for volleyball and more, and parents will find a lifeguarded section reassuring.

The Wibit is a newly expanded floating playground right off the beach. Both adults and kids will challenge themselves on it and will be ready to rest in a beach chair afterward. We brought some beach toys to play with and will definitely bring a football or Frisbee to throw around next time.

We copied another family and had some sand-filled fun covering Alexander in the sand. Then we tested nine fun water slides – our favorites were the new Cat 4 and Fin Dunker. The Fun Zone has lots of mini slides and splash areas perfect for young children.

– Jordan Lisvosky

The Details

Margaritaville at Lanier Islands
7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy., Buford
770-945-8787; lanierislands.com
Adults and children over 48 inches tall, $45.99; under 48 inches,  $31.99; younger than age  2, free.  Parking: $15.
Summer Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Know Before You Go: Outside dry snacks and water are allowed, but coolers are not. Food and drinks are available for purchase at several restaurants on the boardwalk and throughout the park. Two restrooms are on site, one directly behind the beach and one in the Family Fun area near the wave pool. You can bring your own towels, chairs and umbrellas, but beach chairs are provided free of charge on a first-come  basis.

Clayton County’s ‘The Beach’

Our son Sidney was excited and ready to play, but showers temporarily had closed “The Beach.” No matter – he was content in the indoor playground until the skies cleared for a great day in the sand. My husband and I sat under a shaded table and ate lunch, from the on-site concession stand that serves Sonny’s BBQ, while our son played with his sand pail.

Then we gravitated to the Kiddie Pool, which has basketball hoops, small slides, water features and water cannons. Sidney primarily played basketball, but enjoyed sliding and splashing around in the pool, too. Afterwards, we headed back to the beach and my husband and son waded through the beach water, among the crowd, to get to the other side. They both gave me a huge wave after they made it. For their final beach activity, they raced each other back to me.

As we walked back to the car, our son talked about how much fun he had. Days later, he’s still eager to go back to the beach!
– Ayanna Hawkins

The Details

Clayton County International Park
“The Beach”
2300 Hwy 138 SE, Jonesboro
770-603-4165; claytonparks.com
Cost: Adults, $11; ages 3-12, $9; age 2 and younger, free. Season passes for adults $50; children $40; family of three, $125; non-Clayton County residents subject to an additional fee.
Hours: Open Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day; Wed.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 1 p.m.-7 p.m.; closed Mon.-Tues.
Know Before You Go: Large water slides are for children and adults 4 feet tall or taller; no outside food or alcohol but non-alcoholic beverages in plastic containers allowed; no glass containers; no pets allowed. Parking is free. Party rooms and pavilions available for rent; picnic tables and cabanas for use on first-come basis; bicycle rentals and a fitness center on-site; dressing rooms in the main building; indoor playground to wait out showers. Bring your own or rent beach chairs, umbrellas and floats.

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