Atlanta Adventures: Outdoor Activities

By: Aaron Blakney – 1st Year – Environmental Health  

So….you’ve officially accepted your offer to Rollins, you’ve either started or have already signed a lease, and you’re getting ready to move on down to the ATL (protip: locals HATE IT when you call it Hotlanta, something I figured out the hard way…). Being from the northeast, I didn’t really know what type of activities people do for fun on the weekends, and I wanted to get a chance to get out of the academic environment to both recharge and connect with people outside of school. So, here are a few things that I got involved with when I moved down to Atlanta, and how I choose to spend most of my free time outside of school:

Hiking

image2Something that I was pretty surprised about when I moved to Atlanta was the amount of outdoor recreation opportunities that are within a reasonable driving distance. One of the best hiking spots I go to is in the Chattahoochee National Forests, which is a huge expanse of natural wilderness that starts about an hour twenty minutes north of Atlanta. This is where the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail starts, and my friends and I have checked out numerous hiking trails, including Amicalola Falls State Park (picture on left) and Blood Mountain. Another excellent hiking place that is a little closer to Emory is Sweet Water Creek State Park, which features a ton of hiking opportunities next to water and in the forest. Needless to say, if you’re someone like me who likes to be active on the weekends in the outdoors, there are quite a few places that are perfect for day trips.

Running

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I know running isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but it’s great for stress relief and helps keep me in shape during the school year. One of the things I immediately got involved with when I moved here was the Atlanta Track Club, which has a ton of events and races throughout the year that allows you to meet other like-minded runners (not to mention the discounted/free beers that are often included in their brewery weekly runs!).Everything from a one mile dash all the way up to a full marathon are quite popular in Atlanta, so if running is your thing, Atlanta is the place to be. The picture on the right is some of the scenery you can see on Piedmont Park’s running trail.

Kayaking/Other Watersports

Acworth-kayak-2Growing up on the Great Lakes made me love to be on the water, and Atlanta has a ton of opportunities for that too! Lake Lanier is just a short drive away, and it is one of the largest man-made lakes in the entire United States. There are a ton of watersports that go on here on a weekly basis, and many Rollins students enjoy going up to the Lake in the fall to swim and chill by the lake.  If you are someone who craves the ocean, Savannah is a popular weekend getaway for Rollins students—especially for those of us who didn’t grow up in Georgia.

 

Needless to say, there are a ton of opportunities to be active in Georgia and get out of the stress of graduate school. Even though the weather can be a bit unpredictable at times, it is awesome to have so many natural amenities close to Emory and Atlanta.