We are pretty sure no one was sad to see the door slam on 2020, and with the pent-up demand for travel and exploring the great outdoors, we are looking forward to a stronger 2021, with summer just around the corner.
From the hardy adventurer to the passive observer of nature, whether traveling solo or with a pack of kids, you can find outdoor activities and attractions for all ages (and skill levels) in Gwinnett. A few of our favorites, some of them old, and some – soon to open!
If you’re on a budget, look no further than our award-winning Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation facilities. There are dozens of reasons why they are consistently named the number one Parks and Recreation facilities in the Southeast – including hiking, biking, disc golf, equestrian trails, sports fields, tennis facilities, pickleball, bocce ball and more. Another favorite for an affordable day – spending the day at one of GCPR’s extraordinary Aquatic Centers. These are not your average pools. They are full of water features, bubble benches, giant slides and even lazy rivers. Check out the Aquatic Centers at Bogan Park, Best Friend Park, Bethesda Park, Collins Hill, Rhodes Jordan and West Gwinnett at www.gwinnettparks.com for hours/admission.
If zipping through the trees is your idea of fun (or, maybe just watching your kids do it), spend a summer day at Treetop Quest in Buford, located on the campus of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (also recommended). Whether you are an apprehensive or experienced zipliner, they have an adventure for both the novice and the bold, the young and the old. Don’t miss their “bonus” adventure, Spider Quest, a harness-free course above a giant safety net!
Summer 2021 will also bring two new attractions to Gwinnett, both located near the Mall of Georgia. The new TopGolf, part of the Exchange at Gwinnett development in Buford, is expected to be a red-hot draw. Ideal for corporate travelers and team building or just a great way to spend the day (or night!) on the driving range. TopGolf will open in May, offering 72 climate-controlled hitting bays, a full-service restaurant and bar, a rooftop terrace with a fire pit and over 200 HDTVs for your enjoyment.
If you have more of a need for speed, then head over to Andretti Entertainment Center, also opening in May 2021 at The Exchange. It is a full day of adventure and speed, with a two-level laser tag Arena, dark ride motion theatre, high-speed electric karting, CXC racing simulator, full-service restaurant, bar and more.
If spending time on the water is your wish, then plan to spend your day wiling your way down the Chattahoochee on a tube or kayak. With single tube pricing starting at $10, there are few more budget-friendly and adventurous ways to spend the day. Chattahoochee River Tubing, located on Abbotts Bridge Road in Duluth, will take single tubers, group tubers, kayakers and paddle boarders down the busy Chattahoochee (also re-opening for the season in May). Visit rivertubing.com for schedules/reservations.
One of our newest kid-friendly attractions has also been around the longest. The Yellow River Game Ranch, a long-time Gwinnett County attraction, closed a few years back. After extensive renovation, re-investment and a new vision, it has re-opened as the Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary. Now “officially” a wildlife sanctuary, YRWS is a wonderful, hands-on way to introduce young children to wildlife or explore the natural habitats of animals, including albino wallabies, fallow deer, ring-tailed lemurs, alpacas, peacocks, black bears and Yellow River’s original bison herd. There is a bunny petting zoo for the little ones. Kids can use their water-powered flume to gem mine for emeralds, rubies, topaz and more.
Visit www.exploregwinnett.org for more details. We highly recommend buying tickets for all attractions in advance and online to ensure availability.