Outdoor Photo Opportunities in Georgia
Banning Mills in Whitesburg, GA
Studio portraits are nice, but if you can't afford them in today's economy you might be looking for other options. Outdoor locations can be the perfect choice for beautiful scenery, flowers and historical sites, if you know where to look. I've lived in Georgia my whole life and I am often surprised to find new locations that make great pictures. Some of these are well-known and others are hidden treasures.
*Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, GA (Price for Admission $10 Parking Pass - Other activities inside the gate vary in price, but climbing the mountain is free with paid admission) Hike the 825 feet to the top of Stone Mountain or take the Skyride bucket (extra fee) for views of the skyline of Atlanta, Kennestone Mountain and the Appalachian Mountains.
*Tallulah Falls State Park in Tallulah Falls, GA (Permit is free to hike to gorge floor - max 100 per day, so get there early. $5 parking pass in some areas) - The Tallulah State Park is an awesome place to take photos with your family. In the summer, hike down into the beautiful gorge of Tallulah Falls for spectacular views complete with natural rock slides. Tallulah Falls is two miles long with waterfalls, trails, a suspension bridge and gorge overlooks. Not only is this a great place for pictures, it's fun for the whole family. If you plan to hike to the gorge floor, wear proper footwear and obtain a free permit or you'll be kicked out by the park rangers. Also, smaller children may find it difficult to make the hike down and back up, so wait until they're age appropriate, or stay on the trails.
*Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, GA (Hiking trails $4 per person, zipline and other activities vary in price) - Banning Mills is home to one of the largest zip line tours in the world. Located in Carroll County, it's about 40 miles south of Atlanta complete with lodging and RV center. Take their zipline tours, aerial adventure, free fall or hike the trails with your family next to Snake Creek. Hiking trails require little to moderate hiking experience. Whatever your pleasure, take advantage of all of the great photo opportunities Banning Mills has to offer.
*Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA (Free to visit - walking tour prices vary) - You might not think of a cemetery as a place with a lot of photo ops, but hear me out. Oakland Cemetery is a Victorian cemetery with sculptures, botanical garden and a public park. It was restored in 2002 to repair the walkways, monuments and landscaping of this Atlanta landmark. Get a history lesson while you're there and visit the graves of 7,000 Civil War soldiers, Maynard Jackson and Margaret Mitchell. It's open every day of the year, but check their website for guided tour information.
*Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA ($18 per adult, $9 per child general admission/Prices may vary with some additional activities) - Visit Callaway Gardens for their beautiful Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Birds of Prey shows and bicycle trails. There are picturesque views year-round on their many hiking trails, but check out their events calendar for events like the Hot Air Balloon Festival on the beach, Harvest Moon Festival and Santa Village, or wait until spring for 20,000 azaleas and other various blooms.
*Helen, GA - There are so many things to do in Helen, GA, but if you want to fill up your camera with great scenic shots, take the trails. Take a hike up to Anna Ruby Falls ($2 parking pass) with plenty of scenery during the .4 mile hike, plus the beautiful view of the small and high falls. Or, visit the Dukes Creek Falls. This is a more strenuous hike of about a mile to the 300 foot drop in to the Dukes Creek gorge. Take the Unicoi Trails for more gorgeous views for your photo album.
*Savannah, GA - Like Helen, there are many things to do in Savannah as well. This is not a hidden treasure, but it is a treasure nonetheless. This is a list of some of the places to use as the backdrop for your family photos:
*Savannah Waterfront and River Street - monuments, statues and memorial sites
*Bonaventure Cemetery - called the most beautiful cemetery in the world
*Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens (Spring)
*Historic District of Savannah
*Wormsloe State Historic Site - See the road with 400 live oak trees lining the sides of the street with overhanging Spanish Moss.
*Rock City in Lookout Mountain, GA (Adults $18.95/Children $10.95) - Once you check out the photos on Rock City Garden's website you'll see why I listed this as one of the best places for outdoor photos in Georgia. You can see seven states from the highest point. There's no hiking or real climbing involved so it's good for all ages. Their enchanted trail includes natural rock formations and over 400 plant species.
Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn, GA (12 and up $8, 2-11 $7) - While this may not sound like the most picturesque place to take family photos, it sure makes for cute photos. Walk the mile-long trail and watch the deer come right up. Feed all the animals including bears, goats, birds, bunnies and sheep, and snap pictures of your little ones having a great time. They even have their very own groundhog for predicting the change of season. Check out their site for events and information on which animals are available to see each month.