Want to find out about some of the most fun things to do in Gainesville, Ga?
The city of Gainesville is located in northern Georgia’s hall county, roughly 55 miles from Atlanta.
Gainesville, known as the ‘poultry capital of the world and founded in 1821 by European-American settlers, was named after a general who fought against Great Britain during the War of 1812.
Tourism has been a significant economic driver in Gainesville since the 1850s, and that trend has only intensified with the creation of Lake Sidney Lanier.
Gainesville has plenty of sights to see and do, so let’s take a look at the best things to do there during your next vacation.
Things to do in Gainesville Ga
Here are the 23 best and fun things to do in Gainesville, Ga:
1- Quinlan visual arts center
The city’s history and artistic nature are major parts of its identity.
The Quinlan Visual Arts Center, which opened in 1946, is one of the many art hubs in town.
This gallery presents a selection of visual arts and shares them with the public.
At this arts center, you’ll find five galleries.
These galleries host more than seven exhibitions each year.
It contains collections of different forms of artistic media, including photography, painting, and sculpture.
Visit its galleries to be amazed by the talent of artists from all over the region.
2- Northeast Georgia history center
The Northeast Georgia History Center is dedicated to preserving and sharing with the public the history of this part of Georgia.
The historic buildings and artifacts here have a long line of history that stretches back some 11,000 years—a cabin constructed from wood in the eighteenth century was once home to an iconic leader of the Cherokee nation.
The building next to it is a former blacksmith shop, and other areas include Land of Promise, which tells the story of this region’s people from their early days until now.
The Fort Collins Museum of Art is educational for all ages, so take your children with you on this trip through history.
If you’re interested in history, then this is one place that you should visit.
3- Elachee Nature Science Center
Elachee is a Cherokee word meaning New Green Earth, and it aptly reflects the Park’s landscape.
The nature center is a fun place to visit, and it should be on everyone’s list of must-sees when visiting Gainesville.
The Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is located in the Upper Walnut Watershed and contains a nature center.
A great many natural areas have been preserved, including this region of land which will remain forever.
The nature center provides classes in environment and conservation for preschoolers through adults.
Visitors can enjoy walking and hiking trails, which make the park enjoyable for families and friends. Children are not excluded from camping events, making it possible to participate in these even if you’re a child!
4- Smithgall arts center
The Smithgall Arts Center is a non-profit organization recognized as The Arts Council, located in the central zone of Gainesville’s art district.
The art center is known for its leadership in Georgia’s artistic scene and supports around 30 other artists. It provides performances, films, and visual works to a wide audience.
The Council’s art programs include Summer MusicFest, the intimate Jazz series, Movies on the screen, and the Arts Council Pearce series. Independent filmmakers’ works are featured in another festival.
Smithgall art center is a beautiful place in which to hold corporate meetings, weddings, parties, and receptions.
5- City park
The City Park is a great place to spend time with friends, family, or colleagues. The park welcomes furry friends and has lots of fun amenities.
The park includes four tennis courts, a concession building with restrooms and drinking fountains, two baseball fields, and softball fields—each one equipped with its own scoreboard. There are also three pavilions located around the park —two of which have grills available for use by visitors.
The environment is exciting, and it will be a fun place for kids to play.
The park has a limited number of parking spaces, but two additional ones were added to accommodate more cars.
6- Frances meadows aquatic center
The Frances Meadows Aquatic Center is an elegant facility with four indoor swimming pools, including a 10-lane one designed for water sports and competitions. Classes are available in both land and water fitness, as well as family changing rooms.
The center is perfect for holding all kinds of professional gatherings, including business retreats, staff meetings, and seminars.
The Splash Zone features a twisting body slide three stories high, drop buckets, interactive water elements for all ages, a swirl pool, and ample deck space with chairs and umbrellas.
For kids, there are smaller slides and shallow pools. For people who want a shady place to sit, there are seats with umbrella shades scattered throughout the area.
7- Kinsey family farm
The Kinsey Family Farm is a great place for family entertainment. It’s fun for the whole family, and should be high on your list of things to do when visiting Gainesville, GA!
During the fall season, farm visitors are invited to play with animals and fish as they learn about gardening.
While you’re touring the area over winter, engage in seasonal activities like choosing and cutting down a Christmas tree.
After that, visitors can warm up with hot chocolate in the shed. The farm is open to visitors Monday through Saturday.
8- Atlanta botanical gardens
In Gainesville, Georgia, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens has opened a smaller site as an educational resource for locals.
For example, the park offers visitors a chance to learn more about the state’s native plant and animal species by going on short walks in the woodlands.
At the Forest Pond, visitors can admire a scene of natural beauty as they take a break from touring the garden’s visitor center.
Even walking the short pathway from the entrance to the visitor center, you will see a wide variety of plants and other natural wonders.
The Atlantic Botanical Garden was founded in 2015 and is a great place to be if you’re into horticulture. It should definitely be on your list of fun things to do in Gainesville!
The garden offers a splendid outdoor space for gardening and nature lovers. Among its many attractions are lovely displays that create a serene atmosphere.
Kids aren’t excluded from this beautiful garden. There is a Fairyland Trolley that links two fairy villages in the kids’ section—and adults can have lovely strolls along the trails, which are surrounded by natural woodlands.
The trails at the Atlantic Botanical Garden cross through four different types of gardens: Overlook, Stream, Glade, and Woodland. A walk here is one of the best things to do in Gainesville—GA.
9- Piedmont hotel
You may want to check out the Piedmont Hotel, another historic attraction in North Georgia. The museum was built in 1876 and includes exhibits on many of the important people who lived during that time period.
After the war, Lt General James Longstreet converted his mansion into a hotel. He used the building as a base for political operations during his time in Republican politics.
The hotel was a favorite of several famous U.S. figures, including Generals Joseph Johnston and Daniel Sickles, author and editor Henry Grady—and the country’s 28th President Woodrow Wilson.
President Wilson’s daughter was giving birth in the Piedmont hotel on the ground floor.
The hotel houses an archive of photographs and artifacts that tell the history of the building. The environment here is lovely, so it’s well worth a trip when you visit.
10- Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest borders the western and northern edges of Gainesville, Georgia.
Untouched by human interference, it is a primordial forest that stretches for miles up the mountain slopes and over toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The forest is a refuge for native species, including bobcats and black bears. Hikers come from all over to enjoy its beauty.
Besides the 700 kilometers of hiking trails, including the start of the Appalachian Trail, Georgia’s highest point—Brasstown Bald—is located in Chattahoochee National Forest. Anna Ruby Falls tumble down from its towering cliffs.
11- Don Carter State Park
On Lake Lanier, Don Carter State Park is the only state park.
This park is a perfect place to enjoy water sports and hiking. Boat ramps let you access the river, while trails allow for biking or walking around. During hot summer days, guests can relax at the bathhouse.
Georgia Department of Resources employee Don Carter spent twenty-nine years working for the department and was later honored with a park bearing his name.
Besides having fish cleaning stations, docks, boat ramps, and other amenities on-site that make camping here easy and enjoyable—the park also offers many trails for hiking or biking. Visitors have praised the cleanliness of this campground as well as how friendly its staff is.
12- Beulah Rucker museum
The Beulah Rucker Museum has been around since the late 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rooms in this building are well-decorated with recent furnishings, pictures, and artifacts—the perfect place for a family reunion!
The Beulah Tucker Oliver Museum in Mississippi was named after its founder. She was the daughter of two former slaves—Caroline Wiley and Willis Rucker—-and she worked to educate African Americans throughout her lifetime.
The goal of the museum is to help people understand life in this region from an African-American perspective, and it’s the only one like it.
If you enjoy learning about the past, consider adding a visit to Beulah Rucker Museum to your list of things that must be done in Gainesville.
13- Lake Sidney Lanier
The lake that bears his name was created in the 1950s by building a dam on the Chattahoochee River.
The lake is a major tourist attraction because of its beautiful scenery. The beachside and surrounding areas make it one of the most picturesque places in town to visit.
The lake has many benefits for the surrounding area, including flood control and water supply.
The beautiful Lake Tahoe is visited by more than seven million people annually, and its attractions include everything from water sports like rowing, kayaking, and boating to land activities such as fishing.
The lake is famous for its fishing and draws professional anglers from all over the world. Here you can find sixteen freshwater game fish—including striped bass, Lake trout, and largemouth bass. Check out this site for more information about how to catch spotted bass on Irish’s Lake Erie!
There are multiple access points to the lake, including boat ramps and park complexes that can host a huge crowd. The lake also hosted the 1996 Olympic games and is used as a training site for athletes.
14- Solar System Walking Tour
The solar system begins in Gainesville’s downtown Square with the sun at its center.
In addition to a scale model of the solar system, the downtown square is also home to sculptures representing each planet in our galaxy.
The city of Gainesville is a great place to live and raise your family. You can take a walk through one of the parks that run along concrete paths, or you could have fun playing in them with friends!
If you’re a fan of Outer space, this should be a must-see during your stay.
15- Poultry Capital of the World Monument
The Poultry Capital Of the World Monument is a sight not to be missed during your stay in this city.
The Monument was built so that people would slaughter chickens differently. This was accomplished by building a monument high enough to contain a sizeable life chicken on top of it.
The park has only a few parking spaces, but its abundance of benches and landscaped areas make it attractive to visitors.
You can use your camera to take pictures of the lovely park environment and then post them on Instagram.
16- Alta vista cemetery
The Alta Vista Cemetery has a rich history that began in 1872 when the city of Gainesville purchased 9.25 acres from Allen D. Candler to create an area of rest for its citizens—many of who became famous and iconic throughout the city’s history.
Here lie the remains of two former governors of Georgia, an astronaut from NASA, and three soldiers who fought in a revolutionary war; as well as the bodies of two famous songwriters.
Also included are the gravestones of Jesse Jewell, who helped make Gainesville a poultry capital, and two men named after Georgia counties.
We have also preserved the bridge that was built by Mr. Hefner during Reconstruction—158 Civil War veterans died building it —and our circus performer Cremesohnson sawed her leg off with an axe when she got stuck in train tracks here!
James Longstreet, a well-known Confederate General, was appointed to several civil jobs after his residency in Gainesville.
If you’re a historian, visiting this museum will give you an excellent chance to learn about these men and the impact they had on their society.
17- Longwood Park
Longwood Park is a common question asked by people in the Gainesville area.
The park is located across from Gainesville High School on Pearl Nix Parkway. A trip to the park can be a great way to escape work-related stress and relax with friends.
The park contains walking trails that meander along the shoreline of Lake Lanier, a fishing pier with bench swings, and eight tennis courts.
It also boasts a lighted tennis court, two pavilions, grills, and restrooms as well as gazebos.
18- Paradise Rental Boats
If you enjoy boat rides, Paradise rental boats are a must-do when you begin your tour escape in Gainesville.
There are over 70 new rides that you can rent. Prices for these boats are affordable and accessible, so they suit your budget whether you’re with the whole family or not.
There are many types of boats, such as pontoons, wakeboarders, houseboats, and party boats.
Here at Paradise, you can enjoy skiing and swimming or simply relax in the sun. You can also hold birthday parties, company picnics, reunions—or any other family outings here.
For a fun time, add a boat ride to your bucket list of things to do in Gainesville.
19- Oaks Miniature Golf
Oaks Miniature Golf Course features a challenging and fun eighteen-hole course.
The staff at Oaks Miniature Golf can make your next birthday party extra special by decorating the golf course with balloons and giving each child a tiny plastic club to take home with them. This course also offers childcare services and summer camps.
After you finish playing a game of golf, you can cool off with ice cream and drinks and refuel on pizza. Based on reviews, visitors to the course seem to have an exciting experience there—and who doesn’t love affordable prices? Visitors also rave about the beautiful scenery.
20- Chattahoochee Golf Club
The Chattahoochee Golf Club was designed by Robert Trend Jones Sr on the shores of Lake Lanier, and it continues to be one of the best open golf courses in North Georgia.
The Golf Course occupies 183 acres of land, a portion of which was used for agricultural purposes. The course itself is perfectly suited to the needs and abilities of both scratch golfers and amateurs alike.
The facilities of this course include a 1,000-square foot complete service pro shop, Chattahoochee grill restaurant and bar area with burgers, sandwiches & salads; driving range; and practice areas.
In springtime, when the cherry trees are in bloom and the pear trees start to produce fruit, you can play golf at its best.
If you are hungry after playing golf, there is a restaurant close by.
21- Scott’s Downtown
Scott’s Downtown is one of the most popular restaurants in Gainesville. The restaurant serves delicious food and treats its customers like royalty.
They have a good relationship with their customers, providing visitors with an excellent dining experience that includes unique service.
Scott, the restaurant’s owner, personally oversees food preparation and uses ingredients that are locally sourced.
Their food menu features dishes such as Chilean sea Bass and Butter poached lobster, prime Angus Beef, and others.
22- Cool Springs Blueberry Farm
The Cool Springs blueberry farm is a family-friendly destination in Gainesville, Georgia that occupies five acres of land.
The farm hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, including its summer You-Pick blueberry season and parties.
The staff here are friendly and will give you the best welcome ever. The prices for blueberries are nice, too.
The farm also offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as summer camping and movie nights, aside from the blueberry season.
23- Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a destination for boaters and features the region’s only mega boat ramp, which boasts 350′ of length and 1.04 miles in elevation—roughly 20% taller than Niagara Falls.
In addition to the improvements mentioned above, the park was expanded by creating a staging area for fishermen, holding tournaments there, and providing parking for more vehicles.
Furry friends are welcome at the park, but they must be on a leash while you’re there. Pets are not allowed in any of the ball fields, but they can play in some areas specifically designed for them—there’s even a splash pad!
Laurel Park is a popular destination for families and couples looking to make memories on their vacations.
One of the best things to do in Gainesville, GA is visiting Laurel Park.
If you’re planning a vacation with family or friends, the aforementioned places are fun things to do when visiting Gainesville, GA.
Adventures are categorized by difficulty, from exciting excursions to locales that require planning.
The destinations in Gainesville are the perfect places to visit and make your weekend unforgettable.