10 Places Outside The Atlanta Perimeter You Must Visit This Summer

10 Places Outside The Atlanta Perimeter You Must Visit This Summer

Just because you're at home doesn't mean you have to be bored.

Summer is finally here!!! With summer comes pool days, late nights with friends, and, yes, that inevitable boredom that makes you (almost, but not quite) wish for school to come back. Not all of us are globetrotting this summer, so if you are bored at home and are looking for something to do that doesn't involve sitting in Atlanta traffic for three hours, don't stress. There are plenty of things to do outside of the perimeter that are still well within driving distance.

1. Tubing in Helen

First of all, Helen itself is a super cute town built to model a Bavarian village, and it offer the best tubing experience in Georgia. You can tube down the river right through the main street of town and look up at people eating lunch! It may get a bit crowded so call ahead before driving up there.

2. Find an Arts Festival

Here is a great list of arts and crafts shows all over the state, and I highly recommend finding one and going. Nowhere else will you find such a unique blend of food, art and (usually) live music to just walk around in, observe and purchase. And talk to the people - they're super cool.

3. Historic Banning Mills

Guinness World Record for longest zipline and biggest freestanding rock climbing wall? Why not! If you're bringing the family, there is a lodge and everything, but this makes just a fun day trip as well.

4. Six Flags Over Georgia/Whitewater

Has there ever been a bad day at an amusement park? Both Six Flags and Whitewater are running ticket and season pass specials all summer, so grab your friends and hop in the car. Just don't forget your water bottles.

5. Chattanooga Riverwalk

Chattanooga is about a two hour drive up I-75 from Atlanta, so it really isn't too far, but the city offers plenty of cute things to do along the riverside, from eating to shopping to just enjoying the view. Drive over the Walnut Street Bridge on your way as well for beautiful views.

6. Berry Picking

Instead of waiting until the apple harvest is ready in October, get your fruit fix now! Strawberry season lasts through June and blueberry season starts in July, and there are many farms available for you to PICK from (get it? haha?).

7. Braves Game

Well, you can officially see the Atlanta Braves as an "outside the perimeter" experience! The new stadium is AMAZING, and tickets are coveted. If the drive over there or any part of it seems too much, don't forget the Gwinnett Braves in Lawrenceville, whose stadium is much smaller and allows for a more personal connection with the players and the game (and fireworks after!).

8. Arabia Mountain

Take the hike to the top to see what honestly looks like the surface of the moon. This heritage area is relatively new, but the area is teeming with cool paths, animals and plant life. Swing around I-285 and stop off at this beautiful escape from city life.

9. Swan Drive-in Movie Theatre

The drive up to Blue Ridge alone could make the list because it is an adventure in and of itself (but a scenic one), but bring some popcorn and blankets and pull up to watch a movie old style!

10. Tanglewood Farms

Who doesn't love baby animals?? Um, nobody. If you want a fun outdoor adventure that, yes, makes you feel like a little kid again but also lets you cuddle puppies, kittens, and baby rabbits, head over to Tanglewood Farms in Canton.

Cover Image Credit: ChooseATL

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Bon Voyage! College Of Charleston Takes You On A Semester At Sea

I recently learned about a super unique and intriguing opportunity offered through the College of Charleston and just had to share!


On Monday, I had the privilege (thanks to the hospitality club) to tour the Spirit of South Carolina which is a 140-foot sailing vessel. Spirit gained its fame after defeating a fleet of British yachts and winning what is now called America's Cup. The ship was built from South Carolina live oak, cypress, and long leaf yellow pine. With the staff's continuous care of the ship, it's always well maintained and looking beautiful. Even if you're not into sailing (like me), touring Spirit was a really cool experience. It was obvious how much hard work is put into the ship.

While on tour, we were told about the studying opportunities offered. I had never even heard of "a semester at sea" but after learning all about the program, I wanted to share it with other C of C student! Spirit is actually supposed to be in the Caribbean right now with CofC students for the marine biology program but the trip was canceled because not enough students had signed up for it.

My prediction is that not enough students signed up for the trip because they are not aware of the option. Each trip has a different destination and most times, you make fun stops along the way! The current trip being planned is for the fall is going to start in Boston and makes its way across the east coast.

What's really cool is that you learn to sail while on the trip, no experience is necessary! There are crew members on board but the students are responsible for learning the process and all the steps to sailing as well. While on board, you're still held accountable for completing all school work. There is usually a professor on board but many students just take online classes.

Certain trips are more major oriented, the trip planned to go to the Caribbean was geared towards marine biology majors. Each trip deals with a different major but all students are always welcome. The trip is student-oriented and the crew of the ship is always open to suggestions.

I thought this was an interesting option for anyone looking to study abroad but doesn't think they can afford it. A semester at sea is more affordable and still full of fun! This opportunity allows you to travel, learn, and experience new things.

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