If you are in the Atlanta Georgia area, a stop over at Stone Mountain is an absolute for a day or a week of fun. We discovered the Stone Mountain Campground, planned to stay one night, and extended our stay much longer than that! With 440 campsites, Stone Mountain Lake and Campground has full hookups, pull-throughs, tent sites, large and clean restrooms and showers, and hiking trails and is open year-round. There is a wide grassy field for play beside a huge picnic pavilion, where you’ll find people gathered around a large screen TV or checking e-mail on high speed Internet while enjoying free donuts and coffee. You can purchase an all inclusive ticket for park and rides for one day, or if you are camping there you get second day free.
We have been RV campers for many years, and we found this to be one of the most beautiful and best-managed campgrounds we ever discovered Stone Mountain was carved by stone masons working for many years and didn’t complete the work until 1973, partly because the work had to stop during World War II. The carvings, which are similar in concept to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, feature heroes of the South in the Civil War: Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Stonewall Jackson, all seated on their horses. The figures are huge and are carved into the side of Stone Mountain, which is the largest exposed rock on earth.
Granite is also one of the hardest stones, so the difficulty of carving these huge figures is incomprehensible today, since stone carving is almost a lost art. There was a 50 year contract for every post office in the US built during that time to use granite from Stone Mountain. The stone Quarry no longer operates but is interesting to visit with informative displays showing how stone was quarried and used all over the US.
In addition to seeing the marvelous mountain and the amazing carvings, you can enjoy many, many things to do in Stone Mountain Park.
There is an old railroad which circles the base of the mountain and is fun especially for little children, with the silly show which is at the midway stopping point of the ride, where you can see the original engines. This was one of the first railroads ever constructed in the United States.
Visit the Old Grist Mill with the miller’s wheel for wonderful photos. Here you’ll also find beautiful hiking trails through the woods and beside the lake. Or you can get a lift to the Memorial Hall and walk up the trail to the top of Stone Mountain if you are very fit. Most people choose to go up on the Skylift instead. It is a fun gondola ride to the top where you can see for miles around.
One of the adults’ favorite activities and also informative and appealing to lots of children is the visit to the Antebellum Plantation. The farm replicates and demonstrates plantations of the Old South before the Civil War. In 1961 the nineteen buildings were moved here from various places in Georgia and set up as if it were one plantation. The 1840 Dickey House is beautifully furnished with period antiques, which are named and identified as to style etc, something most museum houses do not feature.
Although Ride the Ducks is a separate ticket, it is an experience NOT to be missed. It is so much fun because of the wonderful driver and his hilarious monologue and entertaining way. You’ll ride the amazing vehicle invented for the Normandy Invation of World War II which travels on land and then dives into the water, without getting you wet, for a fun boat ride, then back onto land.
At Crossroads you’ll find shops and restaurants to appeal to anyone’s tastes. There are demonstrations of many old crafts such as glass blowing and candle making. Each night behind CrossRoads is a free lazer light show, but be forewarned: if you have eye sensitivity to light or macular problems, this is NOT for you. Teens particularly enjoy the show because it features loud music. The lazer lights are displayed like a cartoon movie across the stone face of the mountain and many fireworks light up the night sky. Bring lawn chairs or blankets, flashlights, and use mosquito protection.
River Boat rides on the historic paddlewheel historic boats across the lake are fun and relaxing and a good way for elderly or the infirm to see the area, as well. If you are eager to learn to kayak, this is the place to get lessons on the lovely Stone Mountain Lake, or you can rent other types of boats. Lake swimming is not allowed, but the pool on the main entrance green is large, clean, and inviting.
If you are not a camper, you are certainly not left out. There are two gorgeous places for you to stay: the Marriott Hotel or Stone Mountain Inn, also operated by Marriott. There are several exquisite golf courses to keep golfers challenged. Stone Mountain is also the perfect place for your business or group meetings or weddings and reunions, and there is a full service conference center.