- Helena Oliviero The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday, with many water parks and pools saying goodbye to the warmest season of the year after the long weekend.
Why not is right.
LanierWorld has decided to extend its summer season this year — by a month. The water park will remain open every weekend through Oct. 1.
Here’s a look at five places in Atlanta or close by where families can continue to swim and enjoy water, with most remaining open well beyond the official end of summer (which is Sept. 22).
With over a dozen adventure rides, slides and attractions including an enormous wave pool, families have lots of fun choices at LanierWorld. Also enjoy a half mile of white, sandy beach along the shores of Lake Lanier.
LanierWorld will remain open every weekend through Oct. 1. The water park is also open Labor Day.
Note on pricing at LanierWorld: The regular rate for LanierWorld is $41.99 per person until Sept. 5. Starting on weekends beginning Sept. 9, the price drops in half to $21.50 per person (1/2 price). This discounted price runs through Oct. 1.
7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy, Buford. 678-304-3120. www.lanierislands.com/lanierworld
On the northern edge of Atlanta, Don Carter State Park is positioned right where the Chattahoochee River meets Lake Lanier. Georgia’s newest state park and the first state park on Lake Lanier, one of its big draws is a large sand swimming beach and bath house. This is a great beach for day trips — you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards or cool off in the water after hiking or biking Don Carter’s multi-use trail through a hardwood forest. Overnights are another possibility at the park’s cabins, RV campground or primitive camping area. $5 parking fee. Don Carter remains open throughout the year with many swimmers enjoying the water well into October. An upcoming event worth considering is the Lake Lanier Flotilla Race, 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 (Make your own raft in advance, gather your friends and family, then join this fun race on Lake Lanier. Rafts can be powered by poles, paddles, wind or creative “people power.” Life jackets and shoes required. Register in advance. Teams of 3-8 people. Scouts pay half price and earn a badge. Ages 10 and older. Chick-Fil-A lunch included) $10 per person; $5 parking; Event phone to reserve your spot in the race: 678-450-7726.
5000 N. Browning Bridge Rd., Gainesville. Hours: daily, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. 678-450-7726.
Winder is convenient to both Atlanta and Athens. The large swimming beach at Fort Yargo runs along a 260-acre lake where you can also kayak or canoe. It’s a nice spot for large groups with picnic or group shelters for rent, and wedding planners should note its beach pavilion that seats 150. $5 parking fee. Note: Fort Yargo is also open all year but no boat rentals after Labor Day weekend. $5 parking; Park Hours: daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m; 210 S Broad Street, Winder; 770-867-3489;
This water park is open weekends (and Labor Day) through Sept. 24. From a watery play zone just for the smallest kids with fountains and plenty of shallow water to the Caribbean Plunge, which takes you on the fastest drop in the entire park (50 feet in three seconds flat) Six Flags White Water offers a bevy of water fun rides. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends and Labor Day through Sept. 24. $45.99; $40.99 for children under 48 inches. (discounted tickets available online). Six Flags White Water. 250 Cobb Pkwy N. #100, Marietta. 770-590-4067. www.sixflags.com/whitewater
College kids and young families converge at Emory University’s Outdoor Pools, home to an Olympic-sized pool with 12 lap lanes, a shallow end (that fills up with little ones and their parents) and two 1-meter diving boards. And this fabulous pool (heated during October to maintain a requisite minimum temperature of 78 degrees) remains open until Nov. 1.
There are also a teaching pool and a kiddie pool. You can buy a 14-visit guest pass that, along with the pools, also gives you access to eight tennis courts (including two clay), an outdoor sand volleyball pit, indoor and outdoor basketball, a fully equipped fitness center, locker rooms and a cafe. There are also two outdoor terraces, a grill, and plenty of seating and shade with sky blue umbrellas and chairs. Tip for planning ahead: The visitor center parking is free on the weekends and during the week after 4 p.m.
$120 for a 14-visit guest pass that never expires. Kids 2 and under are free. (Emory faculty/staff and affiliates/alumni can get passes/memberships at a significant discount.). Summer facility hours through Labor Day: 10 a.m-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; noon-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Hours after Labor Day and through Nov. 1: 12 noon-8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC), saac.emory.edu. 1946 Starvine Way, Decatur. 404-712-2430