Spend the night in a tree house next time you road trip near Atlanta – but call ahead because there are only two.
Banning Mills is the place, in a tiny burg named Whitesburg, 45 miles west of Atlanta.
Family cabins and a lodge offer other sleeping options throughout this wooded conservation center. On-site chef available too.
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No climbing up branches to access the tree house but you do need to negotiate a swinging bridge. King bed, jetted tub for two, covered deck overlooking the gorge suggest this is more for romance than full family in the tree house.
Continue the above-the-trees theme on this vacation because Banning Mills claims the largest zip line canopy tour in the world. That means more than nine miles, documented Nov. 17, 2012 by the Guinness Book of World Records.
I zipped a skimpy 1,000 feet at 35 miles per hour, 200 feet over the gorge. You can put together all sorts of packages as an intro to this sport or an extreme aerial adventure for the seriously fit.
$49 gets a two-hour experience over an old growth hardwood forest. Another option–the all-day adrenalin rush includes lunch and 60 zip lines with 42 sky bridges. Good grief.
I’ve been zip lining for years and do believe safety is more assured now than then.
Banning Mills is family owned and Rick Holder brings to these lines credentials as an Army Ranger, special ops and high-element mountaineering – plus he teaches life supporting zip line construction.
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The newest option is the Squirrel Village with a section for four year olds and up; these five zip lines and six aerial elements (bridges, ladders) range from four to 20 feet high.
A separate tier for nine-year-olds and older has four lines and 35 different aerial elements from 15 to 60 feet high. Flying high not for everyone on your road trip? I liked the trails through 80 acres and the Olympic-size swimming pool.
Kayaking on seven and 14 mile treks with a guide are possible, and so is horseback riding. I found much to balance the zip line exhilaration: rocking chairs on many porches, day spa, horseshoes, paddle boats in the catch and release lake.
Watching is all I could manage at the freestanding climbing wall—140 feet up with two rappel walls. Staff assisted only these climb with age 8 the minimum and 60 pounds the lightest.
Carrollton is the city nearby for venturing forth with an active Cultural Arts Center likely to have an exhibit or event, outdoor amphitheater and a lively set of downtown squares so shopping and dining are pleasant.