From late November to late February, Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia, is transformed into a winter wonderland called Snow Mountain. For those of us in the Southern United States and other areas of the world that get little to no snow, a visit to Snow Mountain provides an affordable way to get a taste of some winter activities, such as tubing, throwing snowballs, and building snow castles and snowmen.
Snow Mountain offers a 400-foot tubing hill with two moving sidewalks to carry you to the top. There are single tubes and double tubes on the Tube Runners section of the hill and family tubes that fit up to 8 riders at a time on Avalanche Alley.
Single tubes require a minimum height of 42 inches tall. Double tubes and family tubes have a minimum height requirement of 36 inches. Tubing is offered in two-hour sessions, unless you buy the premium-priced all-access ticket. Advanced reservations are highly recommended.
Galactic Snow Tubing
This is a totally unique snow tubing experience that begins at 5:30 pm. It features high energy, contemporary music and high-powered LED lights that change color to the beat. Multi-colored laser beams also sweep overhead. To experience Galactic Snow Tubing, your reserved two-hour snow tubing session must cross past 5:30 pm.
Near the tubing hill is The Snow Zone play area, where snow machines constantly spray fresh snow. There are small tubing runs for very young children, as well as a snowball shooting gallery. In Snowman Valley, check out the closet full of all types of tools and accessories to build the perfect snowman or snow castle.
Tips to Know Before You Go
Buy Tickets in Advance
The line at the ticket window can get long and move very slowly. Buy your Snow Mountain tickets and Stone Mountain Park parking pass in advance to bypass the line. Children two and under get in free.
Check for Discounts
Check around for discounted tickets to save a bit of money. The Stone Mountain Park web site has a Special Offers page where discounted tickets are sometimes offered. Also, check Groupon as they frequently offer two-for-one tickets or other discounts. Gas South customers are sometimes offered discounted tickets as well.
If you want to beat the crowds on the tubing hill, book the earliest tubing session available. The first half hour will have the least number of riders.
Dress for Comfort
Wear waterproof pants and shoes, if you have them. If you’re planning to play in the Snow Zone, you may want to bring waterproof gloves, especially if it’s a really cold day, or for little ones who aren’t used to playing in the snow. You’ll probably also want to wear sunglasses on a bright day to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun bouncing off the white snow. If you don’t have waterproof clothing, I recommend bringing a change of clothes with you, just in case you or your kids get soaked. You can leave the change of clothes in the car or in one of the lockers on-site.
Store Your Gear
There are lockers available to rent near the Funnel Cake building. They cost $10 each ($5 deposit + $5 rental). When you return the key, you can get your deposit back if you have your receipt.
If you’ve brought a bag or other personal items with you, you’ll want to store them before experiencing the tubing hill, so you don’t lose anything. We only carried our cell phones with us to take photos, which were easily tucked way during each ride. However, you can also just store your personal items in your car and go back out to the parking lot to get them once your tubing session is over. If you’ve arrived early as recommended, then you likely snagged a great parking spot right by the entrance, which makes this option more convenient!
Don’t Buy Your Lunch or Dinner at Snow Mountain
The food available at Snow Mountain is just awful. I hate to say it, but it’s true! It’s overpriced and very poor quality. You have two other options. If you’re on a budget or short on time, I recommend packing your meal and bringing it with you. If you store the cooler in your car, you can leave the Snow Mountain area at mealtime and eat in your vehicle or at one of the nearby picnic tables. Or, you can do what we did, and leave the park for a little while to try out one of the local area restaurants. Your Stone Mountain Park parking pass is good for the entire day and you can leave and re-enter as you wish.
See The Sights
Consider doing more than just the Snow Mountain activities. For just a few dollars more per person, you can buy a combo pass that gives you access to the Summit Skyride, 4-D Theater, Historic Square, and Discovering Stone Mountain Museum. Some of these attractions are open only seasonally, so check the hours in advance before buying your passes to make sure it’s worth it to you.
I highly recommend the Summit Skyride, the high-speed Swiss cable car that whisks you to the top of Stone Mountain. During the ride, the cable car operator shares wonderful facts and stories about Stone Mountain Park. Once you reach the top, you may be able to see downtown Atlanta and the Appalachian Mountains if the weather is clear.
It’s also possible to walk up and down the huge granite dome via a 1-mile long trail. If you and your kids are in good physical condition and enjoy hiking, the trek can be lots of fun! Just be sure to bring water. Bottled water is pricey here, and you’ll definitely get thirsty along the way.
Relax and Have Fun!
Snow Mountain can get busy on certain days, especially on weekends and near holidays. So, if you visit on one of their peak days, bring your patience with you. That way you can just relax and have fun in this little bit of snow in the South!
For other ideas on what to do in Atlanta during the holiday season, check out my post on our road trip to Atlanta.
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