35 Ways To Beat the Heat in Atlanta: Heat Wave Indoor Activities and Cool Outdoor Fun

Atlanta summers seem more doable at a place like Lake Lanier Islands. Photo courtesy of the water park
Atlanta summers seem more doable at a place like Lake Lanier Islands. Photo courtesy of the water park

There's one basic fact about an Atlanta summer: It’s HOT! When temps soar in the 90s and above, get ready for cool things to do in Atlanta (literally). Our list of places to have fun during an Atlanta heat wave will keep sweat, and boredom, away. And better yet, some of these places offer summer specials that make it easier on your wallet. 

For those days you need to stay home, check out these 100 Crafts for Kids and 27 Water Games for Kids to Play All Summer Long. For those who truly can't handle the Atlanta heat, escape the city and hit the road with these Summer Day Trips from Atlanta that families will love.


Enjoy the wonder and magic of The Georgia Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

Indoor Activities to Beat an Atlanta Heat Wave

Explore Museums

Atlanta boasts numerous museums to keep your kids entertained and learning new things. With school out for the summer, take advantage of visiting Kid-Friendly Museums in Atlanta.

Visit (or Swim) With Sharks

See the Georgia Aquarium's newest exhibit, Sharks! Predators of the Deep, with hammerheads, sand tigers, and whale sharks. For an extra fee, older kids can don a wetsuit to interact with zebra sharks and stingrays or embark on the Shark Cage Dive for up-close encounters.

Travel to Outer Space 

Immerse yourself in the new 4K laser show SPACE: A Journey To The Moon & Beyond at Illuminarium Atlanta. Purchase the family package for additional savings.

Go to the Movies

Take your kids to the movies for only $2 per ticket. Through September 7, Regal Cinema’s Summer Movie Express offers kid-friendly movie selections every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Watch a Movie under the Stars

After the sun sets, the high temperatures lower to more enjoyable levels. Head out to see one of these Free Outdoor Movies in Atlanta

Escape an Escape Room

If you and your children love the classic game “Clue,” head to Breakout Games Atlanta where you’ll have 60 minutes to figure out whodunit with what weapon and in what room. Other escape adventures include Mystery Mansion, Runaway Train, and Submarine Survival.

Play Virtual Reality Games

Fly an F-18 like Tom Cruise when you play “Top Gun: Maverick” virtual reality game at Dave & Buster’s. In addition to other VR and arcade games, you can watch up to six sports games on the 40-foot Wow Wall, complete with stadium sound.

Visit your Local Library

Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Henry County library systems kicked off the 2022 Oceans of Possibilities summer reading program on June 1. Activities include in-person storytime, arts and crafts, and other programs. Check your local library branch for upcoming events.

Explore a Free Indoor Playground

Although it may be too hot to visit your child's favorite outdoor park, don't despair! Atlanta features many Free Indoor Playgrounds to let your kids run wild.

Play Indoor Mini Golf

Cool off with a hole in one at awesome indoor mini golf in Atlanta —some courses feature neon colors, crazy themes, animation, and more!

Practice Your Swing

With climate-controlled bays, enjoy a variety of golf games with microchipped golf balls at Topgolf. During the Atlanta summer, purchase the Summer Fun Pass for $249 which includes unlimited play on weekdays until 4pm for up to six people through August 31.

Try Duckpin Bowling

Duckpin bowling is becoming more popular with families. The smaller-size ball is easier for kids to handle as it weighs under four pounds and each player gets three rolls per frame. To try it out, visit the Painted Duck.

Bowl For Free

This summer, kids can enjoy two free bowling games per day through Kids Bowl Free. Participating bowling alleys include all locations of Stars and Strikes, Metro Fun Center, The Comet Pub and Lanes, and Thunderzone Entertainment Center.

Play Laser Tag

Tag, you’re it! Under black lights in a two-story arena, tag your friends in a competitive game of laser tag.

Roller Skate for Free

Similar to the aforementioned bowling program, Kids Skate Free allows registered children to roller skate twice per week for free during the Atlanta summer.

Ice Skate

Survive an Atlanta heat wave with ice skating, which allows kids to stay active and cool while indoors. Head over to Center Ice Arena for two-hour skate sessions.

Bounce Off the Walls

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park allows kids to jump out all their extra energy with trampolines mounted to the walls. Depending on the location, guests can also tackle a ropes course, play dodgeball, race go-karts, and drive bumper cars.

Climb a Rock Wall

Purchase a day pass at Stone Summit Climbing where kids can climb indoor rock walls and participate in a yoga, Pilates, or fitness class. Experienced climbers ages 12 and up can take complimentary bouldering classes to perfect their skills.

Build Structures

At Legoland Discovery Center, kids build creations from Lego bricks, watch a 4D show, and meet Lego characters. Don't miss strolling through MiniLand with a replica of Centennial Olympic Park and get more info about the summer family pass. 

These frosty milkshakes will bring all the boys and girls to the The Yard.

Food-related Activities to Beat the Heat in Atlanta

Eat Ice Cream

We all scream for ice cream! Atlanta has some amazingly delicious ice cream shops so cool off with your favorite flavor. 

Indulge in a Milkshake or Sundae

The Yard Milkshake Bar offers over 30 milkshake flavors with vegan and gluten-free options. Specialty shakes (served in a souvenir pint mason jar) and sundaes are topped with cupcakes, cheesecake, brownies, or cookies! 

Tour the Mayfield Dairy

Cool off and head to Mayfield Dairy’s location in Athens, Tennessee. After the tour, receive a free scoop of ice cream and visit Maggie the Cow. Prices are $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids ages 4 to 15, and free for those 3 and under.

World of Coca-Cola will cool you off and fill you with carbonated goodness.

Drink Icy Coca-Cola Beverages

Tour the 92,000-square-foot World of Coca-Cola with exhibits, a 3D movie, and the Coca-Cola polar bear. Near the end, stop by the Taste It! exhibit to sample over 30 Coca-Cola beverages produced around the globe.

Eat New Cuisines at a Food Hall

Expand children’s culinary palettes by trying one of these Atlanta Food Halls. Located indoors, these halls feature multiple stalls offering everything from lunch and dinner to snacks and desserts.

Visit a Candy Fairyland

Jump in a marshmallow ball pit and sample free candy at the immersive exhibit, Candytopia. Back by popular demand, the exhibit continues its second Atlanta run for a limited time.

Chastain Park Athletic Club offers summer pool memberships and the Tidal Waves swim team. 

Water Activities to Survive an Atlanta Summer

Jump Into a Swimming Pool

Dive into a swimming pool for the ultimate escape from the heat. Fortunately, you don't have to have a pool membership as many local counties and municipalities offer general admission hours. 

Start Swim Lessons

With a big focus on water activities, summer is a good time to enroll your children in Swimming Lessons for Kids and Babies. Rest easier knowing your kids are trained in water safety.

Head to a Nearby Lake 

There’s nothing more fun than having a picnic, jumping into a lake, and building sandcastles. Spend a day at one of these Atlanta Swimming Lakes and Beaches.

Splash Around

If you don’t want to spend an entire day at the pool or lake, try one of these nearby Free Spraygrounds and Splash Pads to cool off.

Have an adventure while whitewater rafting in Columbus.

Run the Rapids

Get wet while whitewater rafting! Try a two-hour guided rafting trip down the Chattahoochee River with Whitewater Express in downtown Columbus or a longer rafting trip down Chattooga River, which includes lunch, with Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Tube in the North Georgia Mountains

In the alpine town of Helen, Georgia tube right through the middle of town!

Shoot the ‘Hooch

Rent tubes or kayaks from either Shoot the Hooch or Nantahala Outdoor Center to float down the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta.

Enjoy a Water Park

Spend a day plunging down slides and splashing in the wave pool at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands Water Park or Six Flags White Water.

Head to an Indoor Water Park

If your children are prone to sunburns, visit these great Indoor Pools and Water Parks. Many offer an outdoor component as well.

Head to Gulf Shores in order to escape brutal Atlanta summers.

Travel to the Beach

Nothing beats a cool ocean breeze and swimming in the surf. Get out of town and head to one of these family-friendly Family-Friendly Beaches Perfect for Georiga Families. 

Unless noted, photos by the author

Places featured in this article:

Atlanta Fulton County Library System - Various Locations

Cobb County Library - Various Locations

DeKalb County Public Library - Various Branches

Gwinnett County Public Library - Various Branches

Forsyth County Public Library - Various Branches

Henry County Library System - Various Branches

Sparkles Family Fun Center of Smyrna

Sparkles Family Fun Center - Lawrenceville

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park - Lawrenceville

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park - McDonough

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Avalon

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Various Atlanta Locations

Spivey Splash Water Park