The altitude fiends at Climb Upstate entreat climbers of all skill levels to practice their vertical vernacular in the architect-designed indoor facility. Climbers clamber through a simulated cave while perfecting their mole-people dialect or emulate a bouldering adventure on more than 100 feet of continuous scaling space. Numerous routes designed for every ability take advantage of the facility’s ample lean-back walls, 35 feet of roof climbing, and top-rope stations, two of which stretch all the way to the ceiling. Between ascents, guests may relax in the party space and catch screenings of climbing movies on a 42-inch flat-screen or dust off their chalky hands for a round of table tennis on the facility's ping-pong table.
When rock-climbing couple Christy and Scott Thrift got engaged, Christy was dangling off the side of Stone Mountain. The same adventurous spirit that elevated their engagement informs their married life, which they spend running their wilderness guiding service, Thrifty Adventures. While some of the duo’s trips require previous outdoor experience, most welcome all participants, and range from ice climbing adventures to rock climbing and backpacking trips. Along the way, Scott and Christy teach safety basics, climbing techniques, and strategies for preserving natural surroundings, such as refraining from nibbling on the mountain.
Four generations of the Wilson family have maintained Cotton Hills' sprawling homestead, which continues to yield cotton, wheat, timber, pumpkins, and other produce. Guided tours relax visitors with a 40-minute wagon ride through the twists and turns of a working farm and grant agricultural knowledge without the tedium of a scarecrow's memoirs. Patrons navigate the rustling halls of a corn maze and exchange greetings with barnyard animals in the crisp air. Visitors admire the farm’s 19th-century barns, which are steeped in pastoral history. Though not included in this Groupon, locally made ice cream and fresh produce from the adjoining market energize farm visitors more pleasantly than an early-morning phone call from a rooster.
Diamond Hill Mine sets visitors loose on 5 to 6 acres of dumps and spoil piles, challenging them to unearth the property's cache of quartz crystals and pieces of amethyst. During outings, explorers use their own rakes, shovels, and tools while excavating the land, or while trying to find un-dug veins, where some crystals have gone undisturbed for more than 400 million years. Every piece found on the property is authentic, meaning the mine hasn't been planted with artificial crystals or with forgotten hidden engagement rings.
The treetops are traditionally the playground of winged beasts and tiny, furry climbers. So it's not unnatural to do a double take upon seeing humans flying from tree to tree?at heights of up to 50 feet?with all the grace of a forest native. Today, 15 treehouses peek through the leaves of the sprawling wooded area, serving as resting points and educational outposts for visitors soaring on ziplines. The Beanstalk Journey at Catawba Meadows came to fruition to fulfill its builders? goal of providing fun and physical activities for families to enjoy. Now the park is open year-round, supplying adrenaline-pumping recreation to all who seek it.
Like veins coursing through the forest, swinging rope bridges and covered rope tunnels run through the foliage alongside ziplines of varying difficulty levels, enabling visitors to soar from tree to tree and finally assuage any regrets about not being born with hollow bird bones. For an extra challenge, the 32-foot beanstalk climbing tower and a massive multidirectional climbing web put upper- and lower-body strength to the test, and educational stations at each treehouse challenge minds with lessons on nature and local history. In addition to the standard attractions, outings can also be catered to visitors with special needs.
Combining the park's adventure opportunities with educational pursuits, the staff occasionally runs an adventure-photography workshop, nighttime zipline tours, and Birds of Prey Journeys. Continuing the mission to foster outdoor education and physical activity, the beanstalk's building team continuously erects new courses at other locales, ensuring that all are family friendly and none require hand braking.
At Iron Palm Bouldering, the rock-climbing walls don't extend much higher than about 14 feet?a good deal shorter than one might imagine. That's because the gym caters exclusively to bouldering, a version of climbing that places more emphasis on body control and problem solving than speed, height, or practice for beanstalk scaling. This might sound like a more demanding version of rock climbing?and it can be?but Iron Palm welcomes all levels to the sport with group and individual classes. As climbers get better, they can progress to more difficult techniques and more complex bouldering problems, which the gym happily encourages by changing the climbing routes every month.