21 Free Things To Do In McDonough (and all of Henry County)

Looking for things to do McDonough? Located “Comfortably South of Atlanta”, this charming Metro neighborhood has it all. Henry County is dotted with beautiful farms, creeks, rivers and parks. It also has some great shopping and restaurants. We’ve got tons of fun in this city and the surrounding area of Henry County.

things to do in mcdonough

Southern Belle Farms Open seasonally, this is adorable 330-acre farm is a great activity for the whole family.  It is usually FREE to visit except in Fall when there is a required admission price ($14 per person but includes all the fun fall activities they offer). In the Spring, they have fresh u-pick strawberries along with homemade strawberry ice cream.  During the Summer, they have peaches, blackberries and blueberries that you can pick or purchase from their Market.

“Tasty Tuesday’s”  Food Trucks at City Hall in Stockbridge. This fun community event takes place every Tuesday April through October from 5:30 to 9pm. There is a cost associated with the different food trucks but the parking and fun are FREE! Make sure to bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs and a big appetite.

Locust Grove Train Watching Platform Entertain your little Engineer at this fun and FREE spot. More than 40 trains pass through this location each day. There is a new train platform with speakers that broadcast the conversations between conductors. Open 7 days a week, with FREE parking, this would be a fun outing anytime.

Cubihatcha Outdoor Center This nature center was developed by the Henry County Water Authority as a way to protect and enhance the wetlands and spread knowledge of wildlife and nature conservation.  Take a walk on one of the trails, check out the raised boardwalks, and see how many species of wildlife you can spot near the wetlands.

Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary This free non-profit organization is home to over 1500 animals! Located in Locust Grove (near the Cubihatcha Outdoor Center) there is a fantastic picnic and playground area for kids. While the sanctuary opens at 9 am, the wild animal habitat is only open from 12-3pm, so check their site before you go.

Heritage Park Veteran’s Museum Located at the beautiful Heritage Park on Lake Dow Road, this museum has military vehicles, uniforms, and artifacts.  Additionally, this park has a nice play structure, walking trails, historic buildings and is a popular spot for Pokemon Go players.

Army Aviation Heritage Foundation Take a tour of the helicopter hangar, climb into a Vietnam era Huey or Cobra helicopter and learn the history of how aviation contributed to the war effort (all for FREE!)

Sandy Ridge Bike Park This premier racing facility is sanctioned by the new USABMX Association and is FREE and open to the public along as they are not having an event. The track features a 50-foot starting hill with three paved high-banked turns connected by 800 feet of jumps, whoops, rollers, and step-ups. There are fees for BMX members for gate practice- $2, and local races $10. During these scheduled events a USA BMX membership is required for anyone to be on the track. However, a FREE one time – one day trail membership is offered to anyone that wants to try the track out during gate practice or a local race event.

Alexander Park Trails I’m pretty excited about this new walking trail that opened recently! It’s described as having “picturesque bridges and forestry”. There is a water fountain and bathrooms located at the trailhead and it’s convenient to shops and restaurants around McDonough.

JP Moseley Disc Golf Located in Moseley Park in Stockbridge, bring your own discs and enjoy this free 18 hole course. Labeled a “championship caliber course” this park is great for all ages and skill level.

Self-Guided Filming Tour If you’d like to see where some of your favorite shows and movies have been filmed around Henry county, check out this guide. From Hunger Games to Walking Dead, there’s probably something on the list that interests everyone in the family.

PorchFest (mid-October) A grass roots musical festival that turns porches into stages for local band and musicians. Incorporated in Hampton’s Porch Fest is art with “pop-up” art shops mixed throughout the fest. Image an afternoon where porches, close to downtown, become stages or an artist’s shop. People walking or bicycling around listening to musicians, checking out the arts, hanging out on lawns and sidewalks, and connecting/reconnecting with their neighbors.

Summer Movies and Concerts Head to Stockbridge in Summer for FREE movies and concerts at the City Hall lawn. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and prepare for a great time. Just a note that Hampton, Ga also has a FREE summer concert series.

Henry County Library System The library is continually holding FREE events for children, tweens and young adults alike. The calendar is always changing so be sure to check out the website.

Yellow Jacket Hot Dogs Make time for a family dinner here on the weekends. Kids enjoy authentic Homemade Ice Cream served Friday and Saturday FREE of charge.

Free Things for Kids at Atlanta Motor Speedway

  • Kids under 5 can take a FREE Atlanta Motor Speedway Track Tour with a paying adult
  • Children 17 and under will be admitted FREE on Friday, March 3, 2017 with a paid adult in the general admission seating areas for NASCAR Qualifying Day. There’s no limit to the number of children each adult can bring.
  • Children 17 and under will be admitted FREE on Saturday, March 4, 2017 with a paid adult in the general admission seating areas for Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Atlanta 250 and Active Pest Control 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. There’s no limit to the number of children each adult can bring.
  • Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama. Tickets are affordably priced at $12 per day, $5 for ages 6-11 and FREE for ages 5 and under and include access to all areas of the show including the vendor midway, show car garage, extreme motorsports and so much more.
  • Thursday Thunder (June & July) Thursday Thunder is one of the most affordable, exciting family activities in Atlanta. Every Thursday night from early June into late July, a smorgasbord of games, contests, giveaways and hot on-track racing excitement take place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Grandstand tickets are just $5 for adults and ages 5 and under are admitted FREE for each evening of fun and grass-roots racing on the paved quarter-mile track at AMS, the Thunder Ring. Drivers as young as 8-years-old come from all over the nation to battle each night in eight different classes for the right to be called champions at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Nash Farm Battlefield & Museum This park is open every day and the museum is open Friday & Saturday from 9am – 5pm. The museum houses a large artifact collection, period clothing exhibits, and history of the Nash farm and family. Come visit and learn the histories of the cavalry action and infantry battle at Lovejoy’s Station(Nash Farm.)

Gezzo’s Surf & Grille. Taking inspiration from their roots in California and Hawaii, the owners wanted to create a place where beach culture, art, healthy eating and a concern for the environment was a part of everyday life. Kids Eat Free on Tuesdays (two locations – McDonough & Locust Grove)

Red Hawk Nature Preserve The Henry County RC Club flies planes every Tuesday and Thursday morning as long as the weather is good – free to watch – lessons available. Kids will LOVE watching these planes fly over the 39 acres.

Geocaching. The Henry County Convention & Visitors Bureau has joined the geocaching craze by hiding several caches throughout the county. The caches are located at some of the county’s biggest attractions. To participate, download a copy of the Henry County Geocaching Passport, or pick one up at the Henry County Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Panola Mountain State Park Parking is $5 or FREE with an annual membership. Panola Mountain is a 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain, but smaller and much more pristine. Park visitors will see the outcrop and its rare ecosystem just as Native Americans did centuries ago.

Visitors can picnic while children work off energy on the playground. The park offers archery, boat rental, geocaching, orienteering, birding and tree-climbing programs. A paved trail is open for biking, roller blading, jogging and dog-walking, while forested fitness trails are open for hiking and running.

For more budget friendly ideas, check out the Visit Henry County website.

Where to Stay in Henry County

This post written jointly by Lesli Peterson (Editor) and Leah Jones. Leah Jones is a writer, wanderer, foodie and proud mom of two girls. She’s an Army wife who grew up in Georgia and has lived and traveled all over the United States. She developed a love for adventures and outdoor photography while living in Washington state where she wrote articles that appeared in newspapers, magazines and on the web. Now settled down on the Southside of Atlanta, she shares her experiences and tips on her blog Southside Families. (Site coming soon, hopefully)