From lazy float trips on the Chattahoochee River and all-American barbecue joints to the perfect picnic spot, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the Fourth of July in Sandy Springs. Here a just a few ways to spoil yourself with indulgent seasonal treats, soak up some sunshine, and make lasting family memories while celebrating America’s independence.

1. Plan an Epic Family Picnic

With 950 acres of parkland, Sandy Springs is home to a smorgasbord of picnic spots, and there are tons of local eateries loaded with seasonal treats perfect for filling a picnic basket! Spread a blanket in the grass beside the Chattahoochee River at Morgan Falls Overlook Park, take advantage of the imaginative, artist-designed playground at Abernathy Greenway Park, or cool off on the Splash Pad at the City Green in City Springs.

For picnic fixings, grab pastries and sandwiches at Breadwinner Café & Bakery, Sally’s Gluten-Free Bakery, or Henri’s Bakery & Café. For a heartier spread, pick up perfectly crisped fried chicken from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Rather skip straight to dessert? Peruse the scrumptious selection at the Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, which includes seasonally-inspired offerings like key-lime pie, coconut cream pie, and strawberry pie made with a shortbread crust.

2. Hike a Local Trail

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Stretch your legs before the fireworks by visiting one of Sandy Spring’s nature preserves, parks, or other trail networks. Visit Sandy Springs

Itching for a little trail time? There are plenty of places to stretch your legs whether for a family-friendly stroll or a more extended outing. Explore 24 acres of woodlands laced with kid-friendly nature trails at the historic Lost Corner Preserve or hike the leafy backcountry trails at the John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve, a 30-acre sanctuary for native flora and fauna. The East Palisades unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is a perfect spot for admiring the river along the 3.4-mile East Palisades Trail.

3. Scope Out the Local BBQ Scene

Barbecuing is a time-tested American tradition, and a heaping plate piled with ribs, pulled pork, or hickory-smoked chicken is a welcome addition to any Fourth of July celebration. Luckily for all the barbecue connoisseurs, Sandy Springs is loaded with enticing options.

Wash down ribs with a bowl of peach cobbler at City Barbeque, nosh on sauce-smothered pulled pork sandwiches and specialties like jalapeño grits at Slope’s BBQ, or tuck into decadent smoked meatloaf, beef brisket, or wings at Pig-N-Chik BBQ.

4. Head for the Hooch

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Spend your Fourth fishing, floating, or paddling along the Chattahoochee. Visit Sandy Springs

A blue-sky day spent on the Chattahoochee River is the epitome of summer. Whether you want to fish, float, or paddle, this is the perfect place to hit the water. At Morgan Falls Overlook Park, spend a fun-filled day casting for trout, keeping an eye out for bald eagles and blue heron, or paddling Bull Sluice Lake, an ideal spot for kid-friendly kayaking trips. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are available from The High Country Paddleshack. The riverside park also offers picnic spots, panoramic porch swings, a family-friendly hiking trail, and a shaded playground.

Rather float the river instead? The Nantahala Outdoor Center Outpost located at the Powers Island unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has tube, kayak, raft, and stand-up paddleboard rentals.

The river can be busy this time of year, so please remember to recreate responsibly. Keep six feet between you and other park guests. Also, remember that not all CRNRA amenities and services are open right now. Make sure to bring your own bottles of water and use the restroom before you visit the park.  

5. Hang Out on a Sun-Soaked Patio

Soak up some sunshine while lingering over a lunch or brunch at a patio-bedecked restaurant. Chat and catch up with friends and family while feasting on contemporary American cuisine at Ray’s on the River, sip Mezcal-infused craft cocktails and tuck into carne asada and chipotle chicken at Casi Cielo, or order up a crowd-pleasing pie at Hearth Pizza Tavern.

Rather just relax with a frosty craft brew instead? Sample the offerings at Pontoon Brewing. The laidback local brewery features an extensive tap list, with everything from blond ales to imperial stouts.

Take advantage of getting outside this Fourth of July. Whether it’s paddling on the river, hiking a local trail, or just hanging out with friends on an outdoor patio, Sandy Springs has options. Happy Independence Day!

Written by Malee Baker Oot for Matcha in partnership with Sandy Springs GA.

Please note that in an effort to protect the community and avoid large gatherings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s July 4th Stars and Stripes Fireworks event is canceled.