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15 Greatest Weekend Journeys from Atlanta Georgia

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I was born and raised in Atlanta and can’t say I’ve spent that much time exploring Georgia or even outside Greater Atlanta. If you live somewhere for so long, it’s easy to take a place for granted and assume you’ll just get to things later.

Just a short drive away from Atlanta you can find yourself surrounded by lush, green forests, small historic towns, and even beaches. If you only have a day, check out our 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Atlanta.

15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA / Popular Places to Visit Near Atlanta / Road Trips from Atlanta (photo: vanherdehaage) // localadventurer.com

15 BEST WEEKEND TRIPS FROM ATLANTA GEORGIA

1. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Distance: 118 mi / 1 hr 46 min (map)
What to Do / See: Ruby Falls, Rock City Garden, Tennessee Aquarium
What to Eat: Maple Street Biscuit Company, Flying Squirrel, Public House
Where to Stay: Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, Mayor’s Mansion Inn, Chanticleer Inn Bed and Breakfast

Chattanooga has a ton of charm. We visited often when I was a kid, and I have fond memories of the Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City, and Ruby Falls. Even to this day, the attractions are fun to explore and there are many outdoor activities in the area too. Regardless of your interest, there is plenty to keep you busy over a weekend.

Rock City Gardens + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia. // localadventurer.com
photo: Sussman Imaging

2 . Asheville, North Carolina

Distance: 208 mi / 3 hr 25 min (map)
What to Do / See: Our Asheville Bucket List
What to Eat: 49 Best Places to Eat in Asheville
Where to Stay: The Best Places to Stay in Asheville

Asheville has a bit of everything! There’s an amazing food scene, craft breweries to quench your thirst, beautiful outdoor landscapes, fun murals and art to track down.

Black Mountain College Museum & Art Center, Asheville, NC + 15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta Georgia // localadventurer.com
photo: Erin & Caroline

3. Augusta, Georgia

Distance: 145 mi / 2 hr 10 min (map)
What to Do / See: Augusta Canal, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, Augusta Museum of History
What to Eat: Frog Hollow Tavern, Boll Weevil, Abel Brown
Where to Stay: The Queen Anne Inn, Carolina Oaks Bed and Breakfast, The Partridge Inn

Most well known for The Masters, Augusta is Georgia’s second oldest city. It definitely draws golfers from all over the world but is a great spot for weekend getaways. With plenty of food options, eat til you can’t walk anymore, check out the growing arts and theater scene or catch a concert.

4. Blue Ridge Parkway

Distance: 164 mi / 2 hr 55 min (map)
What to Do / See: Fall Foliage, Tons of Stops Along the 469-Mile Road
What to Eat: Haywood Smokehouse, Buttered Biscuit, The Sweet Onion
Where to Stay: Andon-Reid Inn, The Swag, Brookside Mountain Mist Inn

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an amazing spot for anyone who loves the outdoors. There are beautiful hikes, fishing, and camping. If you don’t like being outdoors, you can enjoy the beauty without getting out of the car on the scenic drive. Don’t forget to check out all the amazing spots the drive takes you through.

Blue Ridge Parkway + 15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA (photo: BlueRidgeKitties) // localadventurer.com
photo: BlueRidgeKitties

5. Charleston, South Carolina

Distance: 305 mi / 4 hr 40 min (map)
What to Do / See: Our Charleston Bucket List
What to Eat: 49 Best Places to Eat in Charleston
Where to Stay: Wentworth Mansion, The Mills House, HarbourView Inn

Charleston is one of my favorite cities close to Atlanta. It’s the oldest and second largest city in the state. I love the cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and beautiful architecture. On top of that, there are amazing rooftop bars and delicious seafood!

Drayton Hall + The Ultimate Charleston Bucket List (101 Things to Do in Charleston SC) // localadventurer.com
photo: Erin & Caroline

6. Destin, Florida

Distance: 315 mi / 5 hr 10 min (map)
What to Do / See: Henderson Beach State Park, Destin Harbor Boardwalk, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
What to Eat: McGuire’s Irish Pub, Louisiana Lagniappe, Beach Walk Cafe
Where to Stay: Henderson Park Inn, Emerald Grande, Silver Shells Beach Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for clean, white sand beaches, Destin is your spot! Spring Break will bring party-ers to town but much less than some of the neighboring beaches. Though I prefer to stay longer when we drive down to the panhandle, we’ve done it for a weekend before.

Destin, Florida + 15 Amazing Places to Visit Near Atlanta GA (photo: vanherdehaage) // localadventurer.com
photo: vanherdehaage

7. Great Smoky Mountains NP / Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Distance: 196 mi / 3 hr 50 min (map)
What to Do / See: Great Smoky Mountains NP, Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park, Sky Life
What to Eat: Crockett’s Breakfast Camp, Cherokee Grill, Pancake Pantry
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Buckberry Creek, Bearskin Lodge on the River Hotel, Gatlinburg Inn

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the closest national park to Atlanta and the most visited in the US. Fall is one of the busiest times with everyone enjoying the foliage, but there are plenty of spots to explore. Although touristy, Gatlinburg is a popular spot to set up home base and also gives you more options for attractions and restaurants.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg Tennessee + 15 Amazing Places to Visit Near Atlanta Georgia (photo: coloneljohnbritt) // localadventurer.com
photo: coloneljohnbritt

8. Jekyll Island, St Simons, Little St Simons, Sea Island (Golden Isles)

Distance: 322 mi / 4 hr 40 min (map)
What to Do / See: Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Driftwood Beach, Fort Frederica National Monument
What to Eat: Driftwood Bistro, Palmer’s Village Cafe, The Half Shell
Where to Stay: The Cloister at Sea Island, Jekyll Island Club Resort, Saint Simmons Inn

Located on the Georgia coast are four beautiful islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Litte St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. Pristine marshlands fill the landscape accompanied by beautiful beaches. Each island brings its own character. On one hand, Jekyll Island is popular with families, on the other, Little St Simon is privately owned and only 32 people can stay there at a time.

Jekyll Island + 15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA / Popular Places to Visit Near Atlanta / Road Trips from Atlanta // localadventurer.com
photo: Matthew Blouir

9. Greenville, South Carolina

Distance: 145 mi / 2 hr 15 min (map)
What to Do / See: Swamp Rabbit Trail, Greenville Zoo, Liberty Bridge
What to Eat: Smokey Dreams BBQ, The Trappe Door, Jianna
Where to Stay: Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast, Aloft Greenville Downtown, Swamp Rabbit Inn and Properties

Find waterfalls, hike beautiful trails, or fly down a zip line in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Greenville has something to offer year round. You can also find one-of-a-kind shops, art galleries, museums, and attractions for the whole family.

Greenville South Carolina + 15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA // localadventurer.com
photo: Roger Bruce

10. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Distance: 281 mi / 4 hr 5 min (map)
What to Do / See: Coastal Discovery Museum, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, Hunting Island State Park
What to Eat: Lucky Rooster, A Lowcountry Backyard, WiseGuys
Where to Stay: Inn & Club at Harbour Town, Sonesta Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort

Look for starfish, sand-dollars, and sea turtles at the beach, or spend your day on the golf course, biking, or kayaking. There are beautiful resorts and hotels set amongst spectacular scenery.

Hilton Head Island, SC + 15 Amazing Weekend Getaways from Atlanta GA (photo: Matt Schilder) // localadventurer.com
photo: Matt Schilder

11. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Distance: 362 mi / 5 hr 30 min (map)
What to Do / See: Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, Myrtle Beach State Park
What to Eat: Fire and Smoke Gastropub, Mr. Fish, New York Prime
Where to Stay: Island Vista Resort, Dunes Village Resort, Marina Inn at Grande Dunes

Myrtle Beach has sixty miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Bask in the sun or play in the water. If you need a break from the sun, there are a ton of live shows, endless shopping, a lot of great restaurants.

Myrtle Beach + 15 Popular Road Trips from Atlanta GA (photo: David D'Agostino) // localadventurer.com
photo: David D’Agostino

12. Nashville, Tennesee

Distance: 250 mi / 3 hr 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: 9 Awesome Things to Do in Nashville
What to Eat: Acme Feed & Seed, Hattie B’s Chicken, Biscuit Love
Where to Stay: Union Station Hotel, Hermitage Hotel, Opryland Hotel

Nashville is the country music capital! Catch an amazing live show on Broadway, see the Country Music Hall of Fame, or try some Nashville hot chicken. Also, there’s a full-sized replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park.

Walk Across the Shelby St Pedestrian Bridge and See the Nashville Skyline (+ 9 Awesome Things to Do in Nashville Tennessee) // localadventurer.com

13. Savannah, Georgia

Distance: 248 mi / 3 hr 30 min (map)
What to Do / See: Savannah Historic District, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, Fort Pulaski National Monument
What to Eat: The Olde Pink House, Vic’s on the River, Treylor Park
Where to Stay: The Kehoe House, The Marshall House, Thunderbird Inn

Explore Savannah on a kayak, ride a carriage around town, or hop on a historical bus tour. If you’re a bit more daring, take a walking ghost tour. Savannah is a quintessential southern town with so much southern charm.

Savannah Georgia + 15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA (photo: J. Stephen Conn) // localadventurer.com
photo: J. Stephen Conn

14. Birmingham, Alabama

Distance: 147 mi / 2 hr 15 min (map)
What to Do / See: McWane Center (Aquarium and Science Exhibits), Birmingham Museum of Art, Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
What to Eat: Highlands Bar & Grill, El Barrio, Babalu Tacos & Tapas
Where to Stay: Elyton Hotel, The Redmont, The Grand Bohemian Hotel

Birmingham is currently the largest city in Alabama and is where history meets present day. Even though the city is relatively young, it has a lot of historical significance that you can learn more about in their museums. If you’re a sports fan, be sure to check out the nation’s oldest baseball stadium and if you love funky architecture, check out Selfridges.

Birmingham Alabama + 15 Popular Weekend Trips from Atlanta Georgia (photo: quimby) // localadventurer.com
photo: quimby

15. Orlando, Florida

Distance: 442 mi / 6 hr 15 min (map)
What to Do / See: Disney World, Universal, Cirque du Soleil / Blue Man Group, Wild Africa Trek,
What to Eat: Ceviche Tapas Orlando, Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, ICEBAR
Where to Stay: Castle Hotel, Grand Bohemian, The Alfond Inn

Our parents own a timeshare down in Orlando, so we’ve been going at least once a year ever since I was a kid. Even as adults, we’re still big fans of Disney. Obviously, there’s Disney World and the Universal Parks, which can keep you busy in and of themselves, but there’s plenty around town if you’ve already been.

Disney World Orlando Florida + 15 Amazing Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA // localadventurer.com

How many of these trips have you done? Can you think of any other weekend trips you’ve done?

MORE RESOURCES

  1. S is for Southern – a Guide to the South from Absinthe to Zydeco
  2. Rand McNally Easy to Read Georgia Map
  3. 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Atlanta
  4. Hiking Waterfalls in Georgia and South Carolina
  5. Georgia Beer Cap Map

DID YOU ENJOY THE POST? PIN IT FOR LATER

Nashville, TN + 15 Best Weekend Getaways from Atlanta GA // localadventurer.comBlue Ridge Parkway + 15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta GA (photo: BlueRidgeKitties) // localadventurer.comDestin, Florida + 15 Amazing Places to Visit Near Atlanta GA (photo: vanherdehaage) // localadventurer.com
Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg Tennessee (photo: coloneljohnbritt) + 15 Amazing Places to Visit Near Atlanta Georgia // localadventurer.comHilton Head Island, SC + 15 Amazing Weekend Getaways from Atlanta GA (photo: Matt Schilder) // localadventurer.comBirmingham Alabama + 15 Popular Weekend Trips from Atlanta Georgia (photo: quimby) // localadventurer.com

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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust

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ESTHER + JACOB

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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