15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia

15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia

Growing up in Atlanta, we spent most of our time in the city (or actually in the burbs), but just a short drive away and you can find yourself surrounded by lush, green forests and other small historic towns. For many of these spots, we didn’t learn to appreciate them since we went as kids. When we moved to LA, it always surprised me how many times I heard our SoCal friends mention how beautiful and green Georgia was. Funny how you really learn to appreciate trees when you live in the desert, and sometimes you learn to appreciate the desert when you’re surrounded by trees.

Even if you don’t have time to travel far, it’s easy to take a quick road trip for the day and explore locally. Here’s a list we put together of the most popular day trips from Atlanta.

15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia // localadventurer.com

15 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM ATLANTA GEORGIA

1. Lake Lanier

Distance: 49 mi / 1 hr

Lake Lanier is a popular spot for Atlantans to swim, boat, fish, or enjoy other water sports. We used to love tubing here in the summer, and you can find hiking trails and even zip line through the trees.

Lake Lanier is a popular spot for Atlantans to swim, boat, fish, or enjoy other water sports. You can find hiking trails and even zip line through the trees too. // localadventurer.comLake Lanier is a popular spot for Atlantans to swim, boat, fish, or enjoy other water sports. You can find hiking trails and even zip line through the trees too. // localadventurer.com

2 . Dahlonega

Distance: 65 mi / 1 hr 30 min

Learn about the Gold Rush or even try panning for gold in this historic town. This is also the center of Georgia’s wine country! There are five vineyards and 12 wine tasting sites. Frogtown Cellars was our favorite, and I often dreamed of having my wedding here.

Dahlonega Wine Country + 15 Amazing Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia // localadventurer.com

3. Amicalola Falls State Park

Distance: 71 mi / 1 hr 30 mins

Climb to the top of the tallest waterfall in Georgia, which drops 730 feet and has multiple tiers. There is also a trail leading to Springer Mountain, the southern endpoint of the Appalachian Trail.

Amicalola Falls State Park has the tallest waterfall in Georgia at 730 ft. There is also a trail leading to the south endpoint of the Appalachian Trail // localadventurer.com

4. Athens

Distance: 72 mi / 1 hr 20 min

As Georgia Tech grads, this is the home of our rivals, University of Georgia, but you can’t deny the great indie music scene and fun college town atmosphere. We used to frequently drive to Athens on Thursday nights to party all night, stop for a greasy bite at Waffle House, and head straight to class in the morning. I can’t believe we used to do that. Even if you’re not into the nightlife, it’s a great place to visit for food and find historical buildings with typical Southern charm.

Athens is home to University of Georgia and has a great indie music and food scene and afun college town atmosphere. You can also find historical buildings with typical Southern charm // localadventurer.com

5. Callaway Gardens

Distance: 80 mi / 1 hr 20 min

Callaway Gardens is great for the whole family. Jacob used to visit as a kid, and the last time I went was with an ex (shh don’t tell Jacob! haha). There are multiple lakes and tons of natural exhibits. Walk through the gardens, check out the historical pioneer log cabin, or explore the LEED-certified Butterfly Center. During the holidays, they also have a light show that’s popular to go to.

Callaway Gardens is great day trip for the whole family. Walk through the gardens, check out the historical pioneer log cabin, or explore the LEED-certified Butterfly Center. // localadventurer.com

6. Helen, Georgia

Distance: 86 mi / 1 h 38 min

Although there are only 430 residents, it is the state’s third most visited city. It is the Southeast’s finest Bavarian Village giving you a glimpse of Germany. There are quaint hotels, lots of shops, and great alpine food and drink. On hot summer days, you can also float down the river in a tube!

Helen, Georgia - though there are only 430 residents, it is the state's third most visited city. It's is the Southeast's finest Bavarian Village giving you a glimpse of Germany. On hot summer days, you can also float down the river in a tube! // localadventurer.com

7. Summerville

Distance: 89 mi / 1 hr 30 min

Step back in time in this tiny mountain town. You’ll be surrounded by hills and trees, but it still offers tons of festivals, park attractions, and friendly locals. Also, check out the Paradise Garden. It’s a huge collection of sacred works with an interesting background and reminded us of Salvation Mountain and Slab City.

Summerville Georgia - tiny mountain town that hosts lots of festivals and has park attractions and friendly locals. Also, check out the Paradise Garden, which reminds us of Salvation Mountain and Slab City // localadventurer.com

8. Toccoa Falls

Distance: 93 mi / 1 hr 40 min

These falls are 186 feet tall, making it one of the highest cascades east of the Mississippi River. It is actually on the Toccoa Falls College campus but the falls are secluded in a separate area. A private path leads to the base where it opens up to an area surrounded by cliffs.

Toccoa Falls is one of the highest cascades east of the Mississippi River at 186 feet tall. It is actually on the Toccoa Falls College campus but the falls are secluded in a separate area // localadventurer.com

9. Blue Ridge

Distance: 93 mi / 1 hr 30 min

If you’re looking to escape city life, this city in the foothills of the Appalachians is a great getaway for the day. Hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to enjoy the views or explore the shops along Main Street. Whatever you decide, just take it easy and enjoy.

Blue Ridge is a great place to escape city life in the foothills of the Appalachians. Hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to enjoy the views or explore Main St. // localadventurer.com

10. Chattahoochee National Forest

Distance: 94 mi / 2 hrs

This is a dedicated wilderness area, there are miles of trails, and you can explore tons of opportunity for outdoor activities.

The Chattahoochee National Forest are dedicated wilderness areas, there are miles of trails, and you can explore tons of opportunity for outdoor activities // localadventurer.comThe Chattahoochee National Forest are dedicated wilderness areas, there are miles of trails, and you can explore tons of opportunity for outdoor activities // localadventurer.com

11. Brasstown Bald

Distance: 102 mi / 2 hrs 20 min

Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia at 4,784 feet and gives you amazing long-range views. On high-visibility days, you can see four states – Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee!

Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia at 4,784 feet and gives you amazing long-range views on clear days. On high-visibility days, you can see four states // localadventurer.com

12. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Distance: 117 mi / 2 hrs

We visited Chattanooga often when I was a kid, and even now, it still has a lot of charm. You can take a toll along the Riverwalk, check out the attractions, or enjoy one of the many outdoor activities. Before Atlanta had their own aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga was where all the ATLiens used to go. In the same area, you can also stop by Ruby Falls.

Chattanooga, Tennessee is a small town that packs a lot of punch. There are historical, natural, and cultural attractions including Ruby Falls and the Tennessee Aquarium // localadventurer.com

13. Georgia Guidestones

Distance: 118 mi / 2 hrs

Also known America’s Stonehenge, these large granite statues are shrouded with mystery. No one knows who actually commissioned the landmark, but each is engraved with ten guidelines in twelve different languages.

Georgia Guidestones are also known America’s Stonehenge. These large granite statues are shrouded with mystery. No one knows who actually commissioned the landmark // localadventurer.com

14. Rock City Gardens

Distance: 122 mi / 2 hrs

Explore the natural formations (and some man-made attractions) along this 4,100-foot-long Enchanted Trail. Also, don’t forget to check out the peregrine falcon nursing and release program.

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

15. Providence Canyon State Park

Distance: 147 mi / 2 hrs 10 min

Also referred to as the “Little Grand Canyon” of Georgia, Providence Canyon State Park offers some of the most picturesque views. Tones of orange, pink, and pastel red color the different layers of the canyon and make the perfect backdrop for a hike.

Providence Canyon State Park is also referred to as the “Little Grand Canyon” of Georgia. It offers the most picturesque views with tones of orange, pink, and red // localadventurer.com

BONUS – Macon, Georgia (seasonal)

Distance: 84 mi / 1 h 15 min

Macon hosts the International Cherry Blossom Festival and is known as the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World with over 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees. The festival dates can range from mid-March to April. See the dates for the upcoming festival here.

Photos by: 3. Matt Coughlin 4. J. Stephen Conn 5. Scott Zona 6. Dizzy Girl 8. Gwen Morrison
9. Peter Clark 10. Jeff Moore (left) and JR P (right) 11. Royston Ford 12. Brent Moore
13. Kevin McGee 14. Sussman Imaging 15. realitymorsel

How many of these quick day trips from Atlanta have you done? Can you think of any other popular day trips?

Other Local Ideas: 25 Best Instagram Spots in Atlanta + The Ultimate Atlanta Bucket List + Your Essential Guide to the Stranger Things Filming Locations

We’re putting together a list of weekend trips too for places that require more drive time and exploration.

“Meet

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 NYC.

15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia Local Adventurer on Pinterest 15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia 15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia 15 Best Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia Local Adventurer on Youtube

PIN FOR LATER: Amicalola Falls State Park has the tallest waterfall in Georgia at 730 ft. There is also a trail leading to the south endpoint of the Appalachian Trail // localadventurer.comToccoa Falls is one of the highest cascades east of the Mississippi River at 186 feet tall. It is actually on the Toccoa Falls College campus but the falls are secluded in a separate area // localadventurer.com
Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia at 4,784 feet and gives you amazing long-range views on clear days. On high-visibility days, you can see four states // localadventurer.comGeorgia Guidestones are also known America’s Stonehenge. These large granite statues are shrouded with mystery. No one knows who actually commissioned the landmark // localadventurer.comProvidence Canyon State Park is also referred to as the “Little Grand Canyon” of Georgia. It offers the most picturesque views with tones of orange, pink, and red // localadventurer.com
Rock City Gardens + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Atlanta Georgia. // localadventurer.com

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Augusta, GA 2nd oldest city in Georgia! They have a beautiful Riverwalk and you can also take a day cruise down the Augusta Canal. Of course if you’re lucky enough to get on the list for The Masters, that’s a bucket lister! Also now there is the brand New Augusta Green Jackets Baseball Stadium, a minor league park, that sits on the water.
    Also, there are tons of locally owned shops & restaurants as well as art galleries, historical venues and beautiful homes!

  2. Cave Spring, GA is a quaint little town about an hour away. Antiques, food, a Cherokee cabin, a cave, and a spring nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. And even a pool in the shape of Georgia. There are also huge arts & crafts festivals in June & December.

  3. The Tallulah Gorge is also a beautiful place to visit in GA. It ‘s the second largest hole next compared to the Grand Canyon.

    1. Oh yeah! Thanks, Erica. We’ve been before, and it’s gorgeous out there. :) Maybe we will shuffle some things around when we put together a list for weekend trips.

  4. When is the cherry festival in Macon??

    1. Hi, Jaime. Great question! It changes a little every year probably depending on when they predict peak bloo to be. For next year, the festival dates are Friday, March 16 through Sunday, March 25, 2018.

    1. Thanks for the rec, Erika. Will definitely have to check it out the next time we’re in GA for longer than a few days!

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