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 it later. We’ve been there.
To give you some inspiration to get out and explore, we’ve put together a list of best weekend trips from Atlanta. Just a short drive away, you can find yourself surrounded by lush, green forests, small historic towns, and even beaches.
If you are really limited on time, check out our 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Atlanta, which are even closer. You can always make them weekend getaways too!
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Last Updated: June 15, 2020
15 Best Weekend Trips from Atlanta Georgia
- Chattanooga, TN
- Asheville, NC
- Augusta, GA
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Charleston, SC
- Destin, FL
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Jekyll Island, St Simons, Sea Island
- Greenville, SC
- Hilton Head Island, SC
- Myrtle Beach, SC
- Nashville, TN
- Savannah, GA
- Birmingham, AL
- Orlando, FL
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: Hampton Inn & Suites Chattanooga Downtown, Mayor’s Mansion Inn, Embassy Suites Chattanooga Hamilton Place, Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
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.
3. Augusta, Georgia
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
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.
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!
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: Home2Suites Destin, Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin, Henderson Beach Resort, Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
7. Great Smoky Mountains NP / Gatlinburg, Tennessee
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.
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, Queen’s Court Inn, Search Nearby Airbnbs
Located on the Georgia coast are four beautiful islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little 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.
9. Greenville, South Carolina
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.
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, Marriott’s Grande Ocean, Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
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: Sheraton Broadway Plantation, Anderson Ocean Club and Spa, Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
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.
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: Andaz Savannah, The Marshall House, Mansion on Forsyth Park, Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
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, Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
Distance: 442 mi / 6 hr 15 min (map)
What to Do / See: 101 Things to Do in Orlando
What to Eat: Ceviche Tapas Orlando, Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa
Where to Stay: Four Seasons at Disney (luxury), Floridays Resort, I-Drive (mid-range) Castle Hotel, Rosen Inn (budget), Search Nearby Airbnbs
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.
More Weekend Trips from Atlanta
- Adairsville, GA (61 mi / 55 min / map)
- Lake Oconee, GA (77 mi / 1 hr 20 min / map)
- Pine Mountain, GA (78 mi / 1 hr 10 min / map)
- Suches, GA (80 mi / 1 hr 30 min / map)
- Americus, GA (143 mi / 2 hrs 25 min / map)
- Cherokee, NC (161 mi / 2 hrs 45 min / map)
- Tybee Island, GA (265 mi / 4 hrs / map)
- Winston-Salem, NC (320 mi / 4 hrs 50 min / map)
- Alys Beach, FL (300 mi / 5 hrs 10 min / map)
- Pensacola, FL (324 mi / 4 hrs 55 min / map)
- Oxford, MS (331 mi / 4 hrs 55 min / map)
- Amelia Island, FL (356 mi / 5 hrs 15 min / map)
- Durham, NC (382 mi / 5 hrs 45 min / map)
- Memphis, TN (391 mi / 5 hrs 45 min / map)
- Raleigh, NC (405 mi / 6 hrs 5 min / map)
Favorite Road Trip Essentials
Best Places to Stay
How many of these weekend trips from Atlanta have you done? Can you think of any other weekend trips you’ve done?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust