There are so many wonderful vacation destinations to explore, that sometimes we forget the ones in our own backyard. There are lots of amazing weekend getaways in Ga.
Whether it’s hunting alligators, digging for gold, riding into the sunset, watching a show, or just spending a lazy day on the beach — Georgia has it all.
Need some vacation ideas for quick weekend getaways? Here are 25+ fabulous family weekend getaways.
The best part? They’re all around five hours or less from Atlanta!
Families come to Blue Ridge to disconnect from their worries and reconnect with each other. Cross a swinging bridge over the Toccoa River, or hike to stunning Long Creek Falls. Fill a penny-bag with old-fashioned candy at Huck’s General Store, stand with one foot in Georgia and the other in Tennessee at a stop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, or mine for gems at Lilly Pad Village.
Blue Ridge Lake offers swimming, SUP, picnicking, camping or kayaking… or head into the forest to test your skills at horseback riding or ziplining! Adventure-seekers can take on whitewater rafting along class 3 or 4 rapids…and unhurried families can opt for a more leisurely pace on a pontoon boat float.
Cabins galore make roasting marshmallows a breeze when evening falls, or pack up the car and head to Swan Drive-In for a flick and some popcorn.
Making a lifetime of memories in Blue Ridge this weekend!
Famous for being Georgia’s Antebellum Capital, Milledgeville is also a destination filled with award-winning historic sites, scenic waterways, literary legends, and a vibrant downtown. It’s so cool in fact that Milledgeville was featured as one of the coolest small town in America by Budget Travel magazine.
Just a short trip away from the hustle of Atlanta, Milledgeville offers authentic relaxation and outdoor recreation. Recreational enjoyment is abundant on Lake Sinclair while our downtown district is full of southern boutiques, historic antiques, and plenty of local eats.
Climb aboard ‘Milly’ the trolley for a guided tour of our charming destination, or grab your swim trunks and favorite rod for a splash in the waters of Lake Sinclair. After all, there’s more to Milledgeville.
While Gatlinburg, Tennessee is not technically in Georgia, it is just a short drive north and much closer than destinations on the coast or in South Georgia. The mountains are calling! Gatlinburg is a fantastic place for a weekend getaway, especially in 2020 as they celebrate 75 years since the city was first incorporated. It’s home to a bustling downtown area filled with interesting attractions and delicious restaurants, perfect for that romantic vibe. It’s also home to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – a natural oasis hosting thousands of miles of fun for outdoor lovers. If you’re looking for a place packed with so much affordable adventure and fun, Gatlinburg, TN is the place for you and yours. It is America’s Mountain Home!
Every year our school calendar seems to include more and more breaks. Although I'd prefer a longer summer, these frequent school breaks mean I can plan lots of short, fun trips!
To save you time, we've already done the research on some mini vacation ideas for a fun weekend getaway in GA.
Try an Unusual Getaway
For those who want something a little more unique than the normal hotel experience, we've got a few suggestions for you that are fun weekend getaways out of the ordinary.
Southern Cross Guest Ranch: Southern Cross Guest Ranch is a horse farm and bed and breakfast outside Madison, Georgia. Guests here get to bond with their animal, picking him out of the pasture, and brushing him down before and after the ride.
The trail experience is a bit different here too. It's not your normal nose-to-tail experience, and if you are an experienced rider, you can opt to go without a guide. In addition to the horses, my boys loved mountain biking in an empty pasture and riding up and down the hills.
(While you're here, make a stop in Madison -- its historic district is just beautiful. You'll also find great shops and restaurants downtown.)
Durhamtown Plantation: Durhamtown Plantation is heaven for motorheads. My boys had a blast riding the ATVs, but they also have motorcycle trails. Even if you don't ride, it's fun to watch those that do. Rent a cabin during one of their special events for even more fun. Lake Oconee is only 30 minutes away -- so staying there is an option too. (Nearby Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Rock Ranch:
Spending the night in a Conestoga wagon isn't something you can do every day. Doing it in the middle of a cattle field was the brainchild of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy. The Rock Ranch is an especially fun family getaway in Georgia when they are hosting one of their special weekends. We especially love the smashing pumpkins weekend in the fall, and the drive-through Christmas lights in December. We are sad to report The Rock Ranch has closed.
Georgia State Park Getaways
Georgia State Parks are always a great idea for a quick getaway -- and they're usually an inexpensive option.
Depending on the park, you may need to plan your trip early to get a reservation in one of the cabins or yurts. Campsites are a little easier to come by, but you'll still want to book early to be sure you get a good spot!
Stephen C Foster State Park– It's not just alligators that get kids excited about a trip to the Okefenokee Swamp -- although my kids were pretty pumped when we had a gator sighting. There are also boat trips and boardwalk trails. Families should enter at the Okefenokee Swamp Park, the northern entrance near Waycross. It has a small zoo and a railroad tour and is the most suitable for young families.
However, if you want to spend the night, Stephen C Foster State Park is the western entrance and the most remote part of the swamp. At the park’s office you can rent kayaks, canoes, boats and book guided tours on much larger craft during the day, at sunset, or -- for astronomy lovers -- experience some of their nighttime programs.
FDR State Park - Horseback riding at FDR State Park was a highlight for one of our family adventures. FDR is close to Callaway Gardens too, which offers lots of family fun. The weirdly fabulous Pine Mountain Animal Safari is also nearby. This is where a giraffe tried to lick my then-toddler with his HUUUGGEE tongue leaving us all crying with laughter.
Cloudland Canyon: Cloudland Canyon is one of the most popular state parks in the Georgia state parks system, maybe because it's so close to Chattanooga, TN -- another fun, quick getaway. In addition to hiking the trails at Cloudland Canyon State Park, we enjoyed going hang gliding at Lookout Mountain. Cloudland is also close to the always popular Rock City and Ruby Falls attractions. See more about Chattanooga here.
Hard Labor Creek State Park: Hard Labor Creek State Park has newly renovated cabins with beautiful rocking chair front porches. Hard Labor is close to Rutledge, Ga., an awesome small town with one stop sign, and two fantastic restaurants.
Providence Canyon: Several years ago we took a spring break trip through southwest Georgia. It was a fun adventure that was built around a trip to Providence Canyon. Years earlier I had torn out an article in Southern Living about Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon" and I was anxious to see it for myself. Providence Canyon was amazing, and I'm so happy we did this trip! This post gives you the southwest Georgia travel itinerary and links to more information about each stop.
Sweetwater Creek State Park: Sweetwater Creek State Park is a wonderful oasis near Atlanta, and they have some cool new yurts, so you can make a weekend out of it! Be sure to take some time and visit the Interpretive Center. I enjoyed listening to the story of the mill's capture during the Civil War.
Amicalola Falls State Park: Bring your walking shoes to Amicalola Falls State Park. You'll be hiking 620 steps to the summit – 175 to the viewing area and then another 445 to the top. But you'll be rewarded with beautiful views! Make a weekend out of it by staying at the Amicalola Lodge, camping, or staying in one of their cabins. And if you're up for even more adventure -- they offer ziplining too.
Reed Bingham State Park: Reed Bingham State Park is best enjoyed in the cooler months, when the gnats of south Georgia have been vanquished by the weather. Without those pesky bugs, you can truly enjoy catching tadpoles in the water, playing mini-golf or searching for gopher tortoises.
Veterans Memorial Park: What makes Veterans Memorial Park so unique is the opportunity to take a ride on the only roving Georgia State Park, the SAM Shortline train. We enjoyed the Peanut Express that went from Veterans to Plains and back with a few stops like the Rural Telephone Museum in Leslie. Be sure to indulge in the peanut ice cream in Plains.
Panola Mountain State Park: Panola Mountain State Park could also be classified under "unusual weekend getaways in Georgia" because you can sleep in a the trees here! Literally sleep in a hammock up in the canopy of the trees. I'm not sure I'm up for that adventure all night, although I did try it for an afternoon. My son and I really enjoyed the archery lessons here. If you stay for the weekend, take a side trip to the Monastary of the Holy Spirit, and the monastic heritage center.
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There aren't many beaches near Atlanta, unless you count Calypso Bay at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. If you're looking for a real beach though, Georgia's got some of those too -- and they make for excellent weekend getaways.
Tybee Island: Tybee Island is sometimes called Savannah Beach because it’s so close to the city. In fact, you could stay in Savannah and enjoy a city and sand vacation like we did recently. But how far is Savannah from Atlanta? It’s about 3.5 hours, or around 250 miles, making Tybee Island the closest beach to Atlanta.
Make sure you visit the Worsloe Historic Site while you're in Savannah so you can get an epic picture of the Spanish moss in the trees, like the one at the top of this article!
St. Simons Island: My favorite Georgia vacations are usually at St. Simons Island, probably because I’ve spent the most time there. The King and Prince is where you want to stay to be on the beach. They also have a great pool that overlooks the ocean, making it the best of both worlds!
Sea Island: For the most luxurious vacation spots in Georgia, there is no better place than The Sea Island family of resorts. These award winning Forbes Five Diamond resorts offer something for everyone. The Cloister at Sea Island is the flagship resort. If you love the idea of luxury, but your pocketbook isn't quite deep enough, consider a stay at The Inn at Sea Island. This hotel has the option of using the amenities at the swankier Sea Island resorts.
Jekyll Island: Once the playground of America's wealthiest citizens, Jekyll Island is now a favorite family friendly beach destination. My niece loves to visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, but I'm a bit partial to the less flashy Tidelands Nature Center. Jekyll also has some of the best bike paths, awesome shops, and a great mini golf course.
Little St. Simons Island, Georgia: Little St. Simons Island is the perfect family getaway for anyone who loves nature, but hates camping. The food here can compete with the best Atlanta restaurants, and there is always a cooler of adult beverages chilling on the porch.
Private Islands of Georgia: Eagle Island isn’t just for quick getaways, but true escapes. Eagle Island is your own private island, accessible only by boat.
Looking for more beach getaways close to Atlanta? We've got them!
Quick Getaways In and Near the City
Midtown Atlanta: Even if you live in or near Atlanta, it's still a great place for a quick getaway. The Loew's Atlanta Hotel is only a few miles from my house, but staying here made me discover the Midtown neighborhood like a visitor rather than a local (although it was nice to have some insider knowledge).
My favorite part was being able to park my car and just walk to the Fox Theatre, High Museum of Art and Piedmont Park. It was also fun watching my son try so many new things like spec, octopus and seaweed at Saltwood, Loew's in-house restaurant.
Downtown Atlanta: If museums and attractions are your idea of a great weekend, then you'll want to stay in Downtown Atlanta. The Omni CNN Center is the perfect location for a weekend of fun visiting the Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coca-Cola, The Children's Museum of Atlanta (which was totally redone in 2016), and Centennial Olympic Park. For the truly adventurous, book a swim with the whale sharks package at the Aquarium.
Stone Mountain Park: Stone Mountain is only 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta, but a stay at the Marriott Evergreen Conference center at Stone Mountain Park makes you feel worlds away.
Enjoy the indoor or outdoor pool and jacuzzi. My son was especially taken with the giant chess set. Take in the new Stone Mountain Lasershow Spectacular, or hit the links. We had a great time just enjoying the natural beauty of Stone Mountain. Did you know they have an outdoor granite museum? They do, and it's pretty interesting!
Stone Mountain is a wonderful place to visit for a quick getaway pretty much any time of year. They have a terrific holiday celebration during December, and it's the only place near Atlanta you can go snow tubing even when it doesn't snow. In addition, Stone Mountain has lots of fun festivals throughout the year like the Highland Games Festival and the Yellow Daisy Festival.
Athens, Ga.: Go Dawgs! Home to the University of Georgia, there is so much more to Athens than just football. (Although, the football is pretty great.) Visit the tree that own itself, catch a concert at the Georgia Theatre or 40 Watt, take your kids to enjoy the new play area at the Botanical Garden of Georgia (it's free!), ride your bike down the North Oconee River Greenway, and visit the Farmer's Market at Bishop Park on the weekends.
Augusta, Ga.: There are so many awesome things to do in Augusta, it makes for a great weekend getaway, even when The Masters aren't going on.
My favorite place to visit in Augusta is the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. You can take a ride along the canal and children can get a taste of what life was like for kids in the factories by seeing how fast they can replace the spools on the manufacturing line. At the Woodrow Wilson house, see if you can find the “Tom” etched in the window.
Columbus, Ga.: To say I was surprised by all Columbus, Georgia has to offer is an understatement. I was absolutely blown away. My boys and I had such a fabulous time here that we're still talking about our rafting adventure with Whitewater Express and our dinner at 11th and Bay is still at the top of our list of favorites. Leave some time for the National Infantry Museum -- which, bonus -- is free!
Fun Weekend Getaways in the Mountains
Dahlonega, Ga.: It's been several years since we did the Gold Tour in Dahlonega, Ga, but my kids still talk about how much fun they had. Summer is a great time to go down into a mine as it's always cool down there. The town square in Dahlonega is a great place to shop at the general store and grab an ice cream cone. Dahlonega has lots of ways to stay cool. If you'd like a more active adventure, try tubing the Chestatee.
Blue Ridge, Ga.: Ready to enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains? The fall foliage may bring most people to Blue Ridge, Ga., but this mountain town is a great place to visit pretty much anytime. We recommend the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad for your next visit. And stay at one of these cabins, eat at one of these restaurants, or hike to one of these waterfalls while you're there! There is so much to do in Blue Ridge -- you'll need to come back over and over again.
Barnsley Resort: Take I-75 north toward Chattanooga and you'll find Barnsley Resort in Adairsville. This resort has it all -- beautiful accommodations, great dining, a spa, and lots of outdoor activities. You'll find horseback riding, clay shooting, fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and so much more. After all that outdoor recreation, you must visit their spa to relax and unwind. It's a great weekend getaway, only an hour north of Atlanta.
Looking for more weekend getaways? Here are 51+ of the Best Family Weekend Getaways in the Southeast!
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