There are so many wonderful vacation destinations 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 digging a hole, Georgia has it all.
Need some vacation ideas for quick weekend getaways? Here are 25+ fabulous family weekend getaways. The best part, they are 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!
This North Georgia town is best known for apples. But Ellijay also has a vibrant Main Street with quaint shops and restaurants. Our favorite is Mountain Treasures because in addition to adorable clothing, they also have a sample selection of wines from Cartecay Vineyards (an Ellijay winery) and moonshine! Outdoor adventurers will enjoy the serenity of Carter’s Lake. Rent a pontoon boat from the marina to explore 62 miles of natural shoreline or take a hike around the lake on several leisurely trails.
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.
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.
Every year our school calendar seems to include more and more breaks. I'm not a big fan. I'd prefer a longer summer. However, if I can't beat them, I might as plan some fun. 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 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 taking the bikes into an empty pasture and riding up and down the hills.
Durhamtown Plantation: Durhamtown Plantation is heaven for motorheads. My boys had a blast riding the ATV's, 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. (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 that 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.
North Georgia Canopy Tours: After an awesome day of zip-lining, spend the night in a teepee at North Georgia Canopy Tours. Before you think, I don't do rustic, you should see these teepees, this is more glamping than camping. The zip-line tour is great for novices through old pros. Guides start you low and slow to get used to the heights and the zip equipment, plus they are there the entire way to ensure a safe experience, and to coach you through the rough spots.
Georgia State Park Getaways
Georgia State Parks are always a great idea for a quick getaway that is also a cheap weekend getaway - that is if you can get a reservation. 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 can get in.
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 the Stephen C Foster State Park is the western entrance and the most remote part of the swamp. At the park’s office you can hire kayaks, canoes, boats and book guided tours on much larger craft during the day, at sunset or, for astronomy lovers, experience programs at night.
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 close by too. 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 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 caving with the Georgia Girl Guides and 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 a beautiful rocking chair front porch. Hard Labor is close to Rutledge, Ga., an awesome little 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 on Providence Canyon (back when you did those sort of things rather than just pinning them on Pinterest). We started in Albany, stopped at Providence Canyon, as well as a few other places, then drove up through Columbus, Pine Mountain and back to Atlanta. 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 instead of being just a day trip from Atlanta, it can an overnight cheap weekend getaways. 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 a beautiful view.
Reed Bingham State Park: Reed Bingham State Park is best enjoyed in cooler months, when the gnats have be vanquished by the weather. Then 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. 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 Ga 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.
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 if you’d rather measure the distance from Atlanta to Savannah in miles, it’s around 250 miles, making Savannah’s Beach, Tybee Island the closest beach to Atlanta, and perfect for quick getaways.
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 several swimming pools. My favorite is the main pool that overlooks the ocean. It’s the perfect compromise for my son who likes the pool and me who feels like we can swim in a pool anywhere, I want the ocean.
Sea Island: For the most luxurious vacation spots in Georgia, there is no better place than The Sea Island family of resorts. These Forbes Five Diamond resorts offers something for families to friends, to a wonderful couples getaway. 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 robber barons, 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 and my youngest got his first hole-in-one at the mini-golf course on the island,
Little St. Simons Island, Georgia: Little St. Simons Island is the perfect family getaway for anyone who loves nature, but hates camping, plus the food can compete with the best Atlanta restaurant, 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. Just like the name suggests, it’s your own private island, accessible only by boat.
Looking for more beach getaways close to Atlanta? Click through!
A Quick Getaway in 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 with a pretty good local clientele too (and a kids menu of yours aren't adventurous).
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, CNN Center, 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? Yup. 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 tubing in Atlanta even when it doesn't snow. In addition Stone Mountain has lots of fun festivals like the Highland Games Festival and the Yellow Daisy Festival.
Alpharetta, Ga.: Most people think of Alpharetta as more of a day trip from Atlanta, but the city has some wonderful shopping and dining establishments, plus two unique hotel experiences that are perfect for family weekend getaways. The American Girl Experience at the Marriott Alpharetta and the Good Knight Package at the Hampton Inn are a great way to extend a daytime fun to an overnight adventure. The Good Knight package includes tickets to the highly entertaining Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, a fun place to go even if you are just looking for an entertaining evening out.
Augusta, Ga.: 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
Dahlongea, 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, and summer is a great time to go down into a mine as it's always cool. The town square in Dahlonega is a great place to shop in 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.: 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.