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.
Ready to enjoy a bit of charming America only an hour from Atlanta? Madison, GA is waiting! This beautiful historic small town is the ideal location to escape the craziness of your modern life.
Madison offers one of Georgia’s largest historic districts with a vibrant, walkable downtown brimming with world-class restaurants and unique boutiques. Experience a slower pace, friendly faces and the quiet beauty of perfectly preserved architecture dating back centuries. But that’s not all: You’re next to the state’s second largest state park – Hard Labor Creek State Park – and surrounded by miles of farmland and unspoiled countryside.
As a college town and former 19th century capital of Georgia, Milledgeville is brimming with historic character, a vibrant downtown district, and outdoor adventure options for nature lovers of all ages. 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 their downtown district is full of southern boutiques, historic antiques, and plenty of local eats.
Climb aboard ‘Milly’ the trolley for a guided tour of the 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.
There is no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with our Georgia parks. Friends of Georgia State Parks makes that easy with their membership packages.
Our favorite is the Supporter Pass for only $125 (plus a 15% discount happening now!) You get two free parking passes so you and a friend can get into all the parks for free all year long. It also includes three free nights of camping, 10-20% off lodging, and two free picnic shelter rentals perfect for a family gathering.
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 ONE OF THESE UNUSUAL WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN GA
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.)
Candlelight Forest. If you are looking for a getaway that offers plenty of great outdoor activities… works for couples, kids, or multi-generational families… helps you forget your worries… and puts a focus on FUN… Candlelight Forest is calling your name. is a place of unique natural beauty that hearkens back to a time of simple pleasures. Check out the 200 acres of this simpler times resort.
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.
Take a Treehouse Adventure. Ready to get away? Maybe something removed from people…secluded..but unique? These treehouse rentals Georgia locals love are the best of the best, with options for families or date-night escapes. From romantic to rustic, from the city to the North Georgia Mountains…these selections make staying a treehouse super easy. (PS. You might also like these Georgia Glamping Adventures.)
Len Foote Hike Inn. The Hike Inn is an amazing place that is only accessible by a 5-mile hike. It is one of Georgia's MUST DO adventures. It's breath-taking, captivating, rewarding and fun for the entire family.
GEORGIA STATE PARKS 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. Lake Blackshear is the perfect place to stay when you visit.
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 Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and the monastic heritage center.
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 historic city and 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.
QUICK GETAWAYS IN BIG TOWNS AND SMALL
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, and Centennial Olympic Park. For the truly adventurous, book a swim with the whale sharks package at the Aquarium.
Milledgeville, Ga. You’ve probably heard Milledgeville, Ga referred to as Georgia’s Antebellum Capital. And while that is a fair assessment, it is so much more. If you love exploring the outdoors while taking in a bit of Georgia’s history, this is just the spot! Soak up the sun at Lake Sinclair, bike along the Oconee River, tour the historic district filled with culture and art (or Central State Hospital!!) , and see the surprises offered on the Georgia College campus.
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!
Macon, Ga. This middle Georgia town is filled with history, beauty, and so many things to do! Now that I have my own kids, we frequently stop here for visits on our way to visit my parents. Macon has beautiful parks, awesome museums, some really cool historical buildings, and some annual festivals that are not to be missed!
FUN WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN GA 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. 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 adventure. 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 romantic 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!
Helen, Ga. There are so many things to do in Helen Ga, and it ranks among our favorite North Georgia Mountain Towns because of the number of outdoor adventures. It is no surprise that Alpine Helen/White County has been designated by the State House and Senate as Georgia’s Outdoor Adventure Destination.
Brasstown Valley Resort. Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, this resort redefines the typical mountain getaway. You'll find the beauty and natural splendor of idyllic Blue Ridge Mountain rentals without compromising the myriad amenities of a mountain golf resort and spa. Lodging and dining, championship golf, stables, a full-service spa, and a wide range of outdoor activities for the whole family are waiting for you.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP AROUND GEORGIA
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- 21 PERFECT TINY HOUSE RENTALS IN GEORGIA
- 15 LUXURY ATLANTA RENTALS THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE A Y’ALLYWOOD STAR
- 30 LAKE HOUSE RENTALS NEAR ATLANTA (RIVER-SIDE OPTIONS, TOO!)
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