Sometimes you just need to get away. We’ve been there. That’s why we put together this list of more than 50 family weekend getaways in the Southeast. Whether you are looking theme parks and water slides, or horseback riding and hiking trails, this list will help!
Maybe you live in the South and are looking for a fun day trip, or you’d like to travel a bit farther for your family vacation, this list is a great place to start. We’ve broken it up by state, so you can find the best weekend getaway near you. Make it a road trip or fly in to the fun.
Escape to an uncrowded paradise! Martin County boasts a beautiful natural landscape, farm to table restaurants, world-class fishing, eclectic shopping and unique cultural experiences for the entire family to enjoy. Disconnect to reconnect in Martin County, where seemingly endless Atlantic beaches span nearly 22 miles along the coast and include individual access strips that allow for more private spots to enjoy the surf and sand or larger, guard-protected areas like Stuart Beach, Hobe Sound Beach and Sea Turtle / Jensen Beach. The natural beauty and attractions here offer up a treasure trove of activities—minus the crowds of our popular next-door neighbors. Nestled in the Upper Western section of South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast, the Old 96 District is home to amazing outdoor adventures, a haven for history buffs and the location of the most remarkable attractions and places of interest. Explore more than 150 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. Or paddleboard across one of three pristine freshwater lakes. Step back in time to relive a time in history that changed our culture and country.
Escape to an uncrowded paradise! Martin County boasts a beautiful natural landscape, farm to table restaurants, world-class fishing, eclectic shopping and unique cultural experiences for the entire family to enjoy.
Disconnect to reconnect in Martin County, where seemingly endless Atlantic beaches span nearly 22 miles along the coast and include individual access strips that allow for more private spots to enjoy the surf and sand or larger, guard-protected areas like Stuart Beach, Hobe Sound Beach and Sea Turtle / Jensen Beach. The natural beauty and attractions here offer up a treasure trove of activities—minus the crowds of our popular next-door neighbors.
Nestled in the Upper Western section of South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast, the Old 96 District is home to amazing outdoor adventures, a haven for history buffs and the location of the most remarkable attractions and places of interest. Explore more than 150 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. Or paddleboard across one of three pristine freshwater lakes. Step back in time to relive a time in history that changed our culture and country.
Finding Family Fun in Florida
Visit the home of Ernest Hemingway, tour the Shipwreck Museum, and take a ride on the Conch Train to get the best vantage of all Key West offers. Try Key Lime pie, take a snorkel and sunset cruise with Fury Watersports, and make sure to leave time for a day at Dry Tortugas National Park.
Recommended Hotel: Havana Cabana
Animal-lovers will adore the Jacksonville Zoo and Catty Shack Ranch. Take the kids to the Cummer Museum and the Museum of Science and History. After that, it’s time to soak up some Vitamin Sunshine at Little Talbot Island State Park and Kingsley Plantation.
Recommended Hotel: Omni Jacksonville
Sarasota is a lively coastal beach town on the sandy shores of the Gulf coast just one hour south of Tampa. Even if you aren’t a beach person (but if you are, OMG, such beautiful beaches) there is plenty to do in Sarasota. Kayak through the mangroves, see priceless works of art, as well as walk a circus tightrope at The Ringling, find culture at more than 20 different arts organizations, watch a spring training baseball game, take a Civil Rights tour from Newtown Alive! or, just hunt for shells on the uncrowded beaches of Mansota Key.
Recommended Hotel: Art Ovation
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It’s Always Awesome in Alabama
The Alabama Beaches are among the most beautiful in the world. It took all my power to pull the kids from the white sand, but you have to explore! Try a dolphin cruise or a visit to the Orange beach Pirate Ship..try the Wharf or the Zoo...and oh the food here!
Recommended Hotel: Turquoise Place
Visit the Botanical Garden, with plenty of things for kids. Sci-Quest and Early Works are great kiddo stops, too. Monte Sano Nature Preserve and Hays Nature Preserve are among our favorites. Don’t forget the US Space and Rocket Center.
Recommended Hotel: The Westin Huntsville
Start at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Museum, then check out Fort Conde’s cannons. Tour the USS Alabama, and splash in the fountains of the Eastern Shore Center. See the koi at Bellingrath Gardens and Home, or hang with the locals at Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium. Feed the ducks at Mobile Memorial Gardens or catch an event at the famous Bienville Square.
Recommended Stay: Boho Home in Midtown
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Nothing Beats a North Carolina Vacation
Great Wolf Lodge, Charlotte Motor Speedway, a gold mine and family-friendly vineyard…there is more than a weekend worth of exploring here.
Recommended Hotel: Great Wolf Lodge
Best known for its ski resort, Cataloochee Ski, but there is plenty to do throughout the year. Hike Socco Falls or Waterrock Knob, visit the Transportation Museum, or take the kids gem mining.
Recommended Hotel: Cataloochee Ranch
Head to the coast for time on the water cruising along the headwaters of the New River or voyaging in an inshore crabbing/shrimping experience. Hit Hammocks Beach State Park then get off the beaten path in a shelling excursion at the Crystal Coast. It’s good eats and idyllic coastal fun in Swansboro, North Topsail and Jacksonville, NC.
Recommended Stay: Hook, Wine & Sinker
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Sensational South Carolina Getaway Ideas
Visit the South Carolina Aquarium, take the Charleston Water Taxi to see the city and the dolphins, or tour the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point on the Charleston Harbor. Catch views from the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, or visit the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. There are plantations galore, and great beaches at Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and Edisto Beach.
Recommended Hotel: Fulton Lane Inn
Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden is rated number one in Columbia. Visit the historical walking path at Riverfront Park, or EdVenture, the children’s museum. Harbison State Forest has plenty of hiking and biking trails, as well.
Recommended Hotel: Aloft Columbia Harbinson
Ride the famous Ferris wheel, get close up with the alligators, walk the world-class boardwalk, or take a dolphin cruise. There are multiple state parks, NASCAR driving opportunities, and shows galore. We also love Georgetown, a sleepy town just south of Myrtle Beach that is the perfect day trip.
Recommended Hotel: 2-Bedroom Beach Condo
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Take On the Best of Tennessee
Visit the Chattanooga Aquarium, the Children’s Discovery Museum, or the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center. See the animals at the Zoo, or step back in time at the Chattanooga Tennessee Choo Choo. Don’t skip the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, or cool off at Coolridge Park.
Recommended Hotel: The Chattanoogan
Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Roaring Fork, Anakeesta, Ripley’s Aquarium, Take the Trolley or the Sky Lift. Kids love the Tramway and the Space Needle. There is a car museum, indoor water park, tons of arcades, and unique museums (like the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.)
Recommended Stay: DJ's Station
Walking tours, Segway tours, bus tours…there are plenty of ways to see Music City. Visit the Parthenon, Frist City, Adventure Science Center, Radnor Lake or the Nashville Zoo.
Recommended Hotel: Grand Ole Opry Hotel
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Living it Up in Louisiana
Kid-friendly may not be the first thing you think about when you go to New Orleans, but we had a blast with the boys on a trip there. Our favorite of the local attractions? The Insectarium. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is also a hit with kids, as is Cafe Du Monde because – hello, what kids doesn’t love sugary beignets. The World War II Museum is massive, and you can find the right ghost tour for pretty much any level. Take the Streetcar line to explore classic New Orleans neighborhoods too.
Recommended Hotel: Ritz-Carlton, NOLA
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Make It Happen in Mississippi
Best known as the home to the University of Mississippi, this small town in Northern Mississippi is a destination all it’s own. Literary types will know it is the home of William Faulkner. Pick up a few of his books at Square Books, named bookstore of the year by Publishers Weekly. For music lovers, End of All Music was voted one of the best music stores by Southern Living. Of course depending on the time of year you visit, you have to catch an Ole Miss football game (Hotty Toddy)
Recommended Hotel: The Graduate
There’s a natural rhythm and a richness here. The Mississippi Delta stretches along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, south from Memphis through fertile fields and welcoming communities. There is a wealth of stories being told here, through long-standing traditions, over meals and in the music for which the region is most famous.
Recommended Hotel: The Lofts at the Five & Dime
Located in the northeastern corner of Mississippi, Corinth attracts Civil War history buffs and quells hunger pangs with Slugburgers. Once here, discover hidden gems in this town where a railroad crossing became the cornerstone for a community thrust into the forefront of war. Corinth is a place you’ll come for the history but stay for the romantic appeal of small town USA.
Recommended Stay: The Farmhouse in Corinth
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Visit Virginia For An Exciting Weekend
Just two hours northeast of Asheville, North Carolina, 10 minutes north of Bristol, Tennessee and four and a half hours west of Richmond, Abingdon, Virginia, is nestled between the soaring peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Great Appalachian Valley, offering extraordinary scenic views and refreshing outdoor delights. With its enthusiastic drive for historic preservation and passion for the contemporary, Abingdon is a walkable, bike-able, and drive-able town that’s easy to love.
Recommended Stay: East Crest Lodge
Colonial Williamsburg is the ultimate history museum. Walk through cobblestone streets, into shops selling wigs, hats, firearms and more. Pick produce out of the garden or help make bricks for the buildings. Close to Williamsburg is the Jamestowne Settlement, which is an active archeological dig, as well as Historic Jamestowne which is living history museum. History buffs can round out their visit with tour of Yorktown.
Recommended Hotel: Colonial Houses
OK - it’s not technically in Virginia, but it’s close enough! The Smithsonian Museums alone could keep you and the kids happily busy for days. But make your way to the outskirts, also. Saunter the streets of DelRay. Hike the rails at Potomac Heritage, visit Mount Vernan, feel the spray of water from Great Falls Park, or spend the day roaming Annapolis and savouring their sweet seafood.
Recommended Hotel: The Westin Georgetown
Did We Forget Georgia?
We’d never forget our home state! From my favorite all-inclusive resort on Little St Simons Island to the beaches of Tybee and Jekyll Island…to the Wild Animal Safari and the sprawling golf course at Callaway...and from the glorious North Georgia Mountains to the lovely Georgia State Parks - our hearts are here. Please check out our entire post about great Weekend Getaways in Georgia.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.