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  • Writer's pictureNick Burgess

The Best Weekend Road Trips from Atlanta, Georgia

Road Trips from Atlanta

Atlanta, the bustling capital of Georgia, is not just a vibrant city with a rich history and a thriving cultural scene; it's also a gateway to some of the most beautiful and exciting road trip destinations in the southeastern United States.

a skyline view of atlanta, ga

Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway or a longer drive, there are countless places within a short drive from Atlanta that offer something for everyone. In this blog post, we'll explore the best road trip destinations from Atlanta, each offering unique attractions, outdoor activities, and unforgettable experiences.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Distance from Atlanta: 3.5-hour drive


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. Known for its breathtaking natural beauty, the park offers a wealth of outdoor adventures for nature lovers. From hiking and camping to fishing and wildlife watching, the park is a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Don't miss the scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains.


Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Distance from Atlanta: 2-hour drive


Lookout Mountain is a great place for a short road trip from Atlanta. This destination is famous for its rich history and natural beauty. Explore the historic sites, such as Point Park, which played a pivotal role in the Civil War, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing. The mountain also offers stunning views of the Tennessee River and the surrounding landscape, making it a perfect place for a weekend getaway.


Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

Distance from Atlanta: 3.5-hour drive


Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a vibrant city known for its artsy vibe, live music, and amazing restaurants. The downtown area is a great spot to explore with its cobblestone streets and historic district. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway offers one of the best scenic drives in the United States. The Blue Ridge Mountains are also home to numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and picnic areas, making it a perfect place for nature lovers.

St. Simons Island, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 5-hour drive


St. Simons Island is a beautiful beach destination with plenty of outdoor activities and historic sites. The island is known for its white sand beaches, historic lighthouses, and delicious food. Enjoy water activities such as kayaking, fishing, and sailing, or explore the historic district with its charming shops and restaurants. St. Simons Island is a great spot for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 2-hour drive


Often referred to as Georgia's Little Grand Canyon, Providence Canyon State Park is a natural wonder that offers a unique outdoor adventure. The park's stunning red, pink, and orange canyons provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking and photography. It's a great place for a day trip or a short road trip from Atlanta, offering a little bit of everything for nature lovers.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Distance from Atlanta: 2-hour drive


Chattanooga, located along the Tennessee River, is a popular destination known for its rich history and vibrant cultural scene. The city offers a mix of outdoor activities, historic landmarks, and family fun attractions. Visit the Tennessee Aquarium, explore the historic sites, or take a scenic drive up to Lookout Mountain. The downtown area is filled with amazing restaurants, live music venues, and annual events, making Chattanooga a great place for a weekend getaway.

Helen and the North Georgia Mountains

Distance from Atlanta: 1.5-hour drive


Herein lies the strangest entry on this list. Helen, a charming small town in the North Georgia Mountains, is a perfect place for a quick road trip from Atlanta. Known for its Bavarian-style architecture and vibrant festivals (including one hell of an Oktoberfest), Helen offers a unique experience. The nearby Chattahoochee National Forest provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. Don't miss Anna Ruby Falls and Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, for breathtaking views.

Savannah, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 3.5-hour drive


Savannah, known as Georgia's oldest city, is a popular destination for its rich history, historic landmarks, and beautiful beaches. Film buffs can explore the square in which Forrest Gump was filmed, alcohol buffs can explore the famous St. Patrick's Day experience, and the less mentally-stable traveler can take part in Savannah's world-renowned ghost tours. Explore the historic district with its cobblestone streets, historic sites, and vibrant cultural scene. River Street is a great spot for shopping, dining, and enjoying live music. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Tybee Island offers white sand beaches and water sports. Savannah is a great place for a weekend getaway or a longer drive.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Distance from Atlanta: 5.5-hour drive


Myrtle Beach is a popular destination for its beautiful beaches, family fun attractions, and vibrant nightlife. The city's white sand beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water activities. Myrtle Beach also offers numerous golf courses, amusement parks, and live entertainment venues. It's a great spot for a beach vacation with plenty of outdoor activities and delicious food.

Birmingham, Alabama

Distance from Atlanta: 2.5-hour drive


Birmingham, a city with a rich history and a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement, offers a mix of historic sites, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to learn about the city's history, explore the historic district, or enjoy outdoor adventures at the nearby Red Mountain Park. Birmingham's vibrant music scene, amazing restaurants, and annual events make it a great place for a weekend getaway.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Distance from Atlanta: 4.5-hour drive


Hilton Head Island is known for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and outdoor activities. The island offers a mix of relaxation and adventure, with opportunities for water sports, horseback riding, and exploring nature trails. The historic district and main street area are perfect for shopping, dining, and enjoying live music. Hilton Head Island is a perfect place for a relaxing beach vacation.

Orange Beach, Alabama

Distance from Atlanta: 5-hour drive


Orange Beach is a beautiful beach destination on Alabama's Gulf Coast, known for its white sand beaches and outdoor activities. Enjoy water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing, or explore the nearby Gulf State Park for hiking and biking trails. Orange Beach offers a laid-back atmosphere with delicious food and amazing restaurants, making it a great spot for a relaxing beach getaway.

Augusta, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 2-hour drive


Pimento cheese fans, rejoice! Augusta, home of the Masters Golf Tournament, is a great place for golf enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The city's historic landmarks, beautiful parks, and vibrant downtown area make it a perfect place for a weekend getaway. Explore the Riverwalk, visit the Augusta Museum of History, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the city's many golf courses.

Athens, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 1.5-hour drive


Athens, home to the University of Georgia, is a vibrant college town with a rich music scene, historic sites, and outdoor activities. Explore the downtown area with its charming shops, amazing restaurants, and live music venues. The nearby Chattahoochee National Forest offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping. Athens is a great spot for a weekend getaway with a mix of culture, history, and outdoor adventures.

Bryson City, North Carolina

Distance from Atlanta: 3-hour drive


Bryson City, located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, is a small town with a lot to offer. Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and white-water rafting, or take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway for breathtaking views of the mountains. The town's charming main street, historic sites, and friendly atmosphere make it a great place for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Tybee Island, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 4-hour drive


Tybee Island, located near Savannah, is a popular beach destination known for its historic lighthouses, beautiful beaches, and outdoor activities. Enjoy water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing, or explore the island's historic district with its charming shops and restaurants. Tybee Island is a great spot for a relaxing beach vacation with plenty of outdoor adventures.

Amelia Island, Florida

Distance from Atlanta: 5-hour drive


My personal favorite on this list, Amelia Island, located just off the coast of Florida, is a beautiful beach destination with a mix of natural beauty, historic sites, and outdoor activities. Enjoy horseback riding on the beach, exploring the island's nature trails, or relaxing on the white sand beaches. The historic district and main street area offer charming shops, amazing restaurants, and live music venues. Amelia Island is a perfect place for a relaxing beach getaway.

Lake Lanier, Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: 1-hour drive


Lake Lanier is a popular destination for water activities and outdoor adventures. The lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and water sports. The surrounding area also has numerous parks and hiking trails, making it a great spot for a day trip or a short road trip from Atlanta. Enjoy a picnic by the lake, explore the Chattahoochee River, or relax at one of the lakeside resorts. And film fans have things to explore here too. Ever seen a Marvel movie, or are you a big fan of the Netflix series Ozark? Productions all across the country flock to Lake Lanier to take advantage of the varied scenery where the coastline can look like anywhere in the world.

Nashville, Tennessee

Distance from Atlanta: 4-hour drive


Nashville, known as the "Music City" or "The Town That Taylor Swift Built," is a vibrant destination with a rich music scene, historic sites, and outdoor activities. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, enjoy live music at the Grand Ole Opry, or explore the city's historic landmarks. The downtown area offers amazing restaurants, charming shops, and annual events. If you're into professional sports, catch an NHL game at the Bridgestone Arena, or head to Nissan Stadium to see the Tennessee Titans. Nashville is a great place for a weekend getaway with a mix of culture, history, and outdoor adventures.

Conclusion

Atlanta is a fantastic starting point for some of the best road trips in the southeastern United States. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, historic sites, or relaxing beach vacations, there's something for everyone within a quick hop of the ATL!

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