10 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in Georgia
Georgia is a great destination for a weekend getaway, and the first stop is usually the bustling, energetic city of Atlanta. Having the world's largest airport allows for easy access to take advantage of all the state's attractions. With a temperate climate coupled with unparalleled southern hospitality and a landscape that ranges from a Little Grand Canyon to the secluded beaches of the Golden Isles, you can bet this state will suit every visitor's travel style. Whether you are looking for a romantic escape or a fun adventure, Georgia has it.
There's still a lot of Gone with the Wind -style permeating the architecture throughout the state. No less than 47 state parks and over 400 Civil War sites keep sports enthusiasts and history buffs busy. The mysterious Spanish moss sets the mood, and tourists will find the refrain from Georgia on My Mind reverberating through their memories long after they have left this enchanting destination. Learn about the best places to visit in the state with our list of the top weekend getaways in Georgia.
It's impossible to summarize all Atlanta has to offer, but let's suffice to say a visit is peachy keen. The city is one of the most popular destinations in the southeast. City planners were on the ball when they designed the area near and around Centennial Park. Within walking distance, tourists can attend a concert or sporting event and visit the largest aquarium in the world. In addition, the Center for Civil and Human Rights is adjacent to the World of Coca Cola. They've wrapped history, politics, business, and sports all in a very appealing location and package for visitors.
Elsewhere, Dr. Martin Luther King's contribution to the world of Civil Rights is honored at the center named after him. The Atlanta Beltline is a biker/walker's dream, and the exquisite Botanical Garden is dotted with Chihuly sculptures and is a must-see for green thumbs. Then we can move on to a foodie scene that has heads turning with some of the best dishes and restaurant openings around the country.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Atlanta: Best Areas and Hotels
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Georgia's first city is steeped in rich southern history. Majestic trees dripping with Spanish moss surround stately centuries-old homes located in the historic district. This city is perfect for walking, and the symmetrical grid layout and variety of architecture has given the district National Historic Landmark status. The Mercer Williams House, home of the Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, is an Italianate marvel and will look familiar from the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Take a stroll through Forsyth Park below a canopy of Spanish moss. If you want to get out of the city, jump in the car and head to Tybee Island, where you can soak up the sun and the sand a mere half hour away.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Savannah
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3. Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain is headquarters for one of Georgia's top tourist attractions and a great quick getaway from the city of Atlanta. Over four million visitors come through Stone Mountain Park each year. An isolated sculpted mountain, the stone makes a striking monument around which the park is based. While nature plays a large role in the attraction, there are plenty of additional offerings more along the lines of a theme park. Enjoy miniature golf, a dinosaur-themed playground, and an evening laser show. Festivals are scheduled throughout the year at Stone Mountain Park, so check the calendar to make sure your dates overlap with one that fits your travel style.
For a total change of pace, the Historic Square gives tourists a taste of life before the Civil War. Speaking of antebellum, the Stone Mountain Manor is a bed-and-breakfast charmer. Located at the edge of the park, this boutique hotel has luxurious rooms and plenty of amenities. Play golf, take in some pool time, and even bring along your pet. Breakfast is included, as is Wi-Fi and parking.
4. Sea Island
This privately owned, isolated resort island is located on the Atlantic coast in Southern Georgia and feels like it's a million miles away. Just crossing the bridge starts the vacation engine roaring as you drive past the oak trees dripping with moss. The splurge-worthy The Cloister at Sea Island has achieved Forbes' five-star rating the past decade, and it's easy to see why.
With every type of accommodation, from private cottages to hotel-style rooms, the superlative amenities and hospitality draw families and guests from around the world. Head to the pristine beach or play a round of golf alongside the ocean at one of three courses. After a busy day, you can unwind at one of the pools or take part in the many activities on the island like sport shooting, biking, tennis, horseback riding, and more. Shopping here is more of a one-of-a-kind experience, and when you've had enough, come back to taste the flavors of Sea Island at one of the many restaurants located within the property.
5. Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island is a favorite of many visitors heading to Georgia. This coastal haven is a place where people travel to convene with nature and get a taste of laid-back island life. From Driftwood Beach to the Oceanfront Promenade, there are so many unique places to visit on the island.
To get a taste of what the island has to offer, try a leisurely kayak tour at the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center. Learn more about the native wildlife at the Sea Turtle Center, where they rehabilitate sea turtles and help other coastal wildlife. You can also take one of the many historical tours to learn more about this area's rich culture.
The Jekyll Island Club Resort is a historic property, updated now for modern travelers. The original hunting lodge was the playground of the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts.
Athens has all the charm of a southern town and is only a little over an hour away from the bustling city of Atlanta. With a vibrant music scene and the student culture, this small city holds everything a hip traveler would need for a quick trip. Head to the Georgia Museum of Art to enjoy works from local and international artists or walk through The State Botanical Gardens of Georgia. The Victorian-era downtown and its enclave of trendy shops, restaurants, and vibrant entertainment venues keep visitors entertained.
7. Blue Ridge
Nestled in the mountains, but only 90 minutes from Atlanta, Blue Ridge, Georgia offers a little something for everyone. Whether you are looking for adventure in the higher elevations or a laid-back getaway, you will find it in this beautiful area. For the adventurous, try the Zipline Canopy Tours through a beautiful 165-acre tract of land in the mountains. For a more leisurely tour, try taking a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Strolling the downtown area with many shops and restaurants is an excellent way to feel the flavor of this artsy and creative environment. If you are lucky enough to be visiting in October, stop by the popular Apple Festival and enjoy the good food, music, vendors, and an impressive antique car show.
Augusta is so much more than its famous golf course. Just across from the Savannah River in South Carolina, this bustling city feels more like a small town. As a matter of fact, you can make an adventure of exploring the town. You can take a boat tour through the Augusta Canal, a historic Trolley Tour, or the Black History Trolley Tour. The Riverwalk, follows the Savannah River.
While you are here, consider a paddleboard tour of Betty's Branch with Cole Watkins Tours or a bike ride through the Forks Area Trail System, a loop of 34 miles of wooded trails. For something a little less adventurous, the many galleries and shops offer plenty to see in the downtown area.
Lederhosen in Georgia? Perhaps one of the most unique getaways in the Peach State is Helen. This Bavarian-themed town is filled with unique homes and shops reflecting Alpine culture. It just happens to be in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains! The small town is located on the Chattahoochee River, and upon first glimpse, you might swear you are in Germany. Make sure you're hungry, as schnitzel, pretzels, and sausages are a favorite. Shop in one of the unique stores that have locally produced arts and crafts, or visit one of their museums, such as the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. Make sure to check the calendar, as there are many festivals throughout the year. The location is prime, and it's easy to find plenty of activities indoors and out.
10. Tybee Island
For those who want the best of both worlds — a quiet beach vacation with access to shops, entertainment venues, and more, Tybee Island is for you. Only 18 miles from the city of Savannah, this well-known beach town has tons of charm. You can rest and recharge on this relaxing island. Eat your fill of fresh, local seafood and work off the calories with biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, and more. The option of Savannah at night for dining at one of its world-class restaurants or for its vibrant entertainment options is only 20 minutes away. This barrier island is complete with a still functioning lighthouse, an active pier, and remnants from a 19th-century fort.
Located next to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, the Hotel Tybee offers beautiful ocean views, and the Tybee Pier and Pavilion is just a short walk from the hotel.