These are the best road trips from Atlanta, Georgia! We list both day trips and weekend getaways within a few hours drive.
Best Road Trips From Atlanta
We just want to start off by saying, we love the city of Atlanta. In fact, we’ve spent quite a bit of time there thanks to house sitting. And although we’ve already seen most of the main attractions there thanks to the Atlanta CityPASS, we do plan to go back and see more of this awesome city.
With that being said, we know that sometimes you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best road trips from Atlanta. We, and some fellow bloggers, have recommendations for some great day and weekend trips that are all within four hours of Atlanta. We hope they inspire you to get on the road!
Pro Tip: Make sure you’re ready for your trip with these Road Trip Essentials. They include accessories, games, safety tips, and even a printable checklist!
Alanna of Periodic Adventures
An hour and a half from Atlanta, you’ll find the “classic city,” Athens – home of the University of Georgia bulldogs and the iconic Georgia arch seen on the Georgia state flag. Athens makes for a weekend getaway from Atlanta as there is plenty to do for families and college students alike.
For families, I’d recommend checking out the free state botanical garden, Bear Hollow Zoo, or one of the many local parks. College students and football fans will enjoy walking the campus and passing by the football stadium. North Campus, where you’ll see the Georgia arch, borders downtown Athens, so you can stroll the campus and enjoy downtown in the same day.
There are many yummy restaurants downtown, but my personal (local’s) favorite is Clocked!, a 50’s sci-fi themed burger joint that has amazing cheesy Cajun tater tots and a unique bacon peanut butter burger. Beer lovers checkout Creature Comforts Brewery, which has a nice outdoor patio from which to enjoy your local draught. The best places (and cheapest) places to stay are local Airbnb’s, but beware of price gauging during football season!
You don’t have to travel very far to still have a fun day trip from Atlanta. Just 30 minutes northwest of the big city, we discovered that there are a lot of fun things to do in Marietta.
The town square is really cute and its surrounded by over 70 shops and restaurants. There are also a lot of events that take place there throughout the year. While you’re wandering the square, we suggest you stop in to eat at Taqueria Tsunami. This amazing restaurant fuses traditional flavors from the Far East with flavors from South of the Border. Order the Avocado Cilantro Egg Rolls – you’ll thank us later!
Marietta also has a ton of great museums, including the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, the Marietta Fire Department Museum, and the Marietta Museum of History. Our favorite museum, however, was the Gone with the Wind Museum. There are all kinds of memorabilia, promotional pieces from the film, copies of the book signed by Margaret Mitchell, and even an original dress worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in the movie!
Charles of McCool Travel
Savannah is one of USA’s most beautiful, romantic, and interesting small towns. The drive between Atlanta and Savannah is just under four hours, mostly on interstate highways, and goes through Macon and near Vidalia. Visitors can spend a lifetime and not experience all of the things to do in Savannah.
Most of Savannah’s charm is contained in a compact historic district but three recommended attractions warrant day trips — Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Historic Site, and Tybee Island. Bonaventure is most famous from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and can be visited on some trolley and guided tours.
In historic Savannah, allow days (or years) to wander the squares, explore the architecture, visit the museums and attractions, enjoy the parks, and sample the astounding cocktail and cuisine scene. The historic district and classic waterfront are very walkable and I suggest staying in a B&B, inn, or hotel here rather than in the outskirts.
Savannah is a popular foodie city and perhaps no US south restaurant is as esteemed as The Grey—selected by Food & Wine as one of the world’s 30 best restaurants. Also try Treylor Park, featuring a classy cocktail bar, beer garden patio, and eclectic cuisine.
Emily of Em’s on the Road
If you’re looking for a respite from bustling Atlanta, take the short 1 and a half hour trip up the road to Summerville, Georgia. Folk art fans and children will love taking a day trip to this quaint mountain town and once home to famed folk artist Howard Finster.
Finster was a well-known visionary folk artist with work in museum collections all over the world and a couple of miles from downtown Summerville, you can explore his greatest work, Paradise Garden.
Finster transformed his home and land into a truly magical and immersive art installation that pays homage to the “great inventions of mankind.” Finster was a preacher for many years and in the mid-1970s his work changed when he became a self-proclaimed “man of visions” and recorded these visions in his art all in sculptures and paintings all over his property. It is one of the most unique experiences. Paradise Garden is open to the public Tuesday – Sunday, 11am-5pm with self-guided tours available every half hour.
When you get hungry, head into town for a trip to the old-school drive-in restaurant Jerry’s. Classic burgers, fries, and shakes for all before heading back to Atlanta.
Stephanie of History Fangirl
A fabulous cultural weekend road trip from Atlanta, Birmingham is under three hours away and offers fabulous food, history, and culture. If you want to get out and stretch your legs on the drive, you can visit the Talladega National Forrest. If you want to take a longer drive, you can detour and drive through Tuskeegee and Selma as well. Though this drive is five hours, the extra history you can see at both stops makes it worth the extra time.
When you get to Birmingham, make sure to see the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. You will learn about the city’s pivotal role in the US Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s. You can also see the jail cell where Martin Luther King Jr. penned his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Other important things to do in Birmingham include visiting the Negro Southern League Baseball Museum and visiting the Fourth Avenue Historic District.
For a sumptuous dinner, make reservations at the Highland Bar & Grill where James Beart award-winner Chef Frank Stitt mixes traditional French and Southern cuisine. Even if you’re used to enjoying Southern food in Atlanta, this will surprise and delight you.
One of the best road trips from Atlanta is to the city of Huntsville. There are a lot of fun things to do in Huntsville, and the drive from Atlanta is less than three and a half hours. The cool thing about Huntsville is that there are historic things to see, adrenaline pumping hangouts, as well as super modern attractions.
Of course, the main attraction in Huntsville is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. It’s made up of the main museum, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, historic Shuttle Park, and Rocket Park. Anyone that visits will enjoy learning about the development of the space shuttle program.
Pints & Pixels is another fun place to hang out. It’s an arcade with over 50 vintage arcade games and pinball machines. Have you ever tried axe throwing? Test your skills at Civil Axe Throwing.
History buffs should head up to Burritt on the Mountain. Here visitors will find over 160 acres made up of Dr. Burritt’s mansion, a historic park that has six authentic 19th century homes, a replica of a 1918 Rosenwald School, nature trails, and more.
Two Huntsville restaurants that we recommend are Cotton Row in downtown Huntsville and 1892 East. Cotton Row is great any time, but one of their specialties is their brunch. 1892 East has the best burger in town. So make sure you check out both when you road trip to Huntsville.
Another fun road trip from Atlanta is to Florida’s capital, Tallahassee. At just over four hours, it makes for a perfect weekend trip from Atlanta. Tallahassee has a lot of politicians (obviously) but it’s also home to a lot of young students. Here you’ll find colleges like Florida State University (FSU) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). This unique blend of diverse demographics means Tallahassee has something for everyone.
A really fun way to get to know the city is to take a segway tour with Tallahassee Segway Tours. You’ll see all the major sites and learn really interesting tidbits about Tallahassee along the way.
One of our favorite things about Tallahassee is the food. There are a lot of unique places to eat in Tallahassee! Dog Et Al is cool because there are 10,230 possible hot dog combinations that can be made with their 10 different meats and 10 different ingredients. Monk’s is also a great place to eat and has been voted Tallahassee’s best burger continuously for many years.
For your weekend trip to Tallahassee, we recommend staying at the Governors Inn Hotel. It’s a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of historic downtown Tallahassee.
Asheville, North Carolina
Zack of Florida Man On The Run
If you’re looking for a fantastic weekend trip from Atlanta, then consider packing your bags and heading towards Asheville, NC. This is the perfect trip if you love waterfalls, hiking, and beer!
Start on a Friday afternoon to make the most of your time along the route. As you leave Atlanta, take US 23 towards your first stop at Tallulah Gorge. This gem of a state park offers a number of different hikes, but I recommend the hike to Hurricane Falls and the bridge crossing it. Once you’ve stretched your legs, get back on the road towards Franklin, NC where you’ll stay for the night.
Get an early start Saturday and head north along US23 to US 74 to meetup with the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. Take your time along the road and stop at some hikes like Graveyard Fields. Once you reach Asheville its time to explore! The best way to see the city is through it breweries. Taking a brewery tour through Asheville will let you see all the city has to offer along with some fantastic beer and food as well!
For your return to Atlanta on Sunday, you’ll need to grab a bite to eat before hitting the road. Green Sage Cafe in Downtown Asheville will fill you up right with a delicious breakfast. Once you leave Asheville, it won’t be long til your ready to come back again for another trip!
Pro Tip: Check out our list of Essential Hiking Gear!
Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee
Apryl of Southern Hospitality Magazine
The Smoky Mountain towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, Tennessee, are popular destinations for a weekend getaway for every age and interest.
Less than a four-hour drive from Atlanta following US 23 North and 441 North, there is plenty to explore along the way. In Georgia, take a break at Tallulah Gorge State Park in Tallulah Falls or Black Rock Mountain State Park in Dillard. Once you get to North Carolina, check out either Cherokee or downtown Franklin.
The route takes you through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with places to pull over for views (and photos.) Don’t miss out on Clingman’s Dome or Newfound Gap.
On the other side of the mountain is the city of Gatlinburg. Park and walk to attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or Anakeesta, or take the trolley. It even goes out to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community.
Many choose Gatlinburg as their home base. Less than eight miles is Pigeon Forge, best known for Dollywood, and then it’s another seven miles to Sevierville, where you can walk across a swinging bridge at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park, go outlet shopping and more.
Dining is an experience, too. You can’t go wrong with pancakes from Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin in Gatlinburg or meals at either The Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge or Five Oaks Farm Kitchen in Sevierville. As for accommodations, there are options for every budget.
Another awesome road trip from Atlanta is to Nashville, also known as Music City. The drive from Atlanta to Nashville is about four hours heading northwest along I-75 and I-24.
Obviously many of the main attractions in Nashville are music-themed, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Ryman Auditorium which was the first home of the Grand Ole Opry.
Other fun places to visit are the Nashville Parthenon, the new Tennessee State Museum, Belle Meade Plantation and Winery, and if you’re a car enthusiast, the Lane Motor Museum.
Of course, the food in Nashville is pretty amazing too. We recommend visiting Hattie B’s for some Hot Chicken and I Dream of Weenie for some creatively topped hot dogs. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants and bars on Broadway, Downtown Nashville’s most popular street.
Final Thoughts On Road Trips From Atlanta
We love that there are so many options for road trips from Atlanta. You can find scenic parks, delectable restaurants, intriguing museums, and fascinating historic landmarks all within a few hours drive. Happy road tripping!