We love Atlanta, but everyone enjoys a little getaway from time to time. If you’re looking to plan any family-friendly weekend trips from Atlanta, you’ve come to the right place. Our weekend getaway guide includes some of the most beautiful sights Georgia has to offer, both in the big city and out in the boondocks.
Weekend Trips from Atlanta
For City Slickers
If you want to explore some of the best cities in Georgia (apart from Atlanta, of course), this section is for you.
Savannah has everything you could want from a city. Whether you want to soak up some sun at Forsyth Park, investigate famous Savannah ghost tours and tales, or immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the city, Savannah has a little something for everyone. The Paris Market and the Colonial Park Cemetery are some cultural landmarks you won’t want to miss.
If you’re a Georgia native, chances are you already know a good bit about what Athens has to offer, including the State Botanical Gardens, the Georgia Theatre, and the Georgia Museum of Art, just to name a few. But there are some hidden gems in Athens you won’t want to miss, from adorable vintage record shops like Wuxtry to Southern soul food establishments like Weaver D’s Fine Food.
Whether you want to tour the city’s museums, explore Civil War-era cottages, or relax down by Lake Tobesofkee, Macon has everything you could want from a weekend getaway. Macon is also one of the most musical cities in Georgia, boasting the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Allman Brothers Band Museum. You could call it “Little Nashville.”
For the Sea Lovers
Home to one of the oldest surviving buildings in Georgia, Jekyll Island is the perfect mix of the luxurious and the antiquated. The island was formerly owned by some of the wealthiest families in America, who used it as their own private retreat. Back in the early 1900s, the Jekyll Island Club boasted members from the Rockefeller and the Morgan families.
If all members of the club were present, they would represent nearly 20% of the world’s wealth at that time. Today, the island is owned by the State of Georgia and remains a popular tourist destination.
Looking to trade in the bright lights of the big city for an off-road adventure? We’ve got you covered.
The Dwarf Castle in Alpharetta, GA
You don’t need to go all the way out to Ireland or England to explore castles—you can do it right here in Georgia. The Dwarf Castle is a lot younger than many of the European ruins and castles—it was built back in 1950, by a trucker named Rudy and his wife Ruth. Rudy promised Ruth he was going to build her a castle, and he followed through!
Rudy and Ruth’s castle is a little smaller than what you might expect from a typical castle. It only has two bedrooms! The castle got its name from the gnomes, also called dwarves, adorning the front lawn. Since Rudy and Ruth live in the house, you won’t be able to tour it, but you can check it out from the road while you’re exploring historic Alpharetta.
Providence Canyon State Park in Lumpkin, GA
Providence Canyon State Park is the closest thing to the Grand Canyon on the East Coast. After all, it’s called the “Little Grand Canyon.” Marvel at the sun’s beauty on breathtaking sunrise and sunset hikes. If you’re backpacking, you’re allowed to camp on the grounds. If you prefer glamping (glamor camping) to regular camping, you can hop on over and rent a cottage at the nearby Florence Marina State Park. Providence Canyon State is also home to a rare flower, the Plumleaf Azalea, which only blooms in the hot summer months.
Lace up your hiking shoes and trek on out to Brasstown Bald, the biggest mountain in Georgia, for the weekend. Of all the weekend trips from Atlanta, this may be my favorite. Boasting an altitude of approximately 5,000 ft. above sea level and a stunning 360-degree view, you’ll be able to see clear into Tennessee! The visitor’s center is so high up it sits above the clouds. For those who want to get a little closer to nature, camping is allowed at Brasstown Bald, so pack up your camping gear and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.
These are the Georgian equivalent to Stonehenge. Built in 1980, these Guidestones provide ten rules for living a good life in eight different languages. The Guidestones also include a sundial and calendar. The mysterious man who commissioned the monument, known by his pseudonym, R.C. Christian, told the building company that his identity was not to be released to the public, and all the project plans were to be destroyed once the stones were finished. The stones remain a controversial conversation piece for conspiracy theorists and the public alike. Take a trip up to the Georgia Guidestones in Dewy Rose to try your hand at solving the mystery.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, GA
Are you a canoe enthusiast? This is the destination for you! Don’t want to canoe? You can explore the area on foot using the boardwalk and observation tower. At Okefenokee, you can fish, camp, hike, and explore more than 400,000 acres of gorgeous swampland. You can also learn more about the unique wildlife in the area and Okefenokee’s conservation efforts.
Dungeness Ruins in St. Marys, GA
If you were a bit bummed you were unable to explore Dwarf Castle, don’t worry! You can still check out the Dungeness Ruins. These ruins were once the Carnegie family mansion. The mansion was originally intended to be a winter house. Thomas Carnegie, who began construction on the mansion, died before it was built. His wife and children moved in. When the Great Depression hit, the mansion was abandoned and remained that way until a fire destroyed most of it in 1959.
Even though Atlanta is the best city in the world —we’re a bit biased, of course—Georgia is home to unique cities, small towns, gorgeous islands, and breathtaking natural wonders. No need to drive to Florida or Tennessee on your next vacation when you can have the adventure of a lifetime right here in Georgia.