12 Day Trips From Atlanta, Georgia - Updated 2024

day trips in atlanta
| 5 min read

The fascinating capital of Georgia is the thriving business center of the region and a popular place to be for those looking for new job prospects. Whether you are there for a vacation or to start the next chapter of your life, Atlanta’s thriving theater scene and its very own major sports team are sure to give you an interesting time. There are party hotels for luxurious stays and vacation rentals for homier experiences. However, it also has so much more than that! The metropolis is also located relatively close to many natural sights like luscious forests and magnificent mountains and many other interesting cities, perfect to visit as part of a day trip from Atlanta. Read on for the best day trips from Atlanta, Georgia.

1. Birmingham (from USD 63.0)

Birmingham, Alabama, is a vibrant city located just over two hours from Atlanta, making it an ideal day trip destination for those who want to explore a new city. Known as the “Magic City,” Birmingham has a rich history, beautiful parks, and culinary scene.

Visitors can start their day by exploring the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a museum that tells the story of the city’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. Another historical landmark is the 16th Street Baptist Church. For a bit of outdoors, the Railroad Park is a beautiful green space that spans 19 acres (7.69 hectares) and features a walking trail, ponds, and a playground. Visitors can also explore the nearby Birmingham Botanical Gardens or catch a show at the Alabama Theatre.

Finally, indulge in some of the city’s renowned culinary delights by dining at one of Birmingham’s top-rated restaurants, such as Highlands Bar and Grill or Chez Fonfon.

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Birmingham Civil Rights Tour- Riding & Walking

Duration: 3 hours

656 reviews

2. Summerville

With one of only a few operating train turntables left in America, stepping into this tiny city of fewer than 10000 residents feels like stepping back into time. This quaint city is also home to Paradise Gardens, one of the best places to visit outside of Atlanta. The gardens are a maze of buildings, sculptures, and displays, like a giant exhibition curated in a very unique way! Right outside this city is also the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Park where you can catch wonderful sights of nature, rent paddles for the lake, enjoy camping and visit the Marble Mine!

Paradise Garden Foundation

Address: 200 N Lewis St, Summerville, GA 30747, USA

Website: Paradise Garden Foundation

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3. Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

day trips in atlanta | chattahoochee-oconee national forest
Source: instagram

This hiker’s paradise, which actually comprises of two national forests from Eastern Georgia and Northern Georgia, features majestic mountain ranges and clear lakes. It also contains Georgia’s highest peak, Brasstown Bald, at 4,784 feet (1458 meters)! In the forest, you can enjoy a variety of different mountain trails that lead you to the peaks that offer panoramic views of nature, swim in the clean lakes and also fish for your next meal. With so many things to do, fortunately, visitors even have the option of renting a cabin to spend more time at the national forest.

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Address: Suches, GA 30572, USA

Website: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

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4. Augusta

Established way back in the 18th century, Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia after Atlanta and there seems to be no end to the number of interesting things to do here! Visitors can shop along the weekend Augusta Market at the river for things like local produce and handicrafts, take a relaxing stroll down Phinizy Swamp Nature Park or go for the free admission and gallery tours at Morris Museum of Art on Sundays. The diverse and lively city is ideal for a family day trip near Atlanta.

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

Address: 1858 Lock and Dam Rd, Augusta, GA 30906, USA

Website: Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

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5. Macon

day trips in atlanta | macon
Source: Pixabay

With a very telling tagline of “where the soul lives”, Macon, home to Georgia’s largest collection of African American history and art is filled with culture and places of interest. This birthplace of Southern rock music has an exciting musical heritage and is the only place that offers the opportunity to hike up ancient Indian mounds and enter America’s only reconstructed earth lodge. Visit Macon to experience “soul” like nowhere else.

Museum of Arts and Sciences

Address: 4182 Forsyth Rd, Macon, GA 31210, USA

Website: Museum of Arts and Sciences

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)

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6. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Stay Between The Lines
Source: Photo by Flickr user Olin Gilbert used under CC BY 2.0

Spanning 26 miles (41 km) in total, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is blessed with beautiful sights of nature. The four-hour round trip begins at the old depot in downtown Blue Ridge and winds around the Toccoa River where passengers can enjoy different scenery that varies through the seasons. During this fun day trip from Atlanta, passengers get to stopover for lunch at a place the features the “Blue Line”, the actual official border between Georgia and Tennessee and have the chance to actually be in two states at the same time! The Railway that has been designated one of the top five attractions for experiencing fall color operates from March till December. For those looking forward to a more memorable New Year adventure, they also have a New Year’s Eve Midnight Train that departs at 10:00 pm on New Year’s Eve and returns the next year!

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Address: 241 Depot St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, USA

Website: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

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7. Athens

day trips in atlanta | athens
Source: Pixabay

Less than an hour and a half drive away is this city most known for being the home of the University of Georgia, the city of Athens. This flavourful city has so much more to offer. The downtown area is filled with quirky shops, art galleries and many museums. Don’t miss the chance to check out the vibrant music scene!

University of Georgia

Address: Athens, GA 30602, USA

Website: University of Georgia

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8. Nashville

Located to the south of Atlanta, Nashville, Georgia, contains places of attractions for people of all ages. Some of the attractions that are popular with visitors include Mcrae’s Landing, a scenic spot by the tranquil waters of Ocmulgee River, and, for those who love the grape-based alcohol, the Horse Creek Winery. Filled with what reviews say to be very good wine, this winery in Nashville is a great place to get some wine tasting and snag a great gift.

Horse Creek Winery

Address: 2873 GA-76, Nashville, GA 31639, USA

Website: Horse Creek Winery

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9. Providence Canyon State Park

Just over a two-hour drive from downtown Atlanta is Georgia’s very own “Little Grand Canyon”! The magnificent Providence Canyon State Park, which is actually the product of erosion due to poor farming practices in the previous century, features two different trails of different difficulty levels. Each track is scattered with picture perfect viewpoints and allows hikers to enjoy the not-so-natural wonders that the park has to offer.

Providence Canyon State Park

Address: 8930 Canyon Rd, Lumpkin, GA 31815, USA

Website: Providence Canyon State Park

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10. Callaway Gardens (from USD 27.0)

Located in just 60 minutes’ away from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, in the Pine Mountain, this conveniently located spa and resort makes for the perfect getaway. In the Callaway Gardens, you will be surrounded by 2500 acres (1011 hectares) of nature where you can immerse yourself and choose from a variety of fun and relaxing activities. With facilities like the spa, a golf course, and the Aqua Island (consisting of inflatable mountains, monkey bars and trampolines on water), Callaway Gardens offers activities to cater to people of different ages and interests! With so many activities and nature to explore in Callaway Gardens, spending just a day there would hardly be enough. It is a good thing they offer luxurious accommodations ranging from villas within the secluded forests and modern guests Entrance to the beautiful gardens go at just 24.95 USD for adults, and fans of this place can even purchase an annual pass at 79 USD (or less if more than one person were to buy it together).

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Pine Mountain: Callaway Gardens Ticket with Butterfly Center

Duration: 2 to 8 hours

25 reviews

11. Chattanooga (from USD 87.0)

Despite being located in the neighboring state of Tennessee, Chattanooga is just a manageable two-hour ride away from Atlanta. One of the most popular places to visit in America, this city from the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo” offers so much to visitors. From its lively city to its rich culture and natural scenes, Chattanooga has something to for everyone!

For supernatural enthusiasts, one of the most interesting things to do in Chattanooga would be to go for a ghost tour which has been named one of the top 10 ghost tours in the United States! To feast your eyes on a view overlooking the city, visitors can also climb Mount Lookout.

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Chattanooga Attraction & Tour Discount Pass

Duration: 1 to 24 hours

12. Dahlonega

Historic Downtown Dahlonega

Dahlonega is a picturesque town nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, just an hour and a half’s drive from Atlanta.

One of the main attractions in Dahlonega is its historic downtown which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features well-preserved buildings from the 19th century. You can also visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site, which tells the story of the gold rush that occurred in the area in the 1800s. Dahlonega is also home to wineries, so you can book a tour or tasting to try some of Georgia’s best wines.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, Dahlonega offers several options, such as hiking the Yahoola Creek Trail or exploring the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve.


Website: Dahlonega

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Explore the best day trips from Atlanta

From the music scene to a plethora of interesting wonders of nature, Georgia has many attractions as well as cheap day trips that can easily be reached from Atlanta, making it one of the best gateways to explore and enjoy the culture of the southwestern United States!

Frequently asked questions about day trips from Atlanta, Georgia

  • What are some day trips from Atlanta are suitable for couples?

    Some day trips near Atlanta that are ideal for couples include sharing a bottle of wine in a Dahlonega winery, enjoying a romantic dinner in a fancy restaurant in Birmingham, treating themselves to a spa in Callaway Gardens, or celebrating New Year’s Eve together aboard New Year’s Eve Midnight Train in Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

  • What are some fun things to do near Atlanta with kids?

    Families with kids can catch a show at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, camp in Summerville, go sightseeing in Augusta, check out the music scene in Athens, or fish in the Ocmulgee River.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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