Moms know that family vacations are a bit of a myth. You don’t go on vacation when you have little ones. You go on a trip (and then you need a vacation after). That’s why I prefer to go on weekend getaways near Atlanta.
By keeping trips within driving distance of Atlanta, I can pack less and feel safe knowing I can get home quickly if needed.
Plus, our central location makes it easy to explore a bunch of family-friendly vacation spots. Those of us who call Atlanta home are fortunate enough to be able to get to the beach, the mountains, and other metropolitan areas in less than five hours.
If you are looking for summer getaways near Atlanta that will make the whole family happy, you’ve come to the right place.
1. 30A, Florida
If you want to escape the city and see some of the prettiest beaches in the U.S., then you need to head to 30A.
30A doesn’t refer to an airplane seat. It refers to Scenic Highway 30A in Walton County, Florida. 30A is comprised of several beautiful quaint beach towns, including Dune Allen Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove Beach, WaterSound Beach, Seacrest Beach, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Inlet Beach.
Unlike its neighbors (Panama City and Destin), these 30A beach towns are more geared to families than fraternities or sororities. You won’t find mega hotel chains, but you will find tons of beach home rentals and a laid-back vibe.
Drive Time from ATL: 4 hr 45 min
2. Great Smoky Mountains, TN
Want to breathe in some mountain air? Rent a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.
Here you’ll find Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, both of which are chock-full of family-friendly attractions. Even better, these mountain towns are only about 30 minutes apart, so you can easily visit both places on your visit.
Gatlinburg has a walkable, family-friendly main strip with tons of shops, restaurants, and attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Ripley’s Aquarium in the Smokies.
Pigeon Forge is home to the Dollywood theme park, as well as multiple dinner theaters. It is also home to the giant family entertainment center (The Island in Pigeon Forge), which has dancing fountains, live music, tons of retail shops and restaurants, as well as several family-friendly attractions (think mirror mazes and rides).
Drive Time from ATL: 3 hr 40 min
3. Savannah, GA
Take a step back in time and enjoy the beautiful history of Savannah, Georgia.
Savannah is one of my favorite getaways near Atlanta. The city itself is beautiful and walkable with plenty of things to see and places to eat delicious Southern cuisine. Your family can walk the cobble-stone River Street while enjoying ice cream from River Street Sweets and watching boats along the Savannah River.
For some thrills and chills, take the kids to eat at the historic Pirate’s House where pirates use to rendezvous. Then, sign up for one of the many ghost tours in downtown Savannah.
Added Savannah getaway bonus – Tybee Island is located 30 minutes from Savannah, so you can add a beach day to your itinerary.
Drive Time from ATL: 3 hr 50 min
4. Asheville, NC
Asheville, NC is not your typical mountain town. Asheville is one of the most popular getaways from Atlanta, which makes sense given that it is home to the Biltmore (America’s largest home). Visiting the historic home and grounds is fun for kids and adults. My kids love listening to Biltmore’s kid-friendly audio tour because it is narrated by the family dog.
Asheville is also home to several unique family-friendly attractions, such as the Asheville Pinball Museum. Families will also enjoy the wide variety of outdoor attractions available in the area, such as ziplining and animal encounters.
The last time my family visited Asheville we stayed in a treehouse! There are several in the Asheville area, including a Harry Potter-themed treehouse.
Parent bonus – Asheville is home to several family-friendly breweries complete with kid’s menus and playgrounds.
Drive Time from ATL: 3 hr 20 min
5. Charlotte, NC
For those wanting busy getaways near Atlanta (the type where you keep the kids so busy that they sleep all night), head to Charlotte, NC.
Charlotte’s got a lot, which the name of the city’s official travel resource, is an absolutely true statement. If your family loves theme parks, head to Carowinds. Not only can you enjoy thrill rides and a waterpark, but you can also stand in two states at once on the park’s unique state line.
Charlotte is also home to NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as well as other sports venues. Plus, it’s located right by Great Wolf Lodge.
Drive Time from ATL: 4 hr
6. Civil Rights Road Trip
Families with older kids can take a road trip to visit sites that were important to the Civil Rights Movement.
Since Atlanta was the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., you can begin your trip at home with a visit to Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
From Atlanta, there are several different Civil Rights Trail itineraries that will allow you to visit multiple historical sites and museums across the South that were pivotal in the fight for civil rights. Some destinations are only 2 hours and 30 minutes away, such as Birmingham, Alabama.
Check out AAA’s Sample Civil Rights Trail Road Trip through Georgia and Alabama for an idea, or use the US Civil Rights Trail interactive map to plan your own road trip across multiple Southern states.
Bonus Kid-Free Getaways Near Atlanta
Trips with kids are great, but there are times when mom and dad need to get away. Here are two of my favorites for parents looking for kid-free getaways near Atlanta.
7. Landrum, SC
Located right by the North Carolina border is the small town of Landrum, South Carolina. If you love Hallmark movies, then add the Red Horse Inn to your bucket place. Everything from the horses roaming the property to the exquisitely decorated rooms made me feel like I was in a movie.
Landrum is a small town with excellent restaurants and cute shops. It is also conveniently located by several wineries and waterfalls, making for a dreamy couples’ getaway near Atlanta.
Drive Time from ATL: 2 hr 50 min
8. Highlands, NC
Planning a girls' trip? Look no further than Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Nantahala National Forest, this upscale inn and spa is the perfect place to refresh and renew. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine and pamper yourself at their world-class spa.
Drive Time from ATL: 2 hr
If we missed your favorite getaways near Atlanta, let us know in the comments!
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