I’m in a state of relaxation as I rest my eyes along the Georgia coast. There’s the melodic sound of waves crashing and the soft touch of a gentle breeze against my skin.
My mouth starts to water, thinking about the Shrimp-n-Grits from the other day. Instinctively I stop what I’m doing and grab my phone to scroll through my Instagram photos for another look at that unforgettable meal.
This memory only scratches the surface of the potential for memorable weekend getaways in Georgia.
As an Atlanta resident, I’m fortunate to have quick access to mountain ranges, historic landmarks, quiet beaches and riverfront cities. This state truly is a melting pot of the old and new, which makes for a fascinating destination for all types of travelers.
Georgia is easily forgotten about when travelers hastily rush past our cities and head further south. But you’re here, so you’re not about to make the same mistake.
Get ready to relax, in Southern style, with a mason jar of sweet tea, because some of the best weekend getaways are right here in the ‘Peach State’.
Weekend Getaways in Georgia
St. Simons Island
The Island of Majestic Oaks
Located five hours from Atlanta are the Golden Isles of Georgia. They sit on the Atlantic coast and these islands never cease to amaze incoming tourists. St. Simons Island residents tease about closing the only bridge to the island — they know how good they have it.
The island, which is the size of Manhattan, is known for its majestic oak trees, historic landmarks that date back to colonial times and quiet beaches. If you look closely at those oak trees, you may find them looking back at you. In the 1980’s, artist Keith Jennings decided to make his mark on St. Simons Island, carving 20 faces from the island’s famous oak trees. Tourists love to go on a scavenger hunt to find them all.
trivago Hotel Tip: The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort
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The New Frontier for Adventurers
Grab your hiking gear, mountain bike, and kayak for your next trip to Albany, Georgia. This unexpected destination offers a plethora of outdoor activities and keeps museum aficionados mind. It’s located in the southwest part of the state and should be on your radar for weekend getaways in Georgia.
You can kayak down the Flint River and explore some of the caves and waterfalls in the area. The ever-fabulous Chehaw Park has an amazing AZA-accredited zoo, but also a BMX dirt course, disc golf course and over 10 miles of mountain bike trails.
Care to learn something? The Albany Civil Rights Institute is a must-do museum and a great educational stop for families.
If you love craft beer, be sure to check out Albany’s first brewery, Pretoria Fields. It’s a combination of farmers and brewers working together perfection in a cold glass.
trivago Hotel Tip: Merry Acres Inn
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Georgia Bulldog Country
Home of the University of Georgia, this small town is full of college spirit. Yet, you don’t have to be a college football fan to appreciate Athens. You can tour the historic university campus, tour the local breweries, shop the boutiques downtown and nosh at one of the swanky chef-owned restaurants that are popping up.
Don’t miss Bear Hollow Zoo on your Athens visit. It’s home to rescue animals that are native to Georgia. You can take a self-guided tour and hike the trails. It’s perfect for visitors of all ages and a hidden gem of the city.
trivago Hotel Tip: Hotel Indigo Athens Downtown – Univ Area
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A Golfer’s Paradise
As one of the stops on the PGA tour, Augusta has become a destination for golfers because of the Masters. Both public and semi-private courses surround Augusta’s river region. Spring is the perfect time to visit Augusta, whether or not you play, because the Azaleas are blooming.
Don’t let the traditional Southern side of Augusta fool you; they’ve got plenty of funk to offer as well. The Morris Museum of Art is home to contemporary folk art and a must-do for art enthusiasts. You can even take a class while visiting the museum and dabble in your own artwork.
trivago Hotel Tip: The Partridge Inn
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The Jewel of the South
Even though I’ve lived in Atlanta for over a decade, it doesn’t stop me from playing tourist in my hometown. Each region of Atlanta has something different to offer: Buckhead, Downtown and Midtown.
My primary date-night destination has become Buckhead — a fantastic neighborhood for shopping and dining. If you’re looking for the creative side of town, Midtown is the hot spot for performing arts. Don’t miss the headlining performances at The Fox Theatre or take the kids to a fun puppet show at Center for Puppetry Arts. Downtown Atlanta is also home to the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere.
One last tip: Skip the traffic and use public transportation. Purchase a MARTA pass to explore Atlanta with ease.
trivago Hotel Tip: The Georgian Terrace
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The Lake Oconee Retreat
Nestled amongst the pine trees is Georgia’s serene Lake Oconee. Watersports are popular amongst visitors from late Spring to early Fall. My family loves kayaking, swimming in the lake and biking around the shores. Renting a boat is another popular activity for tourists.
When you’ve built up an appetite from a day on the water, head to one of my favorite spots: Filet Steak and Seafood. It’s a modern steakhouse with traditional cuts. Be sure to save room for their Creamy Coconut Layer Cake.
trivago Hotel Tip: The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Start Planning For Greensboro and Lake Oconee
The Enchanting Riverfront City
From emerging local artists to soul food at its finest, there’s so much to do in Savannah. I love touring the city by foot and checking out the architecture. The historic buildings are still standing in their glory and several iconic churches are open to the public for tours.
Hit City Market for an afternoon stroll and grab lunch at a local favorite — Vinnie Van Go-Go’s for a slice of pizza.
trivago Hotel Tip: The Cotton Sail Hotel
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The New Hollywood
South of Atlanta is the golf path-covered city of Peachtree City. What I mean by that is, you can get anywhere you want in Peachtree City on a golf cart.
You may recognize the name of the city from the bottom of movie credits. That’s because the city is the fastest growing production location for the film industry.
To see what they’ve been making, sign up for the Southern Hollywood Film Tour and see where some of your favorite movies were filmed. Have your camera ready and bring your walking shoes.
trivago Hotel Tip: Wyndham Peachtree City
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Rev Your Engines
Braselton might be the most surprising addition to this list, located off of I-85N just a few hours from Atlanta. The city is home to Road Atlanta and hosts weekly racing events. Car enthusiasts come together yearly for the Formula 1-style race at Road Atlanta — the Motul Petit Le Mans. Fans can watch high-end sportscars test their limits.
The more relaxing side of Braselton includes touring the Château Élan winery. Public tours are offered daily and guests can purchase a wine flight for tasting. It’s one of the most romantic Georgia destinations.
trivago Hotel Tip: Château Élan Winery & Resort
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Cozy and Quaint
Like many Georgia cities, there’s plenty of rich history that spans the many years of Adairsville’s existence. The Adairsville Rail Depot is where visitors can discover how the city was a key role in the Great Locomotive Chase. Kids that love trains can appreciate all there is to offer.
Nature lovers and gardeners will love exploring the grounds of Barnsley Resort. The storybook setting is home to historic ruins and beautiful gardens. Guests can hike, play disc golf and bike throughout the property. Don’t miss the Holiday Season Garden Tours that showcase thousands of lights.
trivago Hotel Tip: Barnsley Resort
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What are some of your favorite weekend getaways in Georgia? Let us know in the comments!
Feature image by Ashley Knedler, Unsplash