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15 Short Day Trips From Atlanta

Summary

  • Experience diverse one-day trips from Atlanta, Georgia, offering outdoor adventures, history, and scenic landscapes for all interests.
  • From college towns to hidden gems, these short road trips from Atlanta promise to leave you satisfied and re-energized with newfound appreciation.
  • Explore unique destinations there and back in a single day, like Providence Canyon, Columbus, and Rome, each within driving distance of Atlanta.



If travelers are seeking a break from the busy city life of Atlanta, there are numerous options for quick yet unforgettable day trips that are just a few hours’ drive away. From the picturesque natural landscapes of the North Georgia Mountains to the delightful small towns that scatter the surrounding countryside, there are various destinations to choose from that will leave travelers feeling re-energized and revitalized.

These journeys might not exactly be the best road trip routes in the world, but they will leave travelers satisfied by their beautiful vistas. Regardless of whether they’re interested in history, food, or outdoor activities, these amazing day trips from Atlanta, Georgia, promise something for everyone and will surely ignite a newfound appreciation for short road trips in the South.

UPDATE: 2024/03/27 15:54 EST BY REENA JAIN


Exciting Day Trips From Atlanta

For anyone seeking a quick escape from their hectic schedule, there is no shortage of exciting day trip destinations near Atlanta, ranging from family-friendly attractions to hidden gems to luxurious experiences. This list has been updated with the most recent information and images for all the existing destinations, as well as new fascinating destinations for Atlanta day trip ideas.


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15 Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

Travel 148 miles to explore unique landscapes, formations, and outdoor adventures

Often referred to as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon State Park is a great day trip from Atlanta (about 148 miles away), whether one is looking for a scenic escape or wants to indulge in outdoor adventures.

With its tall, multicolored sandstone cliffs and unusual geological formations, the canyon is unquestionably one of the most stunning and remarkable natural wonders in the whole state!

There are multiple hiking trails to witness breathtaking scenery, as well as picnic areas to enjoy a relaxing getaway. A camping facility is a plus for adventure seekers looking to spend a night right in the middle of the wilderness.


Distance from Atlanta

148 miles

Drive Time from Atlanta

2 hours 16 minutes

Popular Attractions

Providence CanyonTrails, Multi-colored Cliffs, Picnic Areas

14 Columbus, Georgia

Travel 107 miles to discover historic landmarks and charming Southern hospitality

Thrill seekers spending time in Atlanta will definitely want to visit Columbus, Georgia, to the south. One of the best day trips from Atlanta, this small town right on the border of Georgia and Alabama has some of the best man-made white water rafting in the US. Visitors can also enjoy an exciting zipline ride at Blue Heron Adventure Park across the Chattahoochee River, which takes riders right across the state line.


Visitors hoping for a more relaxing day trip can opt to explore the 22 miles of paved walking trails along the Columbus River or take the Sculpture Walk along Broadway Street. Regardless of how guests choose to see the town, there is no doubt Columbus is worth the relatively short drive from Atlanta.

13 Rome, Georgia

Travel 67 miles to learn about the rich history of this famous college town

CamsjoCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Berry College, Georgia


It’s not every day that travelers can say they have visited the largest college campus (by area) in the world. Berry College in Rome, Georgia, is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the US and is just a short one-hour drive from Atlanta. Considering Berry College spans 27,000 acres, travelers can literally go hiking in mountains, around lakes, and through fields, all without ever leaving the campus.

Elsewhere in Rome, several museums, including the Rome Area History Center and Oak Hill and Martha Berry Museum, offer a unique look at the history of the area and Berry College in particular.

12 LaGrange, Georgia

Travel 67 miles to enjoy a unique combination of music, art, and scenery of the South


Just an hour southwest of Atlanta, Georgia, LaGrange is a snapshot of the beautiful music, art, and scenery of the South. Indoor activities are plentiful and range from the Biblical History Center, which showcases artifacts from around the world, to the LaGrange Art Museum, which does outreach to the community to spread historic and modern art.

Outdoor lovers will also have plenty to do on this day trip from Atlanta, Georgia. The Wild Animal Safari, which is actually just south of LaGrange, is a unique drive-through experience. Unlike traditional zoos, at the Wild Animal Safari, it’s the animals that roam free and the guests who need to stay behind closed doors in their cars. With a walkabout section to explore as well, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy magnificent wildlife and take in the fresh southern air.


11 Milledgeville, Georgia

Travel 93 miles to discover a variety of water and land activities amid pristine nature

DbenneyCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lockerly Arboretum, Milledgeville, Georgia

There are a number of fantastic lake vacations on the East Coast and one of the best freshwater getaways is also the perfect day trip from Atlanta. Lake Sinclair in Milledgeville, just an hour and a half from downtown Atlanta, is a manmade lake in central Georgia and allows a wide variety of activities that make it perfect for a full day away from the city.

Boating, fishing, and even swimming are all permitted in the lake, which is open year-round. There is a $5 parking fee for day use, which then gives visitors full access to the picnic areas, boat launches, and sandy beaches around the lake.


For those wanting even more options on this day trip from Atlanta, the nearby Antebellum Trails, Lockerly Arboretum, William P. Hall Museum of Natural History, and the African-American Heritage Tour in Milledgeville provide even more options for how to spend the day.

10 Blue Ridge, Georgia

Travel 93 miles to see the natural splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Toccoa River, and the Chattahoochee National Forest


Blue Ridge is situated in the North Georgia Mountains and is located approximately 93 miles north of Atlanta. This charming town is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Toccoa River, and the Chattahoochee National Forest. Visitors can explore the local hiking trails or take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and browse through the town’s collection of quaint shops, restaurants, and galleries.

The area offers various outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, kayaking, and zip-lining. This route might not be among the most famous road trips in the US, but it’s worth it for the scenic views and fun activities that await. Plus, the drive from Atlanta to Blue Ridge takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes, which isn’t all that long. All in all, it is a popular destination for day trips for those seeking to get away from the city and indulge in nature.


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9 Chattanooga, Tennessee

Travel 118 miles to discover breathtaking scenery, abundant outdoor activities, and a storied past

Chattanooga, located in southeastern Tennessee, is a city renowned for its breathtaking scenery, abundant outdoor activities, and storied past. The city, situated along the Tennessee River, boasts several attractions, such as the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the Creative Discovery Museum, which caters to families with children.

Adventurers can head to Lookout Mountain, which offers hiking, rock climbing, and hang gliding, or take a leisurely cruise on the Tennessee River aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat.


The drive to Chattanooga from Atlanta spans about 118 miles and takes roughly 2 hours, depending on traffic and the chosen route. It is one of the most popular day trip destinations in the US for those seeking to explore southeastern Tennessee’s attractions and natural beauty.

8 Dahlonega, Georgia

Travel 66 miles to explore well-preserved historic landmarks and indulge in diverse outdoor activities

Dahlonega, a quaint town nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, lies about 66 miles northeast of Atlanta and could be categorized as one of the best East Coast road trips for history lovers in Georgia. The town’s historic downtown area boasts well-preserved buildings from the 19th century and is famously associated with the Georgia Gold Rush of the 1830s.


Visitors can meander through the town’s numerous shops, restaurants, and art galleries or tour the Consolidated Gold Mine to learn about the town’s gold mining history and try their hand at gold panning. The nearby Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest offers outdoor enthusiasts opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing.

The drive from Atlanta to Dahlonega takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on traffic and route. It’s a popular destination for a day trip from Atlanta to explore the small-town charm and natural beauty.


7 Athens, Georgia

Travel 72 miles to enjoy music and the artsy scene amid a vibrant atmosphere

Athens is a bustling college town located in northeast Georgia, about 72 miles east of Atlanta. The University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered public university in the United States, is located in Athens, and it plays a significant role in the town’s culture and atmosphere.

Athens is widely recognized for its lively music scene, and numerous famous bands and musicians have either emerged from or gotten their start in the town. Visitors can explore Athens’ various music venues, clubs, art galleries, museums, and outdoor spaces.

The journey from Atlanta to Athens takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes, depending on traffic and the route taken. Athens is one of the best day trips from Atlanta for those seeking to soak up the vibrant ambiance of a college town while remaining in close proximity to Atlanta.


6 Greenville, South Carolina

Travel 145 miles to enjoy a nature retreat amid spectacular scenery and rich heritage

Greenville, located in upstate South Carolina, is easily among the best road trips from Atlanta to take for a superb day getaway. It’s a delightful city situated about 145 miles northeast of Atlanta. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city boasts breathtaking natural scenery, a lively downtown area, and a rich historical heritage.


Tourists can indulge in a range of activities in Greenville, including a visit to Falls Park on the Reedy, which showcases a spectacular waterfall and a picturesque pedestrian bridge, the Greenville County Museum of Art, which displays a vast collection of American art from the 1700s to the present, and the Greenville Zoo, home to various exotic animals.

The drive from Atlanta to Greenville takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic and the chosen route. Greenville is a sought-after destination for a day trip, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the alluring small towns and magnificent natural beauty of upstate South Carolina.


5 Macon, Georgia

Travel 84 miles to discover beautiful architecture, rich history, and musical heritage

Macon, located in central Georgia, is a city about 84 miles southeast of Atlanta, famous for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and musical heritage. Macon’s visitors can explore its many historic sites, such as Hay House, an excellent example of antebellum architecture in the South and a National Historic Landmark, and Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, which houses ancient Native American mounds and artifacts.

The drive from Atlanta to Macon is approximately 1 hour and 17 minutes. It is a popular day trip from Atlanta, Georgia, for those interested in exploring history, architecture, and music.


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4 Augusta, Georgia

Travel 145 miles to experience arich history, outdoor attractions, and annual events

Augusta is a city located in the east-central part of Georgia, about 145 miles east of Atlanta. Situated on the banks of the Savannah River, the city is known for its rich history, outdoor attractions, and annual events.

Visitors to Augusta can explore the city’s many historic sites, including the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. Furthermore, the Augusta Museum of History offers exhibits on the city’s Native American culture, the American Revolution, and the Civil War.


Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, kayaking, and fishing at nearby parks and nature reserves, such as Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, all of which are among the best things to do in Augusta. The drive from Atlanta to Augusta takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes, depending on traffic and the route taken.

3 Birmingham, Alabama

Travel 147 miles to discover southern charm, history, and culture

Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, is situated in the north-central region of the state and is approximately 147 miles southwest of Atlanta. The city is renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, rich history, and ample outdoor recreational opportunities.


Visitors to Birmingham can enjoy exploring its many museums and cultural institutions, such as the Birmingham Museum of Art, which houses an extensive collection of European, American, and Asian art, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), which highlights the city’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Several historic sites, including the 16th Street Baptist Church, also attract visitors to the city. The drive from Atlanta to Birmingham takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes, depending on traffic and route selection. The city is a favored day trip from Atlanta for those who enjoy exploring history, culture, and the great outdoors.


2 Greenville, Georgia

Travel 61 miles to explore picturesque architecture and enjoy outdoor recreation

Greenville is a charming small city situated in Meriwether County, Georgia, located approximately 61 miles southwest of Atlanta. The city is well-known for its historic downtown area, picturesque architecture, and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Visitors to Greenville can discover the city’s many historic buildings and landmarks, such as the Meriwether County Courthouse and the Greenville Commercial Historic District.

The downtown area also boasts an array of local shops and restaurants, along with Greenville Street Park, which plays host to community events and a farmers’ market. The driving distance from Atlanta to Greenville is around 1 hour, depending on traffic and the route taken.


Greenville is famed for being one of the towns that offer a nature-filled vacation in the US; plus, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Atlanta for those who want to experience a small-town ambiance and enjoy outdoor recreational activities.

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1 Warm Springs, Georgia

Travel 71 miles to experience its historic charm and see thermal hot springs

Warm Springs is a small town situated in Meriwether County, Georgia, about 71 miles southwest of Atlanta. It’s one of the most charming small towns in Georgia. It is famous for its thermal hot springs and its association with former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who frequently visited Warm Springs for its healing waters.


Travelers to Warm Springs can explore the town’s historic attractions, including the Little White House. Nature lovers can take pleasure in hiking, fishing, and camping at the nearby F. D. Roosevelt State Park, which covers over 9,000 acres of forest and trails.

The route from Atlanta to Warm Springs typically takes a minimum of 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on traffic and the chosen route. For those seeking to experience history, outdoor activities, and natural hot springs, Warm Springs is a popular day trip from Atlanta.

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