The hustle and bustle of life often keeps us from doing activities that we love. This list of the best day trips from Atlanta offers destinations and activities that help you reconnect with your passions.
Home to one of the largest historic districts in Georgia, Milledgeville is about two hours southeast of Atlanta. Must see sights include the Andalusia home of Flannery O’Connor and the Old Capitol Museum where the vote to secede from the Union took place. If you want to see more sights in one trip, take the Historic Trolley tour. Trolley tours depart from the Visitor’s Bureau once daily, Monday through Friday at 10 am and Saturday at 2 pm. You can also dedicate your time in Milledgeville to touring the historic buildings and artifacts on the Georgia College and State University campus.
Music and Culture Lovers
Perhaps one of the most eclectic cities in Georgia, Athens is known for its vibrant music scene and is often credited with launching the careers of legendary bands like R.E.M. and the B-52s. A quintessential college town, Athens is just over an hour away from Atlanta. Downtown Athens is a pedestrian-friendly haven with a unique collection of shops, eateries, and bars. Visit in June to experience cultural events like Shakespeare on the Lawn (June 8-19) and the popular Athfest Music Festival (June 22-26). A trip to Athens is not complete without a stop in nearby Watkinsville. The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation offers art events year round including the Southworks artist exhibit and Art in the Garden (June 11-12).
Located just over an hour southwest of Atlanta in Pine Mountain, Callaway Gardens offers family friendly events surrounded by the beauty of nature. The Hot Air Balloon Festival (September 2-4) is a great opportunity to take in the mountain views from the air. You can also visit Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park to hike on its 42 miles of trails or to tour the Little White House and the mineral springs where Roosevelt often visited to ease his polio symptoms. From Pine Mountain, head to Warm Springs to fill up on classic southern cuisine at the Bulloch House. Be sure to take Georgia Highway 190 into Warm Springs for more breathtaking views of the Pine Mountain Ridge.
A scenic northbound drive on Georgia Highway 400 will take you into Georgia’s wine country. Located a few miles north of Dahlonega, Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery is worth a stop. Open Thursday through Sunday, the winery features a collection of limited edition wines handcrafted from Georgia grown grapes. Sunday brunch ($30 per person) is served overlooking the vineyards and the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The winery also offers wine tastings –fees range from $10 to $20 per person– and a complete tasting menu. If you plan to sample the wines, bring along a designated driver.
There are several opportunities to do some serious shopping while traveling along I-75 north. The first shopping opportunity is just a 45 minute drive away in Dawsonville at the North Georgia Premium Outlets . This mall houses many high-end outlet shops like Williams-Sonoma, Off Fifth Saks Fifth Avenue, and Pottery Barn. Continue north to Calhoun to hit the Calhoun Premium Outlets where you’ll find more premium outlets like Ann Taylor Loft and Coach. If you still need a shopping fix, head further north to the Dalton Outlet Shops where you will find outlets like Gap, Nautica, and Osh Kosh. The outlet malls typically have the same hours as traditional malls so you’ll have plenty of time to shop ’til you drop.