5 of the Best Day Trips Near Atlanta

October 20, 2020

There’s no doubt Atlanta is a thriving city with tons to see and do. But, sometimes, it’s great to get away for the day. Fortunately, Georgia has a lot to offer when it comes to day trips. We’ve rounded up five of our favorites. They’re all 80 miles or less from the city and will cost little to nothing. Here they are.

5 Budget Friendly Day Trips Near Atlanta‍


‍ If escaping the hustle and bustle of Atlanta is on your mind, check out Cartersville, Georgia. It’s just 43 miles north of the city, along I-75 North. Cartersville was incorporated in 1854 and Main Street still has a lot of historic charm. Start your day with a walk along the Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail. There, you’ll learn all about the Native Americans who lived in the area from 300 BCE to 650 CE, during the prehistoric Middle Woodland Period. Then, take a stroll down Main Street where you can browse through the many shops or eat at one of the local cafes. Make sure you stop by Young Brothers Pharmacy to see the world’s first Coca-Cola wall sign painted in 1894. The town is also home to numerous museums and parks so you could even bring a picnic. Cartersville is a great place to slow down and relax.

Fun FactGuardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and many other movies have been filmed in Cartersville.

Lake Lanier

‍ Dreaming of the beach? Look no further than Lake Lanier! This inland beach getaway is just 49 miles north of Atlanta. It was created when the Buford Dam was completed along the Chattahoochee River in 1956. Today, Lake Lanier provides water to almost 6 million Georgians. Its 692 miles of shoreline also serve as a convenient place to get your beach fix without having to travel far or spend a ton of money. You can lounge along the beach for free or rent boats or kayaks for a fee. Bring a picnic or grill at one of the many public parks that dot the shoreline. Lake Lanier is the perfect way to spend a day off.


‍ If you love art, theater, or music, you’ll love Athens, Georgia. It’s known far and wide for it’s thriving arts scene and is just 72 miles northeast of Atlanta along I-85 North. There are countless murals and public arts displays throughout the city. Athens is also home to the Georgia Museum of Art which houses over 10,000 unique pieces of art. The city is so proud of their arts and culture, they’ve created an itinerary so visitors can take in everything they have to offer. Athens is a great place to soak in creativity and inspiration.

Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge

‍ Do you enjoy the outdoors? You’ll enjoy Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. This 35,000-acre wildlife refuge is approximately 76 miles southeast of Atlanta. It’s complete with a visitor center, hiking trails, and wildlife drive. Its picturesque scenery makes it the perfect place for aspiring photographers to capture all the natural beauty Georgia has to offer. And the best part about the refuge is that it is entirely free! However, you will need a license if you plan to hunt or fish. Pack your daypack and hit the trails. You don’t need to go to Yellowstone to take in the wonder of nature with Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge.

Callaway Gardens

‍ If you want a dose of nature but don’t want to hike for it, you’ll like Callaway Gardens. It’s a 2,500-acre garden about 80 miles southwest of Atlanta. Walk the winding paths through a kaleidoscope of azalea and hydrangea bushes. Then, explore the butterfly gardens on your way to the pioneer log cabin and quaint Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel. Visiting the gardens isn’t free. Adult admission is $24.95. But you can save $5 when you purchase your tickets online ahead of your visit. The manicured lawns and carefully arranged flowerbeds of Callaway Gardens is like visiting a European garden without leaving Georgia.

Whether you want to slow down, visit the beach, check out some art, or take in nature, there’s a day trip in Georgia for you.

Check out our favorite staycation ideas for even more inspiration.

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