Atlanta

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Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to commune with nature, buff up on your southern history, or seek a little retail therapy, there are many things to do within a short drive of Atlanta. Funky small towns, resorts, and beautiful scenery can all be found less than an hour’s drive from the city center.

Day Trips from Atlanta

Athens

Home to the University of Georgia, this historically rich city has in recent years earned an international reputation as an important breeding ground for indie music (like R.E.M. and the B-52s) and art. It’s an easy trip by car – about 70 miles – but if the proposed Brain Train, a commuter passenger rail that will connect Atlanta to Athens, ever takes off, you can leave the driving to the conductor.

73 miles east of Atlanta, GA, www.visitathensga.com
Tags: historic | trendy | live entertainment | art | culture | day trip

Callaway Gardens

Pamper yourself Appalachian-style at this stunning, 14,000-acre Pine Mountain resort featuring luscious gardens, scenic hiking trails, a butterfly conservatory, several golf courses, and a full menu of spa treatments. The eco-friendly hotel is also on the forefront of the green movement, fully offsetting its electricity output with wind power. For an unforgettable holiday experience, check out the Fantasy in Lights event, which decks the gardens with more than 8 million lights.

79 miles southwest of Atlanta (about an hour by car), GA, 800-225-5292, www.callawaygardens.com
Tags: golf | hiking | spa | smart splurge | day trip

Decatur

Once the area’s biggest town, in the 1830’s Decatur opted not to be the southernmost stop on the Western and Atlantic Railroad; as a result, Atlanta was born, and Decatur retained all of its lovely Southern charm. Downtown is easily navigable by foot, so you can hop the MARTA system and forget about the hassle of parking.

6 miles east of downtown Atlanta, GA, www.decatur-ga.com
Tags: historic | architecture | day trip

Macon

Steeped in history and Southern hospitality, Macon is also home to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Tubman African American Museum.

84 miles south of Atlanta (about an hour and a half by car), GA, www.maconga.org
Tags: editor pick | historic | day trip | sports

Stone Mountain Park

Georgia’s most popular tourist attraction covers 3,200 acres of park, lake, and woodlands straddling the world’s largest free-standing piece of exposed granite.

17 miles east of downtown Atlanta (about 25 minutes by car, depending on traffic), GA, www.stonemountainpark.com
Tags: family | day trip | camping

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