The area around Atlanta is beautiful and well worth exploring. Highlights include the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as a number of small towns with thriving museums, cultural venues and romantic getaways. For another taste of Southern big cities, Nashville and Birmingham provide different perspectives on urban centers in the region. Regardless of where one goes on a day trip outside Atlanta, the immediate vicinity will certainly not disappoint.
1. Athens (1 hour 20 min Day Trip from Atlanta)
2. Chattanooga (2 hours)
3. Stone Mountain Park (30 min Day Trip from Atlanta)
4. Birmingham (2 hours 10 min)
5. Day Trips from Atlanta: Dahlonega (1 hour 30 min)
6. Romantic Lake Lanier (1 hour)
7. Mableton (20 min)
8. Callaway Gardens (1 hour 20 min)
9. Romantic Day at Toccoa Falls (1 hour 40 min)
10. Day Trips from Atlanta: Brasstown Bald (2 hours 20 min)
11. Providence Canyon State Park (2 hours 10 min)
12. Nashville (4 hours)
13. Day Trips from Atlanta: Chattahoochee National Forest (2 hours)
14. Gatlinburg (4 hours)
15. Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge (1 hour 10 min)
16. Day Trips from Atlanta: Consolidated Gold Mine (1 hour 20 min)
17. Andersonville National Historic Site (2 hours)
18. Anna Ruby Falls, a Day Trip from Atlanta: (2 hours)
19. National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force (3 hours 30 min)
20. Museum of Aviation (1 hour 35 min Day Trip from Atlanta GA)
21. Rock City Gardens (2 hours)
22. Mercier Orchards (1 hour 40 min Day Trip from Atlanta)
23. Day Trips Near Me:Amicalola Falls State Park (1 hour 30 min)
24. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (1 hour 50 min)
What are the 25 Best Day Trips from Atlanta?
The 25 Best Day Trips from Atlanta according to local experts are:
- Athens (1 hour 20 min Day Trip from Atlanta)
- Chattanooga (2 hours)
- Stone Mountain Park (30 min Day Trip from Atlanta)
- Birmingham (2 hours 10 min)
- Day Trips from Atlanta: Dahlonega (1 hour 30 min)
- Romantic Lake Lanier (1 hour)
- Mableton (20 min)
- Callaway Gardens (1 hour 20 min)
- Romantic Day at Toccoa Falls (1 hour 40 min)
- Day Trips from Atlanta: Brasstown Bald (2 hours 20 min)
- Providence Canyon State Park (2 hours 10 min)
- Nashville (4 hours)
- Day Trips from Atlanta: Chattahoochee National Forest (2 hours)
- Gatlinburg (4 hours)
- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge (1 hour 10 min)
- Day Trips from Atlanta: Consolidated Gold Mine (1 hour 20 min)
- Andersonville National Historic Site (2 hours)
- Anna Ruby Falls, a Day Trip from Atlanta: (2 hours)
- National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force (3 hours 30 min)
- Museum of Aviation (1 hour 35 min Day Trip from Atlanta GA)
- Rock City Gardens (2 hours)
- Mercier Orchards (1 hour 40 min Day Trip from Atlanta)
- Day Trips Near Me:Amicalola Falls State Park (1 hour 30 min)
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (1 hour 50 min)
More Ideas: Six Flags White Water
Six Flags White Water is a water park in Marietta, Georgia offering play areas, amusement rides, thrill rides and live entertainment over 69 acres. The park is located just 20 miles northwest of Atlanta.
Children’s areas at the water park include Buccaneer Bay for the littlest park visitors. A 25-foot tall pirate ship “beached” on a splash pad offers fountains and nooks and corners to explore. Captain Kid’s Cove is a playground-like environment in a shallow pool with a pirate theme, stocked with water contraptions like tipping buckets, waterfall curtains, water spouting pipes and small water slides. Lily Pad Crossing offers older children an obstacle course over a pool as they balance on lily pads to cross the water, holding on to a rope above.
Family play areas include the Little Hooch River, a lazily winding river perfect for wading, or floating in an inner tube. Visitors pass under bridges and through waterfalls, or can float off to a small pool, for those who want to stay in place for a while rather than drifting along the quarter mile river. Family friendly water slides include the Bahama Bob, which kids can ride in a tube with an adult through 600 feet of rapids. The Run-A-Way River also allows small children to ride with an adult, as they pass through complete darkness in enclosed tubes through more than 700 feet of twists and turns. The ride begins with a 70-foot drop in total darkness. Body slides for the family include Black River Falls, Dragon’s Tail and Lizard’s Tail, Mutiny Chute and Three Slide Body Flume and the Tidal Wave. The Atlanta Ocean Wave Pool offers 700,000 gallons of ocean-sized waves, with plenty of space in the shallows for relaxing.
Among the park’s more thrilling slides is the Dive Bomber. The tallest slide at over 10 stories high, the Dive Bomber drops riders at record breaking speeds down a slope of close to 90 degrees into the pool below. The Dive Bomber is a recipient of the Golden Ticket award, given annually to the best new water ride nationwide. Other thrilling slides include the Tornado and Typhoon Twister, both of which drop guests on rafts through bowl shaped chutes which circle them into a drain to the pool below. The Wahoo Racer is a head-first body slide in which 6 visitors race down 6 separate chutes, while the Gulf Coast Screamer send guests feet-first down a high walled water slide to be launched into the air before landing in the water below.
A wide variety of concession stands and dining options offer everything from healthy salads and wraps, to pizza, hamburgers, ice cream and snacks. Souvenir shops are stocked with everything from candy to t-shirts, swimsuits, sunscreen and beachwear.
History: Six Flags White Water was originally White Water Atlanta, and opened in 1984. In 1999, the park was purchased by the same limited partnership group, which owns Six Flags Over Georgia, the leading area theme park. The only Six Flags theme park that does not use the Hurricane Harbor name, White Water is one of just four stand-alone water parks operated by Six Flags.
Recent updates to the park have included the 2011 introduction of the Flash Pass, which made the water park the first in the world to incorporate the virtual queuing system into their rides. The Flash Pass reduces wait time for rides, and allows guests to wait in the pools, cabanas, or anywhere in the park instead of standing in line at each ride. The successful introduction soon spread to other Six Flags parks nationwide. The Dive Bomber was added in 2015, and the Wahoo Racer in 2016.
The park continues to attract a healthy attendance, even after the opening of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor just 15 miles away at Six Flags over Georgia. The park hosts upwards of 500,000 guests each year, ranking it in the top 15 of North American water parks.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Group outings are available for corporate groups, schools, birthday parties and others. Customizable packages are available that include discounted tickets for groups of over 15, catering and private event space.
The Dine In Movie events are the park’s most popular. The summer shows feature family friendly films on a large outdoor screen, while visitors watch from lounge chairs, or while floating in the Atlanta Ocean Wave Pool.
250 Cobb Parkway N #100 Marietta, GA 30062, Phone: 770-739-3400
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More Ideas: Telfair Museums
The Telfair Museums of Savannah, Georgia, consist of three facilities, the Telfair Academy, Owens-Thomas House, and Jepson Center. Collectively, they are the oldest public art museums in the southern United States. Both the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House are home to artwork from the 17th century through the early 20th century.
The collection includes American and European paintings, textiles, decorative arts, furnishings, books, and sculptures. Pieces from the school of American Impressionism as well as the Ashcan School of Realism are considered highlights of the collection. Acclaimed artists represented in the permanent collection include George Bellows, Frederick Frieseke, Robert Henri, and George Luks. The Owens-Thomas House includes a parterre garden and the original carriage house, which is one of the oldest remaining examples of urban slave quarters in the United States. Both the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House were built by the British architect William Jay in the Regency style, inspired by classical antiquity and named for the Prince Regent, King George IV. The two buildings are quite different, however, and architectural historians consider the Owens-Thomas House as one of the United States’ best examples of Regency-style architecture. The Jepson Center is a contemporary art space featuring over 7,500 square feet of exhibit space. The collection at the Jepson includes the Kirk Varnedoe Collection, named for the late Savannah resident and MoMA curator. The collection includes works on paper by some of the most influential American artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, and Chuck Close. The diverse collection at the Jepson spans the past 50 years and includes Sylvia Shaw Judson’s iconic Bird Girl statue, made famous by the photograph on the cover of the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The Telfair is also home to the largest American collection of paintings and drawings by Kahlil Gibran, author of The Poet. ArtZeum at the Jepson is an interactive museum space for children that uses reproductions of works in the Telfair collection to educate and entertain, asking children to consider what art is and why we make it.
History: The Telfair Museums were founded in 1883 when Mary Telfair, a Savannah resident and philanthropist, bequeathed her home and furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society. The Telfair Academy was originally Mary Telfair’s home. It was built between 1818 and 1819 for her brother, Alexander Telfair. Mary and Alexander’s father, Edward Telfair, was a Revolutionary War patriot and once governor of the state of Georgia. After Mary donated the home to be used as a museum, it underwent significant renovations, including the addition of a rotunda and sculpture gallery. The museum opened in 1886 as the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Owens-Thomas house was built between 1816 and 1819. Just three years after the home’s completion, the owners fell into financial hardship. The home was sold and passed through a few owners before George Welshman Owens, a Georgia congressman, purchased the property in 1830. The house remained in the Owens family until 1951, when George’s granddaughter Mary bequeathed it, along with its contents, to the Telfair Museums. The Jepson Center, home of the Telfair Museums’ contemporary art collection, was built in 2006, designed by the acclaimed Israeli-Canadian-American architect Moshe Safdie.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Tours of the Telfair Academy include the Mansion to Museum tour as well as tours of current special exhibitions. Tours of the Owens-Thomas House focus on the Owens family furnishings, the decorative arts collection, and the history of the carriage house and slave quarters. The Jepson Center offers architectural tours and tours based on the current exhibits. Telfair Museums offer a wide range of classes, from painting and drawing to yoga. Gallery talks and lecture programs are geared towards adults. Children’s programs include hands-on workshops and curriculum-focused tours. The Jepson Center is home to a 220-seat auditorium, which hosts many of these programs as well as film screenings and performances. The Teen Council is a group of up to 20 high school studentts who create programming for other teens as well as plan and promote community events.
Past and Future Exhibits: Ongoing exhibits at the Telfair Museums include From Mansion to Museum at the Telfair Academy, highlighting the story of the academy’s creation, the founding museum director, the architects of the home and its transformation, and the story of the slaves who lived in the house at the time. Hot Pink by French artist Anne Ferrer is an installation of a large inflatable sculpture in the Jepson Center atrium. Complex Uncertainties: Artists in Post War America is an ongoing Jepson Center exhibit featuring works by noted American artists from the museum’s contemporary collection.
207 W. York Street, Savannah, GA 31401, Phone: 912-790-8800
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More Ideas: Booth Western Art Museum
Located in Cartersville, Georgia, the Booth Western Art Museum is the second-largest art museum in the state, featuring the largest permanent exhibition in the United States dedicated to the art of the American West. The Booth Western Art Museum opened in August of 2003, occupying an 8,000-square-foot space in downtown Cartersville with the purpose of displaying art and artifacts related to the role of the American West in the development and history of the United States.
In 2006, the museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and in 2008, was invited to join the Museums West Consortium. A major expansion in the fall of 2009 brought an additional 4,000 square feet of exhibit space, making the museum the second-largest art museum in Georgia. The museum has been nominated for a National Medal for Museum and Library Service and is considered a major resource of historic and contemporary art of the American West.
The museum’s exhibits chronicle the history of the American West from an artistic perspective, from the works of its indigenous people to its role in American expansion and through the present-day works of contemporary Western artists. Works by early Western artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Remington are highlighted, although the bulk of the museum’s permanent art collection is comprised of works by living masters and contemporary artists. A variety of museum galleries showcase Western works throughout history, including a Native Hands Gallery, which features more than 200 works by historic and contemporary Western indigenous artists. The flagship American West Gallery is divided into four sections, offering a 100-year overview of traditional Western art along with several galleries detailing the lives of indigenous tribes and their conflict with early American settlers. The lives and experiences of American pioneers are showcased in the Neva and Don Rountree Heading West Gallery, which highlights imagery of stagecoaches and covered wagons. A Cowboy Gallery is dedicated to the legendary heroic figures of Western culture, and a Mythic West Gallery explores depictions of the West in film, television, and print media. The Modern West Gallery features works by contemporary artists such as T.C. Cannon, Allan Houser, Thom Ross, and Donna Howell-Sickles, while underrepresented Western artists, including female and African-American artists, are highlighted in the Faces of the West Gallery.
Several historical galleries include multimedia holdings to showcase the American West’s role in major historical events, including a War is Hell Gallery, featuring paintings of battles and defining moments of the American Civil War. The museum also holds a collection of one-page signed letters from every American president, along with an extensive collection of presidential memorabilia, including portrait photographs by photographer Yousuf Karsh. A two-story Sculpture Court also showcases large-scale works by artists such as Vic Payne, Herb Mignery, and John Coleman.
In the interactive children’s gallery Sagebrush Ranch, a variety of exhibits offer hands-on learning opportunities about the art and history of the American West. A Foreman Rodeo Joe statue greets visitors to the ranch, and a ¾-scale Stagecoach allows children to climb inside and simulate driving on a desert landscape. Interactive play areas include a Bunkhouse, which offers cowboy and cowgirl dress-up opportunities, a Tall Tales Barn, showing vintage Western-themed television programs, and an Artist’s Studio and Puzzle Corral, offering games, puzzles, and Western-themed art activities. Barrel Computer Stations throughout the playspace teach fundamental art principles and offer facts about Western settlers and explorers.
In addition to exhibits, a 60-seat multimedia theater offers showings of the museum’s award-winning short documentary “The American West.” A museum cafe offers light American fare, and a museum store sells books, art, and handmade crafts with Western themes.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to student field trip opportunities tailored to Georgia curriculum standards, the Booth Western Art Museum also offers a variety of family and adult art workshops, hosted by the Booth Artists’ Guild. Workshop classes are offered on the first Tuesday of every month, focusing on multidisciplinary arts, as well as topics related to art marketing and careers in the art industry. The Booth Photography Guild offers open photography instruction and community events to participants of all skill levels, including monthly photography guild meetings, a lecture series, and an annual juried photography exhibit. Writers of all genres, including poetry and songwriting, are also invited to participate in events held by the Booth Writers Guild.
An annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering is held in March, featuring a gallery walk and exhibition opening, Western-themed music and entertainment, and family-friendly activities. In October, the four-day Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium showcases gunfight reenactments, Native American demonstrations, and a Kids’ Corner with mechanical bull rides and a petting zoo. Periodic artist lectures and book signings are also hosted at the museum throughout the year, along with an annual summer concert series.
501 N Museum Dr, Cartersville, GA 30120, Phone: 770-387-1300