Atlanta, Georgia is a thriving city with lots to offer people. Still, it’s always nice to get away from your usual surroundings and see what adventures are close to home. If you’re craving something new, consider taking one of these six awesome day trips from Atlanta, Georgia on your next day off!

1. Chattanooga

One-Way Driving Time: 1 hour 49 minutes

One-Way Driving Distance: 117.8 miles 

Spend just under two hours to drive to the quaint city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This city has a rich history, which you can hear all about by visiting one of the many local museums or checking out a Civil War site. Explore the city by riding a train on the 125-year-old railway system called The Incline Railway. Or, choose the modern approach and take a free ride on the electric shuttle that goes around downtown Chattanooga. 

Chattanooga has a lot to offer, including excellent restaurants, fun local retail stores, and the bustling Tennesse Riverwalk. Round your day trip off with a stop at arguably Chattanooga’s most famous tourist attraction – Ruby Falls. This waterfall is approximately 30 million years old and is 145-feet high. Lastly, end the day with a stop at Chattanooga Brewing Co. for some refreshing local beers. 

2. Blue Ridge

One-Way Driving Time: 1 hour 29 minutes

One-Way Driving Distance: 92.7 miles 

If you need a peaceful, quiet escape into nature, consider spending a day driving to the village of Blue Ridge. The small town is named after the Blue Ridge mountain range that surrounds it, making it a perfect spot for hiking and fishing. In fact, Blue Ridge is known as the “trout capital of Georgia,” so don’t forget your fishing gear!

On your trip, make sure to stop at Mercier Orchards. This massive estate produces almost 50 different types of apples, and visitors can pick-their-own apples, stop by the cider tasting room, or visit the giant country store that sells fresh fruit and baked goods. This little farm makes you feel like you escaped the big city for a quiet life (at least for a few hours). 

Blue Ridge Mountain Range in Georgia

3. Lake Lanier Islands

One-Way Driving Time: 52 minutes

One-Way Driving Distance: 46.1 miles 

Lanier is the largest lake in Atlanta, Georgia, with a small grouping of islands known as the Lake Lanier Islands. This destination is a popular day trip or weekend getaway because of all that Lake Lanier offers visitors. 

Some of the more popular attractions include:

  • Margaritaville for a fun day of relaxing at Tikki bars
  • Hiking in Don Carter State Park
  • Ziplining 50 feet above Paradise Beach on the Thunderbolt Triple Zip

Whatever you decide to do, Lake Lanier is a stark contrast to the busy city of Atlanta. It’s guaranteed that your day will fly by and you’ll come back again and again. 

4. Providence Canyon State Park

One-Way Driving Time: 2 hours 12 minutes

One-Way Driving Distance: 147.3 miles 

Providence Canyon State Park is known locally as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.” This park has stunning pink, red, orange, and white rock formations that look beautiful at all times of the day. Interestingly enough, the rock formations were created by poor farming practices in the 1800s. 

You can drive to the park and explore the over 10 miles of hiking trails available. Spend a couple of hours hiking around the over 1,000 acres of the park and taking in the beautiful views. Don’t forget your camera because we promise you’ll want to take lots of pictures!

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

5. Athens

One-Way Driving Time: 1 hour 49 minutes

One-Way Driving Distance: 117.8 miles 

Athens, Georgia is an artsy college town that is home to the University of Georgia. However, you don’t have to be a college student to have a great time in Athens. A day trip here can be packed full of adventure, including a trip to the Georgia Museum of Art, the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, or a visit to the Tree That Owns Itself (a tree that, quite literally, has property rights). 

No road trip would be complete without an epic meal, so don’t forget to make time to stop at the famous family-run Big City Bread Cafe. Or, drive a little past Athens, Georgia and take a visit to Monks Meadery for a tasting of local mead that has won international awards. 

6. Nashville

One-Way Driving Time: 3 hours 50 minutes

One-Way Driving Distance: 249.6 miles 

This is the longest distance on our list, but Nashville is still a possible day trip from Atlanta, Georgia – just make sure to get up a little early!

There is so much to do in Nashville, you almost don’t know where to start! You can visit the Johnny Cash Museum, explore the beautiful Radnor Lake State Park, or visit the Adventure Science Center. 

Of course, you can’t have a trip to Nashville without talking about the food and alcohol. You can book a tour and tasting at the Jack Daniel’s distillery, just 30 minutes outside of Nashville. Or you can try a smaller distillery such as Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, which has roots back to the 1800s. Another excellent choice is the Corsair distillery, which has been awarded more than 450 medals for their spirits. 

The other Nashville classic you have to try is authentic Nashville hot chicken. Locals dispute the top spot for Nashville hot chicken to be either  Prince’s Hot Chicken or Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Settle the argument for yourself and try both! 

downtown Nashville

Atlanta, Georgia might be home, but it’s time to explore past that. Day trips out of Atlanta will give you the opportunity to see what else Georgia (or other states) have to offer. So, pick one of these six spots and start exploring!