What to Expect on Your Road Trips from Atlanta
In 2018, Atlanta welcomed over 111 million domestic and international visitors, making it a record-breaking year for tourism. Although the city offers plenty to see and do, it's also the perfect gateway to dozens of destinations in the Southern United States.
Below, we’re sharing twenty road trip ideas that will inspire you to hit the road. Whether you live in Atlanta or plan on making it the starting point of your next great adventure, you'll want to keep reading.
20 Road Trip Destinations from Atlanta
Situated in the heart of Georgia, Atlanta is a short drive from mountains, forests, and cities that encapsulate southern charm. If you're up for a long car ride, your road trip destinations are endless. Get an airport van rental and head to beautiful beaches, world-famous parks, and historical treasures.
No matter the vacation you desire, you'll find plenty of great ideas below.
Less than 3.5 hours from Atlanta, this charming North Carolina town is an excellent pick for sophisticated travelers, especially those interested in the arts and architecture. One of the principal attractions in Asheville is America's largest private residence: Biltmore. Visitors enjoy touring the home, strolling through its gardens, and wine tastings.
Families visiting Asheville also love the many zip-lining tours offered in the area. Moreover, the city is a short drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with breathtaking waterfalls, blooming wildflowers, and abundant wildlife.
Approximately five hours from Atlanta, Charleston is a historically rich coastal city. It was founded in 1670, and visitors who want a glimpse into its past can visit The French Quarters.
The City Market is a historic site and a great place to sample local cuisine and buy souvenirs, such as artisanal crafts. Families also enjoy horse-drawn carriage tours while hearing about local history.
Nashville is about four hours from Atlanta, making it the perfect weekend getaway. Some of the most popular sites in The Music City include the Grand Ole Opry House, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Ryman Auditorium.
Of course, no trip to Tennessee would be complete without hot chicken, live music, and drinks at local breweries.
Birmingham is an excellent choice if you're looking for a quick trip. It's only about two hours away from Atlanta and is home to several museums. These include:
This Alabama city was also the center of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, making the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute an important part of the community.Source
Chattanooga is right across the border from Georgia and two hours from Atlanta. Most families visit Lookout Mountain and Rock City, where you can see views of seven states. Chattanooga is also home to Ruby Falls, underground waterfalls that total 145 feet!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH
Take your SUV rental and head to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. The national forest, hills, and fields that make up the park are great places to enjoy solitude and escape your fast-paced life. You can enjoy seasonal activities such as hiking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing.
Break up the ten-hour return trip to Atlanta with fun stops, such as Columbus, Lexington, or Chattanooga.
Gatlinburg is another excellent base for visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park and is only about 3.5 hours from Atlanta. However, there are many other attractions, like the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook and Skylift Park. Couples or groups of adults will love trying moonshine and whiskey from local distilleries.
Hilton Head Island, SC
If lounging on the beach, playing on some of the best golf courses in the USA, and savoring fresh seafood sounds like the perfect weekend, it's time to make the 4.5-hour drive to Hilton Head.
Bring your bicycle and head to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge for 14 miles of hiking trails. Then, enjoy ocean cruises with a dolphin encounter experience or go beach-combing on the barrier islands.
Orlando is one of the nation's most popular family vacation destinations, and with so many theme parks to enjoy, that's no surprise. Whether you visit the Disney parks, Universal Orlando, or Seaworld, your family will have plenty to keep them entertained.
If you can't see everything you want in one trip, you can always make the 6.5-hour drive from Atlanta again. Just be sure to hit up a water park if you happen to go in summer.
Callaway Gardens, GA
The perfect day trip from Atlanta, Callaway Gardens, is less than a 1.5 hour away. There are thousands of acres of botanical gardens, lakes, and wooded areas to explore, along with a butterfly center. The most popular time to visit is April since the Overlook Azalea Garden is in full bloom.
Providence Canyon State Park, GA
You don't have to travel more than two hours to uncover this hidden gem in Lumpkin, Georgia. Many people compare it to a smaller version of the Grand Canyon, but there are really 16 different canyons within the park. The views from the top are the best, although you can hike to the bottom if you are eager enough.
Tybee Island, GA
4.5 hours from Atlanta, Tybee Island is another option for a quick coastal trip. It has over three miles of beaches, perfect for sunbathing, water sports, swimming, or fishing. Of course, the island is also full of history, such as its 18th-century lighthouse.
Sandy Springs, GA
Sandy Springs is a mere twenty minutes from Atlanta but provides the perfect escape when you just need to get away. Visit the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area for excellent hiking or float in the river on an inner tube. Grab a pole and reel in some trout if fishing is more your thing.
Little Grand Canyon, AR
Little Grand Canyon is one of Arkansas' best-kept secrets, and you don't have to be an expert hiker to get there. It's about half a mile from the parking lot to this unique rock formation. While you're here, enjoy some hiking or mountain biking!
The journey from Atlanta to Little Grand Canyon is about nine hours. Be sure to add in some other stops along the way or fill a 15 passenger van rental with some friends for guaranteed entertainment!
Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach is about a 5.5-hour drive from Atlanta. This South Carolina destination gets millions of visitors annually, and for a good reason: 60 miles of beaches. Besides lounging on the beach, Myrtle Beach has many tourist attractions like the SkyWheel and the Hollywood Wax Museum.
Destin is one of the most popular destinations in the Florida Panhandle, famous for clean white-sand beaches. It's also a great place to go shopping at outlet malls and downtown boutiques. Destin is only a little more than five hours from Atlanta, making it the perfect short road trip.
Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, dating back to the 1730s. After the four-hour drive from Atlanta, you'll likely want to stretch your legs. The charming historic district is the perfect place to walk around, with its colorful mansions and Live Oak-lined streets.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park, MO
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. It's a nature lover's playground, with caves, sinkholes, and natural bridges. Among the exciting attractions at the park are the stone ruins of a castle.
You can break up the 10.5-hour trip by adding a few stops, such as Chattanooga and Nashville.
About two hours from downtown Atlanta, this trendy city is the perfect destination for foodies. It's home to breweries, wineries, and old-fashioned coffeehouses. Visitors can also enjoy riverside gardens and suspension bridges with waterfall views at Falls Park on the Reedy.
Blue Ridge Mountains, GA
The Blue Ridge Mountains are only 1.5 hours from Atlanta, but they feel like they're a whole world away. The fresh mountain air and the laid-back small towns are just what most city-dwellers crave on their vacations. So, rent a cabin or an Airbnb and stay for a few days.
You'll especially love the area if you enjoy antique trains. Bring your family for a ride on the railway and enjoy the north Georgia scenery along the way.
Start Your Adventure with Airport Van Rental
In Atlanta, you're never far from a bucket list-worthy road trip. This article gives you twenty great ideas, so remember to bookmark it for future reference.
Remember, you don't have to limit yourself to nearby destinations for fear of putting more miles on your vehicle. Airport Van Rental offers 8 passenger van rentals, SUVs, and more, so you can spend less time worrying about your vehicle and more time enjoying the journey!