Fun weekend trips around atlanta
March 15, 2012 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Fun place to travel for a weekend semi-close to Atlanta?

We're looking for fun weekend trips within a reasonable drive of Atlanta - say 4ish hours or so. Something that would be doable without taking time off work, and preferably with two pugs!

We've done Savannah, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, and go to Charleston SC semi-regularly.

We've also done Helen, and the Guidestones in Elberton.

We love quirky, and we love haunted/ghost stuff.

What fun trips are we missing?

Outside of that, is there anywhere else you would recommend traveling to, that may be farther away? (For example - we hit eureka springs, and it was amazing! but not really a weekend driving trip!)
posted by needlegrrl to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cumberland Island is beautiful and has ruins to explore. You can take a 30 minute passenger ferry from St. Mary's, Georgia and spend the day walking on the beach, exploring the ruins of a Carnegie mansion, looking for shark's teeth and reading about the history of the place.

You can also camp if you want to make it a longer trip. Unfortunately you can't take the pugs.
posted by ChrisHartley at 6:35 AM on March 15, 2012

Knoxville might fit the bill for you. Nashville would as well. There's a haunted tour, but I've never taken it.
posted by jquinby at 6:54 AM on March 15, 2012

Nashville, TN. Lake Lanier, GA. Cherokee/Asheville, NC.

Georgia has a ton of state parks. You could make a weekend of the Etowah mounds in Cartersville/Red Top Mountain/Amicalola falls, for example.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:58 AM on March 15, 2012

It's definitely worth driving up to Ellijay in the fall. As you go north into the foothills of Appalachia you get a lot more deciduous trees than the rather piney Atlanta, so the drive is colorful, and the apple cider is amazing.
posted by solotoro at 7:07 AM on March 15, 2012

Also, if camping is something you're interested in, North Georgia (Blood Mountain area) is where we used to go frequently as kids. TN also has a stellar park system, and I'd highly recommend (as I have before here) Johnny Molloy's Best of Tent Camping books for recommendations on parks and the choice spots within them.

As for GA quirky - you should hit Col. Poole's BBQ. It's something of a local stronghold for the GOP, so if that's too far to the right, you can balance it out at The Pink Pig in Cherry Log, the local Democrat BBQ spot (or it used to be, anyway). And seconding Ellijay in the fall. We make an annual trip to Panorama Orchards to buy apples and whatnot and during weekend trips would hit all the flea markets in the area as well.
posted by jquinby at 7:13 AM on March 15, 2012

Visit the Okeefenokee swamp, and while you are there see Stuckie, the petrified dog!
posted by TedW at 7:26 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Athens! You could take in an awesome music show, eat some amazing meals, wander around the beautiful campus and take in plenty of the quirky people and shops of downtown.
posted by ejazen at 7:33 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about Asheville, NC? There is the Biltmore of course and the ton is chock-a-block with cute and quirky stores.
posted by mmascolino at 7:38 AM on March 15, 2012

I kinda love zoos, so this is my suggestion. Volunteer at ZooAtlanta, you only have to do a couple hours a month. This gets you a half price zoo membership. They are a member of the Zoo Association, so you get reciprical memberships!

I have gotten myself and one other adult either free or almost free at: Knoxville, Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Montgomery zoos, I'm sure there are more in your four hour range, but its kinda fun to just drive to a different city and check out there zoo.
posted by stormygrey at 7:48 AM on March 15, 2012

As a fellow Atlantan, I am delighted to see this question. I was surprised to see you hadn't hit Asheville yet. There are a huge number of ghost tours there and it definitely is a dog friendly place with lots of easily accessible hikes and such.

I think there are other Georgia towns that are sort of intriguing--Milledgeville was the second capital of the state (and was the capital during the Civil War) and has all kinds of weird history stuff in it, with ghosts of course, plus Flannery O'Conner's house. Not far from there, Macon has Indian mounds, too, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

I'll definitely be watching to see what other cool ideas people have.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:52 AM on March 15, 2012

Summerville and Howard Finster!
posted by Kitteh at 8:00 AM on March 15, 2012

Panama City Beach FL is only six hours from Atlanta, or was only 6 the way I drove back in my early 20s. PCB has become more generic tourist area in recent years, and has lost a lot of the kitsch that I loved growing up there. However, it is still a beautiful beach.
posted by COD at 8:11 AM on March 15, 2012

Nashville, Asheville, Finster's Paradise Gardens and a little further out than Nashville, maybe you'd be interested in the story of the Bell Witch.
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:16 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Callaway Gardens (bike rentals, butterfly house), Cloudland Canyon (georgeous, weird ecological history, rusted depression-era trucks), Warm Springs (kitschy small town; FDR's retirement home). All fairly close to one another, only a few hours from Atlanta.
posted by amelioration at 8:21 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hilton Head? Not sure if the pugs are welcome but those beaches are fantastic, especially for biking on a low-rider . . . and of course the golf. I also found that Savannah was more than worthy of multiple visits . . .
posted by eggman at 8:28 AM on March 15, 2012

Response by poster: Oh - we have been to Asheville, although mostly to visit friends and not to do tourist-y things - we're going to visit Brevard and Asheville again over Easter weekend. (White squirrels!)

I lived in Athens for several years, but we haven't been back in a while - maybe we'll do that. Thanks!
posted by needlegrrl at 8:38 AM on March 15, 2012

What about Huntsville? It's not as classic of a tourist destination for anybody who's not way into NASA, but they've got a nice historic district as well as all the science stuff, and some nice parks both on and off the mountain (Monte Sano).
posted by aimedwander at 9:23 AM on March 15, 2012

Savannah may be a bit too far of a hike (I think it's closer to 5 hours) but is a town I just love.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:21 AM on March 15, 2012

Panama City Beach FL is only six hours from Atlanta....

And once you're there, you can fill your need for quirky by visiting Seaside, Fl, the place that made the Truman Show look so weird.
posted by solotoro at 11:38 AM on March 15, 2012

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