Too busy to take a “real” vacation? You don’t need a full week and plenty of dough to enjoy these smaller towns. They’re easy to get to, within a short drive (a tank of gas or less) from Atlanta, and full of undiscovered Southern charm. For instance, in Georgia, historic Dahlonega has a pre-gold rush history, wineries and home-style restaurants. The Chattooga River offers beautiful scenery and exciting rafting. In western North Carolina, the city of Asheville beckons with the magnificent Biltmore Estate. Adventure is only a short drive away.
Before you go, be sure to check the Atlanta Travel Deals page for money-saving offers and advice from our Budget Traveler.
• Amelia Island: Relax at Florida's top island
• Daytona Beach, home of the world famous Daytona 500
• The Emerald Coast, Destin and Fort Walton Beach
• Jacksonville is not just for the Georgia-Florida game.
• South Walton - home of natural treasures, like the rare coastal dune lakes
• Fun for the whole family in Panama City Beach
• Take a step back in time with a visit to St. Augustine
• Outdoor adventure ideas in North Georgia, including Lookout Mountain and the Chattooga River
• Albany's revived waterfront
• Athens, Ga.: a classic college town
• A James Brown fest in Augusta, Ga.
• Raft and ride in Blue Ridge, Ga.
• Cartersville, Ga., home of Western-theme and cowboy art
• Chateau Elan (Braselton, Ga.) resort/winery
• Chattooga River rafting
• Golf in Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee (Eatonton, Ga.)
• Dalton, more than the carpet capital of Georgia
• Dahlonega, Ga.: Where wine is the new gold
• Gainesville, Ga.'s history, trails and more
• Helen, Ga. is a "little Bavaria"
• Howard Finster Vision House (Pennville, Ga.)
• LaGrange, Ga.: Southern heritage, French twist
• Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawsonville, Ga.
• 19th-century architecture in Madison, Ga.
• Wild animals in Pine Mountain, Ga. | Callaway Gardens
• Presidential history in Plains, Ga.
• Better than Rome, Italy? Rome, Ga.
• History, beauty and art in Savannah, Ga.
• Pebble Hill estate in Thomasville, Ga., worthy of a movie set
• Road trip to Tybee Island
• Vienna, Ga., has cute cotton museum and the Big Pig Jig
• Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., is a year-round destination
• Blowing Rock, N.C.: mountain beauty
• Cashiers, N.C. and nearby Highlands, N.C., are in the serene heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains
• DuPont State Forest (Cedar Mountain, N.C.): a once-private territory
• Popular Atlanta getaway: Highlands, N.C.
• Hot Springs, N.C.'s working farm, Briar Rose
• Ski close to home at Maggie Valley, N.C.
• Chattanooga, Tenn. is popular for its Choo Choo, Aquarium and the riverfront.
• Manchester, Tenn.,may be nicer without the music
• Elvis is forever at Graceland in Memphis
• Beale Street in Memphis is home to the blues, brews and barbecue
• Knoxville: More than just the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
• Nashville is country music’s capital and home to the Grand Ole Opry
• Lynchburg is the birthplace of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
• Pigeon Forge is the the perfect family getaway and the home of Dollywood