Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly trip, the state of Georgia has something for everyone. Featuring big cities, mountain towns, and beach communities, this state provides a unique experience with countless things to do and see. Visit Atlanta for a weekend of art museums, fine dining, and attractions galore; or opt for a low-key mountain retreat in Helen to fill your days with horseback riding, hiking, and exploring this Bavarian-style town. When browsing through vacation rentals in Georgia, start with these eight best weekend getaway spots.
As the capital city of Georgia, Atlanta provides nonstop fun and attractions. Arrive on Friday evening, and stop by Varsity for a chili cheese dog and tasty onion rings before checking into your vacation rental. You can spend Saturday exploring the High Museum of Art, the Georgia Aquarium, or the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Before leaving home, check the schedule of shows at the Fox Theater, or take a tour of this historic building during the day. Go shopping at the nearby Lenox Square Mall with upscale stores including Macy’s, Kate Spade, Coach, and many more. Enjoy a quick lunch when you grab a slice at Fellini’s or chow down on burgers at the Vortex. For the kids, get tickets to the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts that includes a workshop to build your own puppet after the show.
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Leave city life behind and enjoy the hour and a half drive from Atlanta to the mountain retreat of Helen. Designed to resemble a Bavarian village, Helen features shops that sell authentic German wares, such as Lindenhaus Imports and Windmill Dutch Imports. Stop by Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen to watch them brew up a batch of fudge in the large copper kettles, and buy a box to take with you. If you’re traveling with older children and friends, visit the Cottage Vineyard and Winery to learn more about wine production and sample some new blends. In the summer months, try your luck at Duke Creek Mines, where you can pan for gold, or rent tubes from Cool River Tubing and float down the Chattahoochee.
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3. Tybee Island
A short drive from Savannah sits the quintessential beach town of Tybee Island. Choose a vacation rental within an easy walking distance of the beach, and spend your days soaking up the sun. When faced with a rainy day, stop by the Tybee Island Marine Science Center for a dolphin encounter, or sign up for one of their beach or marsh walks to learn more about the ecology of the area. Your kids can race to the top of the Tybee Lighthouse while you take the self-guided tour of the attached museum. In the evenings, select one of the locally-owned restaurants, such as North Beach Bar and Grill and The Crab Shack, for the best seafood of your life.
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Home to the Masters Golf Tournament, Augusta is a great weekend getaway location for golfers and people who love the outdoors. Book a tee time at the Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament occurs each year, to practice your swing at the same place that your favorite golfers practice. Stop by the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and tour the area on one of the park’s boat tours for a small fee. At the Augusta Train Museum learn more about the role transportation played in growing the city or check out the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art to see its small but distinguished permanent collection. You can chow down at the local food scene, which includes great places to eat such as the Frog Hollow Tavern and the Abel Brown Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar.
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As the home of the University of Georgia about an hour east of Atlanta, Athens has a trendy bar and restaurant scene. Arrive in town in the fall month to see the college’s football team, the Dawgs, play in between the hedges and look for UGA, the team’s English bulldog and mascot who has his own doghouse on the field. After the game, take a tour of one of the town’s two breweries, Creature Comforts and Terrapin. If you visit in the spring, stop by the Georgia Botanical Gardens to see all the flowers in bloom, or visit the Georgia Museum of Art. In the evenings, dine at one of the locally-owned restaurants, including Five, The Place, or Butter. For a quick bite, stop by Transmet for pizza or Sr. Sols for tasty Mexican cuisine. End the day by ordering a delivery of fresh-baked cookies from Insomnia; you can order as late as 2 o’clock in the morning.
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On the coast of Georgia, Savannah offers shopping, museums, historical sites, and a wealth of outdoor activities. After checking into your vacation rental, take a stroll down River Street and buy a box of pralines from River Street Sweets to munch on in the sunshine. Sign up for a pub crawl with Savannah Slow Ride, or take a walk around Pulaski Square to see all the historic homes and the bench where Forest Gump sat. Architectural Tours of Savannah Jonathan offers tours of the area with a knowledgeable guide. Enjoy brunch at the Grey in the remains of the historic Grey Hound Bus Station. Each year, Savannah has huge celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day and Octoberfest, making both holidays a great time to visit.
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Get off the beaten path with a weekend away in the North Georgia mountains in the town of Ellijay, about two hours from Atlanta. In the spring, the highway into town is lined with stands selling apples, and there are two apple festivals each year. Choose a cabin tucked away in the woods and close to the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests for days spent hiking. Spend an afternoon walking around the town square and stopping in great stores, such as Green Willow Soap and Mountain Treasures that sells actual moonshine. Back Porch Bistro is a popular place for lunch or dinner just off the square. Finish off your weekend with a tour of Cartecay Vineyards, and bring your new favorite wine home with you.
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8. Jekyll Island
Explore island life with a weekend away at Jekyll Island. A couple of hours south of Savannah, this vacation destination offers moderate temperatures throughout the year. In the evening, take a romantic walk down Drift Wood Beach with someone special to enjoy the stark beauty of the driftwood and trees; and afterward, enjoy dinner on the patio at Driftwood Bistro for Low Country eats and the best shrimp on the island. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a great place to learn more about the local ecology and see the staff caring for injured sea turtle. Stop by the St. Simons Island Light and historic Coast Guard station to learn more about the area’s rich history with the sea.
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