City guides

Cheap day trips from Atlanta

Find your next adventure with our guide to the most affordable day trips that Atlanta has to offer.

October 23, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 15
A view of the Atlanta skyline at night.

Let’s be real, everybody loves a good day trip. It’s like a mini-vacation without the commitment of an overnight stay, or the hefty price tag that comes along with it. Luckily for the folks in Atlanta, the surrounding areas are just teeming with fun, budget-friendly destinations. So, grab your favorite road trip snacks and let’s hit the road to explore the top attractions near Atlanta that won't dent your wallet.

Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

A mere stone’s throw away from Atlanta is the alluring Stone Mountain Park. The sprawling park offers a plethora of activities including hiking trails that wind through lush greenery, well-maintained picnic spots for that perfect family outing, and even a skyride that offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. The laser show is also a big hit, lighting up the evening sky with vivid colors and telling tales through impressive visual effects. It’s not just a day trip, it’s an experience steeped in culture, history, and natural beauty.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia

Just a short drive from Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area unfolds as a serene oasis where you can unplug and reconnect with nature. Imagine cruising gently on the river, with opportunities to engage in exhilarating activities like tubing and kayaking. But it’s not all about the water; there are miles of hiking and biking trails for land lovers too. The Chattahoochee River offers the kind of retreat where every bend introduces you to new natural wonders — a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. So, pack a picnic and immerse yourself in the gentle whispers of the river and the music of the birds, for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Providence Canyon, Georgia

A geological masterpiece, Providence Canyon is affectionately termed as the “Little Grand Canyon” of Georgia. This hidden gem beckons visitors with its vibrant soil hues, creating a mesmerizing canvas of natural artistry that is both captivating and photo-worthy. You'll find walking trails suited for various fitness levels, offering everyone the chance to enjoy the scenic vistas. While it was formed due to poor farming practices in the 1800s, today it stands as a testament to the raw, untamed beauty that nature can craft over time, offering a surreal landscape that’s begging to be explored and appreciated.

Serena Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia

If you feel like basking under the sun with waves kissing your feet, then Serena Beach at Jekyll Island should be your next stop. The pristine beach is a stretch of peaceful paradise with fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy a calm day by the sea. Close by, Driftwood Beach offers a unique landscape with its sun-bleached trees and driftwoods creating a picturesque setting. It is a splendid spot for photography, leisure walks, and soaking up the sea breeze. The island also hosts a turtle center where you can learn about the efforts to conserve the gentle giants of the sea, adding a touch of education to your beach day.

Macon, Georgia

Macon wears its rich history not just in its well-preserved architecture but also in the soulful rhythms that echo through its streets. A historic hub in the heart of Georgia, Macon has given birth to music legends such as the Allman Brothers Band and Otis Redding. Strolling through its streets, you'd find museums that echo tales of yesteryears and heritage trails that offer a peek into the city’s vibrant history. If you are a music lover, this city promises a rhythmic journey tracing the footsteps of music legends, coupled with an authentic Southern charm that is both warm and inviting.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Georgia

This destination offers a blend of historical, cultural, and natural attractions that can please any traveler. The lunar-like landscape of Arabia Mountain presents a surreal backdrop for a day of exploration. It’s a hotspot for botanical enthusiasts, home to plant species that are found nowhere else. The park offers well-marked trails that guide you through its unique ecosystem, narrating the geological story with every step. Whether you are a curious geologist at heart or a nature lover, the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area offers a day of adventurous exploration, with a sprinkle of education on the side.

Cartersville, Georgia

In Cartersville, you will find yourself transported back to a time where the indigenous people of the area thrived. The Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site here is a prehistoric archaeological site that lets you delve deep into the rich history that is over a thousand years old. The site features artifacts and informative displays offering an intriguing glance into the life and culture of the Mississippian indigenous culture. But that's not all Cartersville has to offer. You might want to explore the Booth Western Art Museum, a venue home to contemporary Western American art, presidential portraits and letters, and Civil War art to add a touch of artistic flair to your trip. At Cartersville, every nook and corner narrates a tale from a different era, offering a rich, immersive experience into the yesteryears.

Dahlonega, Georgia

Step into the golden history of Dahlonega, the heart of Georgia’s gold rush back in the day. While the gold rush of 1828 has long passed, the town has preserved its vibrant history with utmost elegance. As you stroll through the historic town square, you are met with a charming setting that is home to delightful shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Dive deeper into its golden history by visiting the Dahlonega Gold Museum, where you can even try your hand at gold panning. Whether you strike gold or not, a day in Dahlonega promises a rich experience sprinkled with a bit of nostalgia and a lot of golden hues.

Blue Ridge, Georgia

For those dreaming of a mountain escape, Blue Ridge stands as the epitome of Appalachian beauty. Situated amidst the lush Chattahoochee National Forest, this destination offers a haven for hikers, nature lovers, and anyone seeking a breath of fresh air. You can explore the trails offering panoramic mountain views, discover waterfalls hidden in the forest, or hop on the scenic railway for a leisurely tour through the mountain vistas. The downtown area is a treasure trove of antique shops, galleries, and homely eateries serving up delicious local fare. Blue Ridge offers the kind of wholesome fun that nourishes the soul, where every experience, be it a walk amidst the woods or a hearty meal, comes with a dash of mountain charm.We’ve wandered through canyons, floated down rivers, and even stepped back in time to the golden age of music. Through it all, we've uncovered some of the best-kept secrets in the Atlanta area — all without breaking the bank. So, what are you waiting for? Your budget-friendly adventure awaits, and remember, the journey is all part of the fun. Safe travels!

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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