The Linn Cove Viaduct. Part of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina.
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Warm-Weather Weekend Drives from Atlanta

With spring (finally!) in full bloom, many of us are eager to start exploring again. Located at the confluence of several cultural and geographical regions, Atlanta provides a plethora of options for quick getaways.

From the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to historic cities and sandy beaches, these road trips from Atlanta are all within a 4-5 hour drive of the city. Before you hit the road, be sure to check out the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Travel Information page, which details weekend lane closures that could affect travel times.

Asheville, N.C.

Asheville’s cooler, mountain setting is a favorite vacation spot for Atlantans seeking relief from the city’s notoriously muggy summers. A mere three-hour drive transports you to this Blue Ridge Mountain community bursting with creative energy, outdoor wonder and landmarks, such as The Biltmore.

The city offers easy access to the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway through multiple access points (U.S. 25, U.S. 70, U.S. 74 and N.C. 191). Known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” this 450-plus-mile highway running through dramatic mountain terrain routinely wows visitors with its sweeping vistas and numerous points of interest. Among the most famous near Asheville are:

  • Cold Mountain Overlook at milepost 412 (yep, the same Cold Mountain as in the movie).
  • North Carolina Arboretum (milepost 393).
  • The tallest mountain in the Eastern U.S., Mt. Mitchell (milepost 355).

In recent years, Asheville’s burgeoning arts and music scene has made it a hot spot for lovers of live music. A stroll through its downtown streets after dark will showcase performers and music establishments featuring local and national touring acts, alike. The city also hosts numerous live music festivals spanning everything from traditional mountain music (Shindig on the Green) to electronica (Moogfest).

A New Look At Savannah

Visitors to Savannah, located about four hours southeast of Atlanta on the Atlantic coast, often remark on the city’s historic district architecture and southern charm. But return visitors might enjoy viewing the city from a new perspective, via unique specialty tours.

Anyone who’s wandered Savannah’s grand cemeteries and dimly lit back streets can attest to why the town is known as “America’s Most Haunted City.” Hear the origins of local ghost stories and explore Savannah’s sinister side with the Haunted Savannah Tour.

If your tastes run toward the gourmet rather than the ghostly, delve into the city’s rich, culinary history with Savannah Taste Experience, a three-hour walking tour of some of the city’s most famous restaurants. Sample numerous dishes, from traditional chicken and dumplings to high-end new Southern cuisine.

The Savannah Cinema Tour takes you to the local filming locations for cinematic classics, such as “Forrest Gump” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Learn about the films’ histories and how Savannah has done its part to make American cinema great.

Of course, traditional city tours – including those much-loved carriage rides – are always an option, too.

St. Simons and Jekyll Island, Ga.

Though Georgia shares its southern border with Florida, most of the Sunshine State’s beaches are out of reach for weekending Atlantans. At just over four-and-a-half hours southeast of our city, Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island provide miles of coastline and warm sand without leaving the state (and usually at a lower cost than Florida alternatives).

Both islands share plenty of historical architecture, beautiful foliage and distinctive traditional events. On Jekyll, check out events like the upcoming Turtle Crawl Triathlon and Nest Fest (May 18) and the Shrimp & Grits Festival (Sept. 20- 22). Local highlights also include The Georgia Sea Turtle Center and the St. Simons Island Lighthouse.

Looking for more mini-vacation inspiration? Explore Georgia has themed trip ideas, from romantic getaways to family fun, on its website.

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