12 Weekend Getaways for Vacation

12 Weekend Getaways for Vacation 

Don’t keep going to the same place over and over again, check out these 12 Weekend Getaways that would be great for summer vacation. These quick southeastern destinations are the perfect way to get out and see something new and fun this summer all within a 4-6 hour drive from Atlanta. 

I wanted to do a fun travel piece this summer for my local followers. Something that they can add to their summer vacation line up this year without breaking the bank or asking for even more time off. Maybe instead of having one big week off you can take a few great weekend getaways, perfect for leaving early on a Friday and getting home late on a Monday for the rest of the work week.

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

1. Great Smoky Mountains, TN

The Great Smoky Mountains are probably best known for vacations that involve staying in Pigeon Forge, the home of Dollywood. Which if you have never been before, should absolutely be a priority on your list. This area boasts a carnival like strip, filled with midway style games, like Hillbilly Golf  and shows like Dixie Stampede.  Along attractions, such as the Titanic Museum and all kinds of shopping perfect for the entire family. Be sure to stop by the Apple Barn and have lunch at the famous Old Mill.  Also in close proximity is Gatlinburg, which is legendary for all it’s Moonshine Distilleries, like our favorite Ole Smokey, with loads of free samples, and fantastic live music. 

My Top 3 Hotel Resorts:

Tonight only: save 25% The Inn at Christmas Place Pigeon Forge 

 My Off The Beaten Path Adventure Picks:

  • The Douglas Lake View Helicopter Tour- A 12 mile flight that last approx. 10 mins, as you fly high above the Tennessee countryside on a helicopter tour over the French Broad River, Douglas Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains. Reasonably priced at around $40.00 per person, makes this a great way to get a birds eye view of the Smoky Mountains. 
  • Great Smoky Mountains Waterfall Adventure– a 3-hour walk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hike the Appalachian mountain paths to several waterfalls and cascades, while you rock-hop across streams and crest narrow ridges. You’ll be rewarded by the sight of gorgeous cascades shrouded in lush greenery. 

2. Sea Island, GA         

Welcome to one of the Golden Isles of Georgia. The Golden Isle consists of  St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island and Sea Island. Here you can discover a full line up of Forbes Five-Star accommodations and surround yourself in luxury. You’ll feel right at home whether you choose to rent a private cottage or stay at one of the five star resorts; the Cloister, the Lodge, or the Inn. Spend your days relaxing at the beach and make sure to book yourself a day at the spa.  

Unique Experiences on the Islands:

  • St. Simons Village Pier Food and History Walking Tour– This is a 3.5-hour walking  journey around St. Simons Island where you are able to eat and sample fresh seafood at 11 tastings from 5 locally owned restaurants. This tour provides enough food for a meal, so if you are undecided on where to have dinner that evening just try them all. 
  • The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island offers a Shark Days Package July 24 – 29, 2018  5 NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: approx.$2,725~Arrive July 24th and depart July 29th. Package rate includes lodging, three meals daily prepared by our chefs, beverages including soft drinks, beer and wine, all Island activities including guided Naturalist excursions and use of recreation gear as well as boat transfers to and from the island. In addition to the typical inclusions, this special event includes: Two spots on the charter fishing trip, presentations by special guest experts, scientific data collection and observation with special guests.

The Inn at Sea Island
Check Out The Great Deals at The Inn at Sea Island
 

3.  Asheville, NC

Asheville has such a cool vibe and a lot to choose from on a single visit. Great restaurants like Tueplo Honey, The Blackbird, Calypso, Curate, Happy Jacks and Double D’s Coffee and Dessert. The River Arts District and antique shopping are amazing, you must visit the Screen Door. 

I also love it’s hip stylish side, with swanky boutique hotels sprinkled about the area, but my favorite will always be the Grove Park Inn. You can Save 10% on The Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville by using this link. I promise it is simply amazing, with it’s  43,000-square-foot subterranean spa. Voted one of the “Top resort spas in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler, it has numerous water features including a rejuvenating mineral pool located in the grotto, eucalyptus steam rooms, and therapeutic waterfalls.Save 10% The Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville

Organized Tours In the Area: 

  • Biltmore Admission with Self-Guided Audio Tour & Lunch- built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC is a 8,000-acre grand estate, including 75 acres of formal gardens and a 7,000 square foot Conservatory. Plus a stunning large-scale glass sculpture exhibition by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly (May 17 – October 7, 2018)
  • Oconaluftee Indian Village– Your Admission Includes a Guided Tour, that will take you through craft demonstrations by award-winning artists who will explain the unique Cherokee crafting techniques. You can meet historical Cherokee people in the living history section of the village.

4. Amelia Island, FL            

Amelia Island is known for world class golf courses, 13 miles of beautiful pristine beaches, excellent seafood and abundant native wildlife.  This low key destination is the perfect way to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and let the waves help you drift away to paradise.  The island has several amazing B&B ‘s located in the downtown historic district, like the 
Amelia Island Williams House, 
but my favorite pick for the avid beach goer is The Ritz Carlton. Serenity at it’s finest with an on-site spa,  fine dining at SALT and a private 18 hole golf course. Imagine, it’s all at your finger tips from the minute you enter the moss-covered oaks tree lined drive. 

Near by Ideas: 

  • Travel to St. Mary’s to catch the Cumberland Island Ferry, to visit Cumberland Island’s Sea Camp Beach home of the Feral Horses. Park Passes, Island Details, and Ferry Links at Cumberland Island National Seashore 
  • Marlin & Barrel Distillery Tour- Sat. 2pm & 4pm They offer unique varieties like Grapefruit Cello & Orange Cello

5. Chattanooga, TN

My family is originally from the Tennessee area and I grew up my entire life hearing about all the fun things to do in the Chattanooga area. Rock City, Ruby Falls and of course the Chattanooga Choo Choo were just a few that I always heard about. Today you can actually stay in a renovated Pullman train car located at Egencia EVERGREEN Chattanooga Choo Choo.  While the downtown skyline has grown to add in local hipster style speakeasy’s and escape rooms you can still partake in a few of the older iconic sites too.

 Egencia EVERGREEN Chattanooga Choo Choo Chattanooga

More Daring Adventures:

  • Look Out Mountain Hang Gliding– In just two days, you can achieve the skills necessary to successfully complete the requirements for the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. (USHPA) You will learn foot launching and landing skills on a 65 foot training hill. You will acquire beginner flying skills through our high altitude lessons by flying to 1800’ with a certified instructor by your side. High altitude tandem instructional flights are the perfect complement to your hill training lesson!
  • Wild Cave Tour at Pigeon Mountain– Strap on your helmet, knee pads and gloves lets go exploring some amazing spaces throughout Pigeon Mountain. You can expect a great deal of physically challenging activity including crawling, stooping, walking in cold water and climbing on rocks, so expect to get dirty and tired.

6. Callaway Gardens, GA

Callaway Resort & Gardens we enjoyed a visit here several years ago and we still remember it as one the most relaxing weekend getaways, it was so close but still a sweet little getaway. It all started in 1952 when a local family had a desire to share their special family retreat with the public.  The Callaways, knew it was too beautiful not to share. This is a spectacular 2,500-acre attraction, which keeps visitors coming back year after year. So much to do, like bike trails, beaches, rounds of golf and spa treatments. The hardest decisions will be be, what to do next. 

Private sale: save 10% Callaway Resort & Gardens Pine Mountain Callaway Resort & Gardens Pine Mountain

  • See The Butterflies– Calloway is home to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, where over 1,000 types of  butterflies flutter about freely  in one of North America’s largest tropical butterfly conservatories. 
  • Birds of Prey– Presented with the permission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Callaway Resort & Gardens’ Birds of Prey program is a must-see when you come for a visit.

Save 40% on Atlanta’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!

7. Charleston, SC 

Charleston is a fantasist city to visit, so much to see and a ton to do. I would recommend that you stay down town in the heart of the city. The Market Pavillon Ocean Rental and The Wentworth Mansion, pictured below, are both nice and centrally located near the Straw Market in an area of town known as the French Quarter. Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection and Renaissance Charleston Hotel, are both Historic District Hotels, which are also both very nice and a little further north of the main shopping and dining areas.   French Quarter Inn 

Our Must See List: 

  • Chef’s Farm-to-Table Challenge and Walking Tour in Charleston- 2.5-hour tour of Charleston Farmers Market located in historic Charleston, followed by 5-course brunch. Browse stalls of fresh produce alongside your chef that will make a 5-course brunch using ingredients from the market.
  • Charleston Macabre Ghost Tour– No trip to Charleston is complete without a ghost tour. This 90-minute small-group walking tour follows in the footsteps of lords and generals, murderers and thieves. Hear stories from a guide about horrifying, macabre and occult events and tales that have been passed down through generations in quiet voices.
  • Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Tour– 300 years of history on this 1-hour carriage tour. See the many mansions, churches, and gardens as your horse-drawn carriage tour covers more than 2.5 miles and 30 blocks, the best way to see historic Charleston.

8. Savannah, GA

A coastal city, set along the inlet of the Savannah River, known for it’s amazing restaurants, colorful shopping and famous for it’s  St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The historic district has cobblestoned squares, each with it’s own dedicated park shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. The city is best known for these beautifully manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and historically accurate antebellum architecture. It is also known for many of the oldest known cemeteries in the area and has a ton of ghost stories, legends and lore to keep your spine tingling for days. Check out the Hotel Indigo Savannah Historic District Savannah. This newly renovated hotel on West Bay St. is right in the middle of everything you want to see. 

  • Savannah Trolley and Haunted Pub Tour Combo– This package is an excellent way to combine your Savannah experiences with a great value, you will have hop-on and hop-off trolley privileges to see Savannah at your leisure from the trolley during the day. Then a haunted pub walking tour through the streets of Savannah that evening.  You will leave feeling like you left no stone upturned.
  • Bonaventure Cemetery Journeys with Shannon Scott-A unique day-time tour, learn about the symbolism, art, architecture & burial traditions of the Victorian Age encompassed within Bonaventure Cemetery’s gates. Perfect for Secret Society fans and Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil fans, this tour is full of encounters of sites pertaining to both. 
  • Savannah Riverboat Brunch/Dinner Cruises– Board the riverboat for your cruise and choose a seat in the glass-enclosed climate-controlled dining and observation deck with panoramic views, or on the open-air patio, or the numerous bench seats that line the upper decks. Fully narrated tours on the Sightseeing, Lunch and Brunch Cruises.  Dinner, Sunset and Moonlight Cruises are not narrated.
  • Tybee Island Dolphin Tour-  It’s not a 3 hour tour, it is a 5 hour tour. Following lunch, at the Crab Shack you board the boat for a Dolphin Cruise through Tybee Island’s-waterways. While searching the horizon for the ever-prevalent bottle-nose dolphin playing in their natural-habitat, you will see views of historic Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island Lighthouse (built in 1856) and Tybee Island Lighthouse (a stop and photo opportunity before returning to Savannah).

 

9. Beaufort, SC

Imagine centuries-old, moss-draped live oak trees in this city’s historic district, fine homes from the Civil War era and unrivaled water views. We fell in love with Beaufort, SC upon a weekend stay when Ron’s sister  graduated from the Marine Core on Paris Island. We stayed in the historic district of Beaufort, SC and decided if we were to ever win the lottery we would instantly come buy one of the big beautiful historic homes directly off the square. I highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn Beaufort which is a beautiful Boutique hotel with spa, near John Mark Verdier House.Hilton Garden Inn Beaufort

Our Favorite Things In Beaufort: 

  • The Chocolate Tree– I remember the old chocolate conveyor belt in the window and how it made me think of “I love Lucy”. We bought a pound of handmade chocolates and ate them all while we menadered our way back to our B&B, which was several blocks away. Get the hand dipped jellies, they are divine. 
  • Rose Hill Mansion Tour in Bluffton SC– 1-hour tour is filled with Historic information and guided walk through this home. After the tour you will be delighted by the hospitality of Miss Pat and her homemade dishes.
  • Visiting Hunting Island State Park/Fripp Island- The completely natural beaches filled with driftwood and down palm trees make this a one of a kind experience. 

10. Seaside, FL 

Seaside is a master-planned unincorporated community located on the Florida panhandle in Walton County. A smaller community between Panama City Beach and Destin, it has everything you could want around it. But, it is designed on the principles of New Urbanism, which keeps the community beautiful. If you are a  housing-industry fan, this area is sought out by magazines and is visited by design professionals from all over the United States. I highly recommend picking a lovely villa or home to rent via VBRO. Honestly, there is only one resort in this area that I know of, the WaterColor Inn & Resort Santa Rosa Beach, if that is more your vibe. You might prefer fresh sheets and towel daily, room service and nightly turn down service, after all it is a vacation.  Save 20% WaterColor Inn & Resort Santa Rosa BeachThe Seaside community has some of the best boutique shopping and finest restaurants in there area, some with in walking distance. Some of our favorites in walking distance are Bud and Alley’sThe Wine Bar – Watercolor on 30A, and Great Southern Cafe. You are also very conveniently located between Destin and Panama City so there is plenty to do in either direction. 

Great Things that are Nearby:

  • Callaghan Live at The REP Concert-she has a amazing voice like Sarah McLachlan and Emmy Lou Harris had a baby. A 90 minute concert features music from Callaghan. She is originally from the UK and moved to the USA in the summer 2010 to record and tour with Grammy-Nominee Shawn Mullins, and has been playing live piano and guitar, in her own building ever since. Such a rare find and a true must see.
  • Destin Flyboard Rental– During this 20 minute session you’ll get to experience an adrenaline pumping water adventure like no other. For beginners or advanced riders, the instructors will provide information on how to ride smoother, fly higher, and dive deeper through the water.  This adrenaline pumping ride flies directly in front of harbor beach and provides a great view to those looking on.
  • Dolphin-Watching Cruise in the Gulf of Mexico– Search the horizon for friendly dolphins, giant sharks, gliding sting rays and loggerhead turtles. You will circle Crab Island and get the chance to see and get close to amazing creatures of the sea.

11. Providence Canyon State Park, GA    

Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon”  I have lived here my entire life and never heard of this park until recently. Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s. It is a testament to the power of man’s influence on the land. Yet, some of the prettiest photographs within the state with the canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues. 

Sleep Under The Stars:

  • Rent a Yurt– Backpackers can stay overnight along the backcountry trail which highlights portions of the canyon and winds through mixed forest. Camping, cottages, cabins, yurts, and efficiency units are available nearby at Florence Marina State Park on 45,000 acre Lake Walter F. George.
  • Check out this exciting article about Georgia’s 5 Best Glamping Spots at this great article from my friends at All the the Rooms. 

12. Nashville, TN

Nashville is where my mother was born, the capital of Tennessee and home to Vanderbilt University. It is legendary for it’s country music venues which include the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum. The Downtown District, features many honky-tonk bars with live music, like the Wildhorse Saloon, Toostie’s Blue Orchid Lounge and The Bluebird Cafe.  A few other free site’s worth a visit: The Parthenon, The Music City Walk of Fame on Nashville’s Music Mile and Painter’s Alley.

Book now and save @ Omni Nashville Hotel NashvilleBook now and save! Omni Nashville Hotel Nashville 

The Perfect Way to Round out your Musical Trip:

  • SECRET SHOW: Intimate Recording Studio Concert with a HIT Artist– Join NBC’s the Voice Runner Up & #1 Billboard Record Artist Meghan Linsey and songwriter/record producer Tyler Cain for a once in a lifetime intimate acoustic concert in a REAL Nashville recording studio! Take a seat in one of the pews from the set of the hit TV show NASHVILLE and enjoy a 75 minute performance of songs and stories from a hit recording artist in this Bluebird-esque setting.
  • Ticket to Grand Ole Opry Radio Show with Hotel Transport– A thrilling live concert at Nashville’s premier country music stage, the Grand Ole Opry. Unlike a typical concert, the Grand Ole Opry presents eight or more artists at each show, giving the audience a variety of musical styles to enjoy at one event. Choose from a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday night performance. 

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

PIN ME for later and be sure to follow us on Pinterest at Jen @ JENRON DESIGNS

 

 

15 Comments

  1. This is a great travel post for trips just outside of Atlanta love all the options your added as well. Thanks for sharing your tips and deals!

  2. Great list! We’ve been to several of these spots. I grew up going to the Smoky Mountains every summer on our way from Texas to Ohio.

  3. Florida would be a great destination for a vacation. I would also love to get out of the city and out into the outdoors and hike mountains.

  4. Remarkable post. I have been to couple of places you have mentioned, but I love to visit little Grand Canyon of Georgia soon. Thank you.

  5. The only place on this list I’ve been in Nashville and it was incredible! But I’ve always wanted to explore more of the south! And that Charleston Ghost Tour sounds amazing!

  6. Amazing list right here! For me Amelia Island looks the most appealing, ideal destination for chill out! 🙂

  7. We are always looking for great places to get away. This is a wonderful list and you provide a lot of information. Thanks!

  8. The Smoky Mountains have been on my travel bucket list for a while now. Thanks to your post, I now have another destination to add to my list: Providence Canyon State Park!

  9. Wow! There’s a lot to do in the south! I need to explore it more.

  10. Yay! I am so glad that you found my post. Congratulations on your move you are going to love it here. We really are close to everything the beach, the mountains, the country, even a desert like canyon area. Honestly it really amazes me all the terrains GA has to offer. I guess that is why the film industry is touting GA the Hollywood of the south, lol.

  11. Being that I’m moving to GA next week I’m so glad I came across your post ! I love traveling and visiting new places so these are all a few hours worth of a drive but are still a little getaway my family can do. Love this !

  12. We are actually going to the smoky mountains this week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *