12 Best Weekend Getaways in Georgia (& 8 Near Atlanta!)

If you’re itching for a weekend escape, there are so many fantastic local spots for weekend getaways in Georgia where you can relax… or have an adventure!

From coastal escapes to wineries to nature hikes to small towns, there are lots of options for taking a couple of days to experience something new on a Georgia weekend trip.

So whether you’re going with family, friends, or just by yourself, keep reading for a list of the best weekend getaways in Georgia!

Nature-Focused Weekend Getaways in Georgia

Amicalola Falls

cascading waterfall in Georgia's nature with trees surrounding it

Distance from Atlanta: Amicalola Falls is about 1 ½ – 2 hours outside of Atlanta.

To escape the grind of the city and enjoy some time in nature, check out Amicalola Falls.

It’s time to pack your hiking gear, and embark on a mini road trip to Amicalola Falls State Park in North Georgia!

There are several trails you can take to explore the area, but perhaps the most popular trail is the Amicalola Falls Loop Trail.

This 2.1 mile hike will take you to the centerpiece of this state park, which is Amicalola Falls.

Gaze at this gorgeous waterfall, which stands at almost 730 feet tall. It’s considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia!

Exploring Amicalola Falls makes for a great day trip with family, friends, or your significant other. Head here early in the day, enjoy lots of fresh air and exercise, and then head back home.

Alternately, you can make a weekend of this getaway, and stay at Amicalola Falls Lodge.

This lovely nature retreat offers activities like 3-D archery, zip lining, and guided hikes in addition to comfortable rooms for an overnight stay.

Providence Canyon State Park

Distance from Atlanta: Providence Canyon State Park is about 2 ½ – 3 hours outside of Atlanta.

Another perfect nature escape is Providence Canyon State Park in southwest Georgia.

The photogenic canyons here are also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia!

Come here prepared to hike! The Canyon Loop Trail is a 2 ½ mile hike that is an easy to moderate trek to see many of the canyons that make up this park.

And if you’re up for a challenge, the Backcountry Trail is a pretty difficult 7 mile loop that will test your hiking aptitude.

If you like camping, this is a fantastic weekend getaway. There are several pioneer and backcountry campsites where you can set up your tent and enjoy outdoor living for a couple of nights.

Winery Weekend Getaways Near Atlanta

Chateau Elan

beautiful chateau in the French style with winery in springtime in front of the chateau on a popular weekend getaway from Atlanta
Photo Credit: Dave Morrison Photography via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Distance from Atlanta: Chateau Elan is located about 60-90 minutes outside of Atlanta.

A popular Atlanta weekend getaway option is Chateau Elan. It’s a beautiful resort with a winery, spa, and golf course all on-site for an all-in-one escape.

The focal point of Chateau Elan is their scenic winery. Stroll through the picturesque estate on a guided tour, then wind down by sampling their wines in the tasting room.

If you or your significant other love golf, then you’re in for a treat. The estate has two 18-hole golf courses, as well as an Executive Par 3 course!

To pamper yourself, check out the Spa at Chateau Elan. Indulge in one of the restoring treatments, and enjoy the sauna, steam room, and indoor saltwater swimming pool.

When you visit, you can stay in one of their comfortable rooms while enjoying the lush amenities.

If you’re looking to celebrate something special, this is a perfect romantic weekend getaway in Georgia!


photo of a house on a northern Georgia vineyard, another popular weekend getaway in Georgia
Photo Credit: savoryexposure via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Distance from Atlanta: Dahlonega is about a 1 ½ – 2 hour drive outside of Atlanta.

Dahlonega is a quiet city in northern Georgia, and it happens to be home to a handful of vineyards.

If you enjoy a nice glass of wine, this is a fantastic Georgia weekend trip!

Accent Cellars is a family founded winery where you can sample wines from grapes sourced from all over the country, including Georgia.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards is a scenic winery where you can experience a “Napa Style” wine tasting.

Cavender Creek Vineyards is another fun winery to visit, where you can taste different wines while relaxing in a rocking chair on the patio of their Tasting Room.

Checking out all of the vineyards in Dahlonega is a great activity to do with a group of friends.

It also would be a perfect date idea for a romantic getaway in Georgia!

Small Town Georgia Weekend Getaways


interesting architecture inspired by alpine design elements on  building in Helen Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: Helen is about a two hour drive from Atlanta.

One of the most unexpected and quirky places in Georgia is the town of Helen.

Here, you’ll find Bavarian-style buildings that will make you feel like you are in an alpine village!

The dining options in Helen match with the visual appearance of the town!

Grab a beer from the Alpine Brew Deck, taste some traditional German food from the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and G.I. Germany Pub, and finish with a cold treat from the Das Ice Cream Cafe.

With Helen’s location in the north Georgia mountains, there are lots of outdoor activities, like hiking and zip-lining.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can slowly cruise down the Chattahoochee River in an inner tube!

Exploring Helen is a great day trip, or a weekend getaway from Atlanta with family or friends.

It’s truly one of Georgia’s more unusual, local gems that you should visit at least once!


manicured grass and lake and house on the lake in Senoia Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: Senoia is located just about an hour outside of Atlanta.

The charming small city of Senoia is a great place to explore some small-town shops and restaurants.

And you may already have seen Senoia on your tv screen, and not even realized it!

Senoia has become quite well known due to the television show The Walking Dead.

It served as a primary filming location for the series, and the town even has tours and shops dedicated to the show.

The downtown area of Senoia is the best place to walk around, and pop in and out of local shops. There’s a calm energy here, and it’s a serene place to explore!

Check out Nic & Norman’s for some hearty grub, like loaded flatbreads and gourmet burgers.

And circling back to Senoia’s connection to The Walking Dead, Nic & Norman’s was founded by Greg Nicotero and Norman Reedus.

Greg is the special effects artist on the series, and Norman plays one of the main characters on the show!

If you happen to visit Senoia from April to August, check out the Beak & Berry Farm. You can pick fresh strawberries and blueberries when they’re in season!

If you’re looking for a little solo escape for the weekend, take a drive over to this lovely city.

City Escapes in Georgia


tower of building in Athens Georgia, other architecture nearby, cloudy sky at sunset

Distance from Atlanta: Athens is just under a two hour drive from Atlanta.

To immerse yourself in a buzzy college town, head to Athens, Georgia. This is the home of the University of Georgia (go Bulldogs!)

In downtown Athens, you will find lots of fun bars, restaurants, as well as a cool live music scene.

Be sure to come hungry, as there are a large array of eateries to dine at, including award-winning restaurants.

In terms of nightlife and events, scope out the 40 Watt Club and the Georgia Theatre for live music events.

There are also great parks and trails to explore in Athens. Choose from a wildlife nature trail, greenway, lake, nature center, and even a skate park designed by Tony Hawk!

One cool place to visit is the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. The grounds here are beautiful, and this space is great for a scenic stroll.

For a fun weekend getaway with friends, Athens is a wonderful place to go!


buildings in the Augusta Georgia skyline with river and boats in foreground

Distance from Atlanta: Augusta is about a 2 ½ hour drive from Atlanta.

If you love golf, then you are probably already familiar with Augusta. It is most famous for being the home of the Masters golf tournament!

In addition to the golf culture here, there is also plenty to explore in this city. Downtown Augusta is an eclectic area with museums, restaurants, and a waterfront park.

The Augusta Museum of History is a great place to check out. You can explore exhibits about the singer James Brown, as well as the history and tradition of golf.

The Riverwalk is one of the most popular parks in Augusta! There is a fountain and playground here, and live concerts at the outdoor amphitheater.

Be sure to check out Broad Street in downtown Augusta. This is a fun and artsy area to cruise around, and you can browse the interesting and unique shops here.

With things to do for adults and kids, this is a great family-friendly weekend getaway from Atlanta or other Georgia destinations.

Beachy Weekend Getaways in Georgia (Near Savannah)

Tybee Island

beach in Tybee island Georgia on the coast of Georgia near savannah on a sunny beach day

Distance from Atlanta: Tybee is about 4 ½ – 5 hours away from Atlanta.

Distance from Savannah: Tybee is just about a 30 minute drive from Savannah.

If you’re visiting the historic and whimsical city of Savannah, plan a day trip out to Tybee Island.

Just 18 miles away from Savannah, Tybee is a fun little beachside town with fantastic restaurants, a large pier, and a nice beach.

Once you’ve found a place to park, cruise down the street right next to the coastline. There are several local eateries and cute shops to scope out.

Then, head over to the beach, where you can get your fill of ocean breezes and salty air. There’s something about being right by the water that is rejuvenating and soothing.

Tybee has become a popular place in the last decade for Hollywood to film movies in Georgia.

The movie The Last Song was filmed here, and the expansive pier on the beach was actually built specifically for the film. Be sure to explore the pier when you’re here!

Tybee Island is perfect for a day trip from Savannah, or a weekend getaway from Atlanta.

St. Simons Island

white lighthouse on the rocky shore of an island in Georgia surrounded by trees on a cloudy day

Distance from Atlanta: St. Simons Island is about 5 ½ hours from Atlanta.

Distance from Savannah: St. Simons Island is about a 1 ½ hour drive from Savannah

For an amazing weekend getaway to the coast, head to St. Simons Island.

Part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, this island has great energy and is a perfect place to mellow out.

When you’re here, make sure you check out the beaches, of course! Bring a chair, an umbrella, and some drinks, and chill as you listen to the waves and seagulls.

You can also enjoy golfing, kayaking, fishing, biking, and shopping. Additionally, there are fantastic restaurants on the island, where you can dine on fresh seafood.

This is a great place for a family-friendly getaway, or a fun weekend with friends.

Sea Island

Photo Credit: George Creal via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Distance from Atlanta: Sea Island is about a 5 ½ hour drive from Atlanta.

Distance from Savannah: Sea Island is about 1 ½ to 2 hours from Savannah.

For a luxurious seaside escape, head to Sea Island!

Also part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, this beautiful island offers boating, fishing, biking, horseback riding, and golf in a picturesque coastal setting.

Sea Island is home to the luxurious five star resort called The Cloister. Stay in one of their sophisticated suites, and enjoy some time by the ocean.

The Cloister has a beautiful spa and fitness center, where you can destress and relax. They also have three championship golf courses, which is perfect for golf lovers! 

This is a great place to take the whole family, as there are family fun activities and kids camps.

From waterparks, to miniature golf, and playgrounds, the little ones will have plenty of fun activities to enjoy!

Jekyll Island

driftwood covered beach in Jekyll island Georgia

Distance from Atlanta: Jekyll Island is about a 5 ½ hour drive from Atlanta.

Distance from Savannah: Jekyll Island is about 1 ½ to 2 hours from Savannah.

Another popular beach weekend destination in Georgia is Jekyll Island.

Just like Sea Island and St. Simons, Jekyll Island is part of the Golden Isles of Georgia.

In addition to typical beach activities, Jekyll Island is home to a couple of unique attractions.

Driftwood Beach is a distinctive feature of this island. You can traverse the shore and explore the large and small pieces of driftwood that have settled here.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center provides rehabilitation services to sea turtles in need, and they are also a research and educational institution.

When you visit, you can see sea turtles being treated, as well as learn about the research and educational efforts being done by the center.

One Day in Savannah: Mini-Itinerary for a Perfect Day Trip

exterior of a house in savannah in typical steamboat style

One of the most interesting and visually stunning places you’ll find is the coastal city of Savannah, GA!

This historical and haunted city is home to Georgian-style architecture, towering green trees adorned with willowy Spanish moss, and one of the premiere art colleges in the USA!

Keep reading to learn about all the places to go and things to do in this gorgeous city — all laid out easily so you can tackle the best of Savannah in a one-day trip!

This post was written by Rachel Elliott, an Atlanta, Georgia local who frequently visits Savannah. 

What to Know Before Visiting Savannah

view of savannah's historic buildings, churches, and bridges from above on a sunny day

Flying into Savannah

The Savannah/Hilton Head Airport is the nearest airport, located a short distance from downtown Savannah, only about 8 miles away.

Over a dozen airlines serve the airport, including Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Depending on your departure city, many flights will have a stopover in Atlanta first.

Renting a Car in Savannah

If you’re using one day in Savannah as a launching pad to travel to other nearby destinations — such as Hilton Head, Tybee Island, and Charleston — you’ll definitely want to rent a car for your road trip.

I always use Discover Cars to find the best price available for my car rental. They search over 500 different agencies in order to find the lowest price possible. Check car rentals in Savannah here!

That said, if you’re just visiting Savannah as a day trip from elsewhere, you won’t need to rent a car, especially for this one day Savannah itinerary — everything on here is walkable!

Where to Stay

Photo Credit: Brent Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

If you’re only visiting for a day in Savannah, you may not need to spend the night. However, if you do, I suggest picking somewhere centrally located.

Here are a few suggestions:

BUDGET | The Thunderbird Inn is a funky revitalized motel from the 1960s is now a delightful place to stay close to Savannah’s downtown area, just a 5-minute walk away. It has fun vintage features and design that you’ll love the retro feel of!

Check rates, reviews, and availability here.

MID-RANGE | The Justine Inn is a charming, historic B&B in a cute French-Renaissance style mansion that dates back to 1877. The rooms are really elegantly designed and it’s an absolute visual delight!

Check rates, reviews, and availability here.

LUXURY | Perry Lane Hotel is the best option in town for a bit of that luxe life! Get greeted with complimentary champagne and enjoy the beautiful design of this stunning boutique hotel located right on Chippewa Square. Enjoy the rooftop bar, pool area, and other 5* amenities.

Check rates, reviews, and availability here.

Best Time to Visit Savannah

blooming azalea bushes in the springtime in savannah georgia

Savannah has a similar climate to other Deep South destinations, although its position near the coast offers up a bit more breeziness to cut through the heat and humidity.

Summers in Savannah are long, hot, and humid — it may be best to visit during another time of year if you can!

The most pleasant months for a Savannah getaway are the shoulder season months of spring and fall (April-May and October-November).

Winter is also a great time to visit Savannah!

Winter temperatures are mild — typically around 60° F in the daytime and 40° F overnight — making it a great time to do activities that would be unpleasant in the summer, like walking tours.

What This Savannah Itinerary Skips

spanish moss draping from the trees (oak trees) in savannah's cemetery bonaventure cemetery

With only one day in Savannah, we’ve had to make a few cuts in order to make it doable as a day trip… meaning a few important places are not on this itinerary.

One thing we’ve cut is the Wormsloe Historic Site, a plantation that is (unfortunately) better-known for its “Instagrammable” live oak avenue leading up to it than for the horrors that happened here.

You can certainly visit, but I encourage you to do so with a critical eye, and ask what stories are being told and what stories are being erased.

There are also some places that are commonly featured on Savannah travel guides, like Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Savannah.

It’s a beautiful place, but it’s a bit out of the way if you only have one day in Savannah.

Optional Reading

If you’re the type of traveler who likes to read a bit about your destination before your trip, skip the Savannah travel guide book and instead, grab a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.

This book enjoyed one of the longest streaks on the NYT bestseller list for a reason! While technically a work of nonfiction, it reads like fiction and is gripping, compelling, and tells Savannah’s story beautifully.

One Day in Savannah Itinerary

Morning: Savannah Historic District & Savannah’s Squares

Wander around the Savannah Historic District.

stairs of old buildings and facades in the savannah historic district - where to stay your one day in savannah itinerary

The perfect way to start off your day in Savannah is exploring the Savannah Historic District!

Various museums, architecturally stunning buildings from the 18th century and 19th century, and historic attractions are situated amongst the tree-lined streets of this section of the city.

For getting around, you can walk, bike, or take a trolley tour. If you’re up for it, walking around the city is perhaps the best way to explore historic Savannah.

Additionally, Savannah has a bike sharing program, which allows you to rent bikes located throughout the city.

Old Town Trolley Tours transports you to 15 set locations throughout the city, and you can get off and back on as you like.

Grab a tasty coffee and breakfast snack.

Photo Credit: Jack Kennard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To start off your day on the right foot, grab a coffee and some breakfast food.

Luckily, Savannah has a fantastic array of local coffee shops to choose from — here are three of our favorite choices.

  • The Foxy Loxy Cafe is a coffee shop and Tex-Mex cafe frequented by the art college students. Try the Horchata, which is Mexican sweetened milk served over ice.
  • Another staple in the city is Savannah Coffee Roasters. In addition to their coffee menu, they also offer brunch dishes like Belgian waffles, quiches, and egg scrambles.
  • The Sentient Bean is an eclectic coffee shop, where you can grab a latte and dishes breakfast burritos. After you’ve ordered, settle in at one of their comfortable tables to savor your food and drink!

Take a stroll through Forsyth Park.

the fountain with a statue in forsyth park with trees, greenery, and spanish moss

A real gem in the Historic District is Forsyth Park. This 30-acre park is full of azalea bushes, tall oak trees, and a spectacular fountain!

You can walk around the park to enjoy the fresh air and surrounding scenery. This is a great photo spot to take some great shots to remember your trip.

Check out some of Savannah’s architectural gems.

cathedral of saint john in savannah with white and royal blue ceiling with stars and wooden pews and a reddish altar with nave

Savannah is home to lots of visually interesting buildings, with one of those being The Gingerbread House.

Head over to this property, which is a prime display of Steamboat Gothic architecture — a unique style of architecture you’ll only find in the American South.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is also one of the most incredible historical site not just in Savannah, but in the USA! Come here for stunning architecture and make sure you have your camera.

Check out the Mercer-Williams House.

reddish brick building with four white pillars and several windows with juliet balconies and decorative black detail on the windows and greenery in front of house

Another interesting place along here is the Mercer-Williams House on Bull Street, done in the Italianate style.

This historic house is where the murder that inspired the true crime nonfiction work, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, took place.

As a result, many fans of the book (and the movie based on the book) opt to take a tour of the house while they’re visiting. You’ll want to make a reservation online ahead of time if so!

Explore the historic Chippewa Square.

sign for chippewa square in front of some plants, with a statue visible in the distance surrounded by trees in the square

One of the most historic squares in Savannah is Chippewa Square. The name comes from The Battle of Chippewa, fought during the War of 1812.

However, Chippewa Square is most famous for its time on the silver screen. Remember in Forrest Gump, when Forrest waited for the bus?

The location for that iconic scene was none other than Chippewa Square!

Come here to stroll under the towering trees and Spanish moss, or sit on one of the benches and take in your incredible surroundings.

This beautifully green and scenic space is the type of atmosphere that Savannah is known for! It feels like you’ve been transported to a magical place, and it’s a really special experience.

Admire the Savannah Theatre.

vertical sign reading savannah in front of the historic theatre
Photo Credit: Brent Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

After visiting Chippewa Square, check out the nearby Savannah Theatre. Look for its trademark vintage marquee and vertical lit-up Savannah sign — another great photo spot!

This historic property opened in 1818 with a performance of the comedy “The Soldier’s Daughter”.

And today, you can still catch a live performance!

Check out the spooky Colonial Park Cemetery.

sign for colonial park cemetery with trees and gravestones in the background

Not far from Chippewa Square, you’ll find the Colonial Park Cemetery which dates back to the late 18th century.

This cemetery is the final resting place of many Revolutionary War soldiers, and it’s said to be one of the more haunted places in Savannah!

Haunted or not, it is a beautiful place to go for a stroll and learn a bit about Savannah’s centuries-old history.

Explore the Savannah College of Art & Design area.

facade at the savannah college of art & design

The city is home to one of the premiere art colleges in the U.S., the Savannah College of Art & Design, otherwise known as SCAD.

A truly unique feature of Savannah is the juxtaposition of having a very contemporary art college nestled amongst the cobblestone streets and Georgian style architecture.

If you enjoy art, check out the SCAD Museum of Art. This modern art museum features a variety of exhibitions from international artists, and they also have film screenings and lectures.

For something a little different, SCADstory is an immersive 4D exhibit about the college, where you can take a trip through SCAD’s history that covers four decades.

For book nerds, the Ex Libris Bookstore is a fun place to scope out.

You can see where the SCAD students shop for their books and art supplies, and the interior of the store has some interesting design elements!

Grab a bite to eat in Savannah’s City Market.

sign that reads city market outside of savannah shops

One of the most bustling areas in Savannah is City Market. This open-air market dates back centuries, and has become one of the most popular destinations in the city!

This is a great place to walk around for a bit, with different kinds of shops to explore and several dining options.

It’s typically buzzing with people strolling the area, and there is a palpable sense of excitement.

This is a great place to grab a bite for lunch, as there are casual and formal options. Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • Belford’s Savannah is a nice restaurant for delicious seafood, steaks, and a relaxing drink — great if you want a slightly upscale meal.
  • Vinnie Van Go-Go’s is a great spot to pop in for some New York style pizza.

There is a fun and diverse selection of shops and boutiques to browse at City Market. It’s a great place for window shopping, and easy to venture in and out of places that catch your interest.

The City Market stalls sell a wide variety of things, include jewelry, food, clothing, souvenirs, and even toys!

In addition to the shops, there are several art galleries to view pieces on display.

Another cool place to visit here is the American Prohibition Museum, which chronicles the story of Prohibition.

Take a step back in time and explore more than 20 exhibits, and then visit the nearby speakeasy for a perfectly crafted drink!

If no food is piquing your interest here, you may want to grab lunch at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, a famous Savannah diner, open from 11 AM to 2 PM, weekdays only.

Take a narrated riverboat harbor sightseeing cruise.

a white and red riverboat in savannah with a bridge in the distance, docked and ready for people to get on board

One of the best things about Savannah is its location on Georgia’s coast, and therefore its close proximity to water.

Getting out on a riverboat to cruise along the waterfront is a must-do activity in the city!

This riverboat harbor sightseeing cruise is the perfect activity to include on your one day itinerary when visiting Savannah.

Over one and a half hours, you’ll listen to commentary from the captain as they discuss Savannah’s history.

Take in the sights of the waterfront as you slowly make your way along the river!

It’s a cool way to see the Savannah in a different light, and it is also a prime photo opportunity.

The cruise goes all the way to Old Fort Jackson, where you’ll get the unique experience of seeing and hearing the active cannons.

This Savannah riverboat cruise is a perfect activity to take a break from walking all over the city. Relax your feet and enjoy some time on the water, enjoying the cool breezes!

Book your riverboat cruise online here!

Take a stroll down River Street.

sunset scene at river street, with cobblestone, fall trees, american flags in savannah

One of the things Savannah is best known for is its riverfront — and since we just experienced it from the water, let’s go over it by foot next.

River Street overlooks the Savannah River, and was the site of the original port of Savannah.

Today, this electric area is home to shops, restaurants, and events throughout the year.

This is the perfect place to traverse the cobblestone streets and browse all that this area has to offer!

One of the most popular and famous attractions is River Street Sweets.

Pick up some of their world famous pralines, and try not to be tempted by all the incredible treats in the shop.

Pop into True Grits, which has been selling gifts and apparel on River Street since the 1970s. This is a great place to grab some souvenirs for yourself and others!

If you just snacked earlier and now you’re getting hungry, there is a good selection of dining establishments in the area. Here are two suggestions.

  • For an incredible view, head over to the Electric Moon Skytop Lounge + The Moon Deck. Enjoy food and a drink as you gaze out over the waterfront!
  • At Churchill’s Pub, you can dine in their open air terrace, wine cellar, or street level main bar. This is a great place to unwind and rest for a while.

River Street is one of Savannah’s most treasured destinations, so be sure to make your way to this part of town when you’re here!

Learn some of Savannah’s history at the Owens-Thomas House.

exterior of the owens thomas house, now a museum that covers the living conditions of enslaved people as well as the history of this house

A historically significant and educationally important site to visit in Savannah is the Owens-Thomas House, run by Telfair Museums.

This mansion was constructed in 1819, and included a carriage house, gardens, and slave quarters.

The family that built the home, the Richardsons, used the labor of free and enslaved men to erect the property.

A little over a decade later, the mayor of Savannah purchased the residence. He moved in his wife and children, as well as a dozen enslaved people, who lived in the slave quarters.

Here, you can take a guided tour and learn about the people who lived here and were forced to build this property in the nineteenth century.

There are several exhibits to experience, many of which center the experience of the enslaved people who were forced into labor at the Owens-Thomas House.

There are also period rooms with antique items which you can visit to get a sense of what life looked like back in the 1800s.

This is an interesting and informative place to visit, and it will provide insight to a time period that should not be forgotten.

Go on an evening ghost tour.

a dark shot of savannah at night

Despite Savannah’s charming and almost fairytale-like atmosphere, it is actually known as America’s most haunted city.

Perhaps it’s not that surprising, given Savannah’s history, marked by its role in the Atlantic slave trade and its battles during the Civil War.

To learn more of Savannah’s haunted history, the Ghosts & Gravestones Trolleybus Sightseeing Tour is an interesting way to interact with this history!

As you board the fittingly-themed black trolley, you will be greeted by your guide for the evening. Then, you’re off for a tour of haunted destinations onboard the so-called ‘Trolley of the Doomed’!

One of the areas this tour will take you to are River Street’s Perkins and Sons Ship Chandlery.

This nautical establishment is a shipwares shop that has historical items on display — and is supposedly haunted by spirits, with several apparitions sighted.

You will also pass by the Columbia Square and Ellis Square in the Historic District, as well as Madison Square by the Savannah Waterfront Association District.

Sit back and listen to your guide tell creepy tales and Savannah history, all while exploring the dark, shadowy streets of Savannah.

Book your ghost trolley sightseeing tour here!

End your day with delicious Southern fare at the Olde Pink House restaurant.

Photo Credit: Samantha via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

One of Savannah’s most well known restaurants is The Olde Pink House restaurant. Here, you can feast on elevated Southern dishes, in one of the city’s historic mansions.

As far as the name of the restaurant goes, what does the color pink have to do with it? The origin of the name dates back to when the property was built in the eighteenth century.

Red bricks were used for construction, and then they were enclosed in white plaster.

For some reason, the red bricks would appear through the white plaster, making the visual appearance of the building pink.

After the property changed hands a few times, a new owner purchased the residence in 1920.

They made the decision to just paint the whole mansion pink, hence the name!

Some of the dishes you can order here include jumbo sea scallops, crispy scored flounder, and pecan crusted chicken breast.

The sides include southern staples like collard greens, mac & cheese, and fried green tomatoes.

This is Southern food at its finest!

Grab dessert at Leopold’s Ice Cream afterwards.

pink building with sign that reads leopolds ice cream
Photo Credit: Katarina via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Having dessert at Leopold’s Ice Cream is a Savannah tradition, and it’d be rude to skip it even if you only have one day in Savannah!

This is where you’ll find the best ice cream in the city — and the lines to match!

Luckily, the line moves pretty quickly, so you can spend it making up your mind of which of the dozens of flavors you want to try!

How to Spend One Day in Atlanta: Itinerary to Maximize Your Visit!

view of atlanta as seen from the famous park

If you happen to find yourself in Atlanta for the day, and want to check out the city’s best spots for food and entertainment, this guide has you covered!

The Peach State’s bustling metropolis is home to some of the best dining and things to do in the entire Southeast USA.

Keep reading for the ultimate guide on how to spend one day in Atlanta and make this quick day trip getaway into an epic memory!

What to Know Before Visiting Atlanta

Getting Around

view of atlanta's highways and skyline on a sunny summer day with a few clouds in the sky

Unless you already have your own car because you drove in, we don’t recommend renting a car for just one day in Atlanta, unless you’re starting a road trip here. Between rental fees and parking costs, you’ll be better off using a ride share.

There is also public transportation (MARTA) but with only one day in the city, you’ll want to get around quickly and without any stress, so we recommend using ride share like Uber or Lyft instead.

When to Visit

Atlanta is a great year-round destination, but there are a few things to note!

Summers are hot and humid, with average highs in the 90s, which can make outdoor activities and lots of walking around unpleasant.

Luckily, many of the things on this itinerary are indoor attractions with plenty of A/C!

Winter can be rainy and cool but are typically not too cold, with average daytime temperatures in the 50s and overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s.

The most comfortable times to visit will be in spring and fall, when the humidity isn’t kicked up into high gear like it is in summer, but you’ll still enjoy warm temperatures and mostly sunny days.

Where to Stay

the atlanta skyline as seen at night with all the lights on in buildings around the city

If your one day in Atlanta includes an overnight stay, we suggest staying in the Peachtree Center area.

A few suggestions would be the Hyatt Regency (which has an outdoor pool and restaurant with great views of the city) or the Hotel Indigo (a modern but budget-friendly IHG hotel with all you need for a comfortable one-night stay).

Atlanta CityPass

Is the Atlanta CityPass worth it if you’re only in town for one day?

If you follow this itinerary, you’ll hit three of the five allowed attractions that the CityPass covers: The World of Coca Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Those activities could cost $19, $45, and $20 respectively if you buy the tickets on-site, bringing the total up to $84… not quite as much as the Atlanta CityPass costs, and not worth it if you are following this itinerary.

However, if you add on another activity, such as Zoo Atlanta, the College Football Hall of Fame, or the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, you will be saving money, so keep that in mind when deciding on whether a CityPass is right for you!

Personally, I think it’s too hard to fit in the value of an Atlanta CityPass with just one day in Atlanta, but if you’re a real go-getter, or you’re traveling with kids and want to swap out some of the activities with the zoo or the natural history museum, it may offer more value.

Your One Day in Atlanta Itinerary

Morning: Southern Breakfast & the World of Coca Cola

Indulge in the ultimate Southern comfort food breakfast at the Flying Biscuit Cafe.

breakfast potatoes, a scramble, jam and a biscuit for breakfast
A veggie scramble with a biscuit and home fries | Photo credit: Josh Hallett via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A staple in Atlanta for the past 20 years, the Flying Biscuit Cafe is famous for serving Southern-inspired breakfast comfort food.

Fluffy biscuits, creamy grits, and chicken sausage gravy are among the items you will find on the incredibly tempting menu!

For your day in Atlanta, head over to the Flying Biscuit Cafe located in the east Atlanta neighborhood of Candler Park.

The restaurant has expanded to 25 locations over the years, but the Candler Park space has the distinction of being the first and original location.

Tucked away in a small and artsy neighborhood, the Flying Biscuit Cafe is situated in a corner building marked by bright purple awnings.

Inside, the space is bright and colorful, with hand-painted murals and designs covering the walls.

The menu offers a delicious array of breakfast and brunch options, from egg scrambles, to french toast, and even fried chicken and waffles.

Plus, you can add on items from the side menu, like extra biscuits with cranberry apple butter, signature chicken sage sausage patties, and “moon dusted” potatoes!

The menu also offers vegetarian and vegan options, and many of the items are gluten-free friendly — all things which can sometimes be hard to accommodate when it comes to Southern food!

Once you have gotten your fill of fluffy biscuits and you’re ready to move on to your next location, it’s off to The World of Coca Cola.

If you arrived in Atlanta by car as part of a road trip, we suggest driving to the next spot.

Alternately, catching a rideshare like Uber or Lyft is going to be your best option.

MARTA (Atlanta’s public transportation system) can be tough to figure out for first-time visitors, and with only one day in Atlanta, you’ll want to maximize your time!

Next on your one-day Atlanta itinerary is a unique museum — a museum completely dedicated to the city’s beloved drink of choice!

Experience the World of Coca Cola.

various red and white coca cola memorabilia from the 20th century
Various Coca-Cola memorabilia from the 20th century | Photo Credit: Gatorfan252525, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Coca-Cola is more than a refreshing beverage in Atlanta. It’s part of the culture and a point of pride for the city!

The World of Coca-Cola is an ode to the ATL’s favorite soft drink — and the world’s most famous soda.

This museum is located in downtown Atlanta, in a busy area close to other famous Atlanta attractions, perfectly positioning it for more exploration.

Once you get inside, be prepared for a caffeine buzz, as you are going to be tasting lots of samples!

Even if you’re not big on sampling, The World of Coca-Cola has an array of immersive exhibits to explore.

The Taste It! exhibit allows you to sample Coke from different countries, while learning fun tidbits about what you’re sipping.

The Vault of the Secret Formula is a fun exhibit where you’ll learn the backstory about the famously top secret formula for Coca-Cola.

This exhibit has the Virtual Taste Maker, where you can design various flavor combinations, just like the pharmacists from back in the day.

At this point you will have been standing for a while, and the 3-D Theater is a great place to rest for a little bit. Put on the 3-D glasses provided, relax, and take in the movie experience.

There is also the Pop Culture Gallery, which shows pieces from famous Coca-Cola advertising campaigns, and other historic memorabilia.

There’s even the red couch from the fourth season of American Idol, which makes for a fun photo op!

The other exhibits include Scent Discovery, Coca-Cola Polar Bear, The Loft, The Coca-Cola Theater, Milestones of Refreshment, and Bottle Works.

And not to be forgotten, the Coca-Cola Store is perfect to stock up on souvenirs to remember your day in Atlanta!

Tickets can be purchased online before your visit and then shown with a mobile voucher — this is what I recommend doing to avoid waiting in line, as this is one of the most popular attractions for people visiting Atlanta!

Save time – buy your tickets online here!

You can expect to spend about two hours exploring the World of Coca-Cola. Then you’re ready for lunch and the next stop on the itinerary!

  • Address: 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
  • Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Thursday; 10 AM to 7 PM Friday through Sunday
  • Website: https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com

Spend some time at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (if open).

view of the exterior of the interesting architecture of the national center for civil and human rights
The exterior of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights | Photo Credit: Marco Correa, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Next up on your one day itinerary should be a visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Note that this museum is closed Monday through Wednesday, so you won’t be able to visit if your Atlanta trip falls on one of those days.

This important museum chronicles the importance of the city of Atlanta in the Civil Rights Movement, with a particular focus on Atlanta-born Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to the movement.

It also highlights other important activists in the Civil Rights Movement and focuses on some of the human rights struggles occurring around the world to this day.

You can buy tickets online at their website here.

  • Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Pemberton Place)
  • Hours: 12 PM to 5 PM Thursday and Friday; 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday; 12 PM to 5 PM Sunday; closed Monday through Wednesday
  • Website: https://www.civilandhumanrights.org

Afternoon: The Georgia Aquarium, Lunch, & a Walk

Check out the whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium.

a whale shark with other tropical fish in an exhibit at the georgia aquarium

Located a short, walkable distance away from The World of Coca Cola and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is the renowned Georgia Aquarium.

So, what makes this aquarium so famous? The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States, and one of the largest in the world!

They have more than 60 different habitats, which house hundreds of species that come from all over the planet.

Some of the species you will find at the aquarium include African penguins, beluga whales, California sea lions, common bottlenose dolphins, green moray eels, manta rays, tiger sharks, and whale sharks.

In particular, there are only a few aquariums in the world where you can see whale sharks. And the only Western aquarium to have whale sharks is… you guessed it, the Georgia Aquarium!

Once you’re inside, there are many different galleries to tour, and each gallery has a distinctive habitat and marine creatures.

At the Aquanaut Adventure gallery, you can see animals that live in harsh habitats, like American alligators, Baja blue rock lizards, and electric eels.

The Cold Water Quest gallery showcases ocean animals that can survive in cold ocean waters, including beluga whales, horned puffins, and weedy sea dragons.

If you love dolphins, you must check out the Dolphin Coast gallery. You will be able to see common bottlenose dolphins, and watch a live training presentation and hear about what is being done to preserve these dolphins.

The Georgia Aquarium also boasts one of the world’s largest single aquatic exhibits, which is the Ocean Voyager gallery. Here, you can gaze at tiger sharks, green moray eels, and manta rays!

If sharks fascinate you, check out the Sharks! Predators of the Deep gallery. This is one of the biggest shark exhibits you’ll find in North America.

The Southern Company River Scout exhibit is the Georgia Aquarium’s sole freshwater gallery. Here, you will find Asian small-clawed otters, black spot piranhas, and razorback musk turtles in this habitat.

The Tropical Diver gallery contains 200 species of coral, and creatures like the big-bellied seahorse and Pacific sea nettle jellyfish are housed in this vibrant exhibit.

The Truist Pier 225 is where to go if you love sea lions! Watch trainers connect with California sea lions, and learn about issues facing this species.

Tickets can be purchased online before your visit, which we also recommend in order to avoid the ticket lines — and it’ll also save you money, as there is an additional charge if you book on-site vs. online!

Book your tickets to the Georgia Aquarium here!

You can easily spend a couple hours at the Georgia Aquarium exploring all the mesmerizing galleries and exhibits!

After the Georgia Aquarium, you’re ready to move on to lunch at The Varsity after a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park.

  • Address: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
  • Hours: 8 AM to 9 PM Friday through Sunday; 9 AM to 9 PM Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 9 AM to 5 PM on Wednesday
  • Website: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Take a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park.

the ferris wheel of centennial olympic park with buildings and skyline in the background

Before grabbing lunch — don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about that! — take a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park, since it’s located right next to the attractions we’ve just visited.

This historical site of the 1996 Olympics is now a beloved park and landmark in the city, where local families and tourists converge.

The SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel in the park is a favorite with families, and the park’s Fountain of Rings is its centerpiece, although the water feature is temporarily closed due to Covid.

If you want, snap a photo with the historic Olympic Rings before heading on to your next destination!

Note: Centennial Olympic Park is located right next to another famous Atlanta landmark, the CNN Center, but currently, CNN studio tours are closed due to Covid.

Grab a frosted orange shake at The Varsity.

Chili dog and onion rings — a Varsity classic | Photo Credit: Carol VanHook via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A legend in the Atlanta dining scene, The Varsity has earned its place amongst the quintessential eateries in the city.

Since 1928, they have been serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and shakes to residents and visitors of Atlanta.

A factor that distinguishes The Varsity from other ATL restaurants is that it’s not just a meal, but a whole experience!

When you enter the lively eatery, you will see patrons and staff sporting The Varsity’s iconic paper hat.

One of the trademarks of The Varsity is the staff asking you “What’ll ya have?” once you get up to the counter to order.

Once you’ve made your selection, your order will be loudly relayed to the kitchen, using the restaurant’s own special lingo.

Another one of The Varsity’s trademarks is their variations on the classic hot dog!

If chili on a hot dog sounds good to you, try a chili dog. If you like cole slaw, they have a slaw dog. You could even get a chili cheese slaw dog if you’re feeling adventurous, and there’s always a naked dog if you like to keep things simple.

To complete your order, grab a side of crispy onion rings and a cold shake.

The Varsity’s signature shake is called a Frosted Orange, which is their very own Varsity Orange drink blended with vanilla shake mix.

And to really go all out, you can snag a fried peach pie to indulge your sweet tooth — hey, you’ve only got one day in Atlanta, so make it count!

The atmosphere of the restaurant can best be described as buzzing and energetic, so you’re in for a real treat when you’re here.

The downtown location of The Varsity is a quick car ride from the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

After chowing down on hot dogs and onion rings, you’re ready for your next adventure in the city!

  • Address: 61 North Avenue NW, Atlanta, GA 30308
  • Hours: 11 AM to 9 PM Friday through Sunday; 11 AM to 8 PM Monday through Friday
  • Website: https://thevarsity.com

Walk the Atlanta Beltline.

the beltline in atlanta with a few people walking on it

It’s safe to say that almost all of Atlanta’s residents get everywhere in their car, since it’s a very sprawled out city. A change of pace from driving all the time is very welcome!

Enter The Atlanta Beltline, which consists of trails that connect several intown Atlanta neighborhoods.

The Beltline is very popular with Atlanta residents because it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and easily access some of Atlanta’s best restaurants.

One of the coolest features of the Beltline is that there are lots of restaurants just off the trail, making it incredibly easy to pop in and grab a drink and a bite!

Best of all, many of them have outdoor patios, which allows you to still be in the thick of the hustle and bustle of the Beltline while you have a drink.

On a beautiful sunny day, you will encounter people walking, biking, and skating on the Beltline.

It’s a very joyful atmosphere, and once you are there it’ll become apparent why this is such a hotspot for locals and tourists alike!

To explore the Beltline, start at Ponce City Market in downtown.

This is a really cool food hall and retail space, and it used to be a Sears, Roebuck & Co facility, and City Hall East for Atlanta.

  • Ponce City Market Address: Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
  • Ponce City Market Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Monday through Saturday; 11 AM to 8 PM on Sunday
  • Ponce City Market Website: https://www.poncecitymarket.com

Within Ponce City Market, you will see signs for the Beltline. Once you’re on the Beltline, head south.

Take it slow, and enjoy your surroundings. You will pass by funky street art, fields where people play intramural sports, and even a skate park.

One standout on this trail is New Realm Brewing Co., which is a local Atlanta watering hole.

This is a great place to quickly stop in for a brew and some snacks if you’re still hungry, and they have a fantastic outdoor seating area.

As you continue on the trail, you will eventually end up at Krog Street Market. This is another fantastic food hall that contains an enticing selection of restaurants, as well as some local retail shops.

To get from Ponce City Market to Krog Street Market walking the Beltline is about two miles one way.

If you’re feeling full from your meals, or looking to work up an appetite, this is a great afternoon activity before moving on to dinner.

  • Krog Street Market Address: 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
  • Krog Street Market Hours: 7 AM to 9 PM Monday through Thursday; 7 AM to 10 PM Friday; 9 AM to 10 PM Saturday; 8 AM to 9 PM Sunday
  • Krog Street Market Website: https://krogstreetmarket.com

Pay homage at the MLK Jr. National Historic Park.

MLK’s tomb in downtown Atlanta | Photo Credit: George Puvvada, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is located in downtown Atlanta just a few blocks from Krog Street Market.

This national park covers several important historic sites, including the home where Martin Luther King was born in and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he began preaching.

The most important and touching site to see is his burial site. It’s located in an above-ground tomb amidst a fountain.

The fountain feature includes one of the most famous quotes from “I Have a Dream,” written on steps that create a waterfall effect: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The King Center is also located here, as well as the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Evening: A Meal with a View

Take in the best view in the city at the Sun Dial Restaurant.

the interior of the revolving restaurant at the westin on the 73rd floor
Inside the Sun Dial restaurant | Photo Credit: Frank Kehren via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To finish off your day in Atlanta, you must have dinner at the Sun Dial Restaurant.

This dining establishment’s claim to fame is that it sits atop the 73-story Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, and has incredible panoramic views of the city.

In addition to the restaurant, there is also a cocktail lounge and a separate level with an observatory.

You’re not just coming here for a meal, but also to experience some of the best views of the city.

For your meal, the restaurant offers several seafood and meat options, and they take pride in using local and seasonal ingredients.

Some of the most beloved dishes include the Fried Green Tomato & Lobster Salad, BBQ Pork Tomahawk, and Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

The observatory level has four telescopes to get close-up visuals of Atlanta, and the tall windows that encompass the restaurant provide you with stellar views of the city skyline.

The observatory level does have a fee of $8 for adults, and $4 for children aged 6-12.

There is a business casual dress code here, so be sure to plan your attire appropriately. Celebrate a successful day in the city by stopping by this iconic Atlanta restaurant!

Once you’ve had a delicious dinner, you can go enjoy the local Atlanta nightlife.

  • Address: 210 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • Hours: 5 PM to 9:30 PM Wednesdays and Thursdays; 5 PM to 10 PM Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sunday through Tuesday.
  • Website: https://www.sundialrestaurant.com/
  • Alternate Suggestion: If your one day in Atlanta happens to fall on a day when this restaurant is closed, we suggest finding something to eat at Krog Street Market!

Alternate Ideas for Spending One Day in Atlanta

This one day itinerary focused on the most typical Atlanta itinerary, distilling the highlights and keeping things as central and close together as possible — important in a city as spread out as Atlanta!

However, there are some ways you could deviate from this itinerary based on interest — we’ll make a few suggestions below!

Nature & Outdoors Lovers

view of atlanta as seen from the famous park

If you prefer spending time outdoors to spending time at museums and indoors attractions, we suggest swapping out some of the pre-lunch activities with some time at Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta.

Piedmont Park is home to the Atlanta Botanical Garden with features a stunning conservatory as well as 30 acres of beautiful gardens and fountains.

The botanical garden is open every day but Monday from 9 AM to 8 PM and costs $25-28 (weekday vs. weekend price) for an adult ticket.

Arts & Culture Lovers

the white exterior of the high museum of art in atlanta georgia with modernist architectural vibes
The architectural beauty of The High | Photo Credit: Josh Hallett, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

If you prefer checking out the local arts scene in any given city, Atlanta won’t disappoint!

Make your way up to Midtown Atlanta (perhaps stopping at the Atlanta Botanical Garden first) to visit the High Museum of Art, one of the best art museums in Atlanta.

The museum features modern and contemporary art in a beautiful building noted for its unique architecture.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Sunday from noon to 5 PM, and is closed on Mondays.
General admission tickets cost $16.50 and children under 6 are free.

The High Museum is part of the Woodruff Arts Center, which is also home to the Atlanta Symphony and the Alliance Theater, two other cultural hubs.

History Lovers

The Tullie Smith farm | Photo Credit: Jim Bowen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

History lovers won’t be disappointed here — there’s plenty to learn in Atlanta!

Be sure to add the Atlanta History Center to your list. This museum is located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, a little out of the way from downtown on the northern edge of Atlanta’s city limits.

There are several permanent exhibits which cover different aspects of Atlanta’s history, including Native Lands: Indians and Georgia and Turning Point: The American Civil War.

The museum is also home to several historic buildings, including antebellum structures like the Smith Farm and the famous Swan House, one of the most photographed spots in all of Atlanta.

The museum is open 9 AM to 4 PM every day but Monday. Tickets cost $23.

Another famous building also administered by the Atlanta History Center is the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author of Gone With the Wind was born.

Finally, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is another place worth a visit for history lovers.