Top 10 Best Day Trips from Georgia

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Boasting a range of natural landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns, Georgia is located in the heart of the South. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean and ... read more...

  1. The Chattahoochee National Forest is a day trip in north Georgia and is full of adventure. It has a day of road trips all around its scenic locations which will make you admire nature for all its worth. Spreading over eight counties in Georgia, Chattahoochee National Forest blends seamlessly into another US preserved area, Oconee National Forest, to span across more than 867,000 acres of beautiful forest territory.

    People are definitely spoiled for choices when it comes to admiring the natural vistas which are full of beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. It is full of picture-perfect, panoramic shots where people will be able to set up picnic spots as well. So family day trips in Georgia will be definitively amazing to experience here. One of the most famous sites in the forest is the Chattooga River, which creates its own beautiful views and is a popular white water rafting route. Other attractions include the Track Rock Gap Petroglyph Site and Scull Shoals Historic Site. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a budding photographer, or an aspirational botanist you’ll surely fall in love with Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. And it is the Chattahoochee National Forest which is one of the best day trips from Georgia.

    Official site:

    Address: 3000 Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy, Helen, GA 30545

    Phone: 706-754-6221

    Google rating: 4.8/5.0

  2. Lake Lanier is a manmade reservoir that was created when the Chattahoochee River was dammed in 1956. Originally a project to control the flooding of the river and provide water for the city of Atlanta, today the lake is a recreational center where lovers of the outdoors can enjoy swimming, boating, and water sports. Lake Lanier is one of the favorite summertime hangout spots for Georgians and visitors alike. People who love the land more will also be amused by the hiking trails here as well as the zip lines through the trees.

    There is just so much to do, hiking Sawnee Mountain is a great starting point for avid hikers. Several parks are located just off the lake, and there are also a number of forest hiking trails nearby. If you’re traveling with children, or perhaps just want to connect with your inner child, then a day visit to the not-so creatively named Lanier World is a great idea. Featuring dozens of water slides and a mini-golf course too, LanierWorld is a total novelty but totally good fun nonetheless. Lake Lanier Islands are a small group of islands set on the lake itself. Home to zip lines, waterparks, and more there is never a dull moment at Lake Lanier.

    Official site:

    Address: 615 Oak St, Suite 200, Gainesville, Georgia 30501

    Phone: 770-945-8787

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  3. Callaway Gardens is an outdoor recreational area outside Atlanta, Georgia, that has activities for the entire family. The extensive property of the gardens includes several lakes that have boating, fishing, and watersports facilities as well as beaches for relaxing, along with lots of natural exhibits. There are a number of dining outlets at Callaway Gardens but feel free to bring your own picnic. Dining and shopping options are also scattered throughout the territory for easy access to the fun. However, what really draws the crowds to Callaway are its many natural exhibits.

    The gardens have a dedicated azalea garden, a historical pioneer log cabin as well as hydrangea and holly gardens. The azalea garden is particularly beautiful when in full bloom. You can walk through the gardens, see the historic pioneer log cabin or go about exploring the LEED-certified Butterfly Center where there’s a light show going on during the holidays which is really popular. Its LEED-certified Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center is a place where more than 1,000 butterflies from 50 species make their home and welcome guests throughout the year. Also on the grounds are two excellent golf courses and in December, Christmas at Callaway is the south's most spectacular display of Christmas lights.

    Official site:

    Address: 17800 US Hwy 27 Pine Mountain, GA 31822

    Phone: 800-852-3810

    Google rating: 4.5/5.0
  4. To experience a unique Georgian landscape, visitors can head to the Okefenokee Swamp and get a peek at the magnificent “Land of the Quaking Earth”. The wonderland of the Okefenokee is a significant part of America's heritage, a beautifully preserved segment of what was here when America began. The Okefenokee Swamp covers more than 770 square miles, almost all of which is in Georgia. It has a long history as a wilderness, a public common, and a refuge. A majority of the swamp is protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Wilderness.

    The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. The Okefenokee is the largest "blackwater" swamp in North America. Located in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, It is a maze of watercourses, cypress swamps, and swamp grassland. Interesting features are the "floating islands," which quake underfoot but nevertheless support whole forests and in the past provided protection for Indian settlements. The Okefenokee Swamp Park is a convenient point of entry and a magnificent show window for this natural wonderland.

    Reflective waters mirroring the overhanging beauty lead to all points in this vast wilderness of islands, lakes, jungles, forests, and prairies. Boat tours on original Indian waterways, wilderness walkways, Pioneer Island, and native animals in their own habitat, all combine to weave a spell of pioneer American life. Points of Interest include an "Eye on Nature Wildlife Show," low-water boardwalk, 90-foot Observation Tower, Nature Center with a bee hive observatory, wildlife observation areas, Walt Kelly Exhibit, and much more.

    Official site:

    Address: 5700 Okefenokee Swamp Park Rd., Waycross, Georgia 31503

    Phone: (912) 283-0583 or (912) 283-0023

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0
  5. The 30-acre botanical garden next to Piedmont Park comes as a surprise, right in Midtown Atlanta. This four-season attraction always has something in bloom, from its spring bulb display through the colorful autumn foliage, and at any time of year, its several indoor gardens transport visitors to the tropics. The Fuqua Orchid Center displays orchids of all shapes and colors, while the High Elevation House shows the astonishing variety of plants native to the Cloud Forests of the Andes. Here, exotic bromeliads, mosses, ferns, trailing vines, and miniature orchids surround a massive indoor waterfall, and more exotics thrive in the Tropical Rotunda.

    Outside are an Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen, where fruits and vegetables are grown as landscape plants. The Rose Garden is at its height in late spring and again in late summer, and the Hydrangea Collection is one of the finest in the Southeast, as is the collection of water plants. The Japanese Garden features a teahouse, waterfall, pond, bamboo, dwarf Japanese maples, and a Moon Gate that provides a photo-worthy frame for the beds of bright annuals outside.

    Official site:

    Address: 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia

    Phone: 404-876-5859

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0
  6. Dedicated to the civil rights movement in the United States and more broadly to the struggle for human rights across the world, the Center for Civil and Human Rights is a dynamic and powerful experience that brings visitors to face to face with one of the greatest social initiatives of recent history. The Civil Rights Movement gallery portrays the fight for equality in the 1950s and 1960s, immersing visitors in the sights and sounds through interactive displays that bring to life the individuals who worked to overcome the Jim Crow laws and secure equal rights for all.

    The Freedom Riders exhibit recreates the 1950s bus, with oral histories and a film made inside the bus. The Lunch Counter exhibit is perhaps the most moving, as visitors sit at a replica counter encountering the angry faces and listening with earphones to the voices of tormentors, who threatened those who tried to eat at public lunch counters. Multimedia displays bring the March on Washington alive through songs and speeches. Martyrs who lost their lives in the struggle for equal rights are honored with their photos and stories. The Human Rights Movement gallery connects the struggles for human rights throughout the world, through interactive technology, exploring fundamental rights, and encouraging visitors to engage in the discussion.

    Official site:

    Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, Georgia

    Phone: 678-999-8990

    Google rating: 4.8/5.0
  7. As aforementioned, this is a major attraction, and not putting it on the list of the best day trips from Georgia would have been a mistake. The world's fourth largest aquarium, Georgia Aquarium houses more than 100,000 aquatic animals in more than 10 million gallons of fresh and saltwater. While its sheer size may seem overwhelming, the exhibits are divided into various themes to make visits more focused and educational. Visitors will be able to spot amazing SDA otters, beluga whales, penguins, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, stingrays, albino alligators, giant octopi, and more throughout the place. People who are brave can also swim with the sharks on a dare-devilish tour.

    Cold Water Quest explores cold water life across the world's oceans, with unusual creatures that include Australian sea dragons and Japanese spider crabs. In 'Under the Boardwalk', trainers interact with sociable California sea lions, and in the river Scout exhibit are albino alligators, piranha, and emerald tree boas. The largest, the 6.3-million-gallon Ocean Voyager, houses whale sharks and manta rays among its thousands of fish and features a 100-foot-long acrylic tunnel for visitors to walk through, surrounded by swimming fish.

    Official site:

    Address: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

    Phone: 404-581-4000

    Google rating: 4.6/5.0
  8. Named after the attractive tourist town in which it's based, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is one of the most-visited attractions in North Georgia. The village of Blue Ridge is one of the most quaint and charming in all of the state and is the gateway to the Chattahoochee National Forest. Operating from spring through late fall, this popular heritage railway takes passengers on a 26-mile stretch from Blue Ridge along the Toccoa River into the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. The short 2-mile long scenic railway trip takes around 4 hours and meanders through the countryside landscapes through forest and fields following the flow of the Toccoa River.

    For a leisurely and picturesque day out in Georgia, it seldom gets better than the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. It's a fun four-hour excursion that includes a return trip, plus two hours to explore the towns of McCaysville and Copperhill. Many people choose to hop off the train at the halfway point of Copperhill and explore the cafes and gift shops, antique stalls, and more. Special seasonal excursions are offered in the fall, during Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Be sure to allocate time to explore downtown Blue Ridge, too. Fun things to do here include shopping and dining, as well as visiting notable attractions such as the Blue Ridge Arts Center and Fannin County Heritage Foundation.

    Official site:

    Address: 241 Depot Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia

    Phone: 877-413-8724

    Google rating:4.5/5.0
  9. Stone Mountain Park is Georgia’s most-visited attraction, located just a short drive outside Atlanta at Stone Mountain, the largest granite formation in the world. The 863-foot-high granite outcrop of Stone Mountain is almost completely bare of trees or plant life, its bald dome standing out prominently from the surrounding land. Carved into this formation are the faces of important figures from the South, namely Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. On the sheer eastern side, a large relief of three Confederate leaders was carved between 1923 and 1970, a memorial that has caused considerable controversy in recent years.

    In Stone Moutain, a cable car ascends to the summit for sweeping views of the Atlanta skyline, only about 15 miles away. You can also climb to the top or follow one of the endurance courses through the treetops on suspended rope walks. A 1940s locomotive carries passengers on a five-mile track around the park, and a land-and-water tour on a 1940s Army DUKW features local history. Other things to do include a restored antebellum plantation and a museum with Native American artifacts. Families like the petting zoo and the dinosaur park of 20 life-size prehistoric creatures that move and roar. Beyond the rides are a rope course and a four-story barn space.

    Official site:

    Address: 1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083

    Phone: 800-401-2407

    Google rating: 4.6/5.0
  10. Lookout Mountain, at the border between Georgia and Tennessee, was the scene of a Civil War battle but is best known today for the nature park along its rocky ridge. Begun in 1932 and made famous by more than 900 barn signs in 19 states, the park features trails through a series of rock formations and across a swinging bridge to Lookout Point. Rock City Garden is the name given to a territory at the top of Lookout Mountain in Georgia. On exceptionally clear days, points in seven states are visible from the top of the sheer cliff. This area brings together many different natural attractions that showcase the gardens’ cliff formations, waterfalls, and caverns.

    Alongside the winding trail through the formations are gardens, stone bridges, narrow passages between massive rock faces, art installations, a mushroom-shaped balancing rock, and other features. The latter include the Lover’s Leap rocky cliff, High Falls, and Fairyland Caverns. Curated entertainment includes a fantastical installation of fairytale scenes and the heart-stopping Swing-a-Long suspension rope bridge. Another notable staple of the gardens is its one-of-a-kind peregrine falcon nursing and release program. The Incline Railway is a lovely way to spend a morning. Chug along the steep hill up to Lookout Mountain before heading onto Ruby Falls and Rock City. Ruby Falls is simply magnificent; a 145 ft high waterfall that lies deep underground.

    There is nothing quite like this in Georgia, you’ve got to cross the state line to experience this. It’s estimated that Ruby Falls is over 30 million years old. Seasonal festivals and events include Christmas lights and a Halloween festival with a corn maze. It is said that Rock City is Chattanooga’s most famous landmark and supposedly, from the rocky ledge, you can look out and see 7 states. Therefore, it is also known as one of the best day trips from Georgia. Just hope for a clear day. Be brave and cross over the 200 ft long swing bridge, the view is worth it for sure.

    Official site:

    Address: 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

    Phone: 706-820-2531

    Google rating: 4.7/5.0

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