WITH 5 WEEKEND GETAWAY ITINERARIES
Georgia is full of unique experiences, whether it’s checking out the local arts culture, dancing at a music festival, exploring the great outdoors from the coast to the Appalachian Mountains, or indulging in some classic Southern eats. Not sure how to decide where to go? Here are five handpicked weekend getaways with unique itineraries on how to spend your day.
Right along the Appalachian Plateau sits the small city of Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Most often, people know it for See Rock City, the historic rock formations and gardens open to the public year ‘round. Since the city sits in the Northwest corner of the state, it’s even considered a metropolitan area of Chattanooga, Tennessee, a popular tourist destination. The views alone attract people to the city, but the area truly thrives differently in each season.
Morning: Take the Ochs Gateway Trailhead to Sunset Rock for a 6 mile out and back hike from Georgia to Tennessee. Walk into these woods, leaving the tourists and traffic behind, and you will find yourself gazing into the past where Indians hunted, settlers carved roads and soldiers died in battle. One of the most iconic overlooks in Chattanooga, Sunset Rock beckons hikers, climbers and trail runners from all over for its gorgeous views over the western side of Lookout Mountain. Pack lots of water, a camera, and a blanket.
Afternoon: After a long morning of hiking, stop by Cafe on the Corner for classic southern dishes, nestled in a 1900s-era grocery with outdoor patio seating. All the food is seasonal and locally sourced. It’s worth a ten minute drive up the mountain for their Café Mac. After lunch, check in to the Chanticleer Inn Bed and Breakfast, located just over 1,800 feet above sea level, atop Lookout Mountain on a beautiful plateau. The family operated Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located across from Rock City Gardens, where visitors can catch a view of seven states. The Inn has been featured in Southern Living Magazine and has earned a Certificate of Excellence for 5 years by TripAdvisor.
Evening: After resting up at the Inn, bring a blanket and a bottle of wine to go enjoy Rock City’s Summer Music Weekends, which host artists Friday through Sunday. The Weekends often feature old time bluegrass and a mix of modern and folk country music. Artists like Matt Downer, Highbeams, Amber Carrington and Taryn Aimee Smith often make appearances.
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, sits the largest city in Floyd County: Rome, Georgia. The city’s three flowing rivers that meet in the heart of downtown have attracted travelers for centuries. The area offers an array of boutique shopping, plentiful trails, a vast arts culture, award-winning museums, and lots of history. A weekend spent in Rome can be perfect for a couples retreat, or a family day trip.
Morning: Start a summer day in Rome with raspberry pancakes at the city’s only Bed and Breakfast, The Claremont House. Built in 1882, the Victorian mansion has 6 guest rooms, all with tastefully appointed period antiques. From the wine cellar to the attic, The Claremont House is a treasure trove full of charming hospitality and a relaxing historic ambience.
After breakfast, step outside to explore the “Between the Rivers” Victorian Era District. The area is the largest Victorian Era District in the state of Georgia. Take an individual or group tour and from Broad Street to the Etowah River, you will encounter stunning architecture of numerous historic residences. The district sits in the shadow of the city’s landmark, the City Clocktower, which has kept watch over Rome since 1872.
Afternoon: Rent a bike and ride around more than 40 miles of trail options which surround Berry College, the largest contiguous college campus in the world. With more than 27,000 acres of fields, lakes, forests, and mountains, Travel + Leisure has ranked Berry as among the most beautiful campuses in the country, also noting its many fountains, pools and English-Gothic style buildings.
Evening: End the day with an upscale meal at the Harvest Moon Cafe, located on Broad Street. The urban flair environment decorated with folk art creates a delightfully fun atmosphere for a date night or group outing. Dinner entrees range from their hearty gulf coast shrimp and stone grits to their spicy Thai Chicken with carrots, zucchini and coconut peanut garnish.
Located on beautiful Lake Chatuge, this Appalachian Trail community is the only incorporated municipality in Towns County, Georgia. The small town is typically peaceful in all its serene beauty of trees, mountains, gardens and waterfalls; but in certain times of year, it truly comes to life with its different festivals and music concert series.
Morning: Hike to High Shoals Falls and Blue Hole Falls, two of Georgia’s most stunning waterfalls set in a lush, green forest. Dense thickets of leathery-leaved rhododendron, vibrant green moss and fern, and the sounds of rushing water make up this gorgeous 2.5 mile hike. Pack a swimsuit and enjoy a peaceful float looking up through the tree canopies.
Afternoon: Grab lunch at The Happy Hawg BBQ, a local southern-style restaurant offering off-the-smoker hand-chopped pork and scrumptious sides. The “Pit Master” is renowned in the North Eastern Georgia Mountain region for producing the best combinations of smoked meats with a choice of 4 sauces.
Evening: After a long day, check into a rustic, mountain farmhouse-- the Henson Cove Place, Bed and Breakfast. Featuring a stunning pasture and mountain views, with a porch swing and rockers, it’s the perfect place to relax, while still having close proximity to a variety of attractions in Hiawassee. A full gourmet breakfast is served every morning.
A quintessential college town located just 6 miles west of Atlanta, Decatur is known for being one of the best cities to live in Georgia. From its thriving arts scene, to its live music, and critically acclaimed restaurants, the city is a unique destination away from the crowded bustling big-city scene.
Morning: A popular weekend destination in Decatur is a 140,000 square foot warehouse market, which serves over 100,000 customers every week. The DeKalb Farmers Market houses fresh produce, meats, seafood, breads, beer and wine, cheese, a deli and a restaurant. Over 180 flags from countries around the world decorate the ceilings, greeting shoppers as they enter. The market goes on forever and could take a whole morning to explore.
Afternoon: Tucked away in random hideaways around Decatur, are 30 miniature “fairy doors,” created by local artists. The project, Secret Doors Decatur, is funded by the Decatur Arts Alliance, set out to create bits of discovery in unexpected places across the city. Explore the town by bike and see how many doors you can find.
Evening: After finishing a bike tour downtown, stay for a bite to eat at no. 246, where you can find locally sourced Italian cuisine served on a bustling patio or in a sun-filled dining room. The restaurant is perfect for a date night or you can reserve communal tables for up to 12 people for family-style dining. Enjoy a classic margherita pizza or their handmade pastas.
After exploring Decatur’s nightlife, take a short 15 minute drive to stay in the off-the-grid Alpaca Treehouse in Bamboo Forest in East Atlanta. The Treehouse is built with antiques, luxe beds, marble baths, all in a private bamboo forest on a working farm. Watch llamas wander the forest and listen as roosters crow 15 feet above the forest floor. It’s a unique experience that doesn’t feel like it could ever be in a city.
Turtle crossing signs are a good indication you’ve reached your destination: Jekyll Island. Canopies of live oaks, historic ruins and sprawling beaches are just a few features that encapsulate the area. The southernmost island of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is one of the most popular islands for visitors, hosting a wide variety of family-friendly activities and attractions. This 5,500-acre island and its 10 miles of shoreline is beautiful to visit any time of year.
Morning: Wake up early for a walk along Driftwood Beach for the sunrise. Consistently voted one of America’s “Ten Most Romantic Beaches,” Driftwood Beach is an escape to another world. Beautiful driftwood and trees align the beach, due to the north end of the island slowly eroding away and being deposited on the south end of the island. It’s a wonderful location for photographs, so pack a camera.
Afternoon: For a small admission fee, head over to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for an educational and fun experience. Daily tours, presentations and interactive exhibits are available for all guests. Each program explores the adaptations, behavior and threats for endangered sea turtles that inhabit the Georgia coast. Those who wish can join the education staff to learn more about patients, see and touch real turtle bones, and even make turtle-inspired crafts.
Special children’s programs are offered on Saturdays. After learning about the special sea creatures, check in for the night at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. Offering Victorian charm with modern conveniences, the resort is located in the center of the Historic District. Guests can enjoy an array of restaurants, bars, bike rentals, history tours, croquet and more.
Evening: After a little rest and relaxation at the resort, head over to family-owned Zachry’s Riverhouse. Serving regional seafood dishes, burgers, wings and salads, this hot-spot allows visitors to not only enjoy a high-quality meal, but also take in the relaxed Jekyll Island atmosphere by overlooking the Jekyll River. Try the crab cakes and Low Country Boil.
Georgia is full of endless weekend getaway experiences, with many providing the perfect balance of the great outdoors, entertainment, family-friendly activities, arts culture, dining and culture. What is your favorite Georgia spot?
MORE TO SEE IN THE PEACH STATE
It looks like a colorful painting of a Southern port town come to life. Transport yourself to a place where history meets modern day energy and cultural offerings, that’s Downtown Brunswick. Enjoy your time exploring the local boutique stores, and many historic squares, Victorian commercial buildings, grand residential homes, and delightful bed & breakfast inns. Laid out on the same plan as Savannah, this town with a bustling waterfront brings nature into your experiences no matter where you find yourself.
You can become the perfect guide to discover the beautiful architecture in Covington. Self-guided tours offer a walking/driving tour of restored Greek revival mansions and Victorian cottages in town; brochures are available at the Visitor Information Center. Opt for a Covington Ghost Tour that consists of multiple walking tours around the Historic Square in Covington, Georgia. Over sixty movies/TV series have been filmed in Covington. The downtown shopping district features pavers listing the actor, project, year filmed and a prominent gold star to recognize many of these productions.
This city with a charming downtown is home to more than 200 restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and salons. Year-round, visitors can attend during an event or festival including concerts, arts estival, book festival, craft beer festival, wine festival, beach party, and more. Located just six miles east of Atlanta, it is next door to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market and about 15 minutes away from Stone Mountain Park. Spend some time strolling down the historic tree-lined streets, and enjoy a self-guided walking tour in a historic cemetery.
Explore Rabun County
You’ll find everything you could dream of for the perfect get away to rest, relax, and renew. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a student of history, or a prolific shopper, you can find it in Rabun County! Stay at a cabin in a rustic setting, a bed and breakfast with full hospitality, a luxurious mountain golf resort, and discover the local cuisine. Plan your adventure and dig deeper into the culture and heritage of the North Georgia Mountains.
While out riding his horse on day, Seaborn Jones Discovered a piece of slate coming out of the ground and the “Rock Market of the South” was born. Now known as Rockmart, this charming little town is fast becoming a premier destination for North Georgia. From the Silver Comet Trail that runs through the heart of town, to extraordinary restaurants and small family-owned shops, Rockmart has something for everyone. So be like Seaborn Jones and discover why Rockmart is “The One and Only.”
Mill About Porterdale
Outside Atlanta, one can discover the town of Porterdale. Packed in just one square mile, you can discover one of the best-preserved mill villages. One of the mills was converted to cool lofts units, leaving two more mills five iconic water tanks, an operational hydro-plant, 500+ original and historic mill homes. With an old two-room jail, historic train depot, several parks, and the seven-mile Yellow River Water trail perfect for water activities, Porterdale is a nature lover’s paradise with an abundance of historic landmarks.