Day Trips from Atlanta

Get away for the day

Because of their distance from downtown Atlanta or the depth of their offerings, these destinations will all take at least a day to experience.

Close By

Six Flags Over Georgia
12 miles from downtown Atlanta
– With five kid-friendly rides that opend last year and this year’s addition has plenty of water fun with Skull Island, this amusement park just keeps getting better. Daily summer operation begins May 20, 2005. $30-$45. 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-948-9290, www.sixflags.com/parks/overgeorgia

American Adventures/Six Flags White Water
18 miles from downtown Atlanta
– These side-by-side parks offer a full day’s worth of family fun. American Adventures focuses on outdoor amusement rides for kids up to age 12 and their parents. White Water offers more than 50 ways to get soaked, including slides, raft rides and wave pools. Daily operation for both parks begins May 22. General admission to White Water is $25-$35; American Adventures is $6-$16. 250 Cobb Parkway North, Marietta, 770-948-9290. www.sixflags.com

Out of town

Amicalola Falls
240 Amicalola Falls State Park Road, Dawsonville. 706-265-4703
80 miles from downtown Atlanta
– One of Georgia’s most visited state park is home to a 729-foot crystalline cascade that attracts 2 million visitors a year. Hike trails to the base or the top of the falls – be on the lookout for pileated woodpeckers, whitetail deer and black bears. Camp or stay overnight at the park lodge. $4.50 parking fee. www.gastateparks.org/info/amicalola

Birmingham
145 miles from downtown Atlanta on I-20
– The Alabama city has worked hard to entice tourists in recent years, erecting such attractions as VisionLand, a Six Flags-style theme park, and the McWane Center, a science and technology museum. Other must-see sites include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Birmingham Museum of Art. www.bcvb.org

Callaway Gardens
U.S. 27, Pine Mountain. 70 miles from downtown Atlanta
– The 14,000-acre gardens, resort and preserve north of Columbus feature more than 700 varieties of azalea – many displayed in the 40-acre Azalea Bowl – as well as hundreds of other types of plants and a butterfly center where thousands of the insects fly free. $8.50-$15 for gardens admission. 1-800-225-5292 www.callawaygardens.com

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
On U.S. 27, one mile south of Fort Oglethorpe, 92 miles from downtown Atlanta
– More than 600 monuments and markers depict battle lines and commemorate casualties at the Civil War battle site in the northwest corner of Georgia. The visitor center houses the Fuller Gun Collection, which features 355 weapons dating from the Revolutionary War through World War II. Free, but a multimedia show costs $2.50-$5. 706-866-9241 www.nps.gov/chch

Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
813 Indian Mounds Road S.E., Cartersville. 45 miles from downtown Atlanta
– Home to a flourishing Etowah Indian community from 1000 to 1500, these ceremonial mounds were used as burial places, priests’ platforms and temples. The largest of seven grassy mounds stands 61 feet tall. Admission is $3.50-$5. The on-site museum was recently renovated in spring 2004. 770-387-3747 www.ngeorgia.com/parks/etowah.html

Fort Discovery
1 Seventh St., Augusta. 142 miles from downtown Atlanta
– Kids will love the 250 exhibits at this interactive science center, part of the east Georgia city’s Riverwalk shopping and entertainment area. At the center, they can walk on the moon, get videotaped being chased by a dinosaur or fly a simulated jet. $8-$10. 706-821-0200, 1-800-325-5445. www.nscdiscovery.org/

Halls of Fame – Macon
Georgia Music Hall of Fame – 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd • Georgia Sports Hall of Fame – 301 Cherry St. 80 miles from downtown Atlanta
– Who’s more important to Georgia, Ray Charles or Hank Aaron? You can debate that question on your drive to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (912-750-8555,www.gamusichall.com ) and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (912-752-1585, www.gshf.org), just steps away from each other in downtown Macon. Admission to each is $8-$10.

Helen
On Ga. 75 in White County. 75 miles from downtown Atlanta
– Some say this Bavarian-themed village in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is kitschy and commercial. Others love its specialty shops, including ones that sell handmade wares and holiday decorations, and its German-style beer gardens and eateries. 1-800-858-8027. www.helenga.org

Paradise Gardens
84 Knox St., Summerville. 90 miles from downtown Atlanta
– This distinctive two-acre arts environment was created by the Rev. Howard Finster, Georgia’s most famous folk artist. Finster died in 2001, but Paradise Gardens is maintained as an attraction, along with a gallery featuring other folk artists. Open Saturdays or by reservation only. Admission $5-$8. 706-857-5791.www.finster.com/paradisegardens.htm

Tennessee Aquarium
1 Broad St., Chattanooga. 115 miles from downtown Atlanta.
– This popular Chattanooga attraction is the largest freshwater aquarium in the world, holding more than 9,000 fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. After touring the 12-story complex, drive up nearby Lookout Mountain to visit Rock City and Ruby Falls. $11-$21. 1-800-262-0695. www.tnaqua.org