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 opened over a decade ago 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. $30-$45. 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-948-9290,

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 of 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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, and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (912-752-1585,, just steps away from each other in downtown Macon. Admission to each is $8-$10.

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.

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.

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.