Spring Break Road Trips from Atlanta, GA
Atlanta is truly the heart of the south, making it an amazing jumping-off point for adventures in every direction. This spring, no matter what type of activity you are looking for, you're bound to find it within driving distance of Atlanta. Here are some of our top ambassador-recommended spring break road trips from Atlanta!
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon State Park is a gem of a state park that is only two hours outside of Atlanta and 30 mins from Chatanooga. Rent a cabin or yurt in the park for a few nights to extend your stay and enjoy the beauty of the Georgia Mountains.
Don't miss the Waterfalls Trail, which is short but steep with stairs leading to amazing views of Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls. Georgia State parks offer Jr. Ranger badges for kids who complete a few activities while visiting.
Thirty minutes away in Chattanooga, consider checking out the touristy but endlessly charming Rocky City. In Downtown Chattanooga, walk over the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge for stunning views of the Tennesse River. On the far side is Coolidge Park, where you can ride an antique carousel.
The Retreat at Dear Lick Falls
The Retreat at Dear Lick Falls is just a bit farther north, where you can rent a tiny house big enough for the whole family. You won't need to leave the property, as there are hiking trails leading from all the tiny houses, including one to a hidden waterfall you can walk underneath. There are playgrounds and community firepits throughout the property. Nearby are restaurants and a ton of waterfall hikes, each prettier than last!
Sloppy Floyd State Park
When you are ready to head back to the city, consider a stop at Sloppy Floyd State Park, where you can earn another Jr. Ranger badge and take a short hike into a cave with a waterfall pouring over the top.
If a sea breeze is what you crave, head east to the coast! You can't go wrong with any town on the coastline from Charleston, SC to Amelia Island, FL. All are relatively easy to reach from Atlanta. They all have different charms, white sand, and the cold Atlantic ocean. Spring is a great time to comb the beaches for shells and sharks' teeth. Picking just one is almost criminal, but I have a special place in my heart for the Georgia Gem of Savannah.
The center of Savannah is the iconic Orlean's Park. It has several amazing geocaches perfect for kids, a huge fountain, two playgrounds, and a cafe at the park complete with a walk-up window. If you happen to be here on or around St. Patrick's day, be ready for some fun! They take the holiday very seriously and even dye the fountain green! The squares in this part of the city are made for strolling, and there is no shortage of amazing food options.
The Savannah Children's Museum is in the old GA Railway Carpentry Shop, mixing fun and history. One of the best playgrounds in the city is part of the museum. (Advanced timed tickets are recommended.)
Savannah Area Historic Parks
Our favorite part of visiting Savannah is the variety of hiking and historic sites you can visit. Fort Pulaski National Monument has an entire intact fort you can explore. There are costumed rangers inside to reenact fort life and answer questions. There is an NPS Jr. Ranger badge your kids can earn here as well.
At the Wormsloe Historic Site, you can walk down an oak-lined driveway and discover more about the many people who called this piece of land home over the years. Nearby Skidaway Island State Park has miles of trails linking small islands where you can observe the tidal ecosystem. There is also an amazing playground, a picnic area, and another Jr. Ranger badge to earn.
Further south down the coastline is the Fort Morris State Historic Site. Here you can explore the remains of an earthen fort. There are several geocaches on the property, as well as a kids scavenger hunt and a Jr. Ranger badge to earn. You can also borrow a birding bag from the visitors center and hit the nature trail. Nearby Fort Mcallister on the banks of the Ogeechee River showcases an almost fully intact earthwork fort, and you can even go inside! A playground along the river is the perfect spot for a picnic. There are also geocaches and a Jr. Ranger badge to be earned here.
If you want to hit the beach, head over to Tybee Island. You can climb the historic lighthouse or just enjoy the sand and shells found on the Atlantic Coast this time of year.
Heading South from Atlanta will, of course, eventually get you to the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast. Our favorite option is to find a rental along highway 30A in one of the manicured beach communities. No matter what you choose - Seaside, Alys, Watercolor, Rosemary Beach, etc. - be sure to rent bikes and take advantage of the bike paths and nature trails that run in the area. Camp Helen State Park is home to one of Florida's largest coastal dune lakes and is a hidden gem with hiking paths and interesting history.
Another option is to base yourself in the adorable border town of Columbus, Georgia, and hit up a few highlights in the area. You can easily spend a half-day exploring the Columbus Riverwalk. There are playgrounds and geocaches galore along this 22-mile long riverside trail. You will find plenty of restaurants just a block off the path as well.
The National Civil War Naval Museum was a surprise hit with the kids. There are ships to climb aboard and plenty of interactive displays in addition to the bones of wooden civil warships. The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is also sure to be a hit with any space-loving kids. You won't want to miss the Oxbrow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, where kids can come face to face with a variety of animals and take a hike. Columbus also has a botanical garden, art museum, ice skating rink, aquatic center, and an upscale bowling alley/ arcade.
Plains, Georgia, is home to the Jimmy Carter National Historic Park if you want to venture out of Columbus a bit. There is a museum and visitors center in the old school building, and then other sights sprinkled around town. The kids loved visiting the Carter Homestead and earning the Jr. Ranger badge. Finding food in Plains was a bit tricky, however, so I recommend picking up a picnic in Columbus, GA.
Andersonville National Historic Site
Another jaunt from Columbus is to Andersonville National Historic Site. This Civil War battlefield and cemetery has a Jr. Ranger badge and audio driving tour. There is plenty of space to run around, take a hike and see lots of civil war era cannons and structures.
Lake Eufala Campground
There are plenty of places to stay in Columbus, but stay at the Lake Eufaula Campground in Eufaula, Alabama, if you're looking for something more adventurous. They have a variety of cabins and tiny-house as well as RV spots. We enjoyed hiking on the property and walking the bike path into this cozy town.
A simple option to the west is Calloway Resort & Gardens. You can make this a day trip or stay the night on the property or at a nearby hotel. Rent bikes or bring your own to bike these incredible botanical gardens. There are bird shows, a butterfly house, hiking, and tons of geocaching. You can rent boats and go out on the lakes or enjoy the lakeside swimming beach if the weather is warm.
Roosevelt State Park
Nearby FD Roosevelt State Park is Georgia's largest state park. You can see structures completed by the Civilian Conversation Corps, including visiting the Liberty Bell pool, which is fed by a cool underground spring. There is also plenty of hiking, geocaching, and a Jr. Ranger badge. Roosevelt's Little White House, where President Roosevelt came to soak in the Warm Springs hoping to find a cure to Polio, is also nearby. The historic pools museum is one of our favorites.
If you're looking to extend your trip, continue down I-85 toward Montgomery. The Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site has a large museum at the airfield in old hangers with interactive exhibitions. There is also a very special Jr. Ranger badge here.
In Montgomery, AL, you can hit the civil rights trail by visiting The Legacy Museum (6 and above), the Rosa Parks Museum, the Freedom Rides Museum, Dexter Parsonage Museum, and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
THe MOOseum, run by the Alabama Cattleman's Association, is a small, interactive museum that your little ones are sure to love. Montgomery also has a lovely Zoo, Newtopia, an indoor playground, and a drive-through safari park that lets you feed the animals from your car.
If you want to stay somewhere unique near Montgomery, you can rent one of these treehouses on Air B&B. The property has hiking and fishing on-site. On its own, this place is a perfect stay-cation.
Do you have any great road trip destinations you love from Atlanta? Let us know below, or tag us in your photos on Instagram @gethappyly!
Looking for more great Georgia content? Check out our Atlanta highlights blog post or our Dreaming of Travel: Savannah, GA one! Or if you are interested in crossing state lines (without going too far!), read up on our Dreaming of Travel: Chattanooga blog. Needless to say, there are lots of fun adventures to be had in the southeast!
And if you want even more family-friendly activities, be sure to download the happyly app and have locally-curated adventures right at your fingertips!