Living in Athens is already a lot of fun, but if you’re looking for a change in scenery, here are a few weekend trips within an hour to four-hour drive of Athens! Whether it’s a long weekend or just a day trip, these are great opportunities to load up your friends and make some memories together.
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Athens, perfect for a day trip or weekend trip. Most people think of hiking in Blue Ridge, and that’s because it has some of the most beautiful mountain views in Georgia. If you are looking to destress in nature after midterms, there are hiking trails, waterfalls, great fishing, and tubing available. However, the town of Blue Ridge is also unique, with tons of great restaurants, live music, and festivals. If you’re staying for the weekend, there is a plethora of cabins, inns, and lodges to stay in!
Lake Lanier is about an hour's drive from Athens and a great place to enjoy a lake day with your friends! There are plenty of options if you want to rent a boat, or you can float on the shoreline with your friends. Lake Lanier has a campground and several resorts if you would like to stay for the weekend. There are also several restaurants on the water if you would like to eat dinner with a lake view.
Savannah is a bit longer of a drive from Athens, about four hours. However, the drive is worth it to experience one of the most historic cities in the south! Savannah certainly does not lack historical sites, including the home of Juliet Gordon Lowe, the founder of Girl Scouts. Forsyth Park is another historic gem, dating back to the 1840s, with plenty of benches to people watch on and enjoy the southern weather. There is also no shortage of shopping, with Broughton Street being home to beautiful storefronts with tons of great gifts to remember your time in Savannah. This city is also home to SCAD, the most prestigious art school in the South, and therefore, has a lot of great art museums and exhibits to tour. This would be a great trip to take during UGA Spring Break or a long weekend.
Most people have heard of Atlanta, and with it only being an hour and a half away from Athens, it makes for a perfect weekend trip. Some of the biggest concert venues in the Southeast are in Atlanta, so it’s a great place to catch your favorite artist's concert. If you are a foodie, Atlanta has a variety of great restaurants, including Ponce City Market, which has an amazing food hall. The city also has a host of museums, some of the most popular being the World of Coca-Cola, the High Museum of Art, and the Van Gogh exhibit. If you prefer shopping, Atlanta has great malls, as well as the downtown shops and vintage markets.
Helen is about an hour and twenty minutes from Athens, and if you haven’t been, you should. The town is nestled in the North Georgia mountains, and it is entirely themed as a German town, with all its buildings being in the Bavarian style. The restaurants serve a variety of Western European dishes, with some American cuisine as well. The town has many shops, ranging from a candy shop to a year-round Christmas décor store. You can see most of Helen in a day, but it’s also a great place to stay for the weekend. There are several types of accommodations available, including cabins, small bed and breakfasts, as well as a couple of chain hotels. If you do spend a weekend in Helen during the warmer months, there is a river that goes through the town, with companies that rent innertubes so you can float down it!
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