Itinerary

3 Must-take Summer Trips with the Kids

Explore Georgia's great outdoors, historical gems and delicious restaurants in Augusta, Helen and Columbus.

Summer is just around the corner, which offers the perfect excuse to explore our great state. Augusta, Helen and Columbus are fantastic towns for families, and we’ve got the scoop on where to stay, where to play and where to eat!

  • Augusta
    Augusta Canal
  • Helen
  • Columbus
  • Augusta

    Augusta is filled with great food, outdoor adventure, and a touch of history and arts.

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  • Helen

    Helen is only 90 minutes north of Atlanta, and offers tons of fun for families. Outdoor excursions and historical walks back in time can fill an itinerary for a week or more.

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  • Columbus

    In Columbus, you’ll take a wild ride on the water, visit several historical marvels and a enjoy tons of hidden gems.

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Augusta

Where to Stay:  Parents and kids will love The Partridge Inn, which dates from the early 1800s but was recently renovated. Ask for the corner suite so you can spread out, and bring your swim suits so you can enjoy the outdoor pool.

Augusta Canal Boat Tour

What to Do: Take a boat cruise down the historic Augusta Canal for an understanding of the rich history, then head to the Savannah River Rapids for a view of the falls and a kayak trip. Enjoy bike riding or a hike at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, then cool off with a visit to Morris Museum, the first museum dedicated to the art and artists of the American South. Stop at the Augusta Museum of History to see a green jacket from The Masters and jam with James Brown, and top off the weekend with a trolley tour (and don’t forget to touch the Haunted Pillar!) If you time your visit correctly, you can also catch an Augusta GreenJackets baseball game.

Where to Eat: Breakfasts are spectacular on the southern porch of the Partridge Inn. For lunch, savor sandwiches and smoothies at New Moon Café, or salads and such at Boll Weevil (with the best cakes and pies you’ve ever tried!) You’ll want something more filling for dinner, and you can’t do better than The Bee’s Knees, with tapas and more. It’s the perfect atmosphere for families, and the parents can grab a cocktail. The whole family will enjoy grabbing a pie from The Pizza Joint. You can sit outside and relax while the kids play cornhole.

Lesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer. Find more of her family-friendly tips and trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org, and visit 365AtlantaFamily.com for more itineraries and money-saving tips. 

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Helen

Where to Stay: Families find respite at one of the two nearby Georgia State Parks with cabins: Unicoi or Smithgall Woods. Unicoi’s barrel cabins are unusual fun, and the Creekside Cottage at Smithgall is a family favorite. If you want to stay within Helen, the Hampton Inn is within walking access to all Helen offers, the rooms are large and there is a fun creek out back.

Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls

What to Do: Enjoy a leisurely hike to the top of Anna Ruby Falls, and be sure to stop at Fred’s Famous Peanuts before you go; it’s a great place to pick up some snacks. Play a round at Alpine Mini Golf and then fuel up at Scoop de Scoop Ice Cream Parlor next door. Take a carriage ride around the city with Alpine Carriage Company, and be sure to go tubing through the city, as well. Nearby you’ll find Sautee Nacoochee Center, a great art and history stop.

Where to Eat: Stop into Old Sautee Market for amazing food, and the kids will love to eat outdoors with the bubbles. Then, grab a bite of candy at the Old Sautee Store next door. For lunch with the family, try Hofer’s Bakery - the macaroni and cheese is a winner! For dinner, Bodensee makes homemade German fare, and it’s very family-friendly. Troll Tavern is a must-stop, too. Be sure to request a table on the patio so you can watch the tubers on the river.

Lesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer. Find more of her family-friendly tips and trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org, and visit 365AtlantaFamily.com for more itineraries and money-saving tips. 

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Columbus

Where to Stay: Columbus Marriot is an ideal location, with spacious rooms and a fun history. There is a pool and plenty of dining options, too.

Whitewater Express, Columbus

Whitewater Express, Columbus

What to Do: You can’t visit Columbus without whitewater rafting with WhiteWater Express. In fact, USA Today calls it the best man-made whitewater course on the planet and one of 12 top man-made adventures in the world. Saunter the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, and visit The Island for best views of those on the river. Don’t skip the Columbus Splashpad if you have little ones, and Oxbow Meadows is a great place to see turtles, alligators and more. The National Infantry Museum and the National Civil War Naval Museum are great places to learn some history, but there are also a number of things the kids will enjoy, while learning at the same time.

Where to Eat: Country’s Barbecue is a hit with the kids; the Broadway location is set in an old Trailways bus. The kids can sit in the driver’s seat, push buttons and listen to (what sounds like) an authentic recording of a bus driver from the past. Bonus: the food is serious Southern eats – delicious! Another delicious stop is Flipside Burgers and Tacos. It’s a small joint, and the locals know it well, so head to lunch early or late, but don’t miss the tacos here. For dinner, head to The Black Cow, a rustic steakhouse with incredible Southern charm and cuisine. Garden & Gun readers voted it “The Best Burgers in the South.” The kids will love the high-top tables, Coca-Cola mural and “Lil Rafter,” the bull that kids can ride. 

Lesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer. Find more of her family-friendly tips and trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org, and visit 365AtlantaFamily.com for more itineraries and money-saving tips. 

 

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