Itinerary

Explore North Georgia with 3 Perfect Weekend Getaways

Looking for a quick escape where you can spend more time relaxing and less time driving? North Georgia is closer than you think!

Here are three perfect weekend getaways to enjoy in Atlanta, Historic High Country (Northwest Georgia) and the Northeast Georgia Mountains.

  • Atlanta Metro
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  • Historic High Country
  • Northeast Georgia Mountains
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  • The Cosmopolitan Weekend

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  • The Great Outdoors Weekend

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  • A European Escape in Georgia

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The Cosmopolitan Weekend

When most people think about Midtown Atlanta, they think more about business than the perfect place for a weekend getaway. But, the Atlanta neighborhood's location near so many of the city's iconic attractions and restaurants makes Midtown the perfect destination for a cosmopolitan weekend escape.

Make the Loews Atlanta Hotel your home for the weekend. Arrive early Friday, park your car and get your walking shoes on. Take a selfie in front of the colorful new Midtown sign on your way to the High Museum of Art for First Friday, a once-a-month party unlike any other. A sample evening includes crafts like drop-in snow globe making, performances by local musicians, fortune telling, ice carving, a movie screening, and of course, gallery tours.

Wake up after a colorful night with a barre class at the Exhale gym in the Lowes Hotel. Exhale was voted Best Fitness Hotspot in Atlanta by Women's Health. If you’d rather be outside, head east to Atlanta's Piedmont Park for an early morning run.

Take a guided tour through the Piedmont Park Conservancy to learn about the park's colorful history or the local wildlife. Do It Yourselfers can download a tree tour online. If you visit March through December, pick up local produce and gifts at the Green Market at Piedmont Park.

Or, book a food tour through Atlanta's neighborhoods, and taste your way through the city's rich history and divine food scene.

Finish the day with a stop at Park Tavern for a cocktail on the patio and one of the prettiest views of Midtown Atlanta.

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The Great Outdoors Weekend

There is no better way to fuel your spirit than with a weekend escape in the great outdoors. Cloudland Canyon State Park has regular or backcountry camping, as well as RV sites and yurts!

After getting set up, take a hike around the rim of Cloudland Canyon to get acclimated before dinner and smores around the campfire.

The sun comes up early. Take advantage of the morning hours on your full day at Cloudland Canyon to hike into the canyon and view the two waterfalls, Hemlock and Cherokee. Plus since you'll be fresh and rested, you won't mind the 600 steps down and then back up.

In the afternoon, schedule a Wild Cave Tour with the Georgia Girl Guides. This unusual adventure will have you exploring the world under your feet. Warning: it's a bit muddy. The Girl Guides provide everything you need – but bring an extra set of clothes (and shoes) so you can just toss the ones you wore on the trip. (I mean it when I say it's muddy.)

Get cleaned up and head into nearby Rising Fawn for a steak dinner at Canyon Grill. You've earned it.

On the final day, pack up your gear and go a few minutes outside the Cloudland Canyon gate to Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding. Soar through the air on a tandem flight above the mountains.

Spend your afternoon on a little less adventurous path exploring Rock City where you can see seven states all from one location. Stay for lunch at Café 7 for a slightly different view of seven states, over a perfectly grilled Seven States burger.

History buffs won't want to miss the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, called the Gettysburg of the South. After exploring the military park, head into town where all the streets are named for Civil War generals. Stop for lunch at the Southern-style restaurant The Melon Patch before heading home.

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A European Escape in Georgia

No budget to visit Europe this year? How about a weekend getaway to Alpine Helen instead? Oktoberfest is the most well-known time to visit here, but adventure awaits other times of the year, as well.

Rent your mountain home away from home from Cedar Creek Cabins. They have a variety of cabins to choose from and are experts in the Helen area.

For the active vacationer, purchase a mountain bike experience from Woody’s Mountain Bikes. They'll give you all the gear you need and show you the best trails to ride.

Rather go on horseback? Chattahoochee Stables can fix you up, no matter what your age because even kids 5-years-old and younger can go horseback riding with an adult.

Kayaking more your speed? Then contact Wildwood Outfitters and select from four different kayaking trips down the Chattahoochee.

For those who would rather break a sweat shopping, Helen has some unique outlets, including the Old Sautee Store, a historic community landmark where kids can still fill a bag of candy from the candy barrels. While children are picking out sweets, parents can get an "adult" grilled cheese for lunch at the Old Sautee Market.

For the adult-only weekend, visit and tour Habersham Winery, located in the Nacoochee Village. While you are there, browse several other shops selling unique mountain wares.

No matter how you get our exercise, you've earned a treat from the Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen in downtown Helen. They literally wrote the book on candy making (Candy Making for Dummies, that is). Savor the hand-crafted gourmet chocolates or the world famous Chattahoochee Snappers.

Leave some time during your visit for a meal at Hofer's Bakery and Café. This AAA-approved, TripAdvisor Hall of Fame restaurant is the place to go for authentic German food. Enjoy Wiener schnitzel and Sauerbraten. Plus it has an ice cream menu for the kids. From May through November take in the gorgeous Helen views and a little German Oompah music in the Biergarten.


Sue Rodman is Georgia's official Smart Travel Explorer. Find more of her budget-friendly tips and trip ideas on ExploreGeorgia.org,

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