Aerial view of Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, Georgia. Photo by Barnsley Resort
Amazing Places to Celebrate Family Milestones in Georgia
Mark milestone birthdays, anniversaries, retirements and big accomplishments with the whole family at these unforgettable resorts.
Grandma is turning 90. Mom and Dad are celebrating their diamond anniversary. Your cousin is retiring early and starting a new chapter in life. Your brother’s 50th birthday is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate major milestones like those than with a trip the whole family can enjoy?
Family trips aren’t just for weddings and summer vacations anymore. If we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it’s the importance of celebrating life events with those we love. There’s no time like the present to go ahead and make a big deal about grandma’s birthday with a family getaway, surrounding her with all her children and grandchildren building sandcastles, swimming and taking sunset cruises. Pay tribute to Mom and Dad on their anniversary with a champagne toast over a delicious meal after a day of horseback riding, golfing and spa treatments. These Georgia resorts are the perfect settings, with varied activities for all ages and family-friendly accommodations.
Tucked away in the foothills of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains lies Barnsley Resort. Located 60 miles north of Atlanta, Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, Georgia, welcomes guests into a relaxed, luxurious setting with unparalleled service.
The storybook site was built by Godfrey Barnsley for his wife and the love of his life, Julia. Today, the 3,000-acre resort is the ultimate retreat to unplug, find balance, and reconnect with loved ones and Mother Nature.
Families have their pick of outdoor activities, from horseback riding to clay shooting, golf to UTV trail riding. Take lessons in archery and axe throwing, play disc golf, go canoeing on the picturesque 10-acre lake, and explore the miles of trails on foot or on bikes. Stroll through the heirloom gardens and view the historic Barnsley ruins.
For those hoping for some real R&R, visit the Barnsley Resort Spa for your pick of treatments. Families will love staying together in cottages with fireplaces in the living rooms, clawfoot bathtubs, and porches with gorgeous views. Select cottage suites are pet-friendly, so your furry family members can come along for the trip! Or, choose to stay in the inn, which has 55 well-appointed guest rooms and suites.
To mark Mom and Dad’s big anniversary, make dinner reservations at the resort’s Woodlands Grill, where you’ll dine on farm-to-table creations like pappardelle and lamb meatballs. Then, gather around the fire pit at the end of the day to roast s’mores and sample craft beers at the outdoor Beer Garden.
The whole family will love celebrating your brother’s 50th birthday at Callaway Resort & Gardens, located in Pine Mountain about 90 miles southwest of Atlanta, where you can relax in the great outdoors and play the days away. Bike, stroll or drive golf carts through the gardens, play golf, fish for bass, go ziplining, sit among the butterflies at the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center and be amazed at the Birds of Prey shows.
In summer, spend the day at Robin Lake Beach, swimming, lounging, and playing games like giant chess, miniature golf, table tennis and shuffleboard. Try Aqua Island, an inflatable playground in the lake; paddle boats; the rock climbing wall; and a bounce house. Rent private cabanas on the shore so everyone can take breaks in shaded comfort.
Enjoy pampering at The Spa at Callaway Gardens, where spa treatments draw inspiration from herbs, plants, and the breathtaking natural landscape. Indulge in massages, facials and nail services, relax in the steam room or sauna, and more.
For birthday dinner, head to any of the resort’s six restaurants, and at night, unwind in a cottage, villa or the lodge. Two-, three-, and four-bedroom villas offer all the comforts of home for large families, and cozy two-bedroom cottages are complete with full kitchens, screened porches and fireplaces. Lodge rooms feature balconies with lake, woodland and garden views.
When you feel like venturing out, downtown Columbus is about 40 minutes away, where you can go shopping and eat at restaurants along the Chattahoochee River like Banks Food Hall and Eighteen 85, a rooftop bar and restaurant with a spectacular view. For a thrilling birthday adventure that’s sure to create legendary stories, brave the rapids with Whitewater Express.
Retirement Party: Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
On the banks of Georgia’s second-largest lake, located midway between Atlanta and Augusta, The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee offers five-star amenities and activities devised for the whole family, from the delightful infinity pool overlooking the lake to nightly s’mores roasts by the beach. Celebrate your cousin’s retirement at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, a resort best known for its five championship golf courses and world-class spa, but it also caters to families in a big way with the Ritz Kids program.
Much of the resort activities revolve around the water: An array of watercraft, including stand-up paddleboards, wake boats, and jet skis, are available to rent, and guided fishing excursions are offered year-round. Soak in family time while your own private captain drives you around on a pontoon boat. Or you can take in the sparkling lake views from one of the resort’s five championship golf courses.
Need some adults-only time? Send the youngsters to the Ritz Kids Clubhouse for arcade games and scavenger hunts while you retreat to the lavish, 30,000-square-foot spa for a massage.
Be sure to schedule your complimentary appointment with the resort’s Photography Concierge to record your family’s celebration for posterity. The resort’s dedicated team of on-site professionals will capture the perfect picture with a breathtaking backdrop for your family portrait or special occasion.
Diverse dining options range from the casual, poolside Gaby’s with stunning views of the lake to the refined Linger Longer Steakhouse. After dinner, relax with stunning views of Lake Oconee seated in cozy Adirondack chairs around a fire pit.
There are enough activities on Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee property to keep you busy for a week. But if you’d like to venture out, the towns of Madison, Greensboro and Eatonton are nearby, each with unique historic sites, shops and restaurants.
Part of Georgia’s famed Golden Isles, about an hour from Savannah, Sea Island is a private community known for its sprawling beaches and Forbes Five Star resort, The Cloister at Sea Island. The resort, which stands out like a Mediterranean enclave with its sandy pillars and terracotta roof, has been welcoming generations of Southern families since 1928. Inside, you’ll find room after room of inviting opulence, from the burnished wood-paneled bar to the palatial spa to the sunstruck solarium. It’s the perfect place to treat Grandma like the queen she is on her birthday.
In addition to The Cloister, accommodations on Sea Island include The Lodge and cottages. The Lodge is reminiscent of an English country manor. Approached through an enchanting tunnel of oaks on St. Simons Island, The Lodge and its 43 guest rooms and 7 cottages have expansive ocean views, and are surrounded by the emerald fairways of The Sea Island Golf Club.
Spend the days by the pools and at the Sea Island Beach Club, which features private cabanas, a ’50s-style sweet shop, and even a six-lane bowling alley. Guests can take falconry lessons, gallop horseback along the sand, go kayaking, play tennis and pickleball, take a chartered fishing trip, and tee off amid towering longleaf pines and centuries-old live oaks on three golf courses.
Revel in 50 luxurious acres of lush gardens, saltwater marshes, and 5 miles of private coastline. Indulge in massages in a restorative paradise and take a pre-dinner cruise on the Sea Island Explorer.
For dinner, head to Sea Island’s unique dining venues. One family favorite, Tavola, is a rustic Italian eatery situated on the Blackbank River that offers specialties like handmade pasta, fresh seafood and wood-fired pizzas. Grandma will feel like a kid again enjoying the Gold Brick Sundae from Wonderland, the Sea Island sweet shop.
During your stay, be sure to explore adjacent St. Simons Island, where you can shop the boutiques and enjoy restaurants in Pier Village, ride bikes and search of tree spirits, and climb the 129 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Barbecue fans won’t want to miss the chance to eat at Southern Soul Barbeque, lauded as some of the best in the South.