Atlanta Beyond the City Limits: Day Trips and Weekend Getaways for Nature Lovers

As much as we love all that bustling energy and city life, sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and breathe in the fresh air of nature. Luckily, for those living in or visiting Atlanta, the options are endless when it comes to day trips and weekend getaways perfect for exploring beyond the city limits. From hiking trails with stunning views to tranquil lake paddles, come join us as we discover the best outdoor adventures awaiting us just a short drive from Atlanta!

What is Atlanta beyond the city limits?

Atlanta is a city of endless possibilities, and beyond the city limits there are plenty of great things to do for nature lovers. From the gorgeous Chattahoochee National Forest to the beautiful plantations of Macon and Savannah, there is something for everyone in Atlanta. Here are four weekend getaways that will excite nature lovers everywhere:

1. The Chattahoochee National Forest: This forest stretches for over 550 miles, making it one of the largest national forests in the US. It’s home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, deer, elk, and wild turkey. There are also plenty of hiking trails and picnic areas to enjoy.

2. Pine Mountain Caverns: Just north of Atlanta lies one of Georgia’s most popular tourist destinations – Pine Mountain Caverns. This limestone cave system has more than 350 miles of cavernous underground passageways that have been carved out over millions of years by the river flowing below them. Tours start at the visitor center and take about two hours to explore all 3 caves – with both candlelight tours and光-based tours available (both discounted during summer).

3. The Historic Districts of Augusta: Augusta is also home to dozens of beautifully preserved antebellum homes, as well as the state capitol building and the historic district that surrounds it. The city center is filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries, making it a great place to spend a weekend.

Trips and weekend getaways in Atlanta

Atlanta is home to a sprawling and diverse landscape that offers plenty of opportunities for nature lovers to explore on day trips or weekend getaways. From mountains and lakeside trails in northwest Georgia to riches of forests and wildlife sanctuaries in the northeast, Atlanta has something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite day trips and weekend getaways:

1. Hiking at Bardstown Bald State Park: This park offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains, as well as some challenging hikes up Bardstown Bald. It’s a great place to enjoy nature without feeling overexerted.

2. Kayaking Lake Lanier: With mild temperatures all year round, kayaking Lanier is perfect for any season – whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon float or an adrenaline-pumping adventure on the rapids.

3. Visiting Docks Greenhouse & Botanical Gardens: This botanical garden features more than 8,000 plants from around the world, including roses imported from Paris’ renowned Sainte Chapelle botanic garden. The gardens are also home to a greenhouse filled with tropical plants from around the world, including an impressive bromeliad collection.

Tourists and nature lovers in Atlanta

If you’re looking for a city with nature all around it, Atlanta might be the place for you. The city is home to many nature preserves and parks, making it an ideal spot to take a day trip or weekend getaway. Here are some of the best options:

Atlanta Botanical Gardens: One of the oldest botanical gardens in the country, Atlanta Botanical Gardens is located just outside of downtown Atlanta. The gardens have more than 8,000 plants from all over the world, making it a great place to explore if you’re interested in plant diversity.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area: Home to ecological wonders such as grand canyons, waterfalls and wildlife habitats, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is perfect for nature lovers who want to get out of the city. There are dozens of trails across 412 square miles that allow for hikes, bike rides and kayak tours.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure that will take your breath away, consider visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This park features towering mountains and spectacular valleys, making it one of America’s most beautiful natural landmarks.

What to see and do in Atlanta beyond the city limits

If you’re looking for a day trip from Atlanta, consider visiting Kennesaw Mountain National Park. This 145-acre park offers a wide variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, picnicking areas, and rock climbing walls. If you have more time on your hands, head over to Hapeville or Smyrna for weekend getaways. Hapeville is home to Kennesaw State University and has plenty of antique shops and restaurants, while Smyrna is known for its elaborate flea markets and winding streets lined with elegant homes.


Atlanta is a city with so much to offer, but sometimes all you need is some time away from the hustle and bustle. In this article, we outline several day trips and weekend getaways in the Atlanta area that are perfect for nature lovers. Whether you’re looking to explore Philips Arena or enjoy miles of hiking trails, these destinations will have you exploring new territory and taking in all the sights and sounds of one of America’s most popular cities without ever having to leave your comfort zone.