5 Great Near-Cations Close to Atlanta
A staycation means you’re on vacation, but staying at home. You might take a few day trips, but you’re probably still keeping up with regular chores. Atlanta Parent recommends the near-cation – you’re on vacation close to home, but not staying at home. Each of these destinations are no more than 4 hours driving distance from Atlanta.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, hotels and resorts are taking precautions for guests’ safety by implementing new sanitation and social distancing procedures. Keep in mind that you may experience longer wait times and reduced capacities at resorts and attractions. Make your travel plans well in advance; remind your kids to social distance and wear masks when appropriate.
Thinking about a family camping trip? Read Atlanta Parent’s Guide to Camping and Campgrounds in Georgia. Also read our Kid-Friendly Guide to Yurts and Glamping in Georgia.
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One of the biggest hotels in the world, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel is an experience in itself, with an indoor riverboat, gardens, and plenty of dining and shopping. Add the resort’s upscale water park, SoundWaves, and it’s well-worth the 4-hour drive to Nashville. Multiple waterslides, rivers, rock wall, and pools for both kids and adults make SoundWaves much more exciting than your average waterpark.
What Kids Like Most: Splash pads at Half Note Cove, Rising Stars Stage play structure and FlowRider surfing.
What Adults Like Most: Tubing on Lazy River, private cabana rentals and the flat water pool.
Know Before You Go: Purchase of the resort’s SoundWaves package is required for admission. Some rides have height restrictions.
The Details: Soundwaves at Gaylord Opryland, 2800 Opryland Dr., Nashville. 866-972-6779.
Pricing: Rates from $229 and up; check for specials and discounts online.
Just 2 hours north of Atlanta, Brasstown Valley Resort is set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the scenery while exploring a few of the many hiking trails on the property, stream or pond fish, or take a guided mountain trail ride on horseback. Friendly “cowboys” will help even beginning riders get started. Family-friendly activities – from painting to games to golf clinics – vary by season. Relax by the resort’s indoor/outdoor pool while the kids swim. Book a room in the main lodge with its panoramic mountain view, or rent a log cottage with a kitchen and dining area, deck and fireplace.
What Kids Like Most: Horseback riding, arts and crafts sessions, pool time
What Adults Like Most: Golfing on the 18-hole course, relaxing on the resort’s outdoor veranda
Know Before You Go: The resort’s spa is currently closed; check the website for reopening information.
The Details: Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa, 6321 Highway 76, Young Harris. brasstownvalley.com
Pricing: From $159/night; discounts and packages are available.
Watersports, beach volleyball, boating on Lake Lanier, and plenty of hiking trails make this lakeside resort a perfect getaway for families. Spend the day at Margaritaville (scheduled to open June 12), the resort’s popular waterpark, where there’s something for all ages – easygoing tube rides down the river, an aquatic obstacle course, splash zone, and heart-stopping water slides. Stay in the mountain-themed lodge, rent an individual-access villa, or splurge on a rustic lake house with a kitchen, fireplace and deck.
What Kids Like Most: The Fin Dunker slide, which spins riders into an 8-foot pool of water.
What Adults Like Most: Relaxing on the sand at Paradise Beach or enjoying the lodge’s saltwater pool.
Know Before You Go: Margaritaville (scheduled to open June 12) has a 42” height restriction; some attractions require riders to be 48” or taller.
The Details: Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. lanierislands.com
Pricing: From $159/night; admission to Margaritaville is not included, but look for packages on the website.
Callaway Gardens is a great place for a family adventure – where else can you bike, swim, go zip-lining, surround yourself with butterflies or watch birds of prey? Just 90 minutes from Atlanta, it’s close enough for a day trip, but offers plenty of attractions to justify a weekend or weeklong stay. Enjoy 2,500 acres of bike trails, hike, golf, and explore the flora and fauna of the gardens. Kids and parents will enjoy swimming and water activities at Robin Lake. A variety of lodging options will fit any budget, including the rustic Mountain Creek Inn, woodland cottages and villas, and the upscale Lodge and Spa.
What Kids Like Most: Ziplining at TreeTop Adventure, geocaching and Robin Lake Beach.
What Adults Like Most: Shore fishing along Mountain Creek Lake, biking on the nature trails.
Know Before You Go: Masks are required in all of Calloway’s indoor facilities.
The Details: Calloway Resort & Gardens, 17800 U.S. Hwy. 27, Pine Mountain. callawaygardens.com
Pricing: From $199 and up; includes admission to the gardens. Check the website for seasonal packages.
About an hour south of Atlanta in LaGrange, Great Wolf Lodge (scheduled to open on June 15) is a fun getaway for everyone in the family. The indoor water park has multiple water slides at all thrill levels, splash areas, a wave pool and a 4-story interactive play area. When the kids are ready to get out of the water, other activities include character appearances, a kids’ club and evening pajama parties. Room choices range from standard to deluxe suites with kid-friendly themed sleeping areas. Dining options range from casual seated restaurants to grab-and-go market areas.
What Kids Like Most: Cub Paw Pool for toddlers, Otter Run Slide and mini golf course.
What Adults Like Most: Triple Thunder waterslide, adults-only hot tub and upgraded cabana seating.
Know Before You Go: Water park passes and kids’ activities are included with your room package. Some water activities have minimum height requirements.
The Details: Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Tom Hall Parkway, LaGrange. 844-473-9653.
Pricing: Standard suites start at $219.99 and includes water park passes.