Gaylord Opryland Resort
Visit deluxe resorts, rustic inns and affordable cottages, all within weekend driving distance from Atlanta. Looking for more travel ideas? Check out Best Travel Destinations Near Atlanta and Beyond.
This large water park complex has one indoor and two outdoor water parks. The property has six restaurants, a deli, mini golf, a 36-hole champion golf course, an arcade and countless waterslides, including the new Wild Vortex, the Southeast’s only near-vertical waterslide. The Wilderness Adventure Forest has climbing walls, ropes courses, mini golf and laser tag.
Nearby: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Dollywood.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 4-hour drive.
Travel to this resort for a private lake for swimming and non-motor boating, climbing tower, hiking trails, golf, tennis and a spa. There are no phones or TVs in the rooms for some un-plugged family time. The Kids’ Club program (ages 3-9) includes themed days such as Water Day, Hayride Adventures, Slip-n-Slide, Nature Day and more. Older kids (ages 8 and older) can zip line, go whitewater rafting and more.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 2½-hour drive.
On the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is this Adirondacks-style lodge, which blends rustic appeal and comfort. Highlights for kids include storytime in a big teepee and roasting s’mores on the campfire. Guests take the trail to Buckberry Creek and a covered pavilion, with tables for enjoying a meal, creek-side hammocks, big rocking chairs, huge stone fireplace, and outhouses with chandeliers. Best: You won’t be hiking back up. Just pick up the phone and staff will come fetch you in a reconditioned Swiss army troop transport vehicle called a Pinzgauer. (An exciting ride in itself!)
Nearby: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, including Dollywood and Cade’s Cove (11-mile paved loop within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park).
From Atlanta: Approximately a 5-hour drive.
Parents can relax and enjoy treatments at one of the nation’s top five spa resorts while the children are enjoying a half- or full-day camp on site with swimming, games, sports, and arts and crafts. The resort also has supervised childcare, playground and pools, and a video/game library.
Nearby: Take a tour with Adventure America Zipline Canopy Tours or visit the Colburn Earth Science Museum.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 3½-hour drive.
One of the Southeast’s largest indoor water parks is at this over-the-top family resort (another location recently opened close to Atlanta). The lodge offers everything from a zero-depth entry pool and spray area for toddlers to wild slides for older children and parents. The resort includes an arcade, a teens’ tech center, mini golf, children’s spa, children’s bowling alley and the Cub Club – a dry activity center for young children. The resort has fun camp- and cave-themed suites and bunk beds.
Nearby: Visit Charlotte for family fun at the Discovery Place Science Center and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 4-hour drive.
If expense is not a concern and true luxury close to Atlanta matters, then the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee beckons. Parents can enjoy fine dining, golf on a pristine course, and relax in a top-notch spa. For kids, there’s the Ritz-Kids program, a supervised program for guests ages 5-12. Kids spend all or half the day going on nature hikes or canoeing, kayaking and more. Families spend time together in the infinity pool, on a pontoon boat or jet skis on the lake, at the horseshoe pits or on the trails. The Linger Longer Express, a 26-passenger train, takes visitors around the landscaped property.
Nearby: Shop and explore historic Greensboro or Madison.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 1½-hour drive.
Parents can admire the indoor gardens and waterfalls, use the spa and gym, or relax at one of the pools at the resort. SummerFest combines music, entertainment, a scavenger hunt and more with lush atrium gardens, poolside fun and an array of dining found year-round. Families can hunt through the resort with the Tennessee trivia scavenger hunt, take a Music City-themed cruise on the resort’s indoor river or learn about the region’s spookiest tales on a guided haunted history tour.
Nearby: Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Instrument Petting Zoo, the Adventure Science Center or the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 4½-hour drive.
Nestled in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, Towns County offers everything families are looking for in a fun vacation. Lake Chatuge provides endless opportunity for families to reconnect, with fishing, kayaking, boating and swimming. The area has hiking adventures to numerous waterfalls and mountain views from the highest point in Georgia. Brasstown Valley Resort offers horseback riding, an indoor pool and hiking trails.
Nearby: The towns of Helen and Hiawassee offer lots of fun for families.
From Atlanta: Approximately a 2-hour drive.
From the stunning vistas of Cloudland State Park on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, to alligator encounters and dripping Spanish moss at Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge in South Georgia, our state parks offer an affordable option for families. Many have fully-equipped cabins called cottages. At Hard Labor Creek, sleep well amid the quiet of the woods, wake refreshed and go for a stroll or hike on more than 22 miles of trails. Then hit the 275-acre Lake Rutledge, a popular swimming destination with a wide, sandy beach. State parks offer myriad programs and activities for kids and families, including twilight and moonlight hikes. At Amicalola Falls, enjoy gorgeous waterfalls while staying in cottages that sleep four to 10 at the top or bottom of the falls. Cottages and lodge rooms throughout the state, all within a few hours drive from Atlanta.