- Mary Caldwell For the AJC
Atlantans live in an area with plenty to do and see, but when it's spring break, you'll have time to hit the road and explore some new destinations a little farther away from home.
These fun spring break getaways are all less than two hours from Atlanta, so you and your family will arrive at your destination quickly without being exhausted from a long trip:
Driving time from Atlanta: About one hour and 45 minutes.
Where to stay: Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St., Chattanooga. 423-266-5000. Located downtown, the aptly named inn was once the terminal station for a Southern Railway line.
Chattanooga has an urban, yet scenic setting that makes it ideal for a spring break trip. Take a stroll or bike along the Riverwalk, which runs along the Tennessee River, or stop at one of the piers and fish. The kids will also enjoy Coolridge Park, which has a restored antique carousel and a floating restaurant, and if they love animals, stop by the Chattanooga Zoo or the city's Aquarium. You'll also want to make time for the Creative Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga.
Pine Mountain, Georgia,http://www.pinemountain.org
Driving time from Atlanta: About one hour and 12 minutes
Where to stay: The Mountain Creek Villas, 17800 US-27, Pine Mountain. 706-663-2281. These private dwellings are a short walk to Callaway Gardens' attractions and have one to four bedrooms, each with its own bath, a fully equipped kitchen and washer and dryer.
Visit Callaway Gardens, which has a Spring Break package that's good until May 20, 2017. It includes lodging, admission to the Gardens and its attractions (including the Butterfly Center), and two hours of bicycle rental, kayak or canoe rental, and tennis court time. Make a stop at Pine Mountain's Wild Animal Safari, a 500-acre park where you can drive or take a guided tour bus through three acres of exotic animals and walk through an additional section. You can also mix in a little education with your family's fun at Roosevelt's Little White House.
Driving time from Atlanta: About one hour and 25 minutes
Where to stay:The Smith House, 84 South Chestatee St., Dahlonega. 706-725-8148, ext. 1. Enjoy family-style dining during your stay.
Named one of Smithsonian Magazine's "20 Best Small Towns to Visit," Dahlonega has plenty of small-town charm combined with lots of activities for the entire family. Kids will love panning for gold at one of Dahlonega's gold mines and visiting the University of North Georgia's Planetarium and Observatory. Also check out the North Georgia Zoo, which hosts a Springtime Festival with extra kid-friendly activities from March 31-April 12.
Lake Oconee, 1 Lake Oconee Trail, Greensboro, Georgia, http://www.visitlakeoconee.com.
Driving time: About one hour and 17 minutes
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, 1 Lake Oconee Trail, Greensboro. 706-467-0600.
The resort has lots of kid-friendly activities including a nightly s'mores celebration and lakeside bonfire.
Lake Oconee provides the perfect setting for many water sports, including canoeing, kayaking, jet-skiing, fishing and boating. Hiking, golf and horseback riding are also among the active pursuits your family can enjoy while at the lake. And if you'd like to go on an off-road excursion, visit Durhamtown, a 6,000-acre facility where you can rent dirt bikes, ATVs and more.