Alpharetta, Georgia, is super close to some amazing sites and destinations, including everything that Atlanta has to offer. However, there are many other fantastic places around North Georgia that you simply have to visit at least once. Crème de la Crème of Alpharetta on Haynes Bridge Road has put together this list of the six best day trips you and your family can take from our hometown.
Amicalola Falls State Park
Image via Flickr by Kyla Duhamel Licensed CC BY 2.0
Amicalola Falls State Park is nestled in the foothills of the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains, a fantastic location in itself. This beautiful nature-filled destination is about an hour away from Alpharetta, and the drive there is almost as scenic as the site itself.
At this state park, there are plenty of fun activities to keep you and your family busy. Hike up to the namesake falls, either on your own or with a guided tour group. This hike has you exploring the lush forest and rocky landscape that’s home to many amazing animals, and it all leads to one of the most breathtaking locations in the state. In addition to hiking, you can also zip line through the trees, shoot arrows on an archery range, go on a scavenger hunt, or fish for trout in the Reflection Pond below the falls.
But you don’t have to stay around the park. Consider staying for the weekend at the lodge and exploring the little towns, like Dahlonega and Dawsonville, in the area, too. In both towns, you’ll find shopping, dining, museums, festivals, and breweries.
Helen is about a 1.5-hour drive northeast of Alpharetta, past Dahlonega and Amicalola Falls. This little town is styled after its Bavarian heritage and offers plenty of fun activities the whole family will enjoy. There’s so much to do here that you might even consider staying for a few days at one of the campgrounds, hotels, cabins, or bed and breakfasts to take it all in.
There is plenty of unique shopping in Helen, including local artisan shops and craft boutiques that sell handmade items and those of Bavarian heritage. Helen has plenty of good eats, too, including diners, bakeries, ice cream shops, Bavarian restaurants, and taverns. Parents can enjoy the multiple vineyards and breweries around the area, too.
Around the Helen area, you can explore four different waterfalls, explore Unicoi State Park, hike Mt. Yonah Trail and portions of the Appalachian Trail, and discover unique cultural exhibits and art at one of the galleries, the Sautee Nacoochee Center and Indian Mound, or the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.
Athens is a lively college town that’s home to the University of Georgia. That means there’s plenty of nightlife, bars and restaurants, and cultural destinations to experience here. This town is known for live music, craft beer, and college sports, but there are also many museums and outdoorsy locations to explore.
Enjoy a parent’s day out without the kids to traverse the Athens Beer Trail, party in Downtown Athens, or see live music at one of the many venues. You can also plan a family fun adventure where you explore the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and its Children’s Garden, kayak or hike the Oconee Rivers Greenway, or bike along the Firefly Trail. Kids will also love skating at the Athens Skate Park or seeing the animals at Memorial Park and Bear Hollow Zoo.
Head just over an hour northwest to Barnsley Resort for some luxurious R&R. This beautiful Southern estate features many activities for families and couples. On-site, you’ll find two restaurants, a beer garden, an 18-hole golf course, shooting grounds, historical buildings, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa, and much more. Bring the family for a tour of Barnsley Farm, disc golf, and fishing or boating on the lake. The resort even has complimentary s’mores around the fire in the evenings.
You can also treat yourself to a relaxing day trip or couple’s weekend full of spa services, a guided history tour of the property on horseback, a scenic stroll around the property, and romantic dinners at one of the resort’s restaurants.
Callaway Resort & Gardens
Another amazing outdoor retreat is Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain, which is about two hours southwest of Alpharetta. This 2,500-acre resort is known for its two scenic golf courses, one with amazing views of the lake and another with fantastic views of the nearby mountains, so it’s a golfer’s paradise. It also has a full-service spa, perfect for parents who need some serious R&R.
If you’re looking for a family adventure, soar through the trees and traverse an aerial obstacle course at TreeTop Adventure and Ziplines, play tennis on one of the clay or hard-top courts, and hike or bike the 10 miles of trails. Or, explore nature at the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Overlook Azalea Garden, Meadowlark Garden, and Thornhill Hydrangea Garden.
In the summer, you can enjoy laying on the beach of Robin Lake, which features a swimming hole with a fountain you can splash under and open water for kayaking. Throughout the year, you can fish this lake and 12 others in the area for huge bass, crappie, bream, and rainbow trout. You can even book a private fishing tour with the resort.
Providence Canyon State Park
Want to see the Grand Canyon without leaving Georgia? Then head to Providence Canyon State Park, home to the state’s own scenic, grand canyon. While this stunning geological feature isn’t as large as the one in Arizona, it offers equally amazing sights, with gullies 150 feet or deeper. There are plenty of awesome trails that can take you and your family through heavily wooded forests and through fascinating habitats to the edge of these otherworldly canyons.
Throughout the park, you’ll find two picnic shelters where you can rest up and have some food, a museum to learn more about the farming practices of the 1800s that transformed this area into what it is today, and campsites where you can stay overnight to enjoy all of the features of this park.
So there you have it, six of the best day trips to take from Alpharetta. Did we miss your family’s favorite relaxing destination that’s just a drive away? If so, contact us, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!