You could probably spend days in Atlanta and still won’t run out of things to do or places to visit. The city simply encourages everyone to go and explore what it has to offer.
From award-winning restaurants to museums to plenty of green space — your Atlanta visit promises to be jampacked.
However, Atlanta is also a great starting point for exploring nearby areas or simply doing things that aren’t always mentioned in travel guides. Set aside a day or two and step out of the usual Atlanta attractions into places that are bound to make your trip extra memorable.
Here are the best day trips from Atlanta, Georgia that you shouldn’t miss.
15 Best Day Trips From Atlanta, Georgia
1. Stranger Things Bus Tour
This Atlanta day tour takes you not just out of the city, but into another world altogether.
Fancy a trip back to the 80s, or the Upside Down? If you’re a fan or have ever seen the hit Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’, this should be part of your itinerary.
You get to explore onboard a special tour bus that takes you to prominent filming locations. You get to visit Chicago, Hawkins in Indiana, Benny’s Burgers and even the Upside Down.
The guide is an industry insider with amazing insights, fun trivia and behind-the-scenes info about the series that makes the tour even more exciting.
2. North Georgia Wine Country Tour
Here’s a one of a kind day trip from Atlanta that’s not to be missed. North Georgia is Wine Country, and easily accessible from the city.
The drive takes you through rolling hills covered with vineyards that you can visit up close.
Check out at least a couple of vineyards and wineries, where you get to learn everything from the region’s wine history and culture to winemaking itself. Each tour ends with a tasting and you get to taste several types of wine.
This is a great introduction to this part of Georgia that will most likely make you come back for more.
3. Helen, Georgia
A visit to the picturesque town of Helen in North Georgia is often part of the Wine Country tour.
It deserves a separate visit though, as there’s plenty to see and do here.
Helen is North Georgia’s Bavarian mountain town, with great restaurants and fabulous boutique shops.
This is a lovely Atlanta day trip that you can embark on, separate from the Wine Country visit.
Here, you get to experience a bit of small-town Georgia and simply relax while enjoying good food and the laid back atmosphere.
4. Senoia, Georgia / TWD Filming Location
The charming Senoia is located an hour away by car from Atlanta, and still part of its Metropolitan area.
It is said to be the richest town in Georgia and known for its green spaces and excellent housing. The downtown area is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll.
Over the past decade though, Senoia has been known as the primary filming location for the hit TV series The Walking Dead.
Going around the various memorial filming sites is one the best day tours from Atlanta that you shouldn’t miss.
Learn more about the series during the tour, enjoy fun activities and never miss the amazing photo opportunities. This is a great homage to the series that fans or non-fans alike will enjoy.
5. Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium is one place that anyone could spend an entire day in.
Regarded as the largest indoor aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, a visit here is one of the best Atlanta day tours.
The massive structures hold 10 million gallons of fresh and saltwater and are home to more than 100,000 creatures and species. It has 100 distinct habitats that are quite fascinating.
You get to see belugas, bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, penguins, sea lions, whale sharks and more. The Georgia Aquarium is also the venue for a teaching hospital for aspiring marine biologists and vets.
6. Athens, Georgia
Known for its thriving indie music scene as well as being the home of the University of Georgia, Athens makes for a fun day trip from Atlanta.
Set out early and drive to this gorgeous city, which is just an hour and twenty minutes away.
Start by walking through its historic downtown that’s filled with impressive architecture. See the old buildings with distinct southern touches and 18th-century houses turned museums that are open for tours.
Don’t miss the eclectic art galleries, or the performing arts centers for more cultural experiences.
If you’re a sports fan, you might chance upon a game at the university stadium. Athens is pretty much a more low key Atlanta, and a sure must visit.
Hailed as “Best Town Ever” by Outdoor Magazine, Chattanooga is known both as an outdoor adventure hub as well as a town filled with historic attractions. Go and explore the parks or walk along the river.
Along the Tennessee River, take part in activities like hiking, hang-gliding, and white water rafting. Chattanooga’s downtown area, meanwhile, is known for its historical sights related to the Civil War.
Check out the monuments at the pedestrian river walk. There are also museums like the 6th Cavalry Museum that you can visit.
Places like the Cravens House or the Chickamauga Civil War Battlefield are fascinating places that provide more insight into the city’s history.
How about a day trip from Atlanta that takes you to another state, and into the lovely city of Birmingham?
Considered as an important metropolis in the American South, Birmingham was founded in 1871.
It was then a wealthy resource of coal, iron, and limestone which are necessary for steel production.
Today, Birmingham is best known as the cultural capital of Alabama. It has plenty of performing arts centers and home to well-attended festivals.
The city is also home to lots of museums like the Birmingham Museum of Art, the biggest in the Southeast. Birmingham’s youthful energy and electric vibe come from the many colleges and universities found here.
It may take four hours to get to Nashville, but it makes for a fun and unforgettable day trip from Atlanta.
Regarded as the Country Music Capital of the United States, the city is bursting with music-related attractions.
Set out early to make the most of your visit here. Make sure to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame as well as the legendary Grand Ole Opry.
Stay until the evening and check out smaller venues to catch a music gig. Stroll along with its neighborhoods, each with a distinct character.
This Tennessee gem is divided into several distinct neighborhoods, each has its own personal vibe. Nashville also prides itself in its thriving culinary and arts scene, so savor the food then check out the art galleries and exhibits.
You probably have never heard of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but it’s another long-distance Atlanta day trip that you shouldn’t miss. Going here takes four hours by car, so set out early to fully enjoy your Gatlinburg visit.
Located right next to Smoky Mountain National Park, this day trip is bound to be filled with adventure. There are 150 trails in the park, and they wind through 800 miles of lush forestry.
The area also boasts of diverse wildlife and known as one of the few International Biosphere Reserves across the world.
While here, be sure to visit the stunning Roaring Fork waterfalls and Cades Cove, a popular biking area. Around Gatlinburg town, you’ll find historical cabins and mills that speak about the fascinating history of Smoky Mountain.
11. Brewery Tour
Atlanta has a booming brewery scene and it’s surely a unique thing to check out while in the city.
Join this fantastic Atlanta day tour that takes you through breweries. Learn about their history, the beer-making process, and free tastings.
In most tours, you get to visit three breweries and some of the most popular are Atlanta brewing (formerly Red Brick), Monday Night Brewing and SweetWater Brewing.
12. Atlanta Historical Homes
Escape a bit of the city hustle and enjoy a more laid back tour. This Atlanta day tour takes you through some of the most popular historic homes in the city.
Check out these homes and learn more about its famous residents. You’ll also learn the importance of each home to Atlanta’s history.
One of Atlanta’s prominent residences is the Governor’s Mansion, a 1967 Greek Revival style home. There’s also the
Margaret Mitchell House where she wrote the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind. Another historical house that’s a must-visit is The Swan House or Smith Family Farm.
13. Southern Food Tour at Inman Park
Atlanta is known for its many award-winning restaurants, but a better way to explore the region’s cuisine is through a food tour.
How about a Southern food tour, held at the historic Inman park? You wouldn’t want to miss this delicious Atlanta day tour.
Learn more about Southern food and even sample them.
Enjoy traditional Southern foods such as black pepper biscuits with gravy and bacon, smoked chicken wings and boiled peanuts.
There’s also the more modern Gu’s dumplings, Waldorf kale salad that you can try.
The tour also includes a visit to a local market so you can stock up on ingredients or buy local delicacies to bring back home.
14. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell’s Atlanta
A visit to this prominent historical home is more of a half-day trip.
Still, it’s a fascinating Atlanta day trip that deserves a separate visit and not just part of any other tour. This tour also focuses more on Georgia that was depicted in ‘Gone With the Wind’.
The tour takes you to historical landmarks such as the Oakland Cemetery and Inman Park.
There’s also a more thorough visit to the house of the author Margaret Mitchell, as well as the Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta.
15. World of Coca Cola
The ubiquitous Coca Cola calls Atlanta its main city. The drink was invented in downtown Atlanta in 1886 by pharmacist John S. Pemberton.
The place that’s now known as The World of Coca Cola is essentially the brand’s temple and headquarters. It is also a 92,000 square meter interactive museum.
Get in the 4D theater where you’ll basically feel like you’re inside a Coke bottle. You may also try your hand at an old-fashioned manual bottling machine.
A must visit is the tasting room where you get to sample more than a hundred Coca-Cola soda flavors and variants from around the world.
This is absolutely a great Atlanta day tour that’s a must experience.