Once in a while, we all need to loosen the tie, leave the kids at grandma’s, forget about the bank account and just have a blow-out weekend. Luckily, there are plenty of options in Atlanta and nearby to create some bucket list memories. Here are some of our favorite weekend getaways that are mission-critical for Atlanta locals to do at least once.
Need a moment of Zen? How about a weekend? Well then, Serenbe is the weekend getaway for you. Located south of Atlanta, Serenbe is a wellness community full of fantastic restaurants, including the Farmhouse at Serenbe, fresh air and miles of nature trails where you can walk or ride horses and just enjoy the outdoors. There is a theater plus goat yoga, fantastic shopping, cooking classes, farm tours and farmers markets. The Inn at Serenbe features 27 guests rooms located among six buildings.
North Georgia Mountains
Depending on where you start, the charming towns of North Georgia can be as close as an hour away. Your choices are varied. There are vineyards sprinkled throughout the area, so a trip for wine lovers could be to visit one or two. Most of the towns offer hiking and river activities. Shopping is popular in Dahlonega and Blue Ridge plus there are two outlet malls, North Georgia Premium Outlets on Georgia 400 and The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta on Interstate 575. The town of Helen provides a little taste of Bavaria. Nearby Sautee Nacoochee is home to arts, museums and history. Waterfall aficionados should seek out Amicalola Falls or Tallulah Falls.
Lake Lanier Islands
Lake Lanier Islands features scenic areas that are perfect for a weekend getaway. Play golf, rent a boat, go horseback riding, swim in the lake or get pampered at the spa. Sidney’s has a fabulous Sunday brunch, and in the evening you may enjoy a crafted cocktail at the fire pits while listening to music from the Sunset Stage. There are a variety of accommodations including the 221-room Legacy Lodge, six-bedroom lakeside Georgia villas, 30 two-bedroom lake houses and two campgrounds with both tent and RV sites. It’s less than an hour away from Atlanta, so fun and relaxation are right at your fingertips.
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
This is the place if you are looking for five-star amenities, natural beauty and a quiet escape. Play golf on five championship courses, enjoy bourbon tastings and special events, water sports and, during the winter, ice skating. Located only 20 miles from Atlanta, the Ritz-Carlton experience includes a luxury spa that features almost 30,000 square feet of relaxation facilities including an indoor pool, saunas, steam rooms, cold plunge pools and a variety of traditional therapies. For dining, The Barrel Room offers craft cocktails as well as billiards and live music. Linger Longer Steakhouse offers prime cuts of meat and table-side carvings. For romance, enjoy Chiminea dining, a three-course meal where diners settle into Adirondack chairs around a personal bonfire.
Here is the ultimate place for a weekend retreat. Whether it's golfing, horseback riding, walking in the gardens, hiking, clay shooting or quail hunting, there is something for everyone. The resort, located in Adairsville, features 90 cottage rooms and suites, including six one-bedroom Arbor Cottage suites for the ultimate in luxury and privacy. The Inn at Barnsley Resort is a three-story English country home with a grand staircase and 55 rooms and suites. Spend some time in the spa with 10 treatment rooms and then enjoy the dining options, ranging from fine dining to a beer garden. The Rice House is a 10th century farmhouse that offers a “yard to fork” experience that includes using locally foraged mushrooms and farm-grazed beef.
St. Regis Atlanta
Don't want to go far but really want a weekend to celebrate a special anniversary, promotion or just to celebrate life? Then the St. Regis Atlanta is the place. You’ll enjoy an unrivaled experience with impeccable service and signature St. Regis rituals, such as champagne that is opened every evening with a saber. There are 151 spacious guestrooms and 31 suites where exclusively is enhanced with St. Regis Butler Service. Relax in the Remède Spa or swim in the 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza. For dinner, the Atlas Room is a chef-driven restaurant that celebrates the best of seasonal American cuisine with European influences.
Savannah is a world-class city that exudes charm, sophistication and a little bit of rowdiness. Savannah has old-world charm, fantastic restaurants and more than a few bars that will welcome you. Some of the must-dos in Savannah are to cruise down the Savannah River, visit the first-of-its-kind American Prohibition Museum that tells about the temperance movement, visit Tybee Island and simply walk through the romantic city. Savannah is full of historic bed & breakfasts so you’ll have plenty of lodging options. Make sure to get a scoop at Leopold’s Ice Cream, which is a Savannah tradition that is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications.