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Washed by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in the south, bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the north, and providing a diversity of terrain in between, Georgia offers a wide variety of fantastic cheap weekend getaways. Deeply rooted in history, boasting a plethora of picturesque historic towns, and offering many relaxing rural retreats, the “Peach State” is there for you to discover. While the vibe of Georgia is a mostly calm and rustic one, culture-packed Atlanta is there to provide some vibrance while the resorts on the coastal Atlantic offer an oceanside holiday. Check out these cheap weekend getaways in Georgia and find the destination that works for you.
Creative energy abounds in Athens, home of the University of Georgia. Students rule this picturesque town, and it shows. You’ve got a great choice of hip eateries and cafes, music venues (R.E.M. started in Athens), and galleries. Also, it’s one of the best cheap weekend getaways in Georgia because there’s so much to do without spending a penny. Admire the antebellum architecture of the downtown, check out the Georgia Museum of Art for an extensive American art collection (free when you make a reservation in advance), and get a dose of floral aesthetics at the State Botanical Garden (also completely free to visit). For even more outdoors, the North Oconee River shores provide a scenic background for your walks and picnics. In the evening, catch a live performance at one of the numerous music venues and bars around the center.
Take it to nature in North Georgia’s mountain town of Ellijay. Sometimes called the “Apple Capital of Georgia” for its apple production and annual Georgia Apple Festival, it’s a fascinating outdoor wonderland. Choose a simple cabin or a campground, and embark on a relaxing weekend adventure full of hiking, winetasting, climbing, apples, and, of course, Georgian cuisine. Carters Lake nearby will provide unlimited water activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, and fishing. Also, it’s not only apples in Ellijay. Vineyards surround the town, and many of the wineries are open for you to explore.
When you’re looking for a cheap weekend Georgia getaway, it pays off to visit a mountain town. The natural attractions and best things to do are mostly free to visit, so that you won’t be spending much. In return, you’re getting a fresh air-filled adventure and many positive emotions. Blue Ridge is among the top Georgia destinations for outdoors. Located in the middle of the vast Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, it combines an exciting resort town with breweries, cafes, and restaurants with easy access to hiking trails. While you’re here, taking the retro Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train is a must; the atmosphere and the views are incredible and very romantic. As for hiking, explore the magnificent Lake Blue Ridge nearby and walk up to Fall Branch Falls and Long Creek Falls.
At first glance, Macon seems like a typical charming small town in Georgia. The antebellum mansions dot the airy streets, there’s a nostalgic feel in the air, and time seems to run a little slower. But few other places in the state hold such musical power as Macon. The reason is Capricorn Records, which is largely responsible for shaping the southern rock sound of the 1970s. Also, this town is the birthplace of music giants like Little Richard and Otis Redding. You can pay a visit to the home museums to dive deeper into the inspirational atmosphere of Macon. The city has played an important part in the success of another iconic rock-n-roll act, The Allman Brothers Band. You can explore their story at The Big House museum. The fantastic Grand Opera House and 1921-built Douglass Theatre are also top venues to check out.
It’s hard to confuse the captivating cityscape of Savannah with anything else. Moss-filled live oak trees dominate the old streets and squares and everywhere you look there’s something historic. Horse-driven carriages ride past with a clicking sound and you can hear the buzzing of the busy port in the distance. Savannah is the perfect destination for travelers on a budget because everything that made this city famous is on the surface, and there are plenty of inexpensive things to do. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the most out of its famous Southern charm. Slow observant walking is the best way to experience the city. Give yourself the pleasure to wander aimlessly around the many Savannah squares, visit the tranquil ancient cemeteries, take countless photos of the live oaks, and check out the vibrant River Street area. Forrest Gump fans would be delighted to find a bench where Tom Hanks’ lovable hero told his stories to strangers. It’s located on Chippewa Square and looks as cinematic as it gets.
Tybee Island, located just 20 miles away from Savannah, is a very intimate beach town experience. No highrise hotels are found here. It’s all small houses, heartwarming cafes, and the wild expanse of the Atlantic’s gorgeousness. Also, it is among the best cheap weekend getaways in Georgia, where you can profit from a superb beach and have an affordable ocean retreat. The barrier island location adds to the remote atmosphere, and the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum provides a historical fix. For the best Atlantic vistas, head to Tybee Pier and Pavilion, a completely free way to admire Tybee Island’s beachy perfection.
The Southern U.S. is the last place you would think to find a traditional German village. But Georgia has one, and it’s called Helen. While this Blue Ridge Mountains-hugged town doesn’t have a direct link to Bavaria, it definitely does a fantastic job paying it homage. The timber houses line up on the lively streets while an annual Oktoberfest and the Christmas market are among the state’s best and most charming events of their kind. The Chattahoochee River provides a stunning almost-alpine background, while the mountainous surroundings and Smithgall Woods State Park allow for great outdoor activities.
The less touristy and more down-to-earth Brunswick is Savannah’s spiritual cousin. You will also find the gorgeous live oak trees mightily owning the historic streets here – albeit there will also be the palms (Georgia’s proximity to Florida shows). Make sure to take a walk along Brunswick’s cozy squares, see the Lover’s Oak which has been around since 1787 (yes, the city is that old too), and get a bite of Southern cuisine at one of the restaurants found on central Newcastle Street. Maybe even look for some of these Georgia culinary staples. Finally, Howard Coffin Park is an excellent place to unwind after a sight-filled walk through downtown.
Georgia’s history and spectacular Atlantic coast come together at St. Simons Island, the largest of the state’s Golden Isles. East Beach is an expansive and spectacular show of Atlantic beauty. The ocean dwellers love it, too. Loggerhead sea turtles come here to lay their eggs, and you can easily see a variety of crabs during the tides. Dolphins may grace your sunset watching with their cheerful water jumps, too. On the urban side of things, St. Simons Island is a very easygoing place drowning in Southern flora, boasting charming old buildings and scenic oceanside parks. No visit is complete without having a tour of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum, the area’s charming symbol. What better way to spend a weekend than next to the ocean? In this regard, St. Simons Island is your perfect Georgia weekend getaway.
Main Street in sleepy Senoia isn’t much different than many other Georgia small towns. Except it has a strong… zombie connection. If you watched the long-running AMC hit show The Walking Dead, you would immediately recognize this cityscape. Standing for the fictional undead-infested Woodbury and Alexandria, Senoia has fully embraced its cinematic background in recent years, becoming a surprising top destination in Georgia (as well as one of the wealthiest towns). There are Walking Dead-themed tours, a shop selling show memorabilia, and a movie set where the filming took place. But the historic Southern charms didn’t go anywhere with its newly found fame. You can still admire the lovely townhouses and relax at one of the many local cafes and eateries. Just watch out for zombies. Who knows what secrets this little town holds?
While the live oak trees definitely add to the allure of picturesque Thomasville, it’s the roses that define this small southwest Georgian town. Every spring, the Rose Show & Festival draws visitors to the fantastic Thomasville Rose Garden to witness thousands of these beautiful flowers in bloom. Apart from the thorny plants, Thomasville is a typical Southern charmer with cobblestone-clad alleys, top-notch antiquing, well-preserved Victorian architecture, and The Big Oak, a sprawling live oak tree dating back to 1680. Basically, here you’re getting yourself a teleport to the old world; such is the atmosphere of Thomasville. Discover more about local African-American history at the excellent Jack Hadley Black History Museum and visit the intricate Victorian Lapham-Patterson House from the 19th century.
Embrace Georgia’s wilder, more desolate side at Darien, once a hugely important colonial port. The location here is genuinely marvelous; this little town is a getaway to one of the largest estuaries in the world, meaning that the water enjoyment never stops. Altamaha River is queen of the outdoors in Darien, offering a wide array of activities like kayaking, fishing, canoeing, and boating. History lovers will also be pleased. Fort King George State Historic Site is the oldest English fortress on Georgia’s coast, and Butler Island Plantation is an eerie reminder of a difficult slavery past. And while in Darien, be sure to try the seafood; the local eateries will be happy to provide what’s been freshly caught.