Many people think that taking a family vacation is a luxury that they simply can’t afford. It’s true that fuel, hotels, meals and activity costs add up while traveling, especially if you have a family. But not all vacation destinations are created equal, and some are definitely far more affordable than others.
Fortunately, Georgia has quite a few affordable destinations that have plenty to see and do without breaking your budget. Everyone deserves an occasional break from routine, and family vacations are a perfect way to reconnect with yourself and bond with the people you care about. So, before you write off taking a trip because of finances, learn more about these cheap Georgia vacations that you can afford this year.
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Relax and Unwind at Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier is only about 45 minutes north of Atlanta and a great way to kick back and relax without spending a fortune. There are three campgrounds here that you can stay at as alternatives to more costly resorts and hotels in the area. There’s a waterpark area here called LanierWorld that has lots of activities for the whole family, including waterslides, a large wave pool, lakeside beach, and even a floating stage with entertainment in the summer. But to save money on activity costs, skip the spa, golf course, and private horseback riding lessons. Your family can spend plenty of time at the campground making your own fun with games and cookouts.
Get Cultured in Columbus
Visit the Georgia city of Columbus for a dose of art and culture without big price tags. There’s a new National Infantry Museum near Fort Benning, and Riverwalk Park is a wonderful place to just relax and watch the flowing water. You can experience a lazy river ride in the morning or even Class V whitewater rapids if you hit the river in the afternoon. The State Theatre of Georgia is located in Columbus, as well as the Springer Opera House, RiverCenter of the Performing Arts, and the Columbus Museum. Value Place Columbus (Victory Drive) and the Econo Lodge at Fort Benning are recommended budget hotels here.
Ethnic Food Tour in Duluth
Duluth makes a great destination that’s full of culture and close to Atlanta without the big city prices. There’s a popular Fall Festival here if you visit in the autumn, local art walks, and the Duluth History Museum to check out while you’re in town. Duluth is a melting pot of cultures, and this is perhaps best experienced through food. Buford Highway in Atlanta is known as a big ethnic food hub in Atlanta, but Duluth has a similar culinary scene that is fun and affordable. There are lots of great Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Sichuan, Hispanic, and Indian restaurants here to create your own foodie tour. Top picks include Seo Ra Beol, Song Do, Haru Ichiban, and What the Pho. Recommended low-cost hotels in Duluth include Gwinnett Place Mall Extended Stay Hotel, Studio 6 Gwinnett Place, and Comfort Suites Gwinnett Place.
Bike the Silver Comet Trail
The Silver Comet is a rail-to-trail bike route in Western Georgia that’s free and a great way to get some exercise. The trail picks up about 13 miles northwest of Atlanta and is 61.5 miles long from the Mavell Road Trailhead in Smyrna to the Georgia/Alabama state line near Cedartown. This trail makes for an excellent multi-day ride, so pack a tent and strap it onto your bike for a big adventure! The trail is paved and a nice option for walking, jogging, strollers, and dog walks also. If you’re in shape and ambitious, keep your ride going into Alabama by continuing on the 33-mile-long Chief Lagida Trail to Anniston, Alabama. If you make it all the way to Anniston and want to treat yourself to a hotel stay, there’s a McClellan Inn and Hotel Finial that are recommended in town.
Fishing Weekend in Appling
There are lots of state parks worth visiting in Georgia, but Mistletoe State Park in Appling is a top spot if you love to fish. This is a great area for bass fishing, and there are lots of other cheap outdoor activities to partake in here as well. Make a whole weekend out of Mistletoe and go camping, hiking, biking, and picnicking to enjoy the great outdoors in Georgia. If you want to visit the park but not camp, you could stay in nearby Augusta because there are some budget-friendly hotels here.
Beach Time at Tybee Island
A day at the beach doesn’t have to be a drain on your wallet, and Tybee Island proves it. Here you can be lazy and lounge on the beach all day, or you can do some sightseeing during your vacation too. You can climb 178 stairs to reach the top of Georgia’s largest and most well-preserved lighthouse and check out the museum. The Tybee Island annual beach bum parade takes place in May and is fun for the whole family with water guns and fabulous costumes. The Royal Palm Motel and Dunes Inn & Suites are budget-friendly hotels that are recommended on Tybee Island.
Southern Charm in Marietta
Marietta is a lovely town that’s not far away from Atlanta but offers southern charm at a fraction of the price. The Historic Marietta Square is the place to be for free outdoor music concerts and festival events. There’s a gazebo, bandstand, and fountain here shaded by big oak trees in the middle of town. You’ll also find lots of shops, restaurants, and even theaters around the square that are easily reached on foot while taking a leisurely stroll. Foot-operated pedi-cabs and a trolley are also available if you’d rather not walk. To cut costs while visiting Marietta, consider booking your stay at the Motel 6 Atlanta Northwest-Marietta, the Days Inn Marietta-Atlanta-Delk Road, or Studio 6 Atlanta-Marietta.
Historic Architecture in Newnan
Located south of Atlanta, Newnan is a charming town in Georgia that’s affordable to visit. Newnan has been called the “City of Homes” because off the historic houses that are located here, which makes it an ideal vacation destination for architecture buffs. The beautiful dome of the 1904 Classic Revival courthouse is worth checking out, for example. The town also has a cute town square area with coffeeshops, restaurants, and shops. If you’re looking for a deal on accommodations in Newnan, consider staying at the Americans Best Value Inn, HomeLodge Newnan, or the Red Roof Inn & Suites Newnan.
Small Town Fun in Canton
Canton has consistently been voted one of the most Georgia affordable towns to live in, and it’s affordable to just visit as well. Meals won’t cost as much here as in many other places, which makes dining out and trying new foods more accessible. Small town fun is abundant and often free here. One popular attraction is the Tanglewood Farm Miniatures, which has over 150 miniature animals in a Wild West-style town. You’ll see everything from dwarf goats to alpacas, and even the smallest registered miniature horse in the world here! The Wild West town has a bank, saloon, interactive displays, and souvenir shops. There’s also a Native American pow-wow that’s held in Canton annually over Mother’s Day. When you visit Canton, you can stay in budget-friendly hotels like the Motel 6 Canton, Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, or Days Inn Canton.
History for Free in Atlanta
Finding a cheap hotel in Atlanta can definitely be a challenge, but once you get here and settle in, there are lots of free things to do. Atlanta has a rich history, and many historic sites can be explored free of charge. Check out Freedom Hall, which is an exhibition hall with artifacts from both Georgia and Africa. You can also visit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birth home and crypt. The birth home is accessible by guided tour but is free to visit. You can also take a free guided tour of the Georgia State Capitol and see the Georgia Capitol Museum while you’re here. To get outdoors and active for free in Atlanta, don’t miss Centennial Olympic Park and the popular Beltline trail. Affordable accommodations in Atlanta can be booked at the Cheshire Motor Inn, WoodSpring Suites Atlanta/Chamblee, and Motel 6 Atlanta.