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10 Great Getaways From Atlanta to Explore This Weekend

By The Editors | March 18, 2021 | Lifestyle

These 10 close-to-the-city locales are the perfect getaways for resting, relaxing, and repeating.


1. Serenbe

Find rest, relaxation and a whole new mindset at Serenbe. Located in Fulton County, Serenbe is a beautiful community and neighborhood where wellness and health take center stage. This high-end resort-slash-residental community on the edge of Atlanta has changed the landscape of the area and created a utopian oasis centered on guests connection to food, nature, architecture and well-being. The 48 Hours in Serenbe package at The Inn at Serenbe comprises breakfast in bed, cocktail services, a spa date for two, picnic trail rides and more. New to the Spa at Serenbe this spring, ashiatsu and warm bamboo massages, seasonal body treatments and contouring, along with dermaplaning and aromatherapy facials, are now on offer. The Farmhouse at Serenbe, an original Atlanta-area farmto- table restaurant, prepares mouthwatering menu items such as prime-cut beef capriccio, stuffed acorn squash and flourless chocolate torte.

2. Lake Lanier

About 45 minutes from Buckhead Atlanta, Lake Lanier is the perfect lake getaway for those feeling a too landlocked. Home to Lanier Islands—1,500 acres of resort that sits on the Lake Lanier’s sandy beaches—the area has plenty of opportunity for both entertainment and relaxation. This resort and hotel is the ideal easy getaway for a girls’ trip, romantic rendezvous or family gathering. You can choose from a diverse selection of accommodations including Legacy Lodges with multiple suite size options, 4,500-square-foot Legacy Villas with six individual access rooms or cabin-style Lake Houses that fit small groups and provide multiple amenities for longer stays. Campgrounds are even an option if you’re looking to have a relaxing outdoor adventure with stunning lakeside views. Beyond places to stay, you will find numerous opportunities for exercise, entertainment and relaxation both on and off the water. The first stop on your list should be Lanier Islands’ immaculate golf course, which runs along the lake’s shore to provide a peaceful and picturesque backdrop to your time spent on the greens. This 12-hole course is designed to challenge all skill levels and impress players with stunning views of the islands without noisy distractions. For golf lovers, this course is truly on par. If your summer solace starts in nature, you can find outdoor hiking trails across the resort grounds. A 1.4-mile walk around the Legacy Lodge grounds is a serene way to start your morning by the water, or the LakeHouse Power trail provides space to get in a quick sprint before lounging by the lake.

3. Athens and Lake Oconee

You dont have to be a bulldog fan to enjoy all that Athens has to offer—which includes everything from an expansive music scene to elevated, southern dining. At the city’s heart is a buzzing history that is begging to be explored. Take, for example, The Last Resort Grill. Arguably Athens’ most famous restaurant, the dining room was originally a music club that saw acts as big as Jimmy Buffet. Now, it’s a must-stop for brunch or dinner. After getting your southern-fare fill, snap a pic outside of the Georgia Theater, an art-deco style theatre in Athen’s downtown that has hosted some of the world’s best talents. Head to Lake Oconee to rest your head for the night and get some much need relaxation after the fun of the college town. Nestled between groves of Georgia pines and 30 acres of Lake Oconee shoreline, The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee is home to five restaurants, a spa spanning 27,000 square feet and luxury packages to extend your stay.

4. Sea Island

When it comes to luxury travel, few local destinations do it better than Sea Island. The resort epitomizes southern charm, offering heartfelt hospitality in all that they have to offer—which is pretty much everything. From golf courses that cater to every skill level to a full-service spa with dozens of treatment options, you’re sure to find plenty of options that entertain. If that weren’t enough to tempt you, the resorts premier dining options certainly will. Authentic Italian cuisine, fresh caught seafood and hand-dipped ice cream set the menu at Sea Island’s most appetizing resort restos.

5. Savannah

Savannah, the Hostess City of the South is the perfect getaway at just about three hours from downtown Atlanta. Along with being on the river, Savannah is full of history, spanish moss, cobblestone streets and a slower pace that fufill the southern charm you easily missed in the hussle bussle of the city. Recently a new district has arisen, the Savannah Plant Riverside District, an area once home to a power plant. The $375 million project stretches along Savannah’s riverfront, offering visitors a place to shop, drink and dine. You’ll probably want to spend a little extra time at Electric Moon, which sits on top of the refurbished power plant. The rooftop bar and lounge is basically a playground for adults, featuring LED swingsets, slides and stunning views of the river. In this area the soon-to-open JW Marriott will be the perfect host. Located smack-dab in the heart of the district, guests can explore new places to eat, drink and shop—like on-site Stone & Webster Chophouse, below, and enchanting Myrtle & Rose rooftop garden. Choose to stay in one of three unique buildings: Marvel at historic architecture in the Power Plant; embrace romantic elegance in the Three Muses; or opt for a modern maritime vibe in the Atlantic. Or opt for a classic luxury hotel stay at The Perry Lane Hotel on East Perry street and be sure to get your spot at the rooftop pool bar and lounge. It is the perfect way to recover after shopping down Broughton street.

6. Highlands

Another great destination for those looking to experience the great outdoors. Highlands, N.C. has an amazing network of hiking trails that weave in and out of Georgia and North Carolina. No trip to Highlands, N.C., is complete without a visit to acclaimed Relais & Châteaux property Old Edwards Inn and Spa. Guests are invited to sprawl out in the three- to 10-bedroom Guest Residences, a collection of bookable private homes, cabins and cottages, where they’ll enjoy a complimentary arrival amenity like a fire in the outdoor fireplace complete with s’mores fixings. And there is no shortage of ways to fill an itinerary here, from horseback riding and guided nature excursions through the Blue Ridge Mountains to private wellness sessions and innovative new touchless spa treatments. Be sure to tune in to the resort’s curated Spotify playlist, “For the Road,” on the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Atlanta. Another good spot to check out is The Highlander Mountain House, located on Main Street in the Highlands, if not for the decor, for the food as well! Inside, The Ruffed Grouse Tavern serves field, forest, fish, fowl, and farm dishes from the hands of chef Charles Hudson and the interiors' design narrative tells the story of the area's natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, resulting in a electic mix of perfect proprtions.

7. Asheville

If you love a good brew, a good sunset, some archtitecual marvels and natural wonders, Asheville is the place to visit. But of course the town itself is much more than that. Out-of-town guests often arrive with preconception that Asheville is only a place where tourists clamor to the Biltmore Estate, and beer lovers and deadheads rule the roast. After a few hours out and about in the city, which must include a stop at Italian jeweler Roberto Coin's first boutique, you realize the full scope of what Asheville is—a culturally rich and very lux hideaway in the mountains. For an intimate experience, stay at The Bunn House. The house-turned-inn comprises only six guest rooms, so the property’s rooftop terrace, outdoor wood-burning fireplace and beautiful gardens are yours to explore uninterrupted. The guest rooms are even more spectacular, equipped with a private balcony or terrace, steam showers and a ceiling-mounted sound-masking machine for premium relaxation. The city’s other must-visit spots include the River Arts District, The Montford Rooftop Bar and Ben’s Tune Up, a craft sake brewery that proves Asheville isn’t just for beer lovers.

8. Nashville

Start your weekend by checking into The Joseph, the newest luxury hotel to open in Nashville’s SoBro district. Art lovers will delight in the original works and thought-provoking pieces lining the walls, guest rooms and public spaces within the sleek hotel, while on-site restaurants Yolan, Denim and Four Walls—helmed by award-winning chef-and-wine team Tony and Cathy Mantuano—are sure to excite foodies. Additionally, The Joseph’s expansive suites, rooftop pool and bar, and full-service spa, Rose, make it one of the hottest reservations in town. During the day, explore the city’s historic Germantown neighborhood where local restaurants like Butchertown Hall and Henrietta Red serve the perfect fuel for an afternoon of honky-tonk hopping. Then, make sure to visit 4th Avenue North, or “Boutique Row” as the locals call it. Here, a strand of boutique hotels house dynamic drinking spots, like Noelle Hotel’s rooftop perch, Rare Bird, and Bobby’s Rooftop Lounge located on the tenth floor of the Bobby Hotel. Finally, head to Lower Broadway to catch a live band—and a beer buzz—in bars even more famous than the people who have performed in them.

9. Chattanooga

A must-visit for outdoor adventurers, Chattanooga has everything from rock climbing to water rafting to horseback riding. While it’s certainly a city for thrill-seekers, it is also home an impressive collection local coffee shops—a true Chattanooga specialty. If shopping is more your speed, there’s a scene for that too. Warehouse Row—a 330,000 square foot mixed-use development in the heart Chattanooga’s historic district—houses home furnishings, artisanal goods and fashion and design boutiques. After a day full of exploring, rest your head in an expertly designed room at Moxy Chattanooga Downtown. Checkin at the hotel’s check in desk—which doubles as a chic bar—to receive your room key and a complimentary cocktail. Before turning in for the night, you’ll want to make a pit stop at The Railyard. Located conveniently in the hotel’s backyard, the patio is the perfect place for a nightcap and a friendly game of corn hole.

10. Birmingham

At just over two hours, the drive to Birmingham is the perfect distance for a spontaneous two-day trip. Start early at Pepper Place in the heart of the city’s Lakeview District. Previously a Dr. Pepper factory, the renovated warehouse is now inhabited by an eclectic collection of retail shops and restaurants including a coffee shop, James Beard award-winning restaurant and two tap rooms serving up local brews. Speaking of beer, Birmingham has plenty of it. The city is home to dozens of microbreweries, local favorites include Cahaba Brewing Company, Good People Brewing Company and Trim Tab Brewing Company. When you’re ready for something stronger, make your way downtown for a crash course in Bham cocktails. From Queen’s Park to The Collins Bar, the city’s hottest watering holes are all within walking distance of one another. End your evening with a nightcap at The Roof, located conveniently atop Birmingham’s oldest-running hotel, Redmont Hotel Birmingham, Curio Collection. Or if staying in the city isn't the speed you are looking for book your room at Pursell Farms. Pastoral views and Southern hospitality are the hallmarks of a stay at this resort in Sylacauga, Ala., about 50 miles southeast of Birmingham. The estate-style Inn, the newest addition to the property, boasts 40 guest rooms, a sparkling outdoor pool and two dining concepts: Arrington, Pursell Farms’ signature restaurant; and Old Tom’s Pub—both of which overlook the 18th fairway of the resort’s top-rated golf course. Luxury cottage and cabin options also abound for those seeking a more secluded getaway and glorious, wide-open spaces.

Photography by: Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash