Atlanta is a boisterous, colorful city buzzing with activity. The capital city stretches 134 square miles, filled with trees and rolling hills. It is known internationally as the primary transportation hub of the southwestern United States, thanks to the prominence of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which has held the title of “World’s Busiest Airport” since 1998.
If you live in Atlanta, it’s easy to go exploring. Not only is it convenient to travel within Atlanta, but there are dozens of great destinations within a reasonable drive. Traveling around, in and out of Atlanta is a breeze for its residents, here’s why.
Getting around in the city.
Exploring Atlanta neighborhoods is easy if you use the public transportation options. Zoom through town using the MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid transit rail system, the Atlanta streetcar that operates on a 2.7-mile loop from the entertainment system to Sweet Auburn or rent a bike to explore more intimately. The Atlanta Visitors Bureau has all the information you need on public transportation in Atlanta.
It’s just a five-hour drive.
There are tons of east coast vacation spots within driving distance of Atlanta. Nashville, TN is four hours to the northwest, Charlotte, NC is four hours to the northeast, Charleston, SC is five hours to the southeast, and Santa Rosa beach is only five hours to the south.
Five hours is the perfect length for a road trip. If you’re traveling with a companion, you’ll have just enough time to listen to a couple of hilarious podcasts, play some fun road trip games, or jam to a throwback playlist. Stopping in all of these cities would be tricky, so read up on your favorites and pick one or two.
Nashville, Tennessee: Sweet and Southern Excitement
Nashville calls itself “a small town trapped in a big city,” and for good reason. The honkytonks and country music evoke a sense of community and folks around the city are known for their southern hospitality. The city is also entering something of a foodie renaissance. Visitors shouldn’t miss the sweet treats at The Bang Candy Company or the traditional southern grub at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. Be sure to stop in at the Country Music Hall of Fame and one of the city’s art galleries.
Charlotte, North Carolina: Romance and Colonial Charm
Charlotte is for the romantics. Livened up by stately southern charm and colonial architecture, Charlotte is a great place to bring a lover for a few nights. Stay in a historical bed and breakfast so you can wake up and enjoy the culture. The city is lush and bike-able, so bike tours are always a great option. For a bite and some nostalgia visit La’Wan’s Soul Food, another southern food favorite.
Charleston, South Carolina: Jazzy and Refreshing
The weather in Charleston is a breezy 76 degrees, even in November. You’re close to two famous beaches, Sullivan’s and Folly Beach, and you can even drive across the causeway to Sullivan’s Island. Or head to YoBo and enjoy a fruity margarita the size of your head. Charleston is a jazzy, colorful and vivacious city year-round. It’s the perfect locale to get away from Atlanta and revitalize for a weekend, creatively.
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida: Relaxing and Meditative
Santa Rosa is known for its rich history, sugar-white sand and turquoise water. Each month South Walton, a beach town on the northwest coast of Florida, hosts a First Friday art walk. Visitors are invited to wander along the main strip and check out the workings of local or visiting artists. Tourists can opt to take a beach yoga class, go on a bike tour or even hop between the local breweries to get their buzz on. There are also plenty of resorts and small bed and breakfasts to accommodate travelers with varying preferences.
Atlanta is centrally located between a variety of cities and vacation destinations. This is just a small handful of those places. I invite you to research places nearby, some will be closer than you think. Whether you go by car, plane or something more adventurous, Atlanta residents have it easy when it comes to travel.