A Day Away: Fab Family Vacations Within 6 Hours of Atlanta

Atlanta Skyline with Piedmont Park
WIN-Initiative/Getty Images

Families living in the Atlanta area have a nice array of kid-friendly getaways within a day's drive, including beach destinations on both the Gulf Coast and Atlantic and mountain escapes in the Great Smoky Mountains. Each of these popular suggestions can be reached in six hours or less based on estimated drive times from Mapquest.com.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Leaf-strewn Stream in the Smokies
Dean Fikar / Getty Images

Drive time: 2 hrs, 50 mins.
The most-visited of all American national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles North Carolina and Tennessee and offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing as well as remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

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Savannah, GA

Spanish Moss, Street, Savannah, Georgia, America
joe daniel price / Getty Images

Drive time: 3 hrs, 53 mins.
If you're looking for a city getaway that oozes Southern charm, it's hard to beat drop-dead-gorgeous Savannah, which was laid out in a grid in the 1700s by Georgia's founder, James Oglethorpe, and continues to wow visitors with a vibe that is simultaneously majestic and intimate. Its antebellum architecture and vibrant food scene helped the Georgian city earn a spot on Travel+Leisure's list of World’s Best Cities.

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Pigeon Forge, TN

Scenic View Of Mountains Against Sky At Sunset
Larry Knupp / EyeEm / Getty Images

Drive time: 3 hrs, 56 mins.
Tennessee's breakout destination is Pigeon Forge, just eight miles from the Smoky Mountains National Park and home to the Dollywood theme park, which just added a family-friendly resort and is unveiling the roller coaster everyone is dying to try.

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Tybee Island, GA

Tybee Island
Tybee Island Light Station

Drive time: 4 hrs, 7 mins.
Rich in both history and natural beauty, little Tybee Island is famous for its seafood and spectacular uninterrupted three-mile beach. Families can explore salt marshes that teem with birds and wildlife unique to Georgia’s coast.

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Hilton Head Island, SC

A sand pathway leads to the beach with a sailboat in the background on Hilton Head Island, SC.
Rachid Dahnoun / Getty Images

Drive time: 4 hrs, 17 mins. 
Drawn by miles of Atlantic beachfront, a host of world-class golf and tennis facilities, and a wide choice of hotel and vacation rental options, families have long found Hilton Head Island to be an alluring vacation destination.

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Lodge on Little St. Simons Island: St. Simons Island, GA

Spanish Moss on Live Oak Tree
John M. Chase / Getty Images

Drive time: 4 hrs, 43 mins.
Looking for something very special? One of America's Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families, the intimate and luxurious Lodge on Little St. Simons Island is reachable only by boat. Located on a private island off Georgia’s coast, what really sets this place apart is its setting inside a 10,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, which families can explore through naturalist-led hikes, reptile safaris, kayak tours, fishing trips, and evening owl prowls.

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Jekyll Island Club Resort: Jekyll Island, GA

Jekyll Island Club Hotel bike rentals
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Drive time: 4 hrs, 46 mins.
Located on a barrier island off Georgia's coast, the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel was once an exclusive members-only club for millionaires like Rockefeller and Astor. Today it's a family-friendly resort with many activities for kids and parents alike. You can explore the resort on wide bike paths lined with Spanish moss-covered oaks or venture further on the island's 20 miles of bike paths, including routes that zig through lush maritime forest, zag through the National Landmark Historic District and wind along beachscapes.

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Bowling Green, KY

Mammoth Cave National Park
Dave Parfitt

Drive time: 5 hrs, 14 mins.
Located a one- hour drive north of Nashville and less than a two-hour drive south of Louisville, the rolling green hills of Kentucky’s Cave Country make for a memorable, quick getaway or a stop on a longer road trip. Here are six fun ways to explore the area.

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Destin, FL

Destin Beach
Florida State Parks

Drive time: 5 hrs, 28 mins.
With sand like powdered sugar and the brilliant turquoise Gulf of Mexico, Destin is a gem on the Emerald Coast. Here are kid-friendly attractions to put at the top of your to-do list.

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Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL

Gulf Shores
Jim McKinley / Getty Images

Drive time: 5 hrs, 30 mins. 
With 32 miles of spectacular, sugar-white beaches and a raft-load of outdoor activities and family attractions, the neighboring towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are premier family beach vacation destinations.

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Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort: Amelia Island, FL

Omni Amelia Island Resort
Omni Hotels & Resorts

Drive time: 5 hrs, 33 mins. 
Set on over 1,350 lush beachfront acres of meandering bike trails, manicured golf greens, and spectacular coastal wilderness, the sprawling Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort invites exploring. Highlights include 3.5 miles of beach, two swimming pools, a nature center and myriad ways to have fun.

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