How to Get From Nashville to Atlanta by Bus, Car, and Plane

 TripSavvy / Julie Bang

Georgia's capital city of Atlanta is located only 250 miles southeast of Nashville, another of the Southeast's must-visit destinations. With its ample green spaces, award-winning restaurants, and world-class attractions, Atlanta is a perfect getaway for families, outdoor enthusiasts, food lovers, history buffs, and more. While the distance between the two cities makes it a bit too long for an out and back day trip, you can still get from Music City to Atlanta in half a day or less.

Both Delta Air Lines and Southwest offer several quick non-stop daily flights from Nashville to Atlanta, but the flying time doesn't account for parking, security, possible weather delays, and navigating Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (the world's busiest) or Atlanta traffic. Megabus and Greyhound buses offer a lower cost option, but trips can take a bit longer than driving. Driving your own car or a rental car is a slightly faster option than traveling via bus, but parking inside the city of Atlanta can get pricey and traffic can be heavy during rush hour and weekends.

  Time Cost Best For
Flight 1 hour From $75 (one way) and $109 (round trip) Getting there quickly
Bus 4 hours, 30 minutes From $19-28 Saving money
Car 3 hours, 40 minutes 248 miles (399 kilometers) Group travel

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Nashville to Atlanta?

Taking a bus is the cheapest way to get between the two cities with fares starting as $19 depending on which provider you use. Both Greyhound and Megabus offer bus service between the two cities, which can be a cheaper, lower-stress alternative to driving and navigating Atlanta traffic.

Greyhound buses make the 4.5-hour trip to Atlanta several times a day. Fares start around $28 ($38 for economy comfort) for one-way, direct service, and most of the busses are outfitted with free Wi-Fi, personal chargers, and other amenities. Trips begin at the Nashville Bus Station at 709 5th Ave S and end at 232 Forsyth Street in downtown Atlanta.

Megabus offers two trips to Atlanta per day, with one-way fares starting as low as $19. The trip ranges between 4 hours, 35 minutes and 4 hours, 45 minutes. Buses depart from Truck Stop at 111 N 1st Street in Nashville and arrive at the Civic Center MARTA station just north of Downtown Atlanta and offer free Wi-Fi.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Nashville to Atlanta?

Flying from Nashville to Atlanta is technically the fastest way to travel between the two cities, with non-stop flights offered several times a day via Delta Air Lines and Southwest. Fares are as low $75 for one way (and just over $100 round trip), making it a fairly economical choice as well. However, the hour-long flight time does not account for travel to and from the airport, checking bags, clearing security, or navigating the airport, so those are all things to consider before choosing this option.

While the plane flight from Nashville to Atlanta is fairly fast and inexpensive, when factoring in parking, security, and the cost of travel to and from the airport, it may not be the fastest or cheapest method of travel, but one to consider if one doesn't want to bother with parking and driving a car in Atlanta.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

A drive from Nashville to Atlanta should take around 3 hours, 50 minutes but you should plan to spend 4 to 5 hours in the car with stops and traffic delays. Driving is a fairly easy and budget-friendly option, especially if traveling with children or a group. The most direct route is via 1-24 E to I-75 S and is approximately 250 miles. Note this route goes through Chattanooga, TN, which can cause delays during rush hour. Also expect delays driving during the morning and evening rush hours as well as weekends in Atlanta, especially if your destination is inside the Perimeter (I-285, the outer loop which rings the city). To break up the trip, consider a stop in Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum of Art, or the Tennessee Riverwalk.

While Atlanta is a car-centric city, it does have readily available ride share services like Lyft and Uber as well as a public transportation system (MARTA) that serves many of the most popular attractions in downtown and Midtown. For those renting a car or driving a personal car, note that parking can be expensive inside the city limits, especially at hotels in downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Atlanta?

To miss Atlanta's bad traffic avoid driving into the city center during rush hour or on the weekends. Summers in Atlanta are quite hot and humid and the accommodation prices tend to be at their highest. For mild weather and plenty of activities, time your visit for the spring months.

What Time Is It in Atlanta?

Atlanta is on Eastern Daylight Time which is 1 hour ahead of Nashville.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

If traveling via plane, you'll fly into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. This is the city's only airport, and it's located approximately 11 miles south of downtown Atlanta. By car, the trip to downtown takes approximately 20 minutes via I-75/I-85 N, but plan on 30-40 minutes if arriving during rush hour or during a special event.

MARTA, the city's subway network, has a station inside the airport that offers service to downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Decatur, and other Atlanta neighborhoods, and can be a cheaper and faster alternative to driving. The fare is $2.50 for one way, and tickets can be purchased from vending machines located directly outside of baggage claim.

What Is There to Do in Atlanta?

More than 50 million people visit Atlanta each year, eager to explore its parks and greenspaces, museums, and historic sites. Start your trip with an overview of the city at the Atlanta History Museum, which has 22 acres of gardens, the city's oldest surviving farmhouse, and permanent exhibits dedicated to the city's role in the railroad, the Civil War, and the 1996 Olympic Games.

Then head to the 200-acre Piedmont Park, the city's version of Central Park, which has a weekend farmers’ market, tennis courts, public swimming pool, off-leash dog park, sports fields, splash pad, playgrounds, miles of paved and unpaved paths for running and cycling, and stunning views of the Midtown skyline. Cap that visit with a trip to the adjacent Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has the largest collection of orchids in the United States and stunning year-round gardens and art installations. From there, bike or walk the Eastside Beltline Trail, a multi-use pathway dotted with breweries, restaurants and bars, art work, parks, and food halls like Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market.

Other notable city attractions include the Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum of Art, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the World of Coca-Cola Museum, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site.