Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

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CyprusAvenue
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Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by CyprusAvenue » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:17 am

Longtime lurker; first time poster.

In August, my family and I will be in Atlanta visiting family. We have a three day window where our family will be occupied. We've spent a ton of time in Atlanta, so are looking to head out of town on a mini-vacation. We are trying to figure out the best place(s) to go. Current candidates are Savannah, Charleston, Knoxville, Nashville, Mobile, Montgomery. (We've spent time in Asheville, which we love, but want to go someplace new.) We have two kids, 13 and 16. We generally like active vacations (although the kids will reign me in), and do not want to overdose on museums. We're not big beach people, either.

Thanks for any advice!

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:47 am

Savannah, Charleston, and Nashville are all worth visiting. It is very easy to find a wide variety of things to do and see at all three.

inverter
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by inverter » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:49 am

CyprusAvenue wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:17 am
Longtime lurker; first time poster.

In August, my family and I will be in Atlanta visiting family. We have a three day window where our family will be occupied. We've spent a ton of time in Atlanta, so are looking to head out of town on a mini-vacation. We are trying to figure out the best place(s) to go. Current candidates are Savannah, Charleston, Knoxville, Nashville, Mobile, Montgomery. (We've spent time in Asheville, which we love, but want to go someplace new.) We have two kids, 13 and 16. We generally like active vacations (although the kids will reign me in), and do not want to overdose on museums. We're not big beach people, either.

Thanks for any advice!
Atlanta native here. The Southeastern United States in August... wow! Charleston and Savannah will be hotter than blue blazes.

I would recommend Nashville and Chattanooga as candidates. You could find some great hiking trails around Chattanooga and North Georgia, like Cloudland Canyon. Not as familiar with Alabama.

Rupert
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Rupert » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:54 am

I would add Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Huntsville to the list. Chattanooga has a lot to offer for outdoors enthusiasts. But your kids are old enough to appreciate the Civil Rights museums and monuments in Montgomery and Birmingham. That's important but pretty heavy stuff. I'd combine that trip with something a little lighter, such as the Space & Rocket Museum and a tour of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. I think Savannah and Charleston have similar vibes, so I'd suggest one or the other, as opposed to both. (Edited to note that Mobile is more like a 6 hour drive from Atlanta and has somewhat of a similar vibe to Savannah and Charleston. Water is its thing. I'd probably save it for another trip.)

livesoft
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by livesoft » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:59 am

What about all those distilleries around the area in Atlanta,in Tennessee, and in Georgia.
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AerialP
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by AerialP » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:24 am

I also heartily recommend spending time in the Chattanooga area, with Huntsville a close second.

Dottie57
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:35 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:47 am
Savannah, Charleston, and Nashville are all worth visiting. It is very easy to find a wide variety of things to do and see at all three.
I was awestruck with Charleston as a 12 year old. And I loved the Spanish Moss.

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Pajamas
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:44 pm

Charleston would also be my first choice on your list. I also made many trips to Charleston as a child and have many fond memories. There are beaches nearby, lots of options for good food, and certainly no shortage of historical sites including fortifications and a few plantations and some interesting museums.

scottgekko
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by scottgekko » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:07 pm

As someone else mentioned, it's the south and August....go north. Chattanooga or Nashville would be great choices and hopefully a little cooler than the coast. Plenty to do for adults and children. Ruby Falls near Chattanooga would be a good choice as it's underground and 65 degrees year round...you can take up a good part of the day doing that and lunch.

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parsi1
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by parsi1 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:12 pm

Helen, GA
nice trails and your kids will enjoy the river tubing.

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Kenkat
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Kenkat » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:16 pm

Will also mention Chattanooga. Ruby Falls, Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga National Battlefield and Missionary Ridge were all worth seeing. The downtown area is also very nice in the riverfront area. Love Sticky Fingers ribs!

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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by JBTX » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:31 pm

Callaway gardens isn't bad. Golf, biking, water skiing. FSU circus. Cabins or hotel.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:38 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:16 pm
Will also mention Chattanooga. Ruby Falls, Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga National Battlefield and Missionary Ridge were all worth seeing. The downtown area is also very nice in the riverfront area. Love Sticky Fingers ribs!
+1 to all except Sticky Fingers ribs. Lots of people love them though.
Chattanooga also has a very nice aquarium downtown.

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Stinky
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Stinky » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:42 pm

Definitely check out Huntsville's Space and Rocket Center. Children will enjoy; adults will remember the glories of the space program.
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by tnr » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:28 pm

Check out Ocoee white water rafting in Tenn. This is where the Olympic whitewater competition for the 96 Atlanta Olympics were held. Not far from Chattanooga.

LMBFlorida
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by LMBFlorida » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:23 am

Greenville, SC
Franklin, Highlands or Cashiers, NC

You need to go to the mountains not the coast in August

I live 2 hrs NE of ATL on Lake Hartwell and there are recreation opportunities here also.

Enjoy the visit

carolinaman
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by carolinaman » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:31 am

CyprusAvenue wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:17 am
Longtime lurker; first time poster.

In August, my family and I will be in Atlanta visiting family. We have a three day window where our family will be occupied. We've spent a ton of time in Atlanta, so are looking to head out of town on a mini-vacation. We are trying to figure out the best place(s) to go. Current candidates are Savannah, Charleston, Knoxville, Nashville, Mobile, Montgomery. (We've spent time in Asheville, which we love, but want to go someplace new.) We have two kids, 13 and 16. We generally like active vacations (although the kids will reign me in), and do not want to overdose on museums. We're not big beach people, either.

Thanks for any advice!
The GA and SC coast is great. It will be hot and muggy in August and there is potential for hurricanes but that probability is low, especially for anything significant.

Nashville is a great city, especially if you like country and western music. I do not know why anyone would go to Mobile or Montgomery unless they are visiting relatives.

tigerdoc93
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by tigerdoc93 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:29 am

Consider Stone Mountain Georgia, Callaway gardens, Gatlinburg Tennessee, Chattanooga Tennessee. Also wild adventures theme Park in Valdosta Georgia is fun for adults and children.

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Kenkat
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Kenkat » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:48 am

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:38 pm
Kenkat wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:16 pm
Will also mention Chattanooga. Ruby Falls, Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga National Battlefield and Missionary Ridge were all worth seeing. The downtown area is also very nice in the riverfront area. Love Sticky Fingers ribs!
+1 to all except Sticky Fingers ribs. Lots of people love them though.
Chattanooga also has a very nice aquarium downtown.
Sticky Fingers is probably BBQ for us northern folks!

Rupert
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Rupert » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:04 am

The best BBQ in Georgia is Fresh Air BBQ about an hour south of Atlanta, down I-75. Take the Griffin/Jackson exit off the interstate. Visit High Falls State Park and Indian Springs State Park while you're in the neighborhood.

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jimb_fromATL
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by jimb_fromATL » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:29 pm

I’d much prefer the mountains to the east coast towns during August. I see that other people have already recommended Huntsville and some other places to the west and northwest of Atlanta.

In addition to Asheville, the Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Dollywood areas of Tennessee, and Cherokee NC are an easy and scenic drive from Atlanta, along with the Great Smokey Mountains national park. If you decide on Asheville, it's a scenic ride to go from Atlanta via I-575 to Blue Ridge Ga to Murphy NC and highway 74 toward Asheville.

Speaking of the highway 74 area, if your kids' ages are appropriate and you're adventurous, you might want to look into the family oriented white water raft rides on the Nantahala river. Not our bag, but on several trips to Asheville via Murphy where highway 74 is parallel the river, I've observed that a lot of families do appear to be having a lot of fun with the commercial rafting.

You mention that you're not beach people, so it won't matter to you that the crass commercialism of Myrtle Beach is also in range.

However, you might want to consider that you can drive to the Florida panhandle in not much if any more time than it takes to get to Savannah or Charleston or Asheville. So ... if you haven't been to the Florida panhandle much if ever, it might be worth the trip to a beach while they're so near.

IMO the way the soft and shifting hour-glass-like white sands on the panhandle reflect the sun means the beaches are not as hot and uncomfortable in August as the packed dirty brown sand of east coast beaches. I've marveled at being able to walk barefooted comfortably in the white sand because it's so soft and does not absorb heat like the beaches on the east coast. Somehow it doesn't seem quite as humid, and we really like the views of the snowy white sands and emerald water of the gulf coast better than east coast beaches.

We're old folks and like the more relaxed feel of Ft. Walton Beach better. But the kids might like the more commercialized Destin or Panama City beaches better. We haven't been to the panhandle in several years, but one thing that might be worth checking before going is whether there are any current problems with seaweed washing up on the beaches. That had become a problem a few years ago. Don't know how it is now. Also check the weather to make sure there are no hurricanes coming in from the gulf. We've been chased away from the panhandle by hurricanes a couple of times in late summer and early fall.

Any of your choices can easily take an extra hour or more of driving time depending on which side of Atlanta you’re on in relation to your destination and whether you avoid the rush hour. So where you are located may make a difference. if you’re on the south side of Atlanta already, the Florida panhandle beaches are effectively much closer. Savannah and Charleston are closer if you're on the east side, and the mountains are quicker If you're on the west-northwest side of Big-A.

jimb

atlnuke
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by atlnuke » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Active vacation in August near Atlanta that doesn't involve beaches (too hot anyways) would send you north. If you liked Asheville, you might like Bryson City, North Carolina (~3 hr drive). Much smaller, but activities include hiking in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, whitewater rafting, tubing, riding the old train through the mountains, cool old downtown with breweries. Helen, GA is a less nice version of Bryson City but less of a drive.

Chattanooga has a lot of outdoor stuff, but isn't as high of an elevation so it will be hot. Huntsville is a less nice version of Chattanooga.

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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by vested1 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:48 pm

LMBFlorida wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:23 am
Greenville, SC
Franklin, Highlands or Cashiers, NC

You need to go to the mountains not the coast in August

I live 2 hrs NE of ATL on Lake Hartwell and there are recreation opportunities here also.

Enjoy the visit
Sorry for the hijack.

Alright, it's official, I'm envious. We're currently looking for a lake home in SC and Lake Hartwell is high on the list. The lake is in SC on the north side and Georgia on the south side. Georgia might be a little more favorable for taxes though, with a 60k deduction for retirement income for those over age 65 (at least I think so). Feel free to PM me with any insight to avoid going off topic on this thread.

CyprusAvenue
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by CyprusAvenue » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:47 pm

Thanks, everyone, for some great suggestions. I am going to start researching the places that have been recommended. Chattanooga looks like a great option, and it is less than 2 hours from Atlanta. But we visit family at least two times per year (and now have a daughter starting college in Atlanta, too), so we likely will end up hitting all of these destinations eventually.

trueblueky
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by trueblueky » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:21 pm

Amicalola Falls State Park near Dawson, GA
Helen (faux German tourist trap with some decent food) on a weekday
Unicoi State Park near Helen, GA

LMBFlorida
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by LMBFlorida » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:16 pm

vested1 wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:48 pm
LMBFlorida wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:23 am
Greenville, SC
Franklin, Highlands or Cashiers, NC

You need to go to the mountains not the coast in August

I live 2 hrs NE of ATL on Lake Hartwell and there are recreation opportunities here also.

Enjoy the visit
Sorry for the hijack.

Alright, it's official, I'm envious. We're currently looking for a lake home in SC and Lake Hartwell is high on the list. The lake is in SC on the north side and Georgia on the south side. Georgia might be a little more favorable for taxes though, with a 60k deduction for retirement income for those over age 65 (at least I think so). Feel free to PM me with any insight to avoid going off topic on this thread.
Sent you a PM

TallBoy29er
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by TallBoy29er » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:48 pm

Chattanooga (hiking at Raccoon Mtn, 5 Pts, Stringers Ridge is almost walkable from downtown).
North Georgia (Cloudland Canyon is just south of Chattanooga and has yurts, Helen (St Park), Black Rock Mtn State Park has cabins).
Nashville
More North Georgia (Blue Ridge has tons of hiking/outdoors and a cool scene, Toccoa river or Chattooga River for rafting)
Asheville, NC (lots of things to do here, many of them outdoors, including kayaking on the French Broad River, hiking in places like Bent Creek and Black Mtn, cool places to walk around downtown, etc.)
Brevard NC (TONS of hiking trails, sliding rock (on your butt down the rocks in a river), Table rock hike, Caesars Head State Park close by)
Highlands, NC (lots to do here as well)

You got tons of options. If you like Mtn Biking, I can give you more there as well.

BTW, all of these except for Nashville are within 3.5 hrs.

peace -

TallBoy29er
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by TallBoy29er » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:49 pm

One other - I would avoid Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge like the plague. But that's just me.

And Charleston will be Hot. Not that the others won't be, but it is just, well, hot.

carolinaman
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by carolinaman » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:15 am

TallBoy29er wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:49 pm
One other - I would avoid Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge like the plague. But that's just me.

And Charleston will be Hot. Not that the others won't be, but it is just, well, hot.
+1. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge traffic is worse than Atlanta traffic even in the off season. The Smoky mountains are nice but traffic makes this way not worth it as a destination.

JohnDindex
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by JohnDindex » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:07 am

Highlands NC, or Clayton GA (near lake burton & rabun)

autolycus
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by autolycus » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:08 am

TallBoy29er wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:49 pm
One other - I would avoid Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge like the plague. But that's just me.

And Charleston will be Hot. Not that the others won't be, but it is just, well, hot.
It's not just you who doesn't like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but there are plenty of us who do enjoy Gatlinburg and many others who enjoy Pigeon Forge. I find the trick with Gatlinburg is to stay in a hotel as close to the GSMNP entrance as possible. That puts you in walking distance of all the restaurants and night-time entertainment you could want so you're only in traffic as you return to the hotel from a day in the park. We always leave the hotel early enough in the morning to beat traffic anyway. Best times in the park are early in the morning anyway. There are also some decent hotel options that are on the trolley route.

TallBoy29er
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by TallBoy29er » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:36 am

autolycus wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:08 am
TallBoy29er wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:49 pm
One other - I would avoid Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge like the plague. But that's just me.

And Charleston will be Hot. Not that the others won't be, but it is just, well, hot.
It's not just you who doesn't like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but there are plenty of us who do enjoy Gatlinburg and many others who enjoy Pigeon Forge. I find the trick with Gatlinburg is to stay in a hotel as close to the GSMNP entrance as possible. That puts you in walking distance of all the restaurants and night-time entertainment you could want so you're only in traffic as you return to the hotel from a day in the park. We always leave the hotel early enough in the morning to beat traffic anyway. Best times in the park are early in the morning anyway. There are also some decent hotel options that are on the trolley route.
All good. That's why I put "But that's just me." I like to get away from the bustle when I travel, and those two places are completely opposite of what I enjoy.

autolycus
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by autolycus » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:51 am

TallBoy29er wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:36 am
autolycus wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:08 am
TallBoy29er wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:49 pm
One other - I would avoid Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge like the plague. But that's just me.

And Charleston will be Hot. Not that the others won't be, but it is just, well, hot.
It's not just you who doesn't like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but there are plenty of us who do enjoy Gatlinburg and many others who enjoy Pigeon Forge. I find the trick with Gatlinburg is to stay in a hotel as close to the GSMNP entrance as possible. That puts you in walking distance of all the restaurants and night-time entertainment you could want so you're only in traffic as you return to the hotel from a day in the park. We always leave the hotel early enough in the morning to beat traffic anyway. Best times in the park are early in the morning anyway. There are also some decent hotel options that are on the trolley route.
All good. That's why I put "But that's just me." I like to get away from the bustle when I travel, and those two places are completely opposite of what I enjoy.
Totally understand. For those looking for a quieter place, I definitely recommend Bryson City, Blue Ridge, and Hendersonville, etc. over Gatlinburg and Pigeon Force.

I also really enjoy Asheville and Boone. Both have plenty of amenities while being just minutes from serene nature.

niceguy7376
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by niceguy7376 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:12 am

If you are into Auto manufacturing tours, go to BMW plant in greenville, SC. They make the SUVs in here and they just reopened the factory tours from today. Tours are available on weekdays only though.

zeep
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by zeep » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:05 pm

Since you have enjoyed Asheville, you might check out Boone, Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain NC. Great scenery, biking and hiking, but less hipster than Asheville.

I’d also second Nashville and Chattanooga.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by tennisplyr » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:50 pm

How about Panama City, FL.
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missbk50
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by missbk50 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:49 pm

Come to Columbus, GA just two hours away. Go white water rafting downtown, rent bikes and ride the riverfront. Visit Ft. Benning and visit the awesome Infantry Museum. Great places to stay and eat downtown. Good two day trip. You can do Callaway Gardens first and then travel over to Columbus.

Housedoc
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by Housedoc » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:49 pm

Barber Motorsports Museum outside of Birmingham. Off I-20. Worlds largest collection of motorcycles. 4 stories of them. Also a track that hosts races throughout the year.

RollTide31457
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Re: Good places to visit within 4-5 hr drive from Atlanta

Post by RollTide31457 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:12 pm

Can’t go wrong with that radius. All wonderful places! Enjoy!

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