20 Fun Fall Getaways

Photo by Trippin with by BFF Chateau Elan

By Kathy Kantorski and Wyndi Kappes

Day in and day out, you do your best to eat healthy and get some exercise. Why abandon your hard work on vacation? These trips, all within a few hours’ drive of Atlanta, have a fitness bent to them that will help you feel great while having fun. Whether you choose horseback riding, kayaking at sunset or foraging for a wild meal, you’ll return from vacation that much closer to your goals of fitness, health, and happiness.

20 Fun Fall Activities Near Atlanta

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Foodies and wine enthusiasts will treasure these getaways that leave you well fed and feeling great.

Photo by Trippin with by BFF Chateau Elan
Photo by Tripping with my BFF at Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
Drive time: 45 minutes

Just a quick drive to Braselton, northeast of Atlanta, Chateau Elan is a 3,500-acre vineyard featuring healthy dining, a European health spa and 63 holes of golf with courses for beginners to champions. While you’re there, check out the resort’s Night Golf, a walking course event with glow-in-the-dark balls, flagsticks and tee markers lighting the course. chateauelan.com

White Hills Herb Farm
Drive time: 2 hours

Lisa Kessler, a former instructor at the Medical College of Georgia, now runs this sustainable herb farm in Dearing, just outside of Augusta. She welcomes guests to her 1890s farmhouse and offers tours of the fragrant lavender farms as well as lessons in producing field-to-product balms or lavender-infused oils, creating the perfect herb rub or pot of tea. whitehillsherbs.com

Paradise Hills Winery Resort
Drive time: 2 hours

The Lander family, originally from Northern Maine and Belgium, moved to Blairsville, Ga., in 2002 to open and run this winery resort. Situated on a mountain ridge, Paradise Hills offers cabin rentals, a spa and a family farm winery. The area is also popular for outdoor activities such as fishing, rafting, canoeing, hiking and horseback riding. paradisehillsresort.com

No Taste Like Home Foraging
No Taste Like Home Foraging

White Oak Pastures
Drive time: 2.75 hours

This cherished, sustainable family farm just opened its doors in August to diners and lodgers. Guests can stay in cabins or book a room in the Pond House. Every other Saturday, the farm will host classes, such as a seed starting class. Additional offerings include guided horseback trail rides, farm tours led by a member of the Harris family, fishing in the farm’s ponds, skeet shooting and, of course, the incredible farm-to-table dining. whiteoakpastures.com

No Taste Like Home
Drive times: 3.5 hours

Take a foraging trip with this culinary travel group. No Taste Like Home partners with three hotels to offer foraging-for-fitness packages through October. The excursions include a woodland “shopping spree” where you gather wild mushrooms and other edible plants. Picnic, then enjoy fine dining at one of the group’s lodging partners (including the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.) as the chefs there cook up your “catch of the day.” notastelikehome.org

Have an Adventure

Thrill-seekers unite! These three destinations will satisfy your adrenaline cravings.

Banning Mills
Drive time: 45 minutes

Soar up to 60 miles per hour over the lost gorge and the ghost town of Banning at Banning Mills Resort and Adventure Park. This family-owned conservancy features more than 100 zip lines and a multitude of sky bridges, along with a 100-foot power free fall, aerial challenge courses, kayaking, hiking, biking and even sleeping in treehouses. historicbanningmills.com

Zipline at Unicoi State Park
Zipline at Unicoi State Park

Amicalola Falls and Unicoi State Park
Drive time: 1.75 hours

Newly introduced adventure-lodge experiences await at these state parks in the North Georgia mountains. Both offer treetop zip lines, GPS scavenger hunts, 3-D archery and climbing walls, and both are designated GoPro Parks, with classes and a rental program enabling guests to make an entertaining record of their day using the action camera mounted on a bike, kayak or helmet. Amicalola Falls also features guided hikes and fitness trail runs, survivalist camping and a birds-of-prey experience, while Unicoi adds lessons in fly fishing, paddleboarding, kayak fishing and primitive camping under the stars. gaadventurelodge.com

Columbus
Drive time: 1.6 hours

This Georgia town is a new hotspot for whitewater kayakers. Its 2.5-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River features Class I to Class V rapids, along with a Lazy River. And what makes this rafting destination unique is its urban location – exit the river and bike or skate along the city’s 20-mile river walk, offering live music, food, boutiques and more. visitcolumbusga.com

Climb A Mountain

If you think “The higher the altitude, the better,” check out these getaways, in order of distance.

Photo courtesy of Visit Blue Ridge
Photo courtesy of Visit Blue Ridge

Town of Blue Ridge
Drive time: 1.5 hours

This cozy mountain town offers easy access to the Aska trail system, which features 17 miles of walking and biking trails. In October, visit the nearby Georgia Apple Festival, which includes food, art, crafts and more from hundreds of vendors, or catch a movie under the stars at the Swan Drive-In Theatre, built in 1955. If you decide to stay overnight, Escape to Blue Ridge (escapetoblueridge.com) offers a wide selection of cabins with great views and amenities. cityofblueridgega.gov

Snowbird Mountain Lodge
Drive time: 2.5 hours

Celebrating its 74th season, the Snowbird Mountain Lodge offers majestic views and warm accommodations. Hike, horseback ride, do yoga, mountain bike, fish and canoe, or go for the unique experiences of wildflower walks or night walking with synchronous fireflies. The lodge closes for the season on November 29. snowbirdlodge.com

Bryson City
Drive time: 3 hours

Take a break from the gym and take a fitness trip to the Smoky Mountains instead—Bryson City, North Carolina, to be exact. The city offers a two-day get-fit itinerary that involves jogging past waterfalls and through woods, paddleboarding, a sunset kayak tour, mountain biking and a one-hour massage to cap off the trip. www.greatsmokies.com

Gaylord Opryland
Gaylord Opryland Resort

Gaylord Opryland Resort
Drive time: 3.5 hours

This dazzling family-friendly resort has over 2,500 rooms and nine acres of gorgeous indoor gardens, attractions, restaurants, and activities, like trick-or-treating through October and an indoor waterpark year round! Just outside you can find a bustling Nashville with the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Grand Ol’ Opry, The Tennesse Titans, and plenty of live music and delicious eats.

Primland Resort
Drive time: 5.75 hours

Let the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains take your breath away as you sleep not just under the sky, but in it, in one of Primland Resort’s three treehouses. Or you can opt to stay on the ground in the mountain homes, cottages and other lodging options of this 12,000-acre mountain resort, offering activities such as golf, disc golf, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, mountain biking, nature walks, sporting clays, off-road adventures, archery, swimming, tennis and stargazing from the resort’s observatory. primland.com

Singletree Gun and Plough Resort
Drive time: 5.5 hours

Nestled in the city of Danbury, N.C., this 1,000-acre family-owned wilderness resort offers lodge rooms or private cabins. Eight miles of private hiking trails are offered for guests of the resort only, but you can also visit the adjacent Hanging Rock State Park for 26 more miles of hiking trails, including five waterfalls and a 12-acre lake for fishing, boating and swimming. Additional activities include zip lines, fly fishing and tubing. We recommend you cap off the day watching the sun set over the Blue Ridge Mountains as you sip moonshine on the lodge’s front porch. singletreegunandplough.com

Get Cultured

These destinations offer the perfect combination of history and activity for those looking to stretch their bodies and expand their minds.

Dahlonega
Drive time: 1.15 hours

Home to the largest hard-rock gold mine east of the Mississippi (and site of the first major U.S. gold rush), Dahlonega is a historic quaint mountain town in the heart of Georgia wine country, just over an hour north of Atlanta. Enjoy panning for gold and gemstones, visiting the heritage museums and touring the town, with its arts scene and gold-medal wineries. Or crank the activities up a notch with hiking, kayaking, bicycling, mountain biking, golfing, hunting, fishing and camping. dahlonega.org

Fall at the Biltmore Estate
Fall at the Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate
Drive time: 3.25 hours

In 1895, George Vanderbilt built this 250-room chateau in Asheville, N.C., which stands today as the largest home in America. The home’s gardens were designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop. Outdoor activities include fishing, horseback riding and bike rentals, and visits to the nearby Antler Hill Village and Biltmore Winery are popular highlights of this trip. biltmore.com

The Brice Hotel
Drive time: 3.5 hours

A new addition to Savannah, Ga., The Brice Hotel overlooks Emmet Park and the Savannah River in the city’s historic River District. The four-star boutique hotel is pet friendly, and offers Public Bikes so guests can spin around the city. Its inviting brick courtyard, called the Secret Garden, is charmingly strung with lights, and a nightly social hour with free wine is held in the lobby. bricehotel.com

Go Where Life’s A Beach

If the sun and sand are calling your name, try these trips!

Tybee Island
Photo Courtesy of Visit Tybee

Admiral’s Inn on Tybee Island
Drive time: 4.15 hours

Slow down and enjoy the simple things on Tybee Island. Just a short 20-minute drive outside of Historic Savannah, Tybee is a small beach town perfect for quiet family time or a peaceful weekend away. The Admiral’s Inn is just a block away from the beachfront with bikes available for rent to explore the rest of the island! Still at a loss for what to do? Ask the hotel owners! Tybee locals for more than a decade they can direct you towards intimate kayak adventures, best-kept dinner secrets and more! admiralsinntybee.com

Hilton Head Health
Drive time: 4.30 hours

Already a top retreat for weight loss and wellness, Hilton Head Health recently underwent a transformation and now features a new spa and art gallery, and program changes including educational speakers. The wellness resort’s focus is combining health with nature, and it features such activities as kayaking, a daily sunrise beach walk, paddleboard yoga, daily cooking classes, golf, tennis and more. The retreat is located within Shipyard Plantation, an 800-acre gated resort and residential community on Hilton Head Island. hhhealth.com

Sea Island Resort
Sea Island Resort

Jekyll Island Holiday Inn Resort
Drive time: 4.75 hours

After a $20 million rebuild, the Holiday Inn Jekyll Island opened its doors earlier this year, and guests have been flocking to its 1,200 square feet of unobstructed beachfront space on the historic Jekyll Island, which itself is undergoing a revitalization. Amenities at the new resort include a fitness center, kids club, nightly entertainment and more, and guests can also enjoy multiple water activities, golf, tennis, biking and nature-based excursions. hijklresort.com

Sea Island
Drive time: 4.75 hours

The Lodge and The Cloister are resorts on Sea Island, and both have been ranked among the Top 10 resorts in the U.S. by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. Needless to say, this is a high-quality getaway for families, outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to simply refresh and recharge. Sea Island features five miles of private beach with horseback riding and open-sea kayaking, tennis and squash centers, a yacht club, a shooting school and three championship golf courses including Seaside, the site of the PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic. seaisland.com

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