3 Relaxing Beach Getaways Near Atlanta

Adirondack chairs overlooking the Atlantic Planning a relaxing weekend getaway from ATL? Catch some rays at one of these beaches close to Atlanta for the perfect break from busy city life.

Summertime is all about fun in the sun, but to really get your relaxation on and get away from it all, I recommend going off the beaten path to experience the serenity of uncrowded beaches. If you’re visiting Atlanta and are looking to get out of the city for a day or two, consider hopping in your rental car and driving to one these three up-and-coming beach destinations, all of which are about a 5-hour drive from the Georgia capital.

Amelia Island, Florida

Amelia Island is located on the northeast coast of Florida, just an hour drive south of the Georgia border. With 13 miles of pristine beaches and meandering roads shaded by oak canopies draped in moss, you will feel a world away from the hustle of any big city.

Amelia Island, Florida Pristine uncrowded beaches on Amelia Island, Florida

On the northern side of the island, there’s Amelia Island State Park with bike trails, kayak rentals and horseback riding amid 200 acres of coastal maritime forest and secluded beaches.

After working up an appetite with some outdoor fun, the quaint downtown area of Fernandina Beach offers plenty of options for a delicious bite to eat. There’s fresh local seafood at the rustic Crab Trap - a staple in town for over 30 years, and a true farm-to-table experience with greens picked straight from the garden at 29 South. For a special night out, make reservations for the chef’s dinner at SALT in The Ritz-Carlton. And for a bit of fun -- and history, too -- check out the late-night live music and cocktails at Florida’s oldest bar, the pre-Prohibition era Palace Saloon.

Where to Stay

Jekyll Island, Georgia

With so many beautiful beaches close-by in Florida, it is easy to forget that Georgia has a coastline, too. Georgia’s Jekyll Island is situated between Jacksonville, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia, and it is best known for its history as the island was once the prime vacation spot for famous historical families like the Macys, Goodyears, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts.

Jekyll Island’s driftwood beaches are a stunning sight, perfect for photography enthusiasts or families with young children eager to climb on a natural jungle gym.

Along the Georgia coast, the cuisine is a mix of fresh seafood, BBQ and Lowcountry southern cooking that includes comfort foods like fried green tomatoes and cheesy grits. For a bite to eat, check out Driftwood Bistro or Loveshack BBQ Shrimp & Yardbird. There’s also a gourmet grocery market on the island that makes it fun to cook away from home, or at least pick up a few delicious local provisions as souvenirs.

Where to Stay

Seaside, Florida

Located just outside of Panama City Beach is a stretch of highway called 30A that travels through 16 unique beach neighborhoods along Florida’s jewel-toned Emerald Coast. Seaside is one of those quaint communities, and it’s so picture-perfect it looks straight out of a magazine.

Emerald Coast in Seaside, Florida Jewel-toned water and sugar sand along the Emerald Coast in Seaside, Florida

The preferred mode of transportation in Seaside is a beach cruiser, and the only place to stay is in one of the colorful beachside cottages. It’s a simple way of life, one that we yearn for in this fast-paced digital age.

There’s a set of vintage airstream food trucks permanently parked downtown serving a variety of casual foods, from organic fresh-pressed juices to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. There’s also a great place right on the beach, The Shrimp Shack, where you can grab a bucket of shrimp and an ice cold beverage. Locals like to celebrate the sunset on the deck Bud & Alley’s Restaurant, and the best place for brunch is the award-winning Vue On 30a.

Crab cake Crab cake appetizer at Vue on 30A near Seaside, Florida

There’s also a quaint family-owned grocery store, Modica Market, where you can order a cappuccino to sip while you shop for a few provisions to stock your beachside cottage kitchen.

Where to Stay

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Rachelle Lucas

About the Author

A foodie with a zest for life and passion for travel, Alamo Chief Travel Guide Rachelle Lucas has been blogging since 2007 when she started documenting her life as an innkeeper. As her wanderlust grew, she sold the inn to pursue travel writing full-time and has since been to more than 45 countries in pursuit of the tastiest meal. Rachelle and her blog, The Travel Bite, have been recognized in PEOPLE Magazine, USA Today's Top 10 and by Trip Advisor as one of the Top 25 Culinary Travel Blogs to follow. In addition to travel, Rachelle enjoys exploring scenic running routes, endless cups of green tea or coffee and immersing herself in historical fiction novels.