Memorial Day Weekend marks summer’s official start so why not kick things off with a family adventure? There’s no need to stress over travel plans or suffer for hours on end in a cramped car. We put together five great escapes, all less than four hours drive-time from Atlanta, which means you and your brood can get going—with your sanity intact.

Chattanooga, Tn
A straight shot up I-75 just two hours north of Atlanta, Chattanooga boasts rolling mountain vistas, breezy riverside views and action-packed outdoor activities.

You’ll love strolling through the Bluff View Art District, nestled atop a cliff overlooking the Tennessee River, and shopping the eclectic boutiques on the Northshore.

The kids will have fun taking a stab at standup paddle boarding and riding the 100-year old carousel in Coolidge Park.

Everyone will enjoy the panoramic view of seven states from the top of Rock City and the breathtaking underground waterfall at Ruby Falls. Stay in one of the Victorian-style train cars at one of America’s historic hotels, The Chattanooga Choo Choo, or check out The Chattanoogan, where you can experience world-class dining and hit the spa to decompress.

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Asheville, Nc
Gorgeous mountain views, an artsy vibe and a lively, eclectic culture are just a three-and-a-half hour trip from Atlanta.

You’ll love touring America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate, strolling through Woolworth Walk, a huge art gallery downtown in the repurposed department store complete with a fully functional, old-fashioned soda fountain.

Kids will enjoy dancing in the Drum Circle in Pritchard Park, riding go-carts at Asheville’s Fun Depot and traversing the aerial obstacle course at Asheville Treetops Adventure Park.

Everyone will love horseback riding amid a picturesque mountain backdrop, Whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River, picnicking alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway and spending an afternoon walking through the Asheville Urban Trail. Stay at the splurge-worthy Inn on Biltmore Estate or the Grove Park Inn.

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Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga
Now that the pollen has passed, it’s safe to take in the gorgeous flora and fauna at Callaway Gardens—just a little over an hour south of Atlanta—without succumbing to a sneezing fit.

You’ll love getting back to nature at the seasonal Farmers Market and walking amid hundreds of butterflies in the Day Butterfly Center, one of the nation’s largest enclosed butterfly conservatories.

The kids will be on the edge of their seats watching the Masters Water Ski and Wakeboard Tournament, zip lining through the treetops and making a splash at Robin Lake Beach.

Everyone will have fun leisurely biking miles of trails throughout the park. Stay at the Mountain Creek Inn, the Southern Pine Cottages, the Mountain Creek Villas or at the Lodge and Spa.

Callaway Gardens

Savannah, Ga
Take a break from hectic city life and cruise three-and-a-half hours down to the low country.

You’ll love the charm of moss-draped trees, upscale boutiques, a dose of history at every corner and marveling at the cast iron fountain in Forsyth Park.

The kids will enjoy taking part in one of the city’s world-renowned ghost tours, a walking tour through the historic district to scout out architectural animals on the Savannah Safari and exploring the area’s diverse ecosystem in a canoe or kayak.

Everyone will enjoy dinner and entertainment on a Riverboat Cruise and a trip to nearby Tybee Island where you can soak in the sun on the seashore and visit the famed Tybee Lighthouse. Stay in the heart of the city at the famous Marshall House or in the 200-year-old Planters Inn.

Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce

Helen, Ga
Albeit kitschy, this little town modeled after a Bavarian village offers a slice of Alpine life just an hour-and-a-half north of Atlanta.

You’ll love perusing one-of-a-kind souvenirs in the street-lined shops and indulging in German pastries and beer.

The kids will have fun touring the home of the Cabbage Patch Kids, Babyland General, cooling off with some homemade ice cream and tubing down the Chattahoochee River.

Everyone will enjoy hiking to Anna Ruby Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest and taking part in field day, listening to music and running relay races at the Memorial Day Blast. Stay in the Blue Ridge Cabins, the 3 Palms Hotels and Resorts or the Alpine Crest Resort.

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Where will you spend Memorial Day weekend? Tell us below!

—Kate Parrott

Photos courtesy of jeffgunn via Creative Commons, The White County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Callaway Gardens, See Rock City, and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce