With Christmas season upon us, we’ve found the best day trip destinations. These spots are within driving distance of Atlanta and will provide you the ultimate Christmas cheer. If you’re looking to stay in the Atlanta area, be sure to check out our post on the top places to grab a limited-time holiday drink in the city here. Be sure to to let us know if you try any of our suggestions!
Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
Fantasy in Lights, which is located within Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA, is one of the state’s biggest light shows and has been featured as one of National Geographic‘s Top 10 Light Displays in the world. With over 8 million bulbs, both children and adults alike are sure to be amazed by the beauty. Adult tickets run up to $30 each, with different days of the week having different rates. A ticket to Fantasy in Lights will allow you to see the lights either via your own car or via the Jolly Trolley. We prefer our own car, because it’s warm and you can bring your own hot chocolate and snacks (they also give you a radio station to tune into to hear the Christmas tunes!). The ticket will also get you into the Christmas Village, where you can meet Santa and purchase food, and it will get you one complimentary day entry into the gardens during the season.
As a personal side note, my grandparents have always lived in Pine Mountain, my granddad was the mayor there, and my dad grew up there so I am partial to this one. The lights are absolutely breathtaking and the town is so cute. You can’t go wrong with Fantasy in Lights!
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge, GA
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway has multiple holiday offerings. For the regular Winter route, you’ll board the train at the historic depot in downtown Blue Ridge for an all-day (11 AM to 3 PM) adventure. You’re able to choose your type of train car — vintage climate controlled car or open air car — and the route has a 2 hour stop for you to have lunch, look around, and shop in two sister cities. If you’re looking for a fun adventure with beautiful, scenic views then this is the perfect option for you.
Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain has been providing the Atlanta-area with snowy fun. This man-made snow mountain covers the equivalent of five football fields and brings endless fun to adults and children alike. Go in the daytime for activities like tube racing in Tube Runners, snowman making in the Snow Zone, and group tubing in Avalanche Alley. Go at night for an entirely different experience, featuring thousands of LED lights bouncing along to music. Tickets come in different timing options and with different offerings, so be sure to check out their website for full details.
Dahlonega is the perfect location to put yourself in the Christmas spirit. The festivities take place all throughout December, and offer everything from caroling, carriage rides, wine sampling, and live theater events. The local shops, restaurants, and attractions join in on the fun and offer seasonal specials. Be sure to check out the Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce’s website for full details specific to each year.
The Christkindlmark in Helen, Georgia
In its 9th year of operation, the Christkindlmark in Helen offers a traditional German Christmas market that combines entertainment, food and music with wonderful holiday markets. The town is filled with unique gifts, beautiful decorations, and tasty treats that you definitely do not want to miss out on!