Georgia families looking for a change of pace have several nearby options for a vacation. If a trip to the coast is in order, consider the antebellum charm of Charleston or the white beaches of the Emerald Coast of Florida. If you feel like heading north, check out the trains of child-friendly Chattanooga or the fresh mountain air of Asheville. There is a little something for everyone not too far from the Georgia border.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston offers a great mix of beach, southern charm and history. Tour Fort Sumter and the monument marking the spot where the Civil War erupted. Check out the Children's Museum of the Low Country and its interactive exhibits. The kids can discover what life was like 1,000 years ago in the Medieval Creativity Castle while dressed as a princess or knight, play on a 1939 fire engine and board a pirate ship. Make sure you spend an afternoon relaxing on Folly Beach before you go.
Chattanooga is another popular family destination. Visit the sharks, penguins and stingrays at the Tennessee Aquarium, and then hop on a Chattanooga Duck -- a WWII amphibious vehicle built for the D-Day invasion -- for a tour of the town and the river. The Creative Discovery Museum "inspires children's passion for learning through play." Kids can create clay sculptures, dig for dinosaur bones and play on a 2 1/2-story-high climbing structure. A day spent at Lookout Mountain includes a mile-high ride on the Incline Railway, the ancient rock formations of Rock City Gardens and Ruby Falls, a 145-foot waterfall deep inside the mountain.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is an artsy mountain town with a variety of family activities to satisfy every interest. The family foodie will enjoy 12 craft breweries, 20 farmers markets and more than 200 independent restaurants. The outdoors lover will enjoy hiking trails, waterfalls, zip lining and horseback riding. And the art enthusiast will love the River Arts District and thriving music culture. Biltmore Estate, a large private estate and popular tourist attraction, is one of the most famous attractions. George Vanderbilt built the 250-room home more than a century ago. Take a guided tour of the house and visit the winery on the property.
The Florida Panhandle
The white beaches of the Florida Panhandle provide a relaxing getaway for families. Some of the most popular beach destinations are Destin, Panama City, Fort Walton, Navarre and Pensacola. Fishing, boating and water sports are available if you need a little action alongside sunbathing. Sandestin is famous for golf, and Miramar Beach is the place to shop with the largest designer outlet center in the country. Grayton Beach State Park offers an opportunity to have a more natural experience with camping, turtle watching, hiking, biking and kayaking.